Did you know SMS marketing messages have a read rate of 97% within 15 minutes of delivery? And, that over 50% of SMS campaigns generate a positive ROI, when combined with email and social media? If you’re considering adding SMS to your marketing mix, we’ve gathered some helpful information you must know to send successful SMS marketing campaigns.
What is SMS?
Let’s start with the basics. SMS stands for Short Message Service, and is commonly referred to as text messages. Standard SMS messages are limited to 160 characters per message. If a message exceeds this limit, your SMS service typically breaks the longer message into multiple segments of 160 characters each. Most carriers today automatically chain these messages together to ensure they arrive in the order they are sent. When sending SMS, here are 5 must-know tips.
1) Gather SMS Subscribers
Your subscribers can easily opt in to receive messages by texting a keyword to a short code. To incentivize subscribers to sign up, you can offer subscribers rewards or access to time-sensitive updates when they sign up. For example, you could say “Text PIZZA1 to 111-222-3333 to receive 10% off your next order!”
If you have a list of SMS subscribers already, you can also easily upload them to a new SMS list. Just make sure that you have permission to send them text messages, where data rates may apply.
2) Clearly Identify Yourself
It’s important to clearly identify who is sending the SMS message. You may be used to email marketing, where you can clearly set a from address and from name. With SMS, it’s a little different. The best industry standard practice is to start SMS messages with your company name followed by a colon. For example, you could send a message starting with something like: “Critical Impact: To learn more about SMS marketing go to this link…” By identifying yourself in the beginning of the message, subscribers know who is sending the message and are more likely to read it.
3) Automate SMS Marketing
Save time and provide immediate responses by setting up automated text messages. Popular uses include:
- Welcoming new subscribers
- Notifying subscribers of live updates for an event
- Promoting special offers to your subscribers
- Providing directions to a conference
- Educating about available resources
- Providing relevant, targeting information to interested subscribers
4) Thoughtfully Select Send Times and Frequency
When sending SMS messages to your list, make sure that you schedule messages to send at an appropriate time of day. Nothing would be more annoying to your subscribers than waking up in the wee hours of the morning with a text message alert. You also don’t want to send so many text messages that subscribers get fatigued. Try sending subscribers messages during the day and at a reasonable frequency.
5) Make It Easy to Opt-Out
You’ll need to provide a clear way for subscribers to opt-out. Usually this done by appending “Reply STOP to cancel” to an SMS. When using Critical Impact for SMS, some auto-replies already have this message automatically added to the end of the response. If someone replies with any unknown text, the auto-response always has “Txt STOP to cancel” added. In addition, the “help” response is appended with: “Txt STOP to cancel. Msg&data rates may apply.” This helps make it clear how to opt-out from SMS.