Our phone is now an integral part of our daily lives. We always have our phone in hand and we rarely go out without it. For many, it is also a working tool that allows direct, simplified and almost instantaneous communications.
We use SMS every day for the same reason, both in a personal and professional way. So why not take advantage of this opportunity to send messages directly to the device of your contacts? In terms of customer relations, SMS are made indispensable. A simple SMS sent can be much more effective than your other means of communication.
They are, indeed, excellent for communications with objectives of loyalty, promotion or information on your company. They must be well mounted and respect some basic rules to be optimal. Follow these tips and you’ll be on the right track to succeed.
What Is an SMS?
The word SMS means Short Message Service. As the name suggests, this is a short message that can only contain 160 characters sent to the cell phones of our recipients. However, since the law requires the inclusion of a STOP statement to allow unsubscription, the limit would be more 149 characters.
Why Use SMS?
- The text message is the fastest and most effective means of communication. We read a text message on average within 3 minutes after receiving it, compared to 48 hours with emails. So it’s an effective way to invite your customers to interact with your brand quickly.
- The costs of using SMS for your marketing campaigns are low. Most of the time, SMS is not expensive to use. And if you have a platform like Dialog Insight, you can manage multiple communication channels in one place (SMS, email, web push notifications, forms, etc.).
- By using SMS, you will optimize your ROI for sure as these are very effective messages, with a reading rate of 98%. Each person frequently consults his phone and systematically reads all his text messages.
- The implementation of SMS sends does not require graphics creation, so it is simple and instant, which saves you time but also money.
SMS can be used to do several kinds of marketing campaigns:
- Promotional campaign (retailers)
- Confirmation of appointments (hairdresser, restaurant, dental center, etc.)
- Local campaign with geolocation (local store)
- Loyalty campaign
- Event campaign
- Welcome campaign
- Birthday campaign
- Campaign to announce a novelty (new store, new product/service, etc.)
Developing Your Marketing SMS Strategy
Here are some steps to go through when planning your campaigns:
1. Obtain consent
Requesting permission from your customers before sending them text message communications is the basis. It’s also a factor that influences their loyalty to your brand. In Quebec especially, text messages are perceived by most people as an intrusion into their private lives. Therefore, if you send SMS communications without consent, there is a good chance your contacts will feel betrayed and never buy your products or services. So, for the sake of your reputation and your brand credibility, do not abuse people’s trust. Do things in order and this will only benefit you.
When to ask for the phone number?
Not everyone is comfortable leaving their phone number on the first visit on your website. This is why you have to ask yourself under what circumstances is it well seen to ask for this information so as not to scare your contact.
In general, it depends on where your prospect is in the sales funnel. The more advanced your contact is in his shopping process, the greater his buying intention and the more willing he is to give a little more personal information.
For example, if it’s a brand new contact, better not ask its phone number immediately. Wait until he is a little more mature and he knows a little more about your business before asking him. Take the time to establish a relationship of trust between your user and you.
Only then can you ask him if he wants to receive your offers by text message. You will have a much better chance of being told yes.
Some situations, however, are more acceptable than others:
- Customer call
- Requests for information
- Demo Requests
- Purchase at a point of sale
- Making appointments
- Form using progressive profiling
Do you understand the idea? Given people’s reluctance to provide their phone number, clearly indicate the benefits and how often you will contact them. Clearly state the registration instructions.
In order to get your target audience to agree to receive your promotions, including a discount is an excellent incentive.
2. Identify Your Business
Many companies do not think about identifying themselves in their SMS sending. However, it is essential if we do not want our customers to suppress our message without even reading it. You can use keywords that allow people to easily connect your message to your business.
3. Be Creative
You have access to a very personal part of the life of each of your contacts. Now, try to stand out to have the most impact possible. As mentioned above, SMS have a reading rate of 98% on average, take advantage of it to exploit all possibilities: contest, promotional code, packages, link to the online store, new event, in short, there is no limit.
Keep in mind though to always offer something to your contact in exchange for his attention.
4. Make Personas
Knowledge of your target is very important. The more you know about your customers, the more you will be mastering the sending of personalized messages, sent at the right time. Create a typical portrait of people who are likely to use your products or to use your services.
It also forces you to research the market in which you work and to know your element of distinction according to the interests of your personas. This way you can better adapt your messages and optimize your impact on your target.
5. Segment Your List
Segment your contacts into several groups based on social, demographic and behavioral criteria. This will allow you to create a more personalized relationship with them. The more specific you are in your segmentation, the more you will be able to customize your messages accurately.
You can also create dynamic segmentation lists so that your lists change automatically when contact information changes. Which would save you a lot of time.
6. Find a Happy Medium
When sending text messages, there is always a risk related to the sending frequency. Either we send too much and the customer gets tired or we do not send enough and the customer loses interest in your brand. Adapt, find your rhythm. Once you find it, try to be as consistent as possible.
7. Have a Sense of Timing
When sending SMS, the timing of sending is always very important. Since the interaction is almost in real time, the moment of sending will be, within minutes, the moment your contact reads your message.
As you have done personas, you know the way of life of your contacts. So you know when they will be most attentive to your messages.
Also, use the timing of one-off events. For example, if you are a local business, you could make a discount depending on the temperature: it is 28 degrees, get 28% on ice cream. Your business celebrates 15 years of existence, promote to thank your customers. You are a landscaper, the beginning of spring is a good time to announce your services. Et cetera.
The time of the day is also very important. For example, if you are a neighborhood restaurant, send a message to promote your 5 to 7 on Thursday around 13h after dinner. If you are a family store, send your promotions on Friday afternoons for the weekend.
By using these techniques, you create consumption habits and your customers will come to expect your promotions before buying elsewhere.
8. Adjust Your Time Zone
It is very important to target our contacts according to their time zone because unlike an email, receiving an SMS in the middle of the night is irritating and can create frustration with your recipients.
Be careful when sending to a segment that is not in the same time zone as you.
9. Be Concise
Avoid confusing an SMS with an email. You only have 160 characters to pass your message, so you must be concise and direct.
If you give instructions on how to access your offer or other, simplify them as much as possible. It must not be too complicated, otherwise your target will be discouraged instantly.
Do not forget your call to action so that your contact understands what you want from him. If you include a link to your website, consider shortening it to maximize the number of characters you are entitled to.
If you do not succeed in limiting yourself to 160 characters, use another communication channel that allows you to be more exhaustive or turn instead to rich SMS that allows you to associate your SMS with a landing page where your target can get more information.
10. A Global Strategy
Integrate your SMS communications strategy into your overall marketing strategy to strengthen it. Every contact you have with your customers must be optimized and each communication channel must be used in a complementary way to form a whole. Your SMS messages must come to support your e-mails, to be in line with your social media publications and to be at the image of your website, for example.
How do you know if what you’re doing has had the desired impact? How do we know what works to repeat in our future communications? The answer is simple: Measure. Measure your results, compare it with previous results and note what works best. This will allow you to take a continuous improvement approach and you will simply be better at each sending.
With these 11 expert tips, you’ll be well on your way to starting your first SMS marketing campaign. With the Dialog Insight platform, you’ll be able to set up these elements easily and efficiently. If you want to go a little further and want to talk to one of our experts, contact us, it will be our pleasure to guide you!