Short Messaging Service (SMS) or more commonly known as text messaging, is a new way for companies to reach customers and promote products. SMS marketing is effective for growing your business and connecting with new customers. Since this marketing strategy is a relatively recent addition to global marketing, understanding best practices of SMS will ensure customer satisfaction.
Avoid the "Cold" Text
Instead, offer customers the opportunity to sign-up for SMS through your website, Facebook page or blog, or through shortcodes. Much like the dreaded telemarketing call during dinner, an unwanted cold text leaves the same bitter taste in customers' mouths about your company or product.
Give a Reason to Opt-In
As previously mentioned in other blog posts, by duplicating information and offers through all marketing strategies, it gives customers less of a reason to opt-in for SMS. Design your SMS strategy so that it includes special offers or promotions only available through this service.
Create an Easy and Catchy Short Code
Many companies use a "short code" instead of a traditional opt-in tool. This shortcode is a way for customers to sign up for SMS through their mobile device by texting directly to your company.
Since shortcodes are 5-digits long, convert the numbers into an easy to remember word equivalent. For example, 47348 is "GREAT," and is far easier to remember than the code.
Offer a Variety of SMS
Consider several different types of SMS campaigns for your customers, letting them opt-in for as many that are relevant to them. For example, try an SMS strictly for promotions only available through that service. Or, include an SMS specifically for company updates and news. If your company is using shortcodes, customize the digits for the specific type of SMS.
Simplify SMS Features
SMS marketing is a two-way street, where customer-to-company interactions should be simple. Ensure that your SMS includes a feature where customers can text directly for help or technical issues. Allow customers to be able to text for "HELP" for assistance and "STOP" to unsubscribe.
Send SMS at Appropriate Times
One of the most over-looked pitfalls is when the best time to send out SMS messages actually is. Keep in mind that even if customers have signed up for your SMS list, that doesn't mean they want their mobile device to ding in the middle of the night or just as they are getting up. The best time to send out SMS is during "normal" business hours, anywhere between 9 AM and 5 PM.
To better understand what works and what doesn't, analyze your data after each SMS send. Is there one type of SMS that is doing better than another? Are more customers signing up through shortcodes or an online opt-in form? Are SMS promotions more successful than another marketing strategy?
Not only compare data within SMS, but also compare the data collected through other marketing strategies. This will not only provide a better understanding of how customers are interacting with your company, but how customers like to receive your information.
Watch for more tips on email marketing, Twitter marketing, SMS marketing and other online strategies in future blogs.