Over the years, we stumbled upon many different SMS campaigns. While many of them were great, some needed improvement or a complete makeover.
To help you understand the differences, which can be very subtle sometimes, we broke down the examples we found into three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It can be subjective, but we separated them based on how valuable we think they are to their recipients.
We used real-world examples, but we changed some of the details so that the senders remained anonymous. The core copy remains intact. Enjoy!
Good doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re perfect. Many good SMS campaigns could still use some improvements.
If that’s the case, what makes them different from the bad?
We differentiate the two categories by how much value they can provide to the people that receive them. Good SMS campaigns spark interest, joy, and action more times than not.
Let’s take a look at the first example:
The sender more or less hits a home run on this SMS marketing campaign. They offered an exclusive deal that their mobile subscribers can take advantage of before the promotion goes public, making their recipients feel valued. Here’s what they did well:
Identified themselves immediately
Had an opt-out mechanism
Had a clear call-to-action
Spaced out their content well for ease of reading
We would, however, shorten the copy. This campaign is 327 characters long and requires three text messages per customer. They can reduce the length so that it fits into two text messages, helping them save money and making it easier for customers to read.
Below, we reduced it to 272 characters, and it now fits nicely into two SMS messages.
As a valued customer, get early access to our June 40-50% off store wide sale for frames & sunglasses between May 15-30th 2019, 2 weeks before it goes public.
Call 012345678 or click TapTh.is/link to book an eye test today.
Opt out reply STOP”
Just like the Optical 101 example, Rough Dirt almost hits a home run. Their 10% discount may or may not be a great offer (only their subscribers would know), but we find it interesting because they pair it with #throwbackthursday, a popular internet trend.
They can also shorten their copy for brevity. Here, we trimmed it down from 284 characters to 232:
“Happy Throwback Thursday!
For #throwbackthursday, we’re throwing BACK the price of our Rough Dirt tickets.
Use code THROWBACK10 to get 10% off your ticket purchase. Only valid for 24 hours!
Sign up: TapTh.is/link
Opt out reply STOP”
If good SMS campaigns spark interest, joy, and action, what do the bad ones do? We think it makes people feel indifferent. It doesn’t add value nor does it take it away.
The mood of this SMS campaign is much different from the ones above. It has some of the elements of a good SMS campaign, but it’s not exciting. Here’s why:
Too many abbreviated words and acronyms
Unclear prize and promotion
We recommend a campaign that looks more like this (160 characters):
“Virtual Football League season starts on June 10th!
Win prizes including $90 & huge bragging rights.
For details and to register: TapTh.is/link
Opt out reply STOP”
This SMS marketing campaign was very close, yet really far. It lacks an opt-out, which is very important to remain spam compliant for these types of campaigns. We had no choice but to put it into the bad category even though the rest of it is good.
SMS campaigns usually end up in the ugly category when there’s a clear lack of effort or care. They end up frustrating the people who receive them.
The sender probably sent this as an email and then decided to use their send SMS option through a CRM. Although it alerted people about the cancelled games, it’s not a joy to read. Aside from the poor spacing in the message, the opt-out is also very complicated.
Does this SMS campaign look legitimate? We can’t tell. If we have to ask, it’s probably not a good thing. We recommend senders to use a greeting like ‘Hey’ or ‘Hi’ if a first name follows. Also, the choice of words and improper spacing shows a lack of care and makes the offer seem too good to be true.
At the end of the day, you must ask whether or not your SMS campaign adds value to your recipients. If you’re unsure, get in touch with us before you send it.
In the meantime, make sure to:
Identify who you are either in the Sender ID or within the SMS copy
Have an easy opt-out
Have a clear call to action
Keep the copy concise
Use a tracked link whenever possible to help you shorten your message and track your click-through rates
Add exclusivity or urgency. For example, use words or phrases like “Limited Time”. “Limited Quantity”, “Available for 24 hours only”, “Valid now until [Date]”, “Free”, “Sale”, “Last Chance”.