Similar to the common struggles companies may face with social media platforms, diving into SMS marketing can have many folks asking, “So… what works and where do we start?”
Whether you are texting customers for a short-term campaign or as an ongoing marketing channel, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when establishing your plan and forming each outgoing message. To get your SMS campaign to thrive, just follow these five:
1. “Yes, please!” and “No, thank you.”
Key to a successful (and legal) campaign is making sure you have consent to send text messages to each and every phone number on your list. Similar to email marketing, its important to ensure your messages are both welcome and requested. Each phone number must opt-in. If the recipient signed up for the campaign by texting in, then you are good to go! If the recipient signed up via your website, at a point of purchase, etc., you may even use a “double opt-in” and request they confirm subscription in your very first text to them. For example, “Text YES to join.” This way, you can be double sure your continued texts are desired. Similarly, you should also provide them with the opporunity to opt out at any time. Perhaps your messages no longer apply to them or are no longer of interest, recipients need to know how to opt-out. In your campaign’s initial set up, make sure to set up any necessary keywords, such as STOP, RESUME, or HELP. “Text STOP to quit” is common verbiage for opting-out.
2. “Who goes there?”
Since text messaging has become an extraordinarily common method of communication, make it easy for your recipients to identify you (your company) as the sender. Remember, your message will be coming from a simple 5-6 digit number, so be sure to put your company or campaign name at the start of the message, so the recipient can readily identify from whom the offer, coupon, alert, or message is coming. Odds are, they have probably signed up for one or more SMS campaigns at the same time.
3. “Oh! Interesting.”
When it comes to the actual content of your message, make sure each text is valuable and necessary. Any sign of trivial communication may have your recipient wondering if its time to opt out. Be sure to communicate desired information that directly relates to your company or campaign. Also, remember to do so clearly. Avoid “textese” if not inline with your company’s brand. It can be enticing to abbreviate to save precious character space, but text speak could make your brand look less credible.
4. “Just so you know…”
To ensure there is no confusion, at a minimum, your first text message to a recipient must include a brief disclaimer that notes the recipient may be charged any applicable fees for receiving text messages. The standard “Msg & Data rates may apply” is sufficient notification.
5. “Perfect timing!”
When establishing a calendar or schedule for your SMS campaign, remember two to four text messages per month is reasonable, in terms of frequency. The last thing anyone wants is to be bombarded, so any additional messages may be considering pestering. Similarly, make sure you are releasing messages at an appropriate time of day, not late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. Focus on quality rather quantity and your recipients will be pleased to receive your message.
Remember these best practices and you’ll be on your way to SMS success!