SMS marketing can be an extraordinarily powerful tool in the right hands. 90% of people open a text within 3 minutes and have an open rate of 98%, compared to emails at 20%. It gives brands the ability to reach their customers on a personal level at nearly every stage in the customer journey. Unfortunately, it can be like walking through a minefield. One wrong move will end up leaving a bad taste in their mouth and you will likely lose that customer forever. Here are a few tips to get you started using SMS marketing effectively.
This should go without saying, but too many times I have been subject to a text message from an unknown number, only to be thrown a sales pitch the second I answer with, “Who is this?” Do not make your consumers try to guess who you are. Include your name and company at the top of the message.
Keep it short and to the point
SMS stands for short message service, it’s important to keep it that way. Stick to 160 characters or less. If your messaging needs more to get your point across, consider a different channel to reach them such as email.
Speak like a professional
Use appropriate grammar, punctuation, spelling and always re-read your text before sending it. Avoid using any abbreviations like LOL or OMG and steer clear of any emojis. Your messages are a direct representation of your business.
Include a call-to-action
What is it that you want this customer to do after they read your text? Point them in that direction and include an offer that provides some value to them. “Reply with ‘SEO’ to learn how to increase your search engine rankings” or, “Visit www.yourwebsite.com for more information” are a few examples.
Don’t message people that don’t want to speak to you
Are you looking for a quick way to burn a potential lead? Send them an unsolicited text without their permission. Not only will you lose a potential customer but, you can get reported to the FTC and fined $500 per text. Before you start sending out messages, get their permission.
Don’t try to sell with every message
SMS Marketing is a very personal form of communication so your messaging should reflect that. Be human and build trust over time. Your customer will appreciate it and it will make your job easier closing the sale in the long run.
Don’t message after hours
Many of these phones you’re sending messages to are going to be used for both personal and work purposes. It’s unlikely anyone wants to hear about your offer at 9 pm on a Saturday night. Text during reasonable hours and avoid the weekends.
Don’t send too many messages
At this point, you’ve got permission to send a potential client messages. That’s great! Don’t be annoying and send too many. If you don’t have something of value to say or offer, don’t say it. Every message you send should include some sort of benefit otherwise, you’ll quickly start losing subscribers. Remember, less is more.
SMS marketing can be tricky. A single wrong move can end up costing you a sale or worse, your reputation. Partnering with an agency like Decibel Blue will give you the experience and know-how necessary to navigate the minefield of SMS marketing safely, turning this tool into a powerful sales generator.
Carson Renstrom brings a lifetime of experience in online and traditional marketing for his family’s catering business. After taking a break to serve in intelligence in the Naval Reserve and work in a nuclear submarine, he has recently returned to his marketing roots.