SMS marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach customers.
According to one study, text messages have an open rate of an astounding 98 percent with an equally impressive 36 percent click-through rate.
Given the near ubiquity of mobile phones and the open rates that this medium offers, it is surprising that a lot of businesses still don’t use bulk SMS marketing campaigns to promote their latest offers.
One of the main reasons for this is the stringent anti-spam laws that businesses need to adhere to. The penalties for unsolicited commercial SMS campaigns can be anywhere between $500 to $1,500 per message.
But text message marketing can be incredibly lucrative and in this article, we will take a look at some of the best practices that will ensure a smooth and successful bulk SMS marketing campaign for your business.
Related Article: Text Savvy: 6 Point SMS Marketing Campaign Composition Checklist
Finding the Right Tools for a Bulk SMS Marketing Campaign
Businesses seldom rely on a single marketing channel like SMS or Email to reach out to customers. But investing in all these different tools can become expensive. It is a good idea to invest in a multi-channel marketing tool like Hubbion that can do SMS, email, voice and any other forms of outreach you want to do so that you may reduce your operational costs subscribing to these different tools.
The Right Way to Build an SMS Marketing List
With email marketing, it is common for marketers to offer a downloadable PDF as a “lead magnet” in order to capture the email address of visitors. It is normal to send offers and marketing mailers to email addresses captured this way. This is not the case with SMS marketing. Here, it is very important for each contact in your list to have explicitly “opted in” to receive your marketing messages.
If you are offering downloadables in exchange for capturing mobile numbers, make sure that your leads explicitly click and agree to receiving marketing messages on their mobile numbers. Alternately, you can ask interested subscribers to opt-in by sending a text message with keywords like "Subscribe" to a pre-leased shortcode. Many modern SMS marketing tools have these features available with them and so there is little coding involved at your side.
Personalize Your Message
Marketers wrongly believe that the only way to personalize a message is by invoking the recipient’s name within the content. But that is not all. One of the main reasons why customers do not respond to a call-to-action is their inability to empathize and relate to the marketing content.
For instance, if your business sells to women shoppers and you send out a marketing message targeted at the teens, then your message may appear irrelevant to the adult women who are part of your bulk SMS list. For better results, it is critical to classify your women by age and then send out offers that are either micro-targeted at this group or contains a marketing message that finds greater appeal among this recipient profile.
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Timing Your Message
Nearly 95 percent of SMS recipients open their message within the first five minutes. This presents an excellent opportunity to marketers since they can yield pretty excellent returns on their SMS marketing campaign investments by timing their delivery to perfection. However, this may not always be straight forward. It makes sense for a restaurant business to send out their SMS messages right before lunch time.
However, this may not be readily apparent in other businesses like attorneys or plumbers. The trick is to segment your marketing list into random groups and A/B test the success of the campaign across various delivery times. You may not only test the performance through the various hours of the day but may also test frequency of communication to test hypotheses like whether weekly communications work better than monthly broadcasts or not.
Less Is More
SMS messages are typically 160 characters long. Always make sure that your text message campaigns do not breach this character limit. This is not only to avoid spending more on your messaging but also to ensure that your recipients are not distracted by a lengthy message. While the open rates of an SMS are pretty high, recipients typically intend to gloss over the message to know what it is about. Lengthy messages distract the customer and generally have a lower conversion rate than messages that are short, crisp and to the point.
Related Article: Text Savvy: How to Build an Irresistible SMS Marketing Campaign
Include a Call-to-Action
No marketing message is complete without a bold and effective call to action. With a CTA, it is tough to get recipients, even those interested, to act. The character restrictions on a text message makes it difficult to test various CTA alternatives, but as a general rule of thumb, always make sure to include your phone number or website URL at the end of your message.
This tells the customer where to go to redeem the offer. If you do have a landing page for your offer, make sure it is responsive for the mobile screen and use a URL shortener like Bitly to hyperlink directly to the landing page.