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How To Start Your SMS Marketing Campaign

There is a proliferation of messaging platforms today. However, even with the rise of apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber, SMS text messaging remains king. Here are a few powerful statistics:

  • Over 4 billion people around the globe still use their phones to text.
  • More than 6 trillion text messages are sent annually.
  • More than 9 out of 10 smartphone users still send texts.
  • Nearly 100% of all devices on the market are SMS-enabled.
  • Texts are read within 3 minutes of delivery 90% of the time.

It’s no wonder marketing teams are finding SMS for business success. From small businesses to large corporations, SMS remains to be a very effective means of direct marketing with the widest reach possible.

If you’re planning to jumpstart your SMS marketing campaign, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

1. Set Goals

Before you dive into SMS, it’s wise to review your existing business goals. Like any other business tactic, you must develop an SMS marketing strategy using a lens that takes your big-picture goals into account.

Once you’ve done that, start setting specific goals for your SMS campaign that are in line with the company goals. A good way to do this is using the SMART approach (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).

How you go about this will depend on the nature of your business, but here are a few examples of SMART goals related to SMS marketing:

  • Acquire 200 new gym memberships via an SMS campaign over a 12-month period.
  • Gain a 25% increase in year-on-year December sales through 2017 coupons sent via SMS.
  • Provide notifications such as order confirmations and pickup availability through SMS.
  • Increase website traffic by 30% through short links sent via SMS in 6 months.

2. Build A Subscriber Database

In building your subscriber list, one of the most important best practices in SMS marketing is ensuring that the recipients have opted in to receive your texts.

Below are several ways to encourage customers and prospects to opt-in to receive your marketing texts at every point of contact:

  • Facebook: Include a “Mobile Number” field and an “opt-in” tick box to any sign-up form you share on your Page (this can include offers, deals, contests, etc.).
  • Website: Make SMS opt-in available on your landing pages.
  • Email: Add an SMS opt-in to your newsletters.
  • Direct Mail: Include SMS opt-in instructions to all business mail.
  • In-Store: Have a sign-up sheet available at the counter to receive info on the latest promos, events, etc.
  • Mobile: Send opt-in texts such as “Reply with YES to receive discounts from ABC company.”

If possible, try to validate the phone numbers you’ve gathered with a verification code to avoid potentially sending texts to the wrong number.

3. Send Great Texts

Sending texts to your customers is like inviting yourself into their personal space, so remember to make them feel that letting you in is worth their time.

The key to sending texts that are valuable to your customers is to think about how useful your messages will be to them.

For example, if you’re a spa sending a message to a recent customer, text her with “Hi Jane, thanks for coming in today. Enjoy 20% off your next visit by showing our staff this text message.”

If you own an online electronics store, you may want to consider texting a special discount coupon to a customer who just made an account.

Additionally, there are also a few things that SMS marketers should avoid when sending texts to customers. However you choose to write your texts, don’t commit these SMS sins:

  • Do not spam. Sending several texts on the same day can turn off customers. As a rule of thumb, 4-12 texts per month should be enough.
  • Do not send irrelevant offers. Know your audience and send on-target promotions to them.
  • Do not wake them up. Marketing texts sent before 9 am or after 8 pm can feel intrusive.

Finally, don’t forget to include an opt-out option in your marketing texts. This is best practice, as it helps you identify if your customers are enjoying your messages or if you need to do some tweaking.

4. Measure Your Results

As with any other marketing channel, it’s important to measure the results of your SMS efforts to see if there are returns on your investment and how you can make them even better.

The following are a few SMS performance indicators that you may want to consider tracking:

  • Measure your unsubscriptions. To do this, take the number of people who opted out of your SMS campaign and divide that by the total number of customers who have initially subscribed. The result will tell you how quickly your subscribers are leaving the campaign.
  • Calculate your redemption rate. Take the number of subscribers who responded to the call-to-action (e.g. clicked on the link or responded with a code) and divide that by the number of total customers who have opted into the campaign. The number will indicate how successful your campaign was at generating responses.
  • Determine the ROI. Take the cost of each SMS message sent and divide it by the redemption rate (see item above). Based on your budget and initial goals, you can determine if your campaign performed well.

SMS marketing is a great way to reach the widest possible audience. Since nearly every single device can receive texts, every business should consider including SMS in their mobile marketing strategy.

Start by setting the right goals and building a subscriber list, then craft your messages and measure your results to see if there are ways to optimize your SMS marketing.

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