Have you got something to say right now and need your customers to take notice? If so, SMS marketing might be the way to go. Its immediacy and exceptionally high open rates make it a very attractive medium for businesses of all sizes.
But be warned. Get it right and you can achieve great things. Get it wrong and you can seriously damage your relationship with customers.
So let’s explore some examples of SMS marketing done the right way and see what we can learn from them.
1. Relevancy and timing are crucial
It’s no secret to the people who know me that I’m a huge AFL fan and supporter of the Essendon Bombers. Earlier in the year I went along to watch them play the Gold Coast Suns and received this sms message at 10am on game day.
This message is particularly effective as it is both timely and relevant. Because it was presumably sent only to Bombers fans likely to attend the game on the Gold Coast, it stands the best chance of driving action without annoying anyone in the process.
2. Include a specific call to action
The best types of direct marketing campaigns are those that drive action. So it’s important within your SMS marketing messages to tell people what you’d like them to do.
In this example, the call to action is very clear (shop in store or www.julesroc.com.au). Recipients are in no doubt about what they should do next if they’re interested and because the message includes a website, people who use smartphones (which is most of us) can easily click the link to be directed straight there.
3. Have a conversation with customers
By its very nature, SMS is the perfect platform for conversing with customers. It’s extremely easy for people to reply which makes it an effective way to manage competitions and other promotions that involve engaging with customers.
Having a conversation with customers via SMS is probably easier than you think too. A lot of marketers avoid asking customers to respond to their SMS messages because they don’t have the time to manage them all. But with SMS marketing software, it’s really easy because responses are captured within your database online and not on your handset. This is particularly helpful for things like competitions as you can trigger automated responses back to your customers based on the content of their messages (as in the below) which saves you a lot of time.
4. Measure results and learn what works
Following on from the above example, I replied ‘YUM13’ and immediately received this SMS message in response.
Apart from being an excellent example of how to use sms to have conversations with customers, this message is also a great example of how to measure your results. The sender has shortened their landing page URL, allowing them to track the number of page views as a measure towards the campaign’s effectiveness.
Whether it’s the send time, message content, or your call to action, it’s important that you test and measure your SMS marketing to learn what works best for your audience.
5. Allow people to easily unsubscribe
Commercial sms messages, like emails are covered by the Spam Act 2003 and are subject to the same rules and requirements for providing an option to unsubscribe. With email marketing you can include an unsubscribe link, but with SMS marketing it’s best to include instructions on how to reply with an unsubscribe request.
Asking people to reply with the word ‘stop’ is common practice and is the method chosen by most of the examples above. It’s a good choice of words as its short and won’t eat too much into your 160 character limit. It’s also a word that everybody recognises so there is no confusion about what they need to do in order to unsubscribe.
As mentioned above, SMS marketing software like Vision6 can capture the responses from your sms message and will automatically handle unsubscribe requests for you. So if someone replies with the word ‘stop’ (or any word you specify as an unsubscribe request), they will automatically be unsubscribed from your database and excluded from future sms marketing campaigns.
Now over to you – have you tried SMS marketing with your customers? How did it go and what did you learn? Share your experiences and let me know your thoughts by entering your comments below.