If you haven’t started looking for ways to add a SMS marketing campaign marketing to your marketing mix, your missing out.
Although everyone’s talking apps, we’re still at about 65% smartphone penetration.
This means there are a lot of your customers that don’t really use smartphones. Just because they have a smartphone, doesn’t mean they use apps. Just ask my best mate – he always has the latest and greatest of phones and all I get from him are texts with funny photos.
One of the great things about marketing with SMS is that 100% of all the devices on the market are SMS enabled, making it the marketing channel that offers the widest possible reach.
Big brands have invested heavily in SMS marketing to communicate with their customers simply because it works. Did you know that 93% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt. That’s astounding!
I dare you to name any other personalized advertising channel that will be read for such a low cost! I’ll send you a copy of my book if you can.
In fact, it’s been reported that Coca-Cola historically has invested 70% of their mobile budget on SMS marketing.
When I asked why, Tom Daily, the Director of Mobile, Search and Global Connections replied,“It is important to invest your energy into things you know work, and we know that SMS works and is a thing to focus on.”
In addition to its vast reach and speed-of-reading, SMS is very affordable and offers an amazing ROI for marketers when used properly.
If you’re keen to jump into SMS marketing and to leverage this powerful channel, it’s important that you prepare properly, and not just diving in for the heck of it.
1. Know Your SMS Marketing Campaign Goals
When diving into mobile marketing, it’s common to approach it as its own initiative.
This is typical but unfortunately, the least successful.
Businesses that approach mobile as a separate channel will almost never get the results they were expecting.
It’s important to clarify your business and marketing goals so that you’re creating your SMS campaign that takes your current business goals into account. Are you trying to just get immediate sales?, building a repeatable marketing asset (your list) or driving them to a specific action?
Having S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Specific) goals will assure your SMS campaign will realize these business goals.
It’s important to understand that your SMS campaign will affect many parts of your business, so communicating your vision, goals and strategy to everyone clearly, is critical.
2. Building A Strong Team
Just like a social media strategy, one person can’t manage an entire SMS marketing campaign. Your SMS mobile campaign will impact many areas of your business. Having a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the SMS marketing strategies will be one of the most important parts to profiting with SMS.
For example, let’s say you’re building a loyalty list to funnel customers into buying.
You’ll have team members responsible for retail, in-store signage, digital creatives, email, IT, social media, promotions, copywriting. SMS platform, and possibly more.
Build out your team and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes time for the launch.
3. A Clear Call-To-Action (CTA)
One of the most common reasons SMS marketing campaigns fail is that the call-to-action isn’t given in a way that the viewer recognizes or understands what to do.
Take this example from a telecommunications company. They tell consumers to Text “COKE” to 13-COKE.
Having been involved with SMS since 2007, I can tell you that a significant number probably texted with the quotations around the keyword, which actually doesn’t trigger the campaign.
Large SMS campaigns are driven by 2 factors – the keyword and a short code. In this example COKE is the keyword and 13-3653 (COKE) is the short code.
It’s a common and best practice to capitalize the keyword and short code to make them stand out within the call-to-action.
One thing the company is doing really well is to make the SMS Call-To-Action and the offer the focal point of the creative. I’ve found SMS CTA’s in impossible to notice places too many times.
If you want to drive engagement, give your SMS CTA the priority it deserves.
4. Leverage Incentives
Let’s not kid ourselves. Our mobile device is the most personal device we have. We take it everywhere, and woe to anyone who violates that personal space. it is critical that your messages be welcomed as well as received at the appropriate time. The people that welcome you into their phone, especially through SMS, should be considered some of your most loyal customers and treated as such.
To reward them for welcoming you in, you want to give them something of value for their permission.
You need to keep in mind your average sale price when you craft your offer. Too little given and they won’t take it up, too much and they will be suspicious. They know you need to make a profit but they will want value in return.
Typically, you’ll see brands doing a percent off or dollar off coupons to save a few bucks.
To start building your mobile list, you can try a low value offer (say up to $20 off) to see some growth.
Once you’ve got people opted-in, you can leverage “Buy One Get One Free” campaigns (also known as BOGOF’s) or bundles.
I personally love “spend and gets” because they can really help you increases your average order value (AOV) while self-funding the campaign (great when your discount budget is super tight).
Let’s look at an example:
Say your Average Order Value (AOV) is $100.
Sending an SMS message to your database with an offer: “Get $20 when you spend over $150” can be really effective.
A customer will come in and be inclined to spend $50 more than they usually do knowing they’ll get back $20.
For the sake of the example, let’s say the spend $150 exactly.
You’ve just increased your AOV by $50. When you give the customer their $20 voucher, you’re left with a $30 increase in the AOV for that customer.
Multiply that by the soon to be hundreds, if not thousands of people that redeemed your offer, and you just drove some significant revenue with one message.
Now remember, incentives don’t always have to be monetary.
I always recommend to create a premium service or product bundle over offering discounts.
You can still have an effective SMS marketing campaign by offering non-monetary incentives.
Your non-monetary incentives can focus on:
Personalization – “We’ll notify you when your order/car is ready.”
Reminders – “Your shipment will be delivered today.”
Engagement – “Tell us how we can help you.”
Access – “Here is early access to this special thing just because you’re a loyal SMS subscriber.”
Privileges – “Here is this special thing we only share with our SMS VIPs.”
Try incorporating your incentives in your call-to-action from point three above and really drive opt-ins.
5. Permission Is Required
Just like email, SMS is a permission-based opt-in channel.
Your customer needs to clearly opt-in to receive what you’re offering.
This can happen one of two ways:
By texting a keyword to a short code (such as the Coke example from above), or
By submitting their number via a (mobile friendly) web-form.
Either way, it needs to be obvious the customer has consented to receiving these messages.
You can’t just look through old customer records and add mobile numbers to your database and then message those customers.
That’s how Pappa John’s ended up getting sued for $250 million dollars.
In addition to permission, your SMS marketing campaigns need to be compliant.
In Australia, the ACMA enforces the Spam Act 2003, including SMS.
This means that each mobile number must have
1) Given consent (including complied consent by entering onto a marketing database on-sold to a company),
In Australia, commercial electronic messages sent to you must be sent with your consent. The Spam Act provides for two types of consent – express and inferred.
Express consent means you have deliberately and intentionally opted-in to receiving electronic messages from the message sender. Some examples include:
- ticking the box next to a statement seeking permission to send you marketing messages
- entering your mobile telephone number on a website to opt-in to receive regular ringtones and games on your phone, then replying to a subsequent SMS to complete the opt-in process
- entering your email address on a competition entry form and ticking a box next to a statement that says you wish to receive regular updates on the activities of the business
- contacting a business directly, in writing or on the phone to ask for information to be sent to you on an ongoing basis.
All of these examples demonstrate that you have been informed that providing your consent means you will receive electronic messages and have had the opportunity not to receive commercial electronic messages.
Inferred consent relies on a relationship you have with the message sender. The Spam Act provides that consent can be inferred from your conduct or the relationship that a message sender has with you. The message sender may decide that because you have an existing relationship, you would be interested in receiving electronic messages about similar products and services. For example, if you subscribe to a magazine or newspaper, it could reasonably be inferred from your ongoing relationship with the publisher that you would be amenable to receiving electronic messages promoting other services the publisher may offer.
In some circumstances, message senders may rely on inferred consent if you have consented to your email address or mobile telephone number being on a marketing database that is sold to businesses.
More information about complying with the Spam Act’s consent requirements is available.
Furthermore, each campaign (message) needs to clearly:
2) Identify the source of the SMS
3) Opt-out instructions
Display this to customers before they opt-in to a text message marketing campaign.
To account for “prior written express consent,” you must include language similar to the below:
“By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an automatic dialing system.”
To account for condition of purchase consent, include:
“Consent to these terms is not a condition of purchase.”
And to comply with the wireless carriers, you need to include:
- STOP and HELP, instructions
- Terms and Conditions
- Business entity
- Disclosure of additional carrier charges
Here’s what that might look like, all together:
Michael’s Tips VIP: 4 msgs/month. Message & Data Rates May Apply. By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an automated system. Consent to these terms is not a condition of purchase. You may opt-out anytime by sending STOP to +61247860400. TC’s/Privacy: www.MagneticCashflow.com.au/mobiletc
Now, it’s important to mention that I’m not a lawyer and you should consult the appropriate legal counsel when finalizing your language for your own SMS program but make sure you engage someone with this experience.
7. Leverage Immediacy
Again, over 93% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes.
That makes a SMS marketing campaign one of, if not the most immediate channel available to connect with your audience.
Understanding this instant access is important to your success and to drive customer action.
If you have an event on Friday evening, sending an SMS message anytime before Thursday evening is too soon.
With your messages guaranteed to reach your customer and disrupt whatever it is they are doing, it’s important that you aim to deliver extremely high value via a very clear and concsise call-to-action.
Since SMS messages only allow for 160 characters (some of which requires your compliance language from above) it’s important to be short, sweet, and to the point.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when using SMS is not sending messages consistently enough.
Like any other aspect of marketing, you should be leveraging any marketing or promotional character at your disposal. If there isn’t one, you should be sure to create one and use that as the foundation for your messaging calendar.
When it comes to messaging your customers, you obviously want to have something of value to say within each message, but going months without connecting via SMS is likely going to cause a lot of bad blood and a high unsubscribe rate with every send.
Some of the most successful businesses leveraging SMS today, such as Dominos, Target, amd Seek, are sending at least one message a week to stay at the top of the minds of their customers.
9. Media Integration
In general, mobile is one of the most dependent marketing channels that exist. When it comes time to promote your SMS program and drive action, it’s important to leverage all of your existing media outlets, whether that’s TV, radio, print, in-store signage, online, social, email, etc.
Performing an audit of your existing media landscape to identify where you can integrate your SMS calls-to-action will help align you with the right teams to make sure the creative development process includes the SMS integration.
Remember, you’ll want to make sure the SMS CTA is clear and easy to read—not buried somewhere in the signage.
Your goal isn’t to check a box by having an SMS CTA integrated within your existing media; it’s to extend the reach and interactivity of your existing media and create an opportunity for continued engagement.
Performing an audit will identify all of the media outlets to integrate your CTA so that you can be on the same page as the rest of your cross functional team.
The only way to determine if your SMS marketing campaign is successful is by measuring.
When it comes to SMS there are a handful of things you can do from a measurement perspective. The great thing is that they are all fairly easy to manage. Here are a few metrics to follow when executing an SMS marketing campaign:
- Subscriber Growth: Monitor your growth rate each and week and identify which activities make the list grow.
- Subscriber Churn Rate: This is the frequency at which people are opting out of your SMS marketing campaign over time. Ideally your program never goes over 2-3% churn rate.
- Cross Channel Engagement (by keyword):By using different SMS keywords within different media outlets, you can quickly measure which types of media and media locations are performing best and optimize based on engagement.
- Redemption Rate: This is something you’ll monitor on a campaign-by-campaign basis (or by message) to determine the percentage of customers that redeem your offers and what rates.
- Cost Per Redeeming Subscriber: From the redemption rate, you can determine the cost of communicating with each customer that receives your SMS messages.
- When it comes time to plan and launch your next SMS marketing campaign, be sure to account for these 10 components and you’ll be well on your way to a successful SMS marketing campaign.
Have you tried using a SMS marketing campaign in your business? If so, have you seen success? If you haven’t started, are you thinking of giving it a shot? Please let me know in the comments below.