SMS is one of the simpler marketing channels out there. It consists of a small bit of text usually no more than 160 characters. But despite the simplicity of the channel, there are still plenty of mistakes that can be made in using it. Here are just five which, if avoided, could improve your SMS marketing efforts.
No sender info
When your customers opt-in to receive your text messages, they do so by texting a keyword to your registered shortcode. Some may save that shortcode in their contacts list under the name of your brand but you can’t count on it. And since customers may have a dozen or more different shortcodes in their texting history, they may not be able to determine the sender just based on the shortcode alone. A simple way to fix this mistake is to begin every text with the name of your brand followed by a colon. It takes up very few characters and it lets recipients know right away who is texting them.
SMS is an inherently personal channel. After all, you’re sending a message directly to your customers’ SMS inbox via their mobile phone number, something people usually only give out to friends and family and close acquaintances. So why not make it more personal? One way to do this is to use a bulk SMS service that has the option to automatically address the recipient by name if that information is stored in the database. Simply starting off a text calling the person by name makes it feel more personal. Another way to offer personalization is to send a congratulatory offer to customers on their birthday. Finally, you might try segmenting your audience according to demographic or interests and tailor different messages for different segments of your audience.
It’s not enough to just inform customers about a new product or a special deal or a mobile coupon–you have to tell them what you want them to do as a result. Tell them how they can get that product, to act fast on that special deal before it expires, or to claim that mobile coupon in store today. The call-to-action is what drives the desired response and simply telling them what you want them to do is surprisingly effective.
Most mobile phones will display the first few words of a text message when it’s received. Those first few words may be the difference between that text being opened immediately and that text being opened several hours later when the recipient stumbles across it again. Text messages are most influential when opened immediately so you want to include some kind of hook in the opening line of text that makes it near impossible for the recipient to ignore.
No two-way option
Millennials and Gen Z prefer texting to speaking on the phone. Despite this, the majority of brands who use SMS to communicate things to customers don’t allow customers to text them back. Most bulk SMS services only recognize and respond to incoming texts if the text is the keyword to opt-in or the word “stop” to opt-out. Advances in chatbot technology have made two-way SMS a more practical option where customers and brands can actually interact. SMS no longer has to be a one-way channel. Give your customers the option to text back and many will take advantage of it and that two-way engagement will improve the effectiveness of your SMS marketing efforts.
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