3 Ingredients for Successful SMS Marketing
SMS Marketing campaigns, like any other marketing campaigns, must be carefully constructed to ensure that certain essential ingredients are there. The challenge when it comes to SMS is that there is an incredibly limited amount of space in which to ensure that everything that needs to be there is included, which means that it can be harder to draft the perfect message. On the plus side, response times, open rates and click-through rates are significantly higher than any comparable channel, meaning that it is well worth the extra effort. So just what should always be included in your SMS Marketing messages? Here are three key ingredients.
With email or social media marketing, whilst it is possible to contextualise a message in order to increase its engagement with a given audience at a given time (think Christmas, Mother’s Day, for example), it is not a necessity. In these crowded and noisy spaces, the main goal is to simply get your message seen among millions of others. This often means constantly pushing out new or repeated content or messages in the hope that you’ll simply come up on more people’s radar.
SMS Marketing is very different. Because people tend to read every message they receive, often immediately, it is important not to spam them with frequent or repeat messages. It also does not make sense to send them a message that simply doesn’t have context.
Far better is a carefully planned campaign that picks up on a theme that is relevant to both the customer and your brand, and offers something that is appropriate in the context. This will make your marketing meaningful and even helpful to the customer, significantly increasing your chances of conversion.
Some good examples might be hotels offering special rates for returning guests, timed to coincide with the start of the summer holidays, or a restaurant offering romantic dining for couples on Valentine’s day. In the latter case, be sure you know your audience. If your main customer base is single males or an older demographic, for example, there may be little relevance and your efforts will not get the desired results.
2. Personal touch
Unlike other channels, SMS is deeply personal. It takes far more trust for a customer to give you access to their mobile phone number than to hand over their email address. Customers who agree to join your SMS Marketing list are making a very personal concession and can expect this to be respected. Whilst a totally generic email (although not best practice) is unlikely to offend, imagine for a moment if you were to receive an SMS message that read “Hi, random person, we thought we’d send this exact same message to everybody whose mobile number we have…” This may seem somewhat of an exaggeration, however, a text that does not have a natural, personal feel to it can easily be translated into something that is much the same.
At best, an impersonal message may leave the recipient unsure if the message was actually intended for them. Using the customer’s name – in an appropriate style for the nature of your relationship and profile of your brand – is a good way to ensure that the recipient knows the message is intended for them and them only. Where appropriate, this can be further enhanced by including details that are familiar to the customer, for example:
“Dear Mr Jones, as one of our valued and loyal customers…”
“Dear Mrs Evans, to reward you for your recent stay…”
In both cases, the use of careful phrasing shows that the sender knows who they are dealing with, which implies that there is a very personal bond with the customer. Not only does this help to ensure the message comes across as both personal and genuine, it can also – when used well – make the customer feel special and even help to build loyalty.
3. Clear Calls to Action
As with any form of marketing, the Call to Action (CTA) is the all-important component that ultimately dictates the level of conversion. However, with the limited space available on an SMS message and the once only nature of the medium, getting the right CTA into the message is crucial to success.
So what does a good CTA look like? It should be direct, clear and concise – it must be totally obvious to the recipient what action they should take. As with any form of marketing, an ambiguous CTA is a recipe for poor conversion, whilst one that has only one course of action is likely to score far better results. Be polite, but be direct. A great example, using a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN) to facilitate two way messaging, is something along the lines of:
“… simply reply YES now to secure your space…”
Note the use of the word ‘Now’ in this example, to add a sense of urgency. A good CTA should create a real sense of urgency to prompt the recipient to engage before the message is lost from their mind.
A tried and tested way to achieve this is to write the CTA in a way that is time-bound, using phrases such as ‘Limited time only’, ‘Must end today’ or ‘Book now to avoid disappointment’. Phrases that suggest an immediate response is necessary tend to result in higher conversions as customers naturally feel motivated to respond if the offer is attractive to them. Of course, let’s not forget that such CTA’s rely on us fulfilling the previous two criteria – context and personal touch.
Combining a contextually relevant message with a suitable form of personalisation and a well-crafted Call to Action will ensure that your SMS Marketing not only resonates with your audience but also gets the right level of response – and as a result maximise your return on investment. For more tips on how to make the most of SMS Marketing, keep up to date with our constantly updated blog where we share all the best tips and tricks to help you succeed.
To get started with SMS Marketing now, give our award-winning team of experts a call on 0800 954 5305 and we’ll have you up and running within minutes.
Do you ever wonder if your SMS marketing campaigns could be even more successful? Of course, you do! Find out how to put A/B testing to work in your campaigns by following our five simple steps and see your ROI increase
Is there such a thing as a "perfect" SMS message? Yes, there is, but there isn't just one example of a perfect message. There are so many uses for SMS messages that each of them would have their own perfect example. How many different types are there? This infographic includes a short list of some types.
Just for fun, I asked people in a marketing focused Facebook group to share the worst SMS marketing messages they’ve ever received. I was expecting a deluge of responses, but actually only a few trickled in. But those horrible SMS marketing messages are out there…the comments on my post proved it even if no one wanted to share (I guess they’re all shy).
SMS messaging can be one of your more effective marketing techniques, but only if you do it right. A poorly executed SMS marketing campaign could have disastrous results for your future budget, and for your organisation.
Marketing messages, whether in print or electronic have many parts to them. In the beginning there’s the hook that entices someone to continue reading, and near the end is the call to action. That’s where you make it clear what you want someone to do after reading the message. There are many parts in between these two, but these are, arguably, the two most important.
You need concise, memorable and high-impact content with a clear call to action in your SMS messaging. That, in a nutshell, is what's needed to achieve with any marketing or engagement communications in any form. But this is never truer than with an SMS campaign when your business text messaging has to rely on a small window of recipient attention.