SMS. It's not sexy anymore thanks to the rise and rise of social media and smartphones. But that doesn't mean it's not effective.
Smartphone penetration across New Zealand currently sits at around 81% and is growing. Yet mobile phone penetration sits at 135% of the population which means 54% of people have limited ability to interact with your brand via mobile social channels, or access your services via an app. And it also means that 100% of people can receive SMS messages.
There are lots of benefits to marketing via text messaging:
- SMS messages can be developed quickly and require little creative resource
- They can be read on any mobile phone
- They get cut through: 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes
- They can deliver time sensitive messages
All of these things make SMS a valuable tool in the direct marketers repertoire, but before you hit the send button, here are a few Do's and Don'ts for successful SMS marketing.
- Don't use SMS in isolation – ensure you already have a relationship with the customers you are texting. Studies show conversion rates for text messages sent to customers after being contacted through other channels can be 112% higher than average, whereas messages sent ‘cold' can deliver conversion rates 5% lower than average.
- Do ensure SMS is part of your overall communications plan. Remember the people receiving them will also be seeing messages from you in other channels, so consistency is important.
- Do consider whether SMS is the right delivery channel for your message. If your message is based on immediacy ("sale on today only!"), is a timely reminder ("hurry, sale finishes today") or is based on your customers location (you're in the area, here's 10% off our already discounted prices), then SMS could be the right channel.
- Do make sure your messages are short and to the point. Start with a call to action and don't try to cram in too much information – use the copy to entice them and provide a link for more information if need be. Also avoid using too much txt language, particularly if you are targeting anyone 30+.
- Do consider delivering different variations of the same message to different customer segments. While "Sale On Today" is a compelling message, it's also very generic. A tailored message based on the products or services that appeal most to each customer segment is more likely to get cut through and drive conversions.
- Do have the ability to schedule texts so you can think about timing. Emails are usually read very soon after they are received so think about when people might be most likely to respond.
- Don't send texts too frequently. If they haven't responded after the first or second text, then think very hard about sending a third. It's very easy for text messages to feel intrusive.
- Do make it easy for people to take action straight away. If you are offering discount codes, make them as short and intuitive as possible. And if you are linking people through to your website make sure it is optimised for mobile!
- Do ensure you have a reliable platform and solid reporting infrastructure behind your SMS marketing. Marketers often find SMS more manageable when it is fully integrated with existing databases and digital marketing activities through a marketing automation platform.
SMS marketing may not be the cool new kid on the block anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn't effective, especially if best practices are followed. The key to success is to ensure your SMS efforts don't happen in isolation by ensuring your program is fully integrated with the rest of your marketing activities - both from a planning and a technology perspective.
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Touchpoint Group is a leading provider of Digital Marketing software in Australasia. For more information about our products and services visit www.touchpointgroup.com.