SMS marketing campaigns are classified into two types. Inbound and outbound.
When you prompt customers to text you, this is an example of an inbound campaign. When you send messages directly to an existing list, this is usually referred to as an outbound campaign.
A reply number is required to run an inbound campaign and is usually a shortcode. Once you’ve established your response number, you can use inbound campaigns for various uses. The primary benefit of inbound campaigns is for collecting opt-ins. You can put your shortcode number on your website, advertisements, or in-store. People will text you, and you can add them to your opt-in list.
Inbound text campaigns can also include contests for new and existing members in your database. You can increase engagement and interest with consumers by allowing your list to win prizes via text on products.
Outbound campaigns often come to mind when most people think of SMS marketing campaigns. Outbound campaigns are when your business sends out special offers, discount codes, or other deals to your list. The communication is usually one-way, with no way for the recipients to respond to the message. Outbound messages can also be service-related, such as shipping notifications, appointment reminders, or account updates.
Planning a strategy
With only a few exceptions, planning an SMS marketing campaign is similar to planning any other marketing campaign.
1. Determine your objectives. Know what you want to accomplish before you begin. Is it increased leads, increased website traffic, or increased sales? A clear understanding of your goals is the driving force behind a successful campaign.
2. Learn as much as you can about your customers or prospects. While this is true for all marketing, it is crucial for SMS marketing. Because text messages are considered personal communication, sending out irrelevant offers will irritate recipients. They will most likely form a negative sentiment towards your business. However, if you know what they want – whether it’s a discount and send them only offers that are relevant to their interests, you’re more likely to build loyalty.
3. Establish a standard for your messaging. Customers will recognize and trust your marketing if your messaging is consistent. What will you be identified with, given the limited message size? Your initials, tagline, or your company name? What tone are you going to use? Is it casual, serious, or professional?
4. Create your initial campaigns. Decide on the details of an opt-in campaign if you don’t yet have anyone on your list. What kind of incentive will you provide in exchange for people signing up to your list? How are you going to promote the campaign? Can it be integrated with your current marketing efforts, and how? What offer will you send to people who are already on your list? Whatever you do, keep it all relevant to the customer.
5. Track and measure performance. One of the best things about SMS is how simple it is to track your performance: how many contest entries were submitted, messages opened, replies received, and any other metric that you are following.
Best practices and requirements
Here are the top three best practices to remember when designing SMS campaigns:
1. Always inform customers of the frequency you will send messages – and stick to it! You don’t want to irritate your customers by bombarding them with messages. If possible, inform them of the maximum number of messages you intend to send ahead of time.
If the number isn’t fixed, tell them why you’ll text them: exclusive deals and offers as they happen, or simply in response to their actions, such as a purchase. And, even if you don’t tell them when the messages will be sent, make sure they arrive during appropriate hours. It won’t take many late-night text messages for people on your list to start taking offense.
2. Make the offers you send worthwhile. Everyone wants a good deal. Price is usually the most critical factor in deciding what and where to buy. Your customers may prefer to be notified of upcoming events rather than receive discount coupons.
Whatever the offer, make the most of your SMS opt-in list. Use email for less important or time-sensitive sales messages and announcements.
3. Offer a mechanism that allows the customer to specify which messages they want to receive. You can accomplish this through the use of reply codes.
Following these best practices can help your business minimize opt-outs while maximizing SMS ROI.
You now have a good overview of mobile marketing with SMS messaging. So start your first campaign today by signing up for a free egosms account.