SMS Marketing

Marketing with a punch.

SMS marketing packs a punch, but how to get the most out of first contact?

Clubs, retail, hospitality and many industries the world over have been using email to market their promotions seemingly forever now. Not to say it is not without its charm. Who does not like keeping their brands colour scheme and logos continued through a medium where you can stick every ounce of information on one page? 

Per, studies have shown that more than half of businesses digitally interacting with their customers are not levering SMS marketing.

“While 71 percent of brands market in the mobile channel, the majority are not optimizing the potential to connect and engage with their customers through a range of different mobile marketing tactics.”

SMS marketing is more affordable and easier to understand than any other medium, so why not get the most out of it?

If you are new to SMS marketing, here are 5 tips on how to get most out of your first campaign:

Do not send via an unknown number

Although there are some benefits and strategies to using Virtual Numbers (which we will get into in articles to follow), simply sending from unknown numbers only puts you at a disadvantage. 

What you may not know is that you could also be at risk of penalties enforced by ACMA for spam infringement. What?! Yes, indeed. By law, you are required to site how to contact the senders’ business in the text. Using an ‘Originator’ (the business name in place of an unknown number) will immediately cover you in this regard. Additionally, you now do not need to waste valuable characters in siting your business name in the body of the text! 

More importantly, you want to build trust with the recipient. The Jamster days damage can still be felt today, so it is super important that customers trust where the message is coming from straight off the bat. Who still remembers that goddamn frog??

Personalise your SMS to each recipient

Studies show personalised communications deliver 6x higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them! (source Marketingland)

As discussed above, it is all about trust here, people. The SMSm8 platform have a number of default hotkeys (e.g. #name#) but you can get as creative as you like!

Personalising SMS to specific rewards, members points balance, membership tier, number entries in a specific promotions draw and even common items purchased has proved to increase engagement and minimise opt outs. 

Opt out URL’s (no more reply unsubscribe!!!)

It has long been known now that the ‘ol ‘reply the unsubscribe keyword’ is super old technology, and now we have the numbers to prove it. The average opt out rate for clients new and old over the last 8 years sits at just over 2% using keyword opt outs. Using opt out URL drops this rate to less than 1.5%. This may seem insignificant, but like how interest is compounded weekly, if you are losing .5% more members to opt outs every week, it won’t take long before you put a huge dent into your reachable audience. 

But why is this the case. Sorry to keep banging the same drum, but it comes down to trust. Customers find it easier to opt out via a URL. Samsung autocorrect and fat thumbs often result in the wrong keyword being sent and angry disputes ensue. 

Wait until the time is right 

Remember, this is not email. People will not archive your SMS for later reading. The power of SMS lies in its response time, which on average is 3 minutes! This allows you to get in front of your customers when they are most likely to make a decision. 

So if you have free music and a happy hour on Friday night, don’t tell people on Monday morning. Schedule your message to go out on Friday afternoon when people are mentally clocking out of work or on their way home! 

SMS has proven to be effective as little as an hour out of the start of a promotion.

Make sure you are talking to the right audience

If your audience is less than a couple thousand, you will not need to get this surgical, however it is important to be mindful of who you market your promotions to. The best way to do this is integrate your SMS platform to your POS system and allow them to analyse your data. 63 percent of respondents said that they are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic advertising messages repeatedly (source: Marketo). 

A quick an easy way of doing this is split your marketing between General Appeal and Specific Appeal. 

Example 1: ‘Badge draw is going off tonight…’. This is General Appeal as the offer is money. Everyone likes money. 

Example 2: ‘AC/DC cover band free in the lounge on Friday’. Specific Appeal. There are certain people who will not care about this. Depending on your business, it may be smaller than you think, but to minimise opt outs, be mindful of the nature of this promotion. 

Final thought

The key message here is to build trust and engagement. Remember; SMS should add value for the customer. Try not to send anything out you unbiasedly would not have any interest in.

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