SMS marketing is one of the most powerful communication tools and as such, should be treated with a high level of responsibility and respect. It’s very easy to overdo messaging to your subscribers when you know that most messages are opened within minutes of receipt. But a few simple guidelines need to be followed to keep your campaigns on track with best practices and good taste in order to make sure SMS marketing drives your business forward instead of blowing up in your face.
Do NOT Send Messages to People Who Have Not Given You Permission
Never, for any reason, send messages to people who have not opted-in to receive your text messages. Doing so is illegal – and carries stiff fines. Moreover, text marketing is so powerful because it is permission-based. When you send messages to customers who want to hear from you, you will get incredible results. Sending messages to people who don’t want to hear from you will at the very least annoy potential customers (not to mention likely lose their business), and at worst, you may wind up with a lawsuit.
Do Not Send Messages Unless You Have Value to Offer
Just because Americans send trillions of text messages each year does not mean you should send constant messages to your list of contacts. Who wants to be flooded with the same messages constantly? Sending messages every day is a sure way to get a flood of opt-outs. Each business is different, but as a baseline, four messages per month is usually a good number. Think about it like this: you worked hard for customer opt-ins, so don’t give them a reason to opt out. If you don’t have something valuable to offer (a coupon, exciting news, something that you only get via mobile), resist the urge to send a worthless message.
Since texting through most platforms sends numbers from a shared short or long-code numbers, make sure to clearly identify your company so consumers know from who the text is coming. Include your company’s name in the subject line when composing the text; this way, it will come up at the top of the text and in parenthesis, like a header. Without a clear indication of who the sender is, your business is at risk of accumulating far more unnecessary opt-outs than you otherwise would have if the recipients immediately recognized who you are. Including contact info within the body of the text is always smart as well.
Don’t Ignore Your Delivery Reports
A comprehensive platform will provide phenomenal features that, if taken advantage of, will maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your SMS campaigns. One of the most useful tools is a delivery report feature that gives breakdowns of which numbers were reached and which may have had issues, simultaneously allowing you to edit cumbersome and out-of-date contact lists so that you are left with only viable phone numbers. If not utilized, your campaigns could potentially waste precious credits sending messages to unreachable numbers.
Avoid Slang and Abbreviations
Keep your texts professional and well-written. Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re being marketed to with overly slick promotions, and you don’t want your campaigns to be cheapened nor the perception of your company tarnished. Use regular speech to directly communicate what you provide or can offer, be succinct, never speak down to customers, and always avoid colloquialisms and regional dialect. If character counts force you to use abbreviations, only use those that are most common and therefore will most likely be recognized by all recipients, as opposed to arbitrarily removing letters from words, such as vowels.
SMS marketing is a valuable tool for businesses, but it’s important to keep best practices in mind in order to deliver timely, relevant, and useful messages. Keep the above advice in mind to avoid annoying customers (and potential customers!) and make the most out of your SMS services.