The 5-point guide to SMS marketing

7th Mar 2018
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How to reach out to costumers effectively with the help of SMS campaigns.

SMS (Short Messaging Service) marketing is a mobile marketing channel to reach out to customers through text messages. It is making quick strides as a very effective form of communication to reach out to target customers, considering the fact that by 2020, as per prediction, 90 percent of the world population will have a mobile device.

SMS marketing is considered as one of the most personal and direct form of communication, to reach out to the customers.

As per reports by Deloitte, more than one third of customer check their mobile devices within the first five minutes of waking up and individuals usually check their mobile devices more than 50 times a day, on an average. SMS marketing also have one of the highest CTR (click through rate) and low CPS (cost per sms send) which is making it one of the most effective medium for marketers to push offers and promotions to the customers.

In US 8.6 trillion text messages are sent on an average every year and six billion text messages in a day.

SMS marketing is increasingly becoming an essential core multi-channel marketing channel to target customers. It is also considered as a channel of communication with higher return on investment. The myth that target a specific set of customers, on the go, is not a possibility is busted by the fact that an SMS can not only reach to the target group with very high precision but can also initiate two-way communication with the customer and the company.

If done through legal means by respecting the privacy of the customer, SMS marketing is one of the best way to receive customer feedback though surveys and building brand resonance and accountability.

The key benefits of SMS marketing:

  1. Low cost and budget-friendly
  2. High conversion rate as within first four minutes 97 percent of text messages are read
  3. Highly actionable as 19 percent of customers click on a link in a SMS, compared to less than 5 percent for an email or any other advertising medium
  4. Result oriented as close to 30 percent of SMS campaigns generate an average response rate of 30 percent. Highest for any other medium.

Creation of a successful SMS campaign:

  1. Audience segmentation

Just line cold calling and e-mail marketing, if the right message is not sent to the right audience it would be considered spam and a nuisance. Segmenting the target audience ensures that the right individual receives the relevant information and it will pass the chasm between information message and spam message. Keep your focus on the customer’s purchase history. Collect the customers demographic data as this will help in better targeting of the customers.

  1. The timing of the message

Timing is always the key for any marketing-related message. It is important that messages are not pervasive. For instance, it might not be a good strategy to message an individual early in the morning or late in evening. Unlike emails, where an email campaign on Saturdays might not provide the expected result, but a SMS campaign might produce its best results. Experimentation is the key to identify the opportunity day and time to run a campaign to get optimum result. Try experimenting using a scheduler to draft a message beforehand and send it for delivery at a specific time of choice.

  1. Positioning the message

Messages with the right ‘Call to Action’ is the key. Open- ended messages are usually less successful compared to messages which requires a user to execute any specific tasks or messages related to deal with limited time offers.

Compared to emails where open rate which spike after 24 hours of execution of the campaign, sms open rates spikes within the first 60 minutes average 70 percent open rates. Don’t miss an opportunity in personalizing the sms by inserting the first name of the customer and brand yourself by setting up your company name as the sender’s name.

  1. Concise and simple

A very necessary point to be kept in mind while creating content for SMS is the limited character limit of 160 characters. The key to success is short to the point content. GET 50% off using the promo code “HOLI50”. Click Here. Offer Expires by 31st March 2018

The key attributes are:

a. It is to the point

b. Explains what to do

c. Provide a deadline

Avoid sending frivolous messages as these messages might annoy the customers. Don’t be a spammer.
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It is a privilege, not your right. As a best practice include an opt-out option in the sms, to ensure that the customers can stop receiving the message at any time. Also make sure that you use url shortners like goo.gl or bit.ly instead of sharing a massive tracking url.

  1. Feedback and customer engagement

As customers, on an average respond to an sms in the first five minutes of receiving it, nearly 31 percent customer on an average respond to a survey via an SMS. This can also help to follow up with the customer for an email campaign such as “did you check the latest offers in our email”. This helps to also increase the email open rate many folds. Keep your database clean by removing non-responsive numbers as it can be costly to send sms to customers who have opt-out to non-responsive customers.

Use keyword such as ‘text OFFER’ to 6767 and get discount coupons to buy your favourite apparel. This can also be printed in a banner or a hoarding as it will help to grow the list of opt-in customers who would choose to receive the SMS alerts.

Use SMS for more immediate offers such as discounts, vouchers, promotions or even wishing on anniversaries and birthdays.

How to implement a successful SMS marketing campaign

The Holy Grail to grab the attention of the customer is to make sure that your message is consumed in three layers,viz:

a. Informational layer

b. Emotional layer

c. Instructional layer

  1. Communicate valuable offerings

Do you remember the iconic dialogue “I gave him an offer, he can’t refuse” from the movie Godfather? Well, that’s it, the film did crack the prime motivation behind an offer, and it must be something which can’t be refused.

In today’s fast paced world with much to give attention too, customer would not want to receive pointless offers which is not worth for them.

  1. Initiate the communication with the offer

Highlighting the offer related information at the start is the key to attract the attention of the customers. The best way to connect with the customers is to be precise, to the point and action-oriented. Moreover placing the offer information at the

  1. Exclusivity for the customer

Customers today wish to be treated with exclusivity. While sending out a SMS campaign care should be taken that the customers feel the sense of exclusiveness while receiving it. An offer which if available to everyone, redeeming such an offer becomes less attractive.

  1. Sense of urgency

The sense of urgency or the fear of losing out is an important factor that can drive to close a sale. A valid offer is one which is for a limited duration, the validity period of the offer must also be clearly communicated in the communication. In fact, make sure to add a link for the user to check the details of offer or the option to complete the purchase through the offer.

  1. Location/localisation

If you are promoting an offer for the brick and mortar location of your store, make sure that you do not miss to mention the location of your store. In case of an online store mention the web url or the app download link. You would want the customer to make an extra effort on your behalf and make sure that your call to action is specific and actionable.It should also be simple and easy to follow.

An example of a SMS message:

But 2 dresses, Get 1 FREE at exclusive Barakhamba Store outlet. Offer valid till 30th April 2018. Book your slot now goo.gl/xyz. Amari & Co.

SMS is a very effective standalone channel and it can efficiently complement other marketing channels such as email, outdoor promotions and social media. It is vital that all the channels work in tandem within the marketing mix to deliver value. As there is also scope for improvement in every campaign, in every channel, don’t miss measuring the effectiveness of the SMS campaigns and fine-tuning it. Try out the various combinations for customer target groups, offers, time of the day, days of the week, and identify what best works for you.

Happy texting and make the most of SMS marketing.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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