4 Steps To Effective SMS Communication
You’ve probably heard that SMS messaging is a hot trend recently due to its exceptional results. It literally beats the e-mail campaigns with its open rate: it’s accordingly 20% to 98%. Merely sending out messages to your clients may give you pleasing results, but when you plan it out properly, you’ll experience how powerful is that channel. No matter if you’re just getting started or you’ve been using SMS communication for a while, we have some advice that might serve you well. After reading this text, you´ll have a bunch of ideas on how to grow your business with SMS marketing.
1. Work on your message
It seems like the most obvious truth, but a key to efficient SMS communication (or any communication in general) is the message itself. We could leave you with this thought, but let’s enter the details. The defining characteristic of an SMS is included in its name short messages system. With only 160 characters available, you have to weigh each of them thoughtfully. It may sound like a challenge, yet when keeping a few things in mind, you´ll be able to deliver great messages.
An amazing copy
The most crucial part is a clear copy. An SMS should be easy to process, as typically your customers won’t be willing to try hard to understand your message. Don´t use wordy phrases, include a short call to action and make wise use of emoticons. Remember to keep up with your communication policy: if your company tends to maintain a rather formal style, an overuse of smiley faces and hearts will seem dissonant.
If you have a well-developed client database which includes information like demographics, interests, history of purchase and similar, you can make use of a powerful feature of bulk SMS: customer segmentation. Dividing your clients and adjusting your messages to a more narrow group than all of them will definitely pay off. Remember that your client´s mobile is a truly personal space: you don´t want to be perceived as an intrusive spammer. As soon as your message seems irrelevant to a given person, the negative sentiment will arouse, and you can lose a customer.
Joining your SMS communication service with your database gives you another possibility to shorten the distance between you and your client. The personalization works miracles: by creating a template, you can call your customers by their name, mention their last purchase or make anything else that would let them feel that the message was written directly to them.
The last, but definitely the least factor is when you send your message. Here is another point where you should respect your customer´s privacy and personal space. Still, there is no simple answer for when is the perfect moment for your SMS.
A rule of thumb is that 8 pm is the line of decency, yet if your target group works night shifts, 1 am can be perfectly fine for them. Also, take into account that the vast majority of SMS is read within 5 minutes. So, if you want to give a discount coupon for your bar, send it early afternoon. At last, don’t spam your customer with dozens of messages monthly. Start with four messages and then adjust it to your target group.
2. Test different options
Even when you feel you hit the sweet spot with your words, you still have to keep your eye on your customers and trends. That’s why putting through your ideas and evolving with the market should be a fixed point in your agenda.
Factors to test out
Basically, you can test every element we covered in the first step: your copy, the way to segment your clients, which information to use when personalizing the message and, finally, when and how often send your campaign.
Rules of experimentation
To make your tests useful, you have to keep several rules in mind. Firstly, plan them out for a more extended period to gain more relevant data. Remember to divide your audience to two (or more) similar groups, so the differences between them don’t affect your results. Change one element at a time: for example, at first experiment with sending the same message at various hours to your groups, later modify the copy and see (for example) which call to action converts best. This method will allow you to have more control over variables and get better insights.
3. Have your general marketing strategy in mind
When we are talking about effective SMS communication, it’s essential to plan it out as a part of your marketing strategy. After all, you invest your time and money, and you want to have the best results possible, and the planning phase is crucial in this process.
Work on your blueprint
Creating or expanding your strategy is a complex operation. To conduct it properly, gather all your on-going marketing activities and think how an SMS campaign can fit in. If you respect its limitations (think: no graphic content) and profit on its strong sides (astonishing open rate) it can support your activities and boost the results.
Choose your metrics
When you set the objectives for this communication channel, choose the most relevant parameters and criteria for evaluating them to be able to translate them into business results. For example, if your main goal is to drive more traffic in your promotional season, you´ll want to track how many customers entered the link leading to a promo landing page and eventually purchased something. In this case, evaluating your actions basing yourself only on open rate may not give you accurate information.
Connect your channels
Take advantage of what you already have worked on with your marketing strategy. And think about creating synergy between different channels. Think about a Facebook post informing about an SMS contest or a quick text to nudge your customer and make him complete a specific task on your site.
4. Make it friendly
When sending your messages via JookSMS, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to make your message as approachable as possible. We have covered the topic of a perfect copy earlier, so let’s explore other options.
A brand name vs a short number
Think about an SMS you recently got from a company. Have you noticed it usually has a brand name, even though you clearly didn’t save the sender as a contact? That is an excellent solution for messages when you don’t expect your clients to reply to you, as it is a no-reply number. It will make clear for the first sight who is the sender (when saving you some precious characters in the text); thus, your message will seem more trustworthy.
If you plan to use the SMS as a two-way communication channel, you can opt for a short number consisting of four to six digits. It works exceptionally well when you want to connect your SMS campaign with an outdoor campaign. Both on the radio or tv and a billboard you have only some seconds of the attention span of the viewer, so the number has to be short and easy to remember. Choose from two solutions: you can share the number with another company, differentiating your campaign with a chosen keyword, or find a number exclusively for you.
Make it easy to opt in (and out)
When you launch a new SMS channel, you have various options to let your customers know and join the group. Think about a newsletter or pop-up window with a link to sign in or asking your clients for their number and permission to send them promotional content. That consent is crucial to start with: make sure how are the legal requirements in your area of operation.
For sure, growing your client database is the most fun part of managing it, yet you also have to make it easy (or even more comfortable) to opt-out. Think about adding a link to opt-out in the first message and every now and then or a specific keyword to stop the subscription. Letting your customers go can seem counter-intuitive, yet it will allow to you focus your efforts and resources only on valuable clients.
Pick the right keyword
If you decide to opt for a two-way communication channel, you can make use of specific keywords that will trigger defined action in your system. Keep them short and sweet: a word connected with your campaign, company or a clear answer to a question will keep up with SMS marketing guidelines.
Also, having a keyword “STOP” for opting out, as suggested in the point before, can work fine. Keywords will allow you to track conversions from different outdoor campaigns. Imagine having posters on buses and on metro stations. If in one place the keyword will be “get10m” and in another “get10a”, you’ll be able to tell which poster led to the conversion.
Chances are your target group spend some time during the day, surfing the Internet right from their mobile. That’s why adding a short link may come in handy to direct your customers straight to the website or provide them with additional information, at the same time as you can directly track their engagement by using specific links.
Make sure though that if you add it to a text that may be crucial for your customer, like for example, some access code, the message is optimized for both smartphones and mobile phones.
As you can see, there is plenty of ways to work on effective SMS communication. It will require some trial and error, yet putting in some effort will reward you with a bunch of options to capitalize on. JookSMS will provide you with all the necessary tools to take your SMS campaigns to the next level.