SMS Marketing Best Practices

4 minutes, 25 seconds

AllCode’s SMS Marketing Best Practices have determined that SMS messages get an average of 92% open rate and upwards of a 30% click through rate in SMS marketing campaigns. The main objective of your SMS campaign should be to provide a quick message with an easily actionable item. 

SMS campaigns can be broken down into four categories:

  1. Contact Lists 
  2. Content 
  3. Delivery
  4. Follow up
  5. Analysis 

Contact List: Information is key

Given that you’ll be texting directly to your customers phone, your contact list needs to be aggregated in either one of two ways.

  1. A collection of opted-in numbers acquired by a self-sign up form 
  2. List of cell phone numbers from a lead generator

When populating your CSV with contact information, you should try to add as much identifiable data as you can. We recently received this list from one of our clients; look at all of the information that it provides you! No matter the information you have about a person, it can be leveraged to personalize your campaigns for better customer experience.

Smaller contact lists that share specific features that can be reproduced in the content will be more effective than a large list of contacts with vague content.

Content: Short, sweet, and to the point 

  1. SMS content doesn’t benefit from HTML and picture like email and has a 160 count limit per message meaning your choice of words are important.
  2. SMSs in a sequence should tell a cohesive story but stand out individually.
  3. Subject lines and “eye-catchers” like “ATTENTION!” or “URGENT” have limited beneficial use when messaging a contact multiple times. 
    1.  For a message describing a significant cause and effect then the user will click on the text. But using those attention grabbers for mundane or routine communications will cause the contact to begin ignoring your message as they can filter them out mentally 
    2. They also look very automated. Your friends don’t text you “URGENT: dinner on Wednesday” 
  4. When composing messages try hard to put yourself in the contacts’ shoes. What would cause you to action this sms? And does the text resonate with me personally? Without any context would the contact understand who and why this message is on their phone?
  5. People keep their phones pretty close to them becoming their extension to the rest of the world. Do not abuse this connection as the user will quickly block your number and spread less than favorable words about your brand.
  6. Messaging should have three main parts 
    1. Intro 
      1. “Hi, this is John from Blocky’s Grocer”
    2. Reason of message 
      1. “We are expanding our deli section and have brand new deals”
    3. Call to action 
      1. “Click on the link to sign-up to our newsletter and receive $5 off your next deli purchase.”
    4. All together
      1. Hi, this is John from Blocky’s Grocer. We are expanding our deli section and have brand new deals. Click on the link here bit.ly/abaysdb to sign-up to our newsletter and receive $5 off your next deli purchase.
  7. Using a name in the intro helps personalize the message and looks much better in the preview phone gives you before you open the SMS.
  8. Using shortened URLs will make the message look and feel much better while also saving on the 160 character count. 
    1. Bit.ly: https://bitly.com/pages/pricing/v2
    2. Rebradnly: https://www.rebrandly.com/pricing
    3. Free URL shortner: https://free-url-shortener.rb.gy/ 

Delivery and Follow-up: The balance between forgetting and annoying

  1. Responding to SMS marketing messages may be the key between getting the close and not. Have a dedicated hour or person to answer replies.
  2. As we spoke before SMS is the most intimate marketing connection with your contact list. Meaning that messages need to be spread out in a timely manner. 
    1. Cold marketing texts should be sent once or twice per week without two consecutive weeks of two messages in that week. 
    2. Newsletter or updates messages should be sent 1-3 a month, preferably 2 a month  
    3. Reminder messages as needed but reminders should be significant enough to warrant a message and different than marketing or newsletter messages
  3. Follow-up messages for cold SMS out reaches should be to those who have interacted with an SMS in the past. The tone for these messages should have a more direct approach where the fact they have interacted with a message is inferred.
    1. Example “Thanks for replying to us in the past, we’d love to get connected again. Reply to this message to get started.”
  4. After 10 messages without reply give the user a break for a while and then resume marketing 

Analysis: Who and when?

  1.  Keeping track of who replies to your messages will be instrumental for a successful campaign. 
    1. Use the reporting tab in CCAI to learn more about who is replying to messages and take a look at the conversations had.
  2. Keep track of the tone of messages to see which are receiving higher reply rates and use that info to draft future messages.
  3.  Remember that SMS open rates cannot be tracked but the average is in the 90% bracket meaning that more often than not your message is being received and digested. Do not get discouraged with lower reply rates when the goal is to send a message. 

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