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The Difference Between Email and SMS Autoresponders: Part 2

The Difference Between Email and SMS Autoresponders

In my last blog I covered the basics of email and SMS autoresponders and why they can both be used for basically the same sort of things. In this blog, I’ll get right to how they are different so you can start setting them up for your own campaigns.

SMS is Short, Email is Long(er)

The biggest difference between SMS and email is probably the length of the messages sent. It’s one of the main differences between email and SMS anyway, but it’s particularly important for autoresponders. And it directly affects the content of the messages.

For example, in email marketing an autoresponder is often used to sell more things to the person who receives the messages. Sometimes the content is an outright sales pitch, sometimes it’s a multiday series of lessons that ultimately lead to another sale. But almost always the email is quite long compared to the 160 characters allowed in an SMS message.

So if you choose to use SMS for a marketing autoresponder, you’ll have to take the length into account. Here’s an example of how you can use the same concept but change it to suit SMS. Instead of sending a full how-to lesson every day for seven days, you can send one short tip each day. Or, you can send a reminder and a link to the full lesson online.

Outright sales pitches may not work in SMS either because you don’t have the ability to write enough sales copy to get the prospects interested in what you’re selling (even if it is related to a purchase they already made). But you can send them offers, discounts, and exclusive deals to encourage purchases, or links to web pages for more information (i.e. the longer sales pitch).

How Many Messages you Send

Another difference between email and SMS autoresponders is the number of messages you’ll want to send. There are different schools of thought on how frequently you should send emails to your list. Some say everyday, or even multiple times per day. Others say if you email more often than weekly or bi-weekly everyone will unsubscribe.

When you send SMS messages, you have to be very careful about how often you send because there are factors involved that make it totally different than email. First, people pay for SMS messages. Email is usually free. And granted it’s usually free to receive text messages, but if you expect someone to reply to you it means they have to spend money. Or that they already are spending it with a mobile plan that supports text messaging.

The second factor is the same factor that makes texting such a powerful marketing tool: it’s very personal. It’s not the content necessarily, but when you text someone you’re directly connecting with them in as intimate a way as you can using technology. If you abuse that connection by messaging too frequently, you’ll not only get them to unsubscribe, but it’s likely you’ve annoyed them. Not a great way to keep customers or build loyalty.

When setting up SMS autoresponders, think about how often you’ll send them messages now that you understand the nature of the communication. And always let people know how often you’ll text them. It helps avoid confusion, and irritation, later on.

Do you use SMS autoresponders? Share your experience, insight, or best practices with us in the comments.

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