SMS marketing will take off, says CEO of MessageMedia, Stuart Marburg, however it’s not the easiest to get right. Here are his five ways to turn those red flags green.
Text messaging is the king of mobile messaging, with 140 billion SMS messages set to be sent this year. But SMS marketing is only just beginning to gain popularity. Due to regulatory controls it’s relatively uncluttered, making it a great channel to consider. But there are some red flags to be aware of. Here’s what to look out for, and better yet, how you can turn these limitations to your advantage.
1. The big squeeze
The 160 maximum character count for a text message can limit creativity. It’s not very much advertising space and it’s only text: there are no options to add sound, animation or graphics.
Turn this to your advantage by delivering focused, succinct and memorable messages.
2. Cut through is critical
You really need to differentiate your message to produce a really good SMS campaign as the messages are so short. You can’t keep spamming consumers with the same message, you have to ensure they are worded and presented differently each time.
Make your messages time sensitive and consider where the consumer is at the hour you send them. Use this to tailor each message to the time of day (morning, lunchtime) and likely place (train or bus, café).
3. Opt-in only
Consumers consider their mobile numbers quite personal information, so beware sending unsolicited messages. Not only will you alienate consumers but you won’t get very far, as increasing numbers of smartphones allow users to block numbers.
Consider opt-in the “holy grail”. You are reaching out to customers who are already open to your contact and willing to receive your message.
4. Age and audience
SMS usage is growing all the time, but the heaviest use is among certain demographic groups. This plus the opt-in nature may limit the potential size of your audience.
The benefit with SMS is that you already know certain things about your target audience: they’re more digitally savvy than average, definitely more likely to use a mobile and also more likely to use a smartphone and mobile internet.
5. It’s personal
Text messaging is like the difference between someone having an ad for vacuum cleaners slipped through their mailbox which they can happily ignore, or having a vacuum cleaner salesperson actually knock on their front door. With your SMS message, you are that salesperson. Don’t risk having the door slammed permanently in your face.
The bonus is that if you get it right, you’re practically in their living room. You have their trust and their most direct contact information at your fingertips. Use it, don’t abuse it.
The case for doing SMS marketing is compelling. Click through rates are four time higher than for emails, 70% of polled in the US said they’d like to receive offers on their mobiles. But it’s critical to get it right. Whereas people are used to tossing unwanted email offers into the cyber-trash or tuning out irrelevant TVCs, a misfired personal message is a much bigger irritation.