So, you’ve decided to start using online SMS as a way to grow your business. I can already tell you are smarter than the average bear.
After all, Online SMS has a ton of advantages that quite frankly I think humiliates most for the popular online marketing channels today.
For example, find me a marketing channel where you can get 97% of people to read your marketing message.
That’s right, 97%. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a channel offline or online that can do that consistently.
Not only that but name a marketing channel that is as easy to use as SMS. On the surface some of them like Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, Instagram, etc. they may seem easy to use but in order to use them well i.e. stand out from the crowd you generally need to hire in an expert who specialises in that specific marketing channel.
According to Angus Barrett from 160.com.au you could pull anyone off the street and put them in front of an SMS dashboard and not only would they be able to send out text messages but they would also outperform the most sophisticated marketers using traditional online marketing channels.
This is what makes online SMS platform like this so exciting especially for the small and medium business out there who is up against the goliath in their industry.
The beauty of online SMS is that it levels the playing field for everyone. There are no special advantages big business has over small business, also, there are more and more online SMS services entering into the market which drives down the price of sending an SMS.
With all of that said, there are still some best practices that every business needs to be intimately acquainted with which we’ll cover inside this article.
Time Your Online SMS Campaigns Right
Timing comes in two forms actual time of the day and event driven.
Nobody minds receiving an email at 3am in the morning but try and do that with SMS and you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. SMS is about as intimate as a personal phone call so you want to make sure that you are sending your campaigns at the optimal times.
Event driven timing is when your subscriber has reached a specific time in their life or key moment. For example, if you are a wedding service then there will be a major event i.e. the wedding and micro events like flowers, reception, dresses, etc. that you can use build offers and informational online SMS campaigns around.
I know that you are a legitimate business so of course you’re not going to spam your customers but lets first define what I mean by “spam”.
Sending a message that is unwanted.
Even if you have customers on your list this doesn’t mean that you will be able to send them SMS messages when you feel like it.
For most businesses this is about once per week unless you’re delivering a service that requires multiple touch points in a short space of time.
SMS is an incredibly personal channel so you want to keep your messaging to a moderate frequency.
This also fits nicely under the spamming banner. When you send an offer or message that is irrelevant to the customer or subscribers needs you are by definition ‘spamming’.
One of the best ways to increase your sales conversions is to send offers that people are interested in, a fairly simple formula.
One of the best strategies to use in order to keep your offers highly relevant is to segment your customers into groups where they share common ground.
For example, if you are a health club, you’ll have members that are there for multiple reasons, lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, gain strength, increase mobility, rehab, etc.
By grouping these people together, you will send offers that are more likely to not only increase sales but also reduce unsubscribes.
Segmentation needs to be a part of your overall online SMS marketing strategy.
Like email marketing SMS marketing allows you to include the recipient’s first name into the message to make it sound more like a 1-to-1 message.
Personalized messages almost always tend to outperform more generic ones so be sure to add this when it’s necessary.
Use more than 160 characters
Although the standard length of an SMS message is 160 characters you can actually go beyond this number depending on the online SMS service provider you are using.
If you have a great offer then chances are you’ll only need to use 160 characters but if you’re running a reactivation campaign or sending out information then chances are you’re going to need more space.
While this does cost more it will reduce confusion and complaints because you haven’t missed out important information.
If you’re running paid advertising campaigns then you will understand the importance of performance tracking to reduce over spending and push money into high return areas.
The same is true for SMS the problem is that online SMS services won’t come with tracking abilities that allow you to track clicks but you can use Google URL builder create a trackable link and insert that into your text message which will allow you to track clicks inside your google analytics.
Have An Opt-Out
In a lot of places it is a legal requirement to have an opt-out option for your subscribers. Not only is it polite to have this but it will dramatically reduce complaints and legal action.
Online SMS is an incredibly powerful and easy to use tool but as with any marketing channel you need to understand the best ways to use it – for example people tend to compare online SMS with email marketing and they do carry a lot of commonalities but they are different in important ways for example you can’t send SMS campaigns as frequently as email campaigns. Hopefully this guide has helped you understand SMS in a different way and I encourage you to try this inside your own marketing mix.