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Clean Data for Optimised SMS Marketing

sms marketing and data cleaning

It is all too easy to believe that sending SMS marketing to your entire mail list every time is the best way to reach the largest number of customers. Sometimes it can come as a shock that less is actually more.

SMS marketing, like any well-planned advertising strategy, should be developed as a targeted campaign, rather than left (as it all too often is) with a scattergun approach. Simply put, send the message to the people it is pertinent to, and avoid being seen as another ‘spammer’ sending junk messages to those who do not want to know.

It comes down to clean and precise data that is up to date and regularly checked for inaccuracies.

Take this fictional example of a sports club that runs regular events for members. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday it runs squash games; Monday night also has football; Tuesday is karate, and both Thursday and Friday have slots for basketball. To add further confusion to the mix, Saturday and Sunday are reserved for bigger events in any of the sports.

Obviously sending SMS messages to all members each day to tell them of the coming activities is going to create confusion for some, and at worst, anger at being spammed.

Well-kept data allows us to eliminate these issues. Knowing which member participates in which sport allows the marketing campaign to target those people specifically when relevant. Going further to hold data saying if people cannot attend on a given day, or are not interested in weekend events, for example, gives a structure to the campaign to ensure that the perfect message goes out to relevant parties only.

Better still, it allows us to write the perfect concise message to maximise attention and interest and that is key in initiating responses. Rather than the blanket ‘send out the message to everyone we know’ approach, targeted business text messaging provides a superior service which becomes less costly as well as more efficient.

Tips on How to Accomplish this Improved Service:

Gather More Data

By gathering as much information as possible, you can ensure a well-developed set of data. In the example above, it is important to know which sports are of interest to each member. Think about your customers and what data may help to separate them into groups for better targeting. Don’t go too far down this line to the point where you customers find your forms confusing and your questions invasive, but don’t be afraid to ask the occasional ‘off-the-wall’ question for your database.

Understand the Relevance of the Data You Have

It is altogether possible that you have more relevant data than you realise. Often knowing things like home and work addresses can be used to form some broad targeting. Are your customers married, or do they have children? This can quickly become pertinent. What about their mode of travel? Age? Job type? Use whatever information you have to generate a better campaign and even consider analysing what data you have to design the campaign around it.

Keep Your Data Current and Accurate

Often data is gathered once and never updated. This leads to all sorts of issues as, of course, lives and lifestyles change constantly. Regularly (perhaps annually) check data for each of your members and improve and expand upon it if you can. Remember to drop people from your campaign if their mobile phone number is no longer in use, or take the opportunity to contact them in another way and update the phone number.

Treat Each Group Separately

Accept that opting out is opting out, but do let your customers know that there is other information they may be interested in. Dropping out of ‘Football’ messages doesn’t mean they are no longer interested in ‘Karate’ ones. Optional targeting lists are often appreciated by customers as it allows them to choose the exact topic they want to be up-to-date with.

Offer Your Customers Control Over Their Own Records

If your database software allows it, consider allowing your customers internet access to their own records to keep them up to date and accurate. No one knows their data better than the customer themselves! Do be aware though that customer-entered data needs to be checked to ensure accuracy before it is used, or it can cause unintentional damage to the entire database.

Keep Your Data Secure

Remember that any data you keep on your customers is subject to the Data Protection Act. Keep data secure and ensure any important personal information (such as any financial information) is kept separately from your marketing data. Additionally, do not build targeted SMS marketing groups based on any religious or ethnic data as this can (and will) be seen as discrimination.

Write Relevant Messages

A basic text message is limited to 160 characters (or 456 characters with fastsms). If you can keep it concise and within that limit then it benefits you to do so. People are more likely to read shorter relevant messages than long rambling counterparts that try to cover multiple topics. That said, if you have more to say, send it at once and don’t make the mistake of trying to split it in any way.

Is that it? It can be. A database, even a simple one which is nothing more than names and phone numbers, is an ever-evolving thing – at no point can you sit back and say to yourself “well, that’s done and complete”. It is never complete, and it is never done, but it needn’t be something which causes any worry or stress – it’s a tool which is there for you to get your message out there to the right people, whatever that message is and whenever it needs to be sent. Our SMS provider systems include an API for integration with many of the more standard data management systems in use today – ask if you need some expert advice.

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