SMS Marketing – As more companies adopt digital strategies for engaging their consumer audience, more are turning away from direct mail campaigns and toward marketing solutions that suit the Digital Age. Considering that roughly 81 percent of the U.S. population regularly uses text messaging to communicate, SMS campaigns — which involve sending marketing messages directly to consumers’ phones via text message — are rising in popularity across organizations.
Yet, just because a marketing strategy leverages a popular technology does not mean that strategy will be successful. How a business deploys its SMS campaign will impact its effectiveness at engaging consumer audiences. Here are some of the most common and calamitous mistakes a brand can make in its SMS marketing and what to do instead.
Table of Contents
Failing to Understand SMS Encoding
Encoding determines the look and legibility of SMS messages. A message that is improperly encoded could include odd gaps or incorrect symbols, which radically reduces the trustworthiness of the message and will cause engagement to plummet. Business marketers need to consider their SMS messages when determining the best encoding option. Then again, those unfamiliar with encoding might do well to work with service providers for texting campaigns, who have more experience with these technical issues.
Messaging Without Consent
The most assured way to receive an immediate cancellation or unsubscription is to send SMS messages to a consumer who did not consent to your marketing service. Text messages tend to feel personal in a way that emails, social media posts, online ads and direct mailers don’t; a text message tends to launch a private, two-way conversation, and if someone is texted by an entity they don’t know and have no interest in, they are likely to develop negative emotions. Businesses should always ask for permission to contact consumers over text before adding them to their SMS campaign list.
Buying Contact Info Lists
For the same reasons stated above, businesses should never buy lists of consumer contact information. While it might seem like a shortcut to a large marketing audience, a list is an amalgam of all sorts of consumers, most of whom probably will not be interested in a particular business’s products or services. It is far more effective to grow an organization’s consumer contact info organically, as it will result in more significant success.
Timing Messages Poorly
Just as a company would garner a poor reputation for planning telemarketer calls after bedtime, businesses should schedule their texts to reach consumer phones at the right time of day, when consumers are most likely to be receptive to their messages. The most appropriate time for an SMS might depend on what an organization is offering; for example, an offer for 10 percent off at a restaurant might be best received just before lunch or dinner. In general, it is best to avoid allowing messages to go out during the night.
Rarely do businesses have something unique and interesting to say to consumers, so it does not take much for consumers to experience recurring marketing messages from an organization as an unending onslaught. Brands would do well to limit their SMS messages to once a month or less, unless their consumer audience responds exceedingly well to increased frequency. What’s more, every text message should be different, offering new information to the consumer, which will help reduce the irritating sameness of marketing messages.
Neglecting the Opt-out Option
Even if businesses do give their customers the power to opt into an SMS campaign, they should provide a straightforward method of opting out. The last thing companies need from their text marketing is negative emotions as a result of frustration and powerlessness from their consumer audience. It is relatively simple to allow consumers to respond with a certain phrase to remove their number from the campaign contact list, and doing so will prevent animosity from building up in message recipients.
Crafting Overly Long Messages
Shorter marketing messages tend to be more effective, not least because they can maintain consumers’ attention. Some mobile services providers flag and filter out excessively long text messages, believing them to be spam. Businesses should try to keep their SMS marketing under 160 characters, which includes links. Link shortening services are essential for texting campaigns for this reason.
A large portion of the consumer audience is texting. Businesses should take advantage of SMS marketing tools to craft an effective texting campaign that engages consumers into the future.