Creating the Perfect SMS Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses
When it comes to SMS marketing, a large number of small to medium sized businesses often consider it to be a tactic that is only used by large corporations. It can however, when used correctly, transform your marketing efforts. If you have a new product or service you want to shout about, business text messaging can be an invaluable tool when it comes to reaching your core audience. To ensure you make the most out of your SMS efforts however, you’re going to want to have a good strategy in place. If you don’t, you could end up alienating some of your key customers.
Studies have shown that the open rate when it comes to email marketing tends to lie somewhere in-between twenty to thirty percent. Depending on the campaign and the time of year, this figure is often significantly lower. When it comes to SMS messaging however, the open rate is close to ninety-eight percent, and unlike emails, which can remain unread for days, weeks or even months, text messages tend to be opened and read within three seconds of being received. Those kind of statistics all point to one thing: small businesses could benefit massively from a well thought out, intelligent SMS marketing campaign. We’ve put together some key tips that small businesses should keep in mind when considering rolling out a new SMS campaign…
Make Sure You Understand The Rules
Before you begin any campaign, it’s vital that you fully understand the rules that are in place. In the UK, SMS text messaging is highly regulated, so you’re going to want to make sure that you don’t fall foul of any of the rules. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a number of regulations which relate to SMS messaging and provide guidelines for businesses to adhere to when it comes to unsolicited text marketing messaging. It’s well worth your time familiarising yourself with these guidelines before setting out a plan for your campaign so that you can make sure you’re only sending SMS messages to those who have opted in to receiving them from you.
A good way to do this is by asking any prospects you have to click a checkbox if they wish to opt-in to receiving any marketing materials from you via text. Alternatively, you could ask them to subscribe to your SMS marketing personally by sending you a text with a relevant keyword such as ‘yes’. Acquiring new leads this way is a lot harder than the tactics you would use with traditional email marketing, but if a potential customer has signed up to receive exclusive news and offers from you via text, they are far more likely to convert than if they did the same via email. This means that although your list of recipients may be smaller than your email marketing list, it’s highly likely that they’ll end up being a lot more valuable to your small business.
Keep It Short
Imagine you’re writing a text where you have to get all your information across in an engaging and informative way. Whereas there is technically no restriction on the length of your SMS marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to keep it short. Normally a text message is just 160 characters, but with a bit of wizardry, fastsms enables you to send linked messages up to 456 characters long. However, a text should only be as long as it needs to be to get your message across – it works best that way.
SMS marketing should be as concise as possible without losing the essence of what you need to communicate, so before you send anything, consider exactly what you want to say and boil it down into something as engaging as possible.
Get Your Timing Right
It’s no accident that you get a text from your favourite takeaway chain just as you’re starting to feel hungry. These campaigns have been rigorously tested to ensure that they get a big return on investment. When it comes to SMS marketing, you have to get your timing spot on. It’s no good targeting people with a service they have no need for in the middle of the night. You have to consider what you’re offering and when in the day people are likely to need it. With SMS, people tend to look at their message as soon as they receive it, so a message sent at the wrong time of day may as well not be sent at all.
With a lack of any visuals, you’re going to have to think creatively as to how you can reach out to your consumers in order to get them to convert. By the time it comes to launching your SMS campaign, you’re going to know your product or service inside out and that means knowing when it is most popular. So make the most of your peak hours by targeting your leads at the right time.
Think About Your Call To Action
The success or failure of your campaign could end up coming down to how good your call to action (CTA) is. Considering that you don’t have the option of adding anchor links or a colourful button within your messages, you’re going to have to be direct with them by letting them know exactly how they can make a purchase.
An easy way to do this that has been proven to work is by including a URL or a phone number at the end of the message. You can take advantage of one of the many URL shorteners on offer to ensure your message looks good. This allows your visitors to do exactly what you want them to do: act on impulse, and the more people you have doing that, the better chance you have of converting a large number of leads.
Go Auto, a car dealership in Edmonton Canada, was using SMS messaging in their business for marketing. And their sales staff used text messaging on their mobiles to connect with customers. But it was all getting a bit out of control. They wanted something that would let them manage their SMS messaging better.
The PECR Regulations, better known as the Privacy and Electronics Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 are one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting those involved in SMS Marketing. They exist to safeguard the privacy and use of personal information when used for direct marketing through electronic means, including communications by SMS. Parts of it crossover with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and where it does so, both pieces of legislation should be complied with. Unlike the DPA, the PECR is obligatory whether or not you process personal data in the course of your business. Read this essential guide to PECR for SMS Marketing to ensure you know everything you need to know.
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