What better way to learn than from other people’s failures? Here, Salmat’s MessageNet’s sales and marketing manager, Wasif Kasim, looks at some of the best and worst SMS campaigns and the lessons to be learned.
Whether you’re a fresh faced marketing grad or a multi-channel master, monitoring the most outstanding campaigns is critical to gaining inspiration.
For the most part, this is easy; most marketing campaigns are out there in the open, ready to be revered or ridiculed. But the very nature of SMS marketing means messages are hidden away from sight. You need to be subscribed to receive the SMS and unless you happen to be subscribed to the right lists at the right time, you’ll miss out on the best (and worst) of the SMS marketing world.
That’s why we’ve been doing the hard yards, scouring the plethora of SMS campaigns to find some true winners – and some unforgiveable mistakes. The good news is you can learn from both.
Here are the top SMS lessons you can learn from the good, the bad and the downright ugly:
- Get off to a great start
Something all the great campaigns had in common was a great beginning to their SMS messages.In its SMS campaign,The Good Guys found something to engage consumers from the outset: a discount. By leading with the offer, the message grabs the recipient’s attention, compelling them to read on and find out how to redeem it. Another way to get off to a great start is with branding. This means the recipient instantly knows who is messaging them, which helps gain trust. Combine the branding and an irresistible offer and you’re onto a winner every time.
- Short, sweet and to the point
There’s no room to beat around the bush with SMS marketing. You have a tiny amount of characters to get your message across but it can be done. Take Laser Clinics Australia, which was indisputably the standout of the SMS campaigns. This beauty franchise says everything it needs to say, without wasting any valuable space. Every SMS is refreshingly concise. Learn more tips on how to write winning SMS messages.
- Personalise messages
Don’t be afraid to add a little love to your SMS messages. Without the personal touch, messages can feel mass produced and generic. This was the case with Sydney-based automotive retail group, Suttons. With messages lacking personality and oomph, we quickly lost interest. A simple fix is to add the person’s name, use power words like “exclusive”, and questions like “Want 10% off your next purchase?”. The end goal is to make SMS recipients feel special for giving you their mobile number.
- Give a sense of urgency
If there’s one thing SMS marketing winners know, it’s how to use urgency to get people to act straight away. Laser Clinics Australia got this right every time, using phrases like “hurry, ends Thursday” or “hurry, last days”. And you know what makes them even more effective? THE UPPER CASE. Nothing kicks people into gear like “SALE ENDS TODAY”.
Another way of creating a sense of urgency is the use of timelines. Suttons promoted a “72 hour sale”, using hours rather than days to encourage people to act fast.
- Connect Facebook and SMS
Oporto’s Steak My Day campaign brilliantly harnessed the power of SMS and Facebook to drive engagement and build richer customer profiles. The campaign simply promoted a buy-one-get-one-free offer on Oporto’s Facebook page. When you clicked on the link, you were taken to a landing page to enter your name and mobile number, and receive an SMS containing a coupon code and expiry date. You gain a free steak roll. Oporto gains another channel through which to communicate with you. Win, win.
- Make it mobile friendly
With mobile shopping continually growing, your website needs to be optimised and if you’re not using your SMS campaign to send people to your website, you’re missing a huge opportunity. The best (and only) way to do this is with shortened URLs. Laser Clinics Australia absolutely nailed this by sending recipients to a fancy mobile-friendly landing page with a big button to “click to call” the clinic of their choice.
- Opt-in, opt-out… stick to the rules
The rules of SMS are simple: only send messages if they opt in and make it easy for them to opt out. Failing this can result in fines and other legal actions. (The ACMA Anti-Spam website has more details on the rules and repercussions.) Most brands, like Laser Clinics Australia and The Good Guys, know the SMS marketing rules and stick to them like glue. They provide an easy opt-out in every message.
- Add opt-out confirmation
Want to make your SMS campaign memorable, even when people opt-out? Add an opt-out confirmation. None of the brands we looked at sent a confirmation when we opted out. If someone opts out, they’re probably not in the mood for guessing games – so the best thing to do is send them a simple text confirming their opt-out has been received and they will be removed from the list. Doing so will have a positive impact on their perception of your brand.
- Set the right expectations
Setting the correct expectations is a key part of making your SMS marketing effective – and any marketing for that matter. If you say you’ll send offers and deals, stay true to your word. If you don’t, you’ll annoy your recipients and lose customers. It’s a quick way to miss out on a fantastic opportunity to generate revenue and customer loyalty. One brand that gets this right is Oxford Clothing.
Subscribers know they can expect between one and two marketing messages per month. They don’t flood subscribers with information, and only get in touch when they have something really good to offer.
Not every SMS campaign gets it completely right, all the time. But there are techniques proven to improve the success of your SMS marketing campaigns, whether that means boosting the click-through rate or increasing the discount uptake. Even if you’ve found just one lesson here that you can apply to your next SMS campaign, that’s one lesson that could take it from good to truly exceptional.
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