Beginners’ Guide to SMS Marketing – July 2016 Update
If you’ve considered SMS marketing to new and existing customers by text message but dismissed it, it really is time to think again. SMS continues to outperform and outreach all the newer models of communication designed to replace it. The latest competitor to run into difficulties against business text messaging is mobile internet advertising.
Apple first brought the internet to small mobile phone screens with the iPhone. To understate its importance is difficult. Following the introduction of geolocation and HTML5 (that’s the programming language used to make websites look nice on mobiles) on the iPhone, marketers had thought they’d cracked it. Not only were countless types of audiences carrying around an expensive mobile phone, but that mobile phone told the websites (and Google) who they were, where they are and what they liked.
A brave new world dawned. Suddenly, a high street women’s fashion retailer could appear as an advert on a mobile website when they were within a certain distance of the store. What an amazing way to prompt impulse purchases from happy consumers! It seemed perfect.
Unfortunately, consumers disagreed. They disagreed strongly. They voted with their feet. They hated the bloated code and increased bandwidth required to make these types of adverts work. Even worse, it vastly slowed down page loading speeds – the cardinal sin if you want to engage your readers.
So deep was the hatred that consumers would willingly deprive their favourite news, sport and gossip sites of advertising revenue, putting their continued existence in doubt. A study by PageFair revealed that mobile ad blocking rose 90% in 2015. This is unprecedented take-up of a new technology.
For businesses wanting to connect with consumers on the move, SMS marketing is still the only serious choice.
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber are all exciting developments in messaging. However, SMS is unique in that everyone who has a mobile phone can receive text messages and it’s open to everyone. Newer messaging systems strictly control who uses their network and what goes over it.
Your business and SMS marketing - build your database
Business text messaging continues to produce impressive results for our customers throughout the UK. Using our online SMS platform, your business can connect with hundreds or thousands of customers at the same time. If you’re starting from scratch, how do you build up your database of numbers?
Ask customers and potential customers for their mobile numbers every time they…
- Visit your premises
- Telephone your company
- Like you on Facebook
- Follow you on Twitter
- Connect with you on social media
- Come to your stand at a fair or exhibition
Try to take as many details as you can to get to know your customers. Put all their details into your customer relationship management software. If you don’t have one of those, record the information in Notepad or Excel.
Once they’ve done all that, ask for permission to text them special offers and news. Getting this permission in business SMS is crucial – it means you’re on the right side of data protection law now and in the future (new regulations are due to come in during Summer 2018). As you build this hugely valuable database, FastSMS will be there with you to make meaningful connections with customers and increase your sales. We’re the leading text message provider to businesses in the UK, and it’s easy to use our SMS services via our website or our SMS API.
Your business and SMS marketing - how often?
A little less than once a week gets the best response rates. Always try to make your marketing respectful in terms of the number of times you contact customers.
The best rule of thumb is yourself. If you received an email once a fortnight from a company you trusted, would you be OK with that? What about once a week? Three times a week? Once a day? Whenever it feels that the number of contacts is too much and that the frequency of emails would harass you, that’s more than enough. The same goes for SMS marketing: our SMS services are there to make your customer feel wanted and highly thought of, not bombarded.
If it’s too much, people unsubscribe. An interesting study performed by IDC compared two levels of SMS frequency – one every nine days and one every other day over the course of six weeks. Once every nine days saw 4% of users opt out, the other list had a massive 34% opt-out.
Your business and SMS marketing - what should you text customers about?
With 160 characters (or up to 459 with linked messages), you’ve got to treat every word like gold dust. More than that, you’ve got to be sure that the offer you’re making is really going to excite the recipients.
Start with an attention grabbing offer – give them motivation to open the text message to read it in full. Remind them of your company name – reassure them that you’re a trusted contact. Then, it’s your call to action. That’s the marketing phrase for asking them to do something.
You can encourage them to text or call you back. Alternatively, direct them to a webpage to fill in their details. Just get them to continue the conversation because brilliant things happen when customers talk to businesses they feel a connection with.
Your business and SMS marketing - in summary
Get their number, get their permission and get their attention every few days with an offer to show them that you value their business. FastSMS, the text message provider helping thousands of businesses in the UK every month, has a wealth of experience across hundreds of different market sectors.
Call us on 0800 954 5305 today to speak with one of our experienced and friendly account managers.
Every cinema experiences ups and downs in admissions. But do they have to wait for the next blockbuster to come along before seeing more ticket sales? Not if they use SMS messaging to connect with customers. Find out how in this blog.
Recruiters today don’t need to wait for people to find and apply for jobs on the internet. They can simply send a text message out to their database with a new opening and watch the applications stream in. They can save time too, by sending updates to prospects via text message letting them know when their applications are received or processed.
While you may be familiar with email autoresponders (especially if you’re in marketing) you may or may not know you can set up a similar function with SMS messaging. In concept, it works the same way. But there are some differences in how they are used which I’ll cover here.
There are always ways in which SMS marketing can be optimised further. One such way is through personalisation. This may seem like an insurmountable challenge when you are trying to communicate with so many people at the same time. The last thing you want to do is have to send out one message at a time to thousands of numbers. Yet this isn't necessary - in fact, it is more than possible to add several layers of personalisation to your SMS marketing.
One mistake some marketers make is assuming people will know what to do when they read an SMS message. After all, they’re short and to the point right? How confusing could they be? On the other hand, when writing every other form of marketing they know that calls to action need to be clear. So, just because you don't have much room, it doesn’t mean you get to leave out your call to action! Saving space and being brief is important though, so take a look at three of the best SMS marketing CTAs you can use.
Whether you have a VMN or a shortcode, you probably want to use keywords for your SMS marketing. In Part 2 of this series you’ll find out how to pick keywords and what can happen if you don’t follow those general guidelines.
Have you struggled to find the right time to send your SMS messages? Have you gotten complaints because customers found your messages too annoying? You might be sending them out at the wrong time of day. Follow these three simple rules and discover the perfect time for your messages.
Every good retail business owner knows that the key to success is keeping his or her customers happy. Your level of customer service should be all encompassing to succeed and should consist of more than just being polite to the customer at the till.
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.