5 Steps For Tracking Your SMS Marketing Success
One of the most popular forms of SMS marketing is sending customers a message with a link in it. They then click that link to get a coupon, see a sale item, fill out a form, or any number of other actions you, the marketer, want them to take.
Probably one of the best things about this type of campaign it’s fairly simple to figure out how well it did. There are just five steps you need to follow and you’ll have everything you need to measure how successful you were.
Step One: Use A Mobile Friendly Landing Page
If you’re going to provide a link for customers to click, or tap, you’ll need to create a landing page for them. Yes, you could just send them to the generic sales page, or even product page, but think long and hard before you do that.
How many times have you clicked on a link and ended up somewhere that made no sense? You thought you were clicking to see ABC and you got CBA, or even XYZ. Were you frustrated? Did you click away to something else? Thought so. You’ll get the best results by providing a specific landing page for whatever your offer is in the SMS message because it will make sense – and make it easy – for your customer to take whatever action you want them to take. If they have to look too hard or long they’ll just give up.
This is especially true with SMS marketing. People see the messages on their phone. They click the links on their phone. They’re probably walking down the street, in a queue, or rushing to dinner. They don’t have the attention span to try and figure out what you want them to do after they click the link.
The answer to this problem is simple: create a dedicated, mobile friendly landing page. Not only does this make it easy for your customers, it also simplifies the analytics for you. You’ll see that in number two.
Step Two: Create A Trackable Link Using Your Analytics Software
Landing pages are usually only visited when someone clicks a specific link that takes them there. This means you have some control over the traffic because you are the one sending the links. It also means the landing page traffic won’t get mixed up with your main website traffic.
You might however, be running more than one campaign, so you’ll need to make sure each of them can be identified in your analytic software. For example, if you are running a Facebook ad and sending an SMS offer out that both use the same landing page. That might not be the best example, but stick with me. If you use analytics software to measure your website performance, you can probably create a custom URL that will let the analytics software know which source sent the traffic.
In the example above, the custom URL might include something like “utm_source=Facebook” or “utm_source=SMS” at the end of the link. This is possible in Google Analytics when you use custom campaigns. These examples come from their URL builder tool. Other programs have similar functionality, but you’ll need to check to see if the one you use does it too.
Step Three: Shorten Your Link
Now that you have your custom URL for your mobile friendly landing page, you notice it’s way too long to put in an SMS message. No worries. That’s why smart people invented URL shortening tools.
There are a few options when it comes to choosing a shortening tool. The primary one is whether you want a custom URL or just a regular, everyone uses it, URL. There are good reasons for both but one is much harder (or expensive) than the other. If you aren’t sure which you want, you can read this blog post about how to choose.
Whichever shortening service you choose, just be sure to use the version of the URL you created in step 2. Much of your tracking information comes from that URL, so this is a simple but important step.
Step Four: Send Your SMS Message (Including The Shortened Link To Your Page)
You’ve done all the prep in steps 1-3. Now you can write your SMS marketing message and send it out to your customers. But before you do, you may want to send out a couple of test messages to other people in the office (or friends or family if you’re short on co-workers) and have them click the link to make sure it’s working properly.
Ask them if the landing page looks good on their device and if they got what they expected when they got there. If the feedback isn’t great, you still have time to go back and tweak a few things before sending out. If you can, try to get feedback from people with different devices and screen sizes. A properly built mobile web page should work well for all but it’s always nice to get confirmation.
Once you’re satisfied everything is working as it should, push the send button and let the messages fly.
Step Five: Review Your Analytics
Depending how large your list is, it may take some time to get all the messages delivered. There are policies in place to prevent flooding of networks with SMS messages. But theoretically, you could start seeing results in just minutes after you send the message. SMS is that immediate.
But what should you be looking at?
Well, that depends on what you wanted customers to do on the landing page. Here are some ideas on what to look for:
- Click through rate (CTR) is a universal metric used by virtually everyone. How many people clicked the link versus how many messages you sent out.
- Purchases made. If you sent them to an ecommerce site, how many bought what you were selling?
- If you were offering a free download, how many people decided to take it?
- Form completion. This is great if you were conducting a survey, contest, or wanted more information about your customers
These are just examples of course. Your goals for the campaign will determine the metrics you should be using. In order to track them you may need to set up specific goals or actions to follow in your analytics programme. Google Analytics will track any of these, if you tell it that’s what you want to know.
Once you have this process in place, you can do it over and over again for all your SMS campaigns. You can make changes, do A/B testing and refine your offers and landing pages fast because of how fast people respond to SMS messages. It’s a wonderful thing.
In last week’s blog I covered how the Trump campaign sent unsolicited SMS messages to voters. This week I’m stuck on the same topic, but from a totally different angle: what we can learn from that failure. Because honestly, their biggest issue might not be violating the law. It might be the people they have writing their SMS messages. It’s time to dissect the message that spawned the law suit, and learn what we can from it.
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