The Top 7 Steps to Starting Your SMS Campaign

The Top 7 Steps to Starting Your SMS Campaign

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SMS Campaign

We all know SMS marketing is growing. Is it time for your company to get on board and start leveraging this powerful communication channel?

If you're looking to start your first SMS campaign, we have the top seven steps you need to know.

Set objectives and get everyone on the same page

Before you start your SMS campaign, you and your team need to determine what you hope to accomplish by implementing such a campaign. Do you want to increase the sale of a particular item? Do you want to gather a specific number of new subscribers? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Whatever your objective is, identifying it before the launch of your SMS campaign will allow you and your team to frame your messaging around this goal to accomplish it more effectively.

As you establish your objectives, take this opportunity to ensure the whole company is on board and on the same page with the SMS campaign. New marketing initiatives impact all departments so take your objective meeting as an opportunity to have a cross-functional meeting to determine the impact and opinion of all departments prior to launch.

Establish a call-to-action and a shortcode keyword to match

A strong SMS campaign has a strong call-to-action, typically based on the objectives you have established. For example, if you wanted to increase sales, you may consider having your call-to-action be a discount for new customers in order to drive new business, for example.

After establishing what your call-to-action will be for the campaign, you want to create a way for contacts to sign up and access the promotion. For the SMS campaign, this will be through a shortcode. Essentially, a contact would text into the provided shortcode and receive an automatic response with the promotion information. Be sure to make your SMS campaign consistent by having a shortcode keyword that matches your CTA. If your CTA is offering a discount, your shortcode keyword should reflect that.

Create clear incentives and offers

So far you have your team on board with your outlined objective of increasing sales through your SMS campaign. Your CTA is clear in that customers get a discount for signing up for your SMS communications. Before you start your campaign and begin gathering contact information, you need to make sure your incentives and offers are clear.

In this case, you want to offer a discount as your CTA. What is the incentive behind this? Do you want to offer customers 10% off their first purchase? $5 off any purchase? Whatever it is, you need to ensure the incentive is clear to the reader so they know exactly what they are signing up to receive. If your incentive is 10% off their first purchase, adjust your CTA to reflect this – something like: "Join now to save 10% off of your first purchase." And, your shortcode keyword could be "SAVE10." This brings your CTA and shortcode keyword into alignment with your incentive, which creates consistency across the board.

Gather contact information and stay compliant

Your shortcode is your main means of gathering consent from users to continue to communicate with them via SMS. With this in mind, you can consider your initial CTA an incentive for users to join your SMS communications for further messaging. In order to stay in compliance with communication laws, you need to ensure you are not communicating with anyone who has not provided you with their contact information. Although for the purposes of SMS marketing, it is best to gather information by having contacts text your keyword to the shortcode, you can also collect this information via an online form or on a one-by-one basis. However, not using a shortcode keyword will mean your SMS messages will need to be sent over longcode.

Deliver value and stay consistent

So, your SMS campaign is underway. You have users texting SAVE10 to access your SMS-exclusive offer to save 10% on their first purchase. You now have a list of contacts who have consented to communicate with you via SMS message.

You can now take these contacts and continue to communicate with them and offer them more exclusive promotions and offers as part of your SMS campaign. Whether that's flash sales, tips and tricks, or feedback surveys — you now have the ability to expand your SMS marketing. When doing this, it is important to do two things: deliver value and stay consistent.

Whenever you send an SMS marketing message, stop and ask yourself "Would I respond if I received this?" and "What value does this give each contact?" If you cannot answer positively to either question, you may want to rethink the SMS send. At the same time, ensure your voice and sending amount stays consistent. For example, don't send 15 messages one month and none the next. You don't want to overwhelm contacts, and you also don't want to ignore them.

Integrate with existing marketing initiatives

When implementing an SMS marketing campaign, it's important to keep in mind how you can integrate it with other marketing initiatives. Doing this serves two purposes: it ensures your campaigns are consistent across all channels and it gives you other avenues through which to promote your SMS campaign. For example, if you have an ongoing social media campaign, you could integrate your SMS campaign by posting your offer there. On Twitter, you could tweet "Text SAVE10 to 550055 to save 10% on your next order with us." This exposes your social media audience to your SMS campaign, which increases the methods of communication through which you can now communicate with those contacts.

Record and measure your success

How many opt-ins has your shortcode received? How many SMS messages have you sent? How many coupons have been redeemed? These are all very important questions that you need the answers to in order to know the success of your campaign. Recording these numbers allows you to see what areas of your SMS campaign worked and which ones may need some attention.

To make tracking your results and successes even easier, outline the information you wish to track before launching your campaign. This will ensure you know all the information you wish to gather beforehand and nothing slips through the cracks.

Next step: automate

Managing a whole SMS campaign manually is quite a large undertaking. This is why you should consider a marketing automation platform with SMS marketing capabilities to aid in your next campaign. With an automated SMS campaign, all contact information is automatically tracked and captured, responses are sent to contacts automatically based on the keyword they text into you, and reports show all the information you need to see the success of your campaign.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial of SimplyCast's marketing automation platform, SimplyCast 360, and see how it can aid in your next SMS campaign.

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