6 Psychological Tips for SMS Marketing Success
With any form of marketing, getting to grips with the underlying psychology of how audiences react both consciously and subconsciously to your message is key to achieving the maximum effect. All kinds of things come into play with different media, from colours and shapes to images and videos. Even the way things move can have a powerful effect on a viewer. Unlike many other forms of marketing, however, SMS marketing is unique in that the only tool you have is words – and not many of them. But armed with a basic knowledge of consumer psychology, 456 characters is more than enough to get the desired effect. So here are our six top tips to take advantage of the psychology of SMS messaging.
1. Know your distance
Because SMS messages are such a personal thing, it is natural that you should try to be personal when using SMS messaging for your marketing campaign. But there is a fine line between being friendly and being too friendly. Have you ever been to a shop and had the cashier greet you with ‘Hiya mate’ when you’ve never met him before? It just doesn’t feel right, and will immediately cause most people to tense up and become defensive. A mate, after all, is someone you have come to know and trust over a period of time. On the other hand, imagine for a moment being greeted by ‘Hello, customer’. You would hardly feel like you matter as an individual. With each generation come new boundaries and trends in what is considered to be an acceptable greeting, and it is essential that your SMS campaign respects these. At the heart of it all is trust – something that takes time to build.
2. You are who you are
A consistent corporate identity should be at the heart of everything your company does, and nowhere more so than in your marketing – including your SMS messaging. Let’s assume that all of your customers have knowingly signed up to receive SMS communications with their own free will (after all, the law does require it) – what was it about your brand that made them want to hear from you?
Be sure not to lose sight of this and focus on creating SMS message campaigns that reflect your company’s character. Don’t sell out just because you think it’ll get a quick result.
3. A little give and take
There is a lovely word for give and take in the marketing sector – reciprocity. The importance of reciprocity stems from our inherent need, as social animals, to give as much as we get. It’s not unlike the old adage “You rub my back and I’ll rub yours.” Essentially, if you wish our customers to give you something – i.e. their hard-earned cash, you need to first give them something.
This might be in the form of valuable information or generous offers based on personal interests. In the latter example, simply appearing to have carefully selected offers at a personal level instills in the customer a sense that you have invested in them and will be perceived as an act of giving – making them much more likely to reciprocate with a spend. To really build reciprocity, make sure you do more than just advertise your latest deals.
4. SMS Marketing – When short really is sweet
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. And sometimes it is keeping your words to a minimum that really works. Think of the famous lyrics “You say it best, when you say nothing at all.” You wouldn’t want to say nothing in a text, but you certainly should avoid over wording it – be succinct. Just because you have 456 characters to play with doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Get to your point quickly and leave your customer in no doubt what the intended action is – then prompt them to act! Consider which of these two endings might get a better reaction:
“… Visit bestdeals.co.uk now and get your special offer!”
“… It’d be really nice if you would find a moment to stop by our website sometime and take a moment to check out our offers which we think you might be interested in….”
You get the point.
5. Going, going, gone
If you’ve ever been to a live auction or even watched one of the many auction programmes on popular TV these days, it is hard not to be drawn into the excitement as the auctioneer gets ready to close the sale with his famous call. Even if you are not the highest bidder, you can still sense the rush, followed by the satisfaction of having ‘won’. The psychology of special offers is no different. Simply adding the words “Last chance” or “Must end today” evoke a sense of urgency and excitement that many customers feel they have to act on now in order to avoid missing out on the ‘prize’. The sooner a customer feels they need to act, the greater the chance of converting.
6. It’s all in the timing
If there is one thing SMS marketing and good comedy have in common it is this – it is all in the timing. Because almost all SMS messages are read within seconds of being received, it is essential to put some thought into when you send them. Do you remember the last time your phone suddenly vibrated at 2am? What was your reaction? The chances are your first thought was something along the lines of “What’s the emergency?”.
Firstly, respect your customers’ personal time and natural habits. Secondly, if you are going to send a time limited offer, make sure that the SMS fits. If it’s an ‘Offer must end today’ message, 11pm is not the best time to be sending it out. Creating a sense of urgency is not the same as putting the customer under pressure.
Here at Fastsms, we might not be complete experts in the field of psychology – but we are definitely experts in SMS marketing and customer service. Whatever your sector, give us a call on 0800 954 5305 and we will be happy to connect you with an account manager who has the knowledge to help you and your business get the most out of SMS marketing.
Inspired to give it a go? Why not sign up now to get 100 free messages instantly. No subscription or payment details required – just click the link at the top of your window and you’ll be good to go in seconds.
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).
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