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Best Practices for SMS Marketing

Getting the most out of your SMS marketing campaigns isn’t as hard as you might think. They are just as easy to set up and deliver results as any other campaign you run on other channels.

However, unlike many other interruptive marketing campaigns, SMS marketing has an edge. In a recent survey of 6,000 consumers, 85% wanted to receive texts from brands. So there is no doubt your customers would be receptive to hearing from you.

According to G2’s SMS marketing statistics, customers are 4.5% more likely to respond to your texts than your emails. They are also constantly on the move, so sending messages directly to their mobile device means they are more likely to see it.

But just because they see it doesn’t mean they’ll open it. Your text messages need to draw them in. And there are some things you should always consider to make sure of that.

SMS Marketing Best Practices

Data quality

Every campaign that you decide to run should be based on the customer data that you have collected. It’s the starting point of pretty much every campaign. Going in blind and producing batch and blast messages won’t get you results.

Your customers expect you to communicate with them on a personal level, regardless of what channel you use. If they don’t get a personalised experience from you then they will go elsewhere.

Although SMS marketing campaigns have an open rate of over 90%, you still need to make the effort to engage them personally. Otherwise your engagement rate will plummet.

Basic personalisation will only get you so far. Things like using a customer’s name will lead to a 9% increase in open rates. But that isn’t enough anymore. You need to introduce data that shows your deep understanding of the customer and what they are interested in. Knowledge of buying habits, previous purchases, and demographics can help you create a more personalised campaign which will return much better results.

Consistent personalisation makes shopping with you a more positive experience for the customer overall. And a happy customer often leads to a returning customer. Retention rates can increase by 39% when personalisation is carried out consistently. So using data to personalise your SMS campaigns is well worth your concentration.

Data segmentation

Most marketers know that the most important personalisation for promotional messaging is done through audience segmentation. Segmenting your audience for SMS campaigns is as easy as doing it for any other channel.

This is why batch and blast campaigns are a thing of the past. They simply don’t work the same way that personalised communication does.

Using data to create groups of customers is the way to go. Segmenting your customers and communicating with them personally will increase your engagement rates.

If you want to drive better results, set up your campaigns based on criteria such as demographic, geographic location, and behaviour.

Set clear objectives

Customers won’t click on your message if your SMS campaign isn’t relevant to them. Generic messaging won’t appeal to a lot of your customer base and will underperform. This makes it far more difficult to drive meaningful customer engagement.

The purpose and content of your campaign should relate to the segment you are targeting. Examining your customer data will make this task easier for you.

For example, an abandoned cart campaign has a very defined objective. That is to re-engage a user who had put something in their basket but left your site without completing the purchase. Everything you include in this message should remind them of what they’re missing out on.

Remember, if you don’t ask your customers to do anything in your messages, then they won’t. Your texts should nudge the customer towards completing an action. Essentially, there should be something for them to do with it: a clear call to action.

Be consistent 

One thing that some businesses struggle to do is to communicate with their customers on a consistent basis. The reasoning behind it is sound; to avoid annoying or spamming customers.

But often they go too far the other way and don’t send enough messages. Eventually, it will get to the stage where your SMS marketing appears random, and even potentially unwelcome.

Inconsistent messaging will also lead to customers forgetting about you. This is the last thing you need when competition is fierce and the pace of communication is so fast.

Setting up your SMS marketing campaigns to include consistent communication means that you will have stronger interactions with your customers.

Be responsive

By sending an SMS, your message will be sent and received instantly. Consumers engage with SMS faster than any other communication channel out there. In fact, 20% of people open a text within one minute of receiving them.

Customers should have the option to respond to your communications, beyond the ability to opt out. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are able to respond to them in good time with relevant and helpful information.

Personalise messages

SMS marketing is unique because you can send out mass campaigns but still give it that one-to-one feel.

There’s a common misconception that SMS can’t be heavily personalised. But that’s just not true. It’s possible to deliver a high level of personalisation through SMS marketing.

It’s just as easy to include personalisation in SMS as it is for notifications, emails, and so on. Successful SMS marketing campaigns are ones that are personalised. Otherwise, they’ll just feel like another useless message to the customer. Those are the types that get ignored.

Add value

Any campaign you run, regardless of the channel, should always include a value proposition for the recipient. If there’s nothing for your customer to get out of the communication you send them, then it’s pointless to send it in the first place.

Sending vague campaigns won’t yield results. Instead, you should send messages that have substance to them. Discounts, sales, event alerts, and other offers where you can create a sense of urgency often make people take action. So you should consider using these in your campaigns to drive results.

Remember time zones

It’s worth remembering that if you have a global audience, factoring different time zones into your SMS marketing is a good idea. This is something that you would do at the segmentation level. 

For example in the US, you might have a segment of customers on the east coast, and another on the west coast. If you’re sending out a particular campaign, you would need to send them out at different times for these locations.

If you don’t take time zones into account, customers will start getting texts in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Your messages would then likely be ignored, and potentially annoy your customers.

Make opting out easy

Unfortunately, some customers won’t love your texts as much as others. They will eventually want to stop receiving them. It’s important that you keep everyone happy with your brand, even if that does mean you lose some along the way.

You should make it clear that customers have the option to opt-out and stop receiving your texts.

This can be done very simply in your messages. Including something like “Text STOP to stop receiving messages” at the bottom of your texts is the most common way to do this. This establishes trust in your brand and makes you look good in the eyes of the consumer.

Test & Go

No matter how personalised your campaigns are or how confident you are of your offering, customers will surprise you.

Where possible, split test your campaigns so you can get a more accurate idea of what works for your customers.

Split testing (also referred to as a/b testing) helps you determine which messaging and products work best. Keep testing throughout your SMS marketing campaigns as buying habits change. Certain messaging may also become less effective over time so testing helps to keep customers engaged.

If you’re not split testing your SMS marketing campaigns, then now is the time to start.

Once you start to introduce these best practices into your SMS campaigns you should start seeing results. Your click through and engagement rate will certainly begin to thank you for it.

To learn more about SMS marketing and how it can help grow your business and retain customers, get in touch with us today to book a demo.

Click to download our guide to increasing eCommerce conversions and retention.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.

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