SMS is one of the best ways to communicate with your customers and even though you get insanely high open and response rates out of the box there are still things that can ruin your SMS campaign.
According to smspapa.com.au bulk SMS is growing in popularity but still carries a negative stigma so there are specific rules you need to follow to get the most from it.
In this article, I’ll share some fundamental tips that if you use will keep you out of legal hot water but will also drive up the ROI for your bulk SMS marketing campaigns.
1. Always Get Permission
There is one critical thing you need to understand about SMS messaging and that is this: You are sending a message to somebody’s personal mobile number.
People will only give out their personal number to those who they actually wish to be in contact with so while it may be ok to just add all of your contacts into your bulk SMS platform and start sending text messages, it is against the law and could get you into some serious trouble.
If you have a database of customers send them an email asking if they would like to opt-in to your SMS list and go from there. It is also a good idea to let that person know exactly how that relationship will work you may need to offer an incentive of some kind since most people will naturally be reluctant to hand over their personal mobile number. The incentive doesn’t need to be a promotional offer it can be exclusive information or priority service, skip the queue, etc.
2. Use Irresistible Offers
Once you have people subscribing to your list you will want to give them something great right away so that you reinforce to them that they’ve made a great decision to be part of your SMS list.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that people are much more likely to unsubscribe from an SMS list than an email list so you need to make sure that every time you text them, that the information, promotions, etc. is something they find value in.
When sending your list offers make sure that the offer is going to help them achieve an unmet need, something they would find very hard to turn down.
Ensuring that you bring great value on every interaction means that not only will they be less likely to unsubscribe but they will convert more often.
3. Segment Your SMS Subscribers
This is a close cousin to the previous point. In order to send irresistible offers, it’s a good idea to separate people into relevant groups.
For example, if you own a health club there will be club members who have very or even opposing goals and so you want to make sure that you group these people together so that when you send out an offer you have the highest chance of success.
For example, at a health club you have people who want to:
- Lose weight
- Gain muscle
- Build strength
- Take classes
- Do yoga
- Rehab injuries
Once you segment these people into segmented groups it makes it easier to come up with promotions and you have a higher certainty of people taking you up on your offer.
Secondly, you will decrease the number of unsubscribes because you’re not sending build muscle offers to people who want to lose weight.
Thirdly, you can increase the number of times you send out an SMS campaign.
For example, if everyone was in one giant group you can send out an offer once per week but since you’ve got 6 groups that means you can send out 6 SMS highly targeted campaigns per week.
This will increase your overall ROI.
4. Keep Your Text Message Short
A lot of people try to keep their messages to 160 characters or less but you can go above that, in fact you can go up to 450 characters giving you plenty of room to outline your promotion.
I do agree with tightening your copy as much as possible since the longer the text message the more it will cost.
So, get to the point quickly and use link shorteners like bit.ly.com if you’re redirecting people to a landing page.
5. Don’t Text Too Often
If you come from the email marketing world then you would be familiar with sending out an email every other day or maybe even every single day but if you use that same approach with bulk SMS you will get crushed.
The most common frequency for texting is 1 every 2 weeks or 1 every week on the higher end, I haven’t seen too many examples of businesses being able to go more than once per week.
Always remember that you are contacting someone on their personal mobile number and unless you’re a family member that person is going to have a much lower tolerance for anything they view as spamming.
6. Use Bulk SMS To Promote Your Other Channels
Marketing pros always view their marketing channels as an integrated system rather than a bunch of disconnected tactics.
Each marketing channel has a superpower and for SMS that is its open rates – nothing that I’m aware of can be it!
So, knowing that 98% of people open their text messages why not use that to increase the open or click-through rates of your other marketing activities.
For example, if you’ve just released an important company newsletter or promotional campaign then send out a text message right after with a message saying: “Hi Jeff, we just released a very important update that affects you. Please check your email – thanks Tim”
Now instead of only getting a 20% open rate, you’ll see a much larger uptake in people reading that email.
You can use this for special events, product launches or webinars, etc. to help boost attendance.
7. Track Performance
As with any marketing channel, everything should be tracked. The best way to track the performance of your SMS messages is to use a too like campaign URL builder to add in tracking tokens and then to use a link shortening service like bit.ly.com.
This will let you know which marketing channel brought in the traffic and from which campaign. Even though bulk SMS is a powerful marketing tool it still needs to prove its value and tracking helps you see this.