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.
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.
Can you send SMS messages to whoever you like whenever you like? If that's what you believe read this article which explains what restrictions apply to broadcast messaging, what is the best way to build a permission based SMS marketing list. Understand that and you can safely make a start.
As an entrepreneur, it is notoriously difficult to get your message out there. It's even harder to get seen and heard in a meaningful way that doesn't offend people. Email marketing has been the darling of entrepreneurs for years, but it's time for something new. Something that supersedes the email and circumvents the spam folder.
Electronic marketing is a tricky thing. There are rules and regulations you need to follow, and it can all seem pretty intimidating at first. To help you get started, I’ve gathered five of the most commonly asked questions about SMS marketing and the regulations and summed them up here.
How hard is it to use SMS marketing? If you’ve been told it’s complicated, you heard wrong. Using SMS is simple, though there are a few things you should know. This blog shows you how simple it can be, and provides links to useful resources.
Companies use contests and giveaways all the time. It turns out that doing them over SMS messaging works really well, and offers some advantages over other channels. Read our blog to see the types of results various companies achieved when using SMS giveaways.
All businesses are subject to the law when it comes to advertising and marketing. Companies cannot make false claims or mislead consumers via advertising materials, for example. Designed to protect consumers and commercial clients, the law regulates most forms of marketing in some way. With companies carrying out various forms of marketing activity, it can be difficult to keep on top of the relevant laws and guidelines. By working with SMS marketing experts, however, you can ensure that your marketing campaigns are fully compliant with the necessary laws and that you’re able to connect with your target audience lawfully and effectively.
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.