Why you want to keep your SMS marketing database clean
Getting people onto your SMS marketing list – the opt in – is important and where most people focus their efforts. But as a company in Dublin recently discovered, making sure you take people off your list is just as important.
In February, MTS Property Management Ltd was fined €1000 for sending an unsolicited marketing text message to one woman. When the company decided to offer a special deal on cleaning services, they gave their entire list to a third party company that managed the SMS campaign. The result was an SMS marketing message sent to everyone on the list.
The woman’s mobile number was on the list because she’d previously made an enquiry to the company. But that was five years prior. And they never had explicit permission to send her SMS marketing messages.
To add to the trouble, the marketing message she received didn’t provide an option for her to opt out. This is also a violation of the EC Directive which contains the rules and regulations regarding electronic communications. Marketers are required to provide a way for people to stop receiving the messages, as well as get their permission (opt in) to receive the messages in the first place.
The property company had been warned in the past, according to an article in the Irish Times. So the lack of permission and missing opt out option drove the decision to finally fine the company. If the company had followed best practices though, they could have avoided the issue all together.
We’ve written quite a few blogs about running good opt in campaigns and elements that need to be included in each message. But this company’s plight is a good example of why you also need to do some housekeeping from time to time.
When you’re first starting your list, don’t just take the information you already have and assume you can use it for marketing purposes. While it’s true you can legally contact people who have purchased from you or made enquiries, it’s a bit of a leap to send them blatant marketing text messages. Instead, clean that list before you enter it into your database for SMS marketing. Decide on some criteria such as last contact with the person (hopefully you have this information), then use that to remove people that don’t meet the criteria. In The MTS Property case the last contact had been five years prior, well beyond any reasonable amount of time one could expect a person to be interested in receiving text messages.
Before sending a marketing message to the remaining people on your list, first send them an opt in text. This short message would ask them to reply with a keyword to confirm they’d like to receive future marketing messages. While you might think this reduces your marketing database, and it likely will, remember that those who opt in are much more likely to act on the messages they receive. Instead of marketing to a large group of virtually unknown interest, you have a smaller group with a definite interest. When you consider the increased response from the smaller audience, along with the reduced cost of marketing to them (sending less messages) it all adds up to greater profits.
But you also don’t have to throw away those other people you cleaned from the list. You just have to use them differently. Depending on how long ago you had contact with them (and the nature of that contact) you could send them an email announcing your new SMS marketing service and describe the benefits they’d receive if they opted in. For the even older contacts, you could try sending something via post. This is much less intrusive and won’t generate the types of complaints that got MTS Property into trouble. And you might just bring back a few customers that had not thought of you in quite a while.
ICO, the Information Commissioner's Office, has recently imposed a huge fine on direct marketing company Help Direct UK for sending illegal SMS messages.
When you start using SMS marketing, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether or not you’ll need to get replies. If you do, then you’ll need to decide between shortcodes and a virtual mobile number (VMN, also called longcode). If you don’t, then that’s alright too.
One of the most interesting use cases for SMS messaging is the financial industry. Just a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog on 7 ways the financial industry can use SMS messaging to communicate with customers. In this blog I'll expand on the topic from a different perspective: personalisation.
Any UK business that collects, stores and uses other people’s personal data for purposes such as marketing and selling is subject to the rules of the Data Protection Act, and those using SMS marketing are no exception. Having a basic understanding of the DPA legislation and its main requirements is useful to maintain best practice in direct marketing such as SMS marketing and also helps to uphold your hard won customer trust - as well as avoid the potentially costly consequences of falling foul of the law. Read this article to learn how to avoid the simple pitfalls and get your SMS marketing campaign off to the right start.
Over the last month or so I've signed up for quite a lot of webinars. I'm always trying to learn more about technology, marketing, best practices – you get the idea. So I've been excited to see many organisations offering SMS reminders for webinars. But there is one experience I had with an SMS reminder for a webinar that I simply had to share.
In many of our previous posts, we have discussed the whys and hows of SMS marketing, listing the benefits, and the impacts on lead generation. There’s no doubt that by employing a marketing strategy that uses business SMS as a medium that your processes will become more efficient and your leads will become more targeted, meaning a better ROI. Here we will look at the best practices for SMS marketing to ensure your campaigns are offering the best for you and your users.
SMS Marketing, also known as test message marketing, is one of today's most powerful and cost efficient marketing tools when used correctly and offers endless opportunities with a little creativity added to the mix. However, whether careless or intentional, some mistakes can be harmful to your brand and reputation - as well as leaving you in legal trouble in certain circumstances. Luckily, this is extremely rare and it is easy to stay safe and make sure your SMS Marketing is an all round success. In this article, we look at come examples of how not to do things and offer our advice for ensuring your campaigns are effective and profitable.
The first thing to remember is that legally, you must give the customer the chance to both opt-in and opt-out of your SMS campaign - but the good news is people are happy to opt-in - 49% of them according to a 2014 survey. So all you need to do is stay compliant and follow some basic guidelines to grow your list.