The Dos and Do nots of SMS Marketing: Best Practices for Success

SMS Marketing

While SMS marketing may be the oldest mobile marketing channel, it’s far from irrelevant today in a world dominated by internet-based technologies. Given that a majority of people in the developed world own at least one mobile phone, marketing through SMS can provide savvy businesses with an easy way to create millions of valuable brand impressions. When used in a more targeted manner, SMS marketing can also be a highly effective and cost-efficient way for different types of businesses to reach customers and drive sales.

However, to get the most out of SMS marketing, it’s essential to not only follow tried and tested best practices but also avoid common mistakes that could damage your brand. In this article, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of SMS marketing.

The Do's of SMS Marketing

Get Permission

First off, most people dislike receiving unsolicited advertising. Second, sending unsolicited SMS messages may subject you to legal action. In Singapore, for example, advertisers may be liable under SCA2007 (Spam Control Act 2007).

Before you start sending SMS messages, make sure that your customers have opted-in to receive them. You can do this by asking them to sign up via a web form or at the point of sale, among many other methods. Getting permission is not only a legal requirement but also ensures that your messages are, in fact, valuable to your audience.

Personalize Your Messages

Modern commerce thrives on personalization, and more so as it relates to customers’ use of technology. Mobile phone users tend to conduct thorough mobile plans comparison before settling on one that they’ll use for another year or two. You can expect the same kind of careful consideration when it comes to the apps, services, and businesses they’ll engage with while using their mobile devices.

Personalisation helps you make an emotional connection to your audience, increasing the possibility of a well-received SMS campaign. Address your customers by name, and be sure to only send messages that are relevant to their interests and behaviours. To further improve message personalisation, use data you’ve gathered from forms and analytics to better segment your audience and tailor your messages accordingly.

Keep It Short and Sweet

SMS messages have a limited character count, so it’s a good idea to be concise and to the point. Focus on your key message and avoid unnecessary fluff. To increase response rates, be sure to include a call to action.

Time it Right

As with emails, timing is crucial when it comes to SMS marketing. Send messages at the right time of day and on the right days of the week, taking care to avoid sending messages too frequently. Use data analytics and your understanding of customer habits to determine the optimal timing for your messages.

Measure Your Results

Like in any other marketing campaign, it’s essential to measure your SMS campaign’s results to determine what works and what doesn’t. Use metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to assess the effectiveness of your campaign and adjust your strategy as needed.

The Don'ts of SMS Marketing

Spam Your Customers

Just because your customers opt-in to your SMS messages, it doesn’t mean that you should feel free to send them messages whenever you want. Spamming your customers with frequent or irrelevant messages will not only annoy them but will also damage your brand’s reputation. Even worse, spam SMS messages can result in customers unsubscribing, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to be sending more than one SMS message a week. However, you can try increasing the frequency to roughly two a week to see if that works for your business’s goals. If you get a large spike in unsubscriptions, you can simply scale back your sending frequency.

Use Misleading Subject Lines

As with email marketing, SMS marketing subject lines influence how likely customers are to open your messages. However, using misleading subject lines will almost certainly destroy any trust you’ve built with customers. This can ultimately result in customers unsubscribing from your list.

Ignore Legal Requirements

SMS marketing is subject to strict regulations in many countries. Ignoring the law can result in hefty fines as well as irreparable damage to your reputation. Ensure that you comply with current laws and regulations by obtaining customer consent, providing an opt-out option, and including your business details.

Use Too Many Abbreviations

Abbreviations can be useful in SMS marketing, given the limited character count. However, abbreviations only work if the intended audience already knows what they mean. This isn’t necessarily the case when you’re running an SMS campaign. Overusing abbreviations can make your messages difficult to understand and, in many cases, appear unprofessional. If you have to use abbreviations, make sure to only use ones that are widely known to your customers.

Forget to Test

Before launching a big SMS marketing campaign, test it thoroughly on smaller audiences or in a test environment to make sure that everything works as intended. Test different messaging strategies, timings, and calls to action to determine what combinations work best for most people.

Compared to slick social media ads, SMS marketing may have lost some of its lustre as a mobile marketing strategy. However, it’s conciseness and potential reach have meant that it remains as relevant as it ever was. When done right, SMS marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses to create brand impressions, connect with their customers, and drive sales. By applying these dos and don’ts and using a little bit of creativity and personalization, businesses can leverage SMS marketing to achieve their marketing goals cost-efficiently.