SMS messaging is a great way for businesses to connect and engage with their customers on a more personal level by sending notifications, deals, and promotions straight to their mobile devices. When utilizing this effective and efficient mode of communication to interact with contacts, there are a number of best practices you may want to consider implementing to help optimize your campaigns and maximize the benefits from SMS marketing.
Five of the top SMS marketing best practices we want to share with you are:
- Provide customers with signup incentives
- Include information for opt-outs
- Send SMS messages at appropriate times
- Leverage SMS shortcodes and keywords
- Automate SMS campaigns
Provide customers with signup incentives
First things first. Why should your customers sign up to receive SMS messages from your company? What’s in it for them?
It’s important to give your customers a good reason for wanting to subscribe to SMS messages, especially since, by signing up, they are essentially agreeing to let you into their personal space by sending them messages directly to that little device that they constantly have on their person.
So, what can you provide them in return for signing up?
One option is to send subscribers exclusive, SMS-only deals and promotions that they can’t get anywhere else. This will inspire brand trust and loyalty to your company, because they will know that they are benefiting from the arrangement just as much as you are.
And the thing is, once they’ve opted in, you are able to keep reaching out to these customers with even more deals and promotions in an effort to convert them from one-time buyers into return customers!
Include information for opt-outs
It is any subscriber’s right to choose to revoke their decision to receive communications from a business and there may be times when your subscribers may choose to stop receiving messages from you. It is important that you provide them an easy means of exercising this right to unsubscribe.
According to various anti-spam legislation, it is mandatory to include a valid opt-out mechanism for all types of communication. A subscriber cannot be forced to remain subscribed to communications they do not want to receive – at this point, these messages become unsolicited, otherwise known as spam.
Your business can comply with this legislation by including the unsubscribe method in the text of your initial message you send when a customer signs up. Typically, for SMS, unsubscribing can be as easy as the customer responding to a text with the word “Stop” or “Unsubscribe” in the body. This will automatically remove the customer from the send list and they will no longer receive SMS messages from you.
Send SMS messages at appropriate times
What’s worse than being woken up at the sound of your phone beeping, only to realize that it was not, in fact, a life or death situation but a company's promotional message?
This would be enough to make you immediately want to unsubscribe, right?
This is why it is super important to make sure your company is sending your SMS messages at appropriate times, to ensure that they are read when you want them to be instead of them waking people up at all hours of the night. When sending to your contact lists, it is best to make sure what time zones your customers live in and respect those times when sending our messages.
As well as ensuring you aren’t waking up your subscribers, you also want to consider sending at certain times of day that make the most sense for your type of business. For example, you wouldn’t want to send coupons for your restaurant during the morning commute or late at night – these messages would be much more effective being sent late morning or afternoon, before the two main meals of the day.
Same goes for retail establishments; send your promotional SMS messages at times when your recipients have more time to read them and take action – during the noon hour or after work, not in the early hours of the morning when they are rushing to get to work on time.
As they say, timing is everything.
Leverage SMS shortcodes and keywords
“Summer sale! For 20 percent off your next purchase, text SUMMER20 to 1-902-555-8294.”
If you saw that message on a billboard while driving past, how many of you would remember that phone number long enough to send that text, let alone take the time to type it all out?
This is where shortcodes come in really handy when offering special deals to your customers. Shortcodes are five or six-digit phone numbers that can be used in lieu of longer, more convoluted phone numbers such as the one above. They are easier to remember and customers are much more likely to interact with them, especially if they see them on billboards or in a television commercial where they only glimpse the number for a short amount of time.
Shortcodes are most often used in conjunction with keywords that customers can use when sending texts to the number in order to redeem a specialized offer. Make sure that any keywords you choose to use are simple and relevant to the deal you’re offering, like the one above that is a summer sale offering 20 percent off, hence “SUMMER20.”
Shortcodes and keywords can help your business nurture existing customers, as well as bring in new customers because honestly, who can resist a good deal where all you have to do is send a simple text message?
Automate SMS campaigns
OK, so you’re probably thinking that implementing all of these SMS marketing best practices has the potential to be very time-consuming and a pain in the you-know-where.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be!
Your business can easily automate many of these SMS messages through the use of an automation platform that can help you build SMS campaigns in advance and schedule them to send in bulk whenever you want. This platform can also help you to personalize each specific message to its intended recipient by pulling out specific contact information and including it automatically in each message upon sending.
While these campaigns may involve a little more work at the outset, automating your business’s SMS offers can greatly reduce the workload for your employees in the long run while also providing you with some valuable reporting data. This data can be used to help you determine which aspects of your SMS campaigns were well-received by customers and which ones weren’t, allowing you to optimize your future sends and provide your customers with deals they actually want.
Need help implementing these SMS marketing best practices?
SimplyCast can help you automate your SMS marketing campaigns with our all-in-one marketing engagement automation platform. We provide shortcode and keyword capabilities and also possess a robust reporting system to help you analyze and optimize your campaigns.
To see what else our SMS automation tool can help you with, visit the product page here. And don’t forget to sign up for a free 14-day trial of the platform by clicking the button below!