SMS Best Practices: All you need to run a killer SMS campaign
There’s no doubt you’re already using SMS as part of your marketing strategy…right? If not, you really need to jump on this marketing tool, which has an average 98% open rate and 11% click rate.
However, before you send, get up to speed on how to make your efforts more effective. When designing your SMS campaign, consider these seven best practices for peak results.
1. Relationships rule
The quality of the relationship you or your business has with your customer is everything. Asking anything of your audience requires rapport – you can’t go from ‘hello’ to ‘how about this discount’ in one message.
Establish a reliable relationship with your recipients – they should know why you’re contacting them. These connections may be either a return customer who’s given you permission to text or a potential customer, curious about your products or services.
When developing a new customer relationship, remember – always be a helpful solution to their problem, rather than a salesperson trying to hit their targets. Start by offering educational resources or asking appropriate questions to gauge what they’re looking for and their challenges. This boosts rapport and allows you to craft highly personalised messages to your customers.
2. Personalisation is pivotal
You know the joy you feel when you get a letter via snail mail? SMS is no different – a text with your customer’s name packs more punch than one addressed to ‘Jeans Fan’ or ‘Cheese Lover.’
Personalising your marketing campaigns has a positive effect on customer experience and your bottom line. In an Accenture study of 8,000 participants, 91% said they’re more likely to do business with a brand that recognises, remembers, and provides relevant offers and recommendations. Beyond that, a staggering 83% of them are prepared to provide their data to make these personalised experiences possible. Learning how to leverage personalisation and humanise the digital experience is an ever-evolving pursuit.
At Burst SMS, we’ve seen firsthand the importance of personalisation. When The National Breast Cancer Foundation was struggling to capture their fundraisers’ attention and nurture relationships at scale, they turned to Conversr, powered by Burst SMS. Using automated personalised SMS conversations, they achieved a 78% engagement rate and a 58% increase in donations for a fundraising campaign.
Keep in mind – text messages are generally short and sweet, so make them easy for recipients to digest and respond to. Combined with an open rate of 98%, SMS is the perfect medium to continue developing your customer relationships.
3. What and when
Do you know what your customer wants and when they’re best poised to receive it? There’s no room for grey areas in a text; your recipient should always know what action you want them to take. It’s not the medium to be too clever or unclear – a call to action paired with a one-off deal or request for a response is perfect.
Loyal customers love specials. Take the beauty industry, for example – regulars are always on the lookout for deals like ‘20% off manicures and pedicures if you book in the next 48 hours.’
Don’t underestimate timing. Be mindful of daily life activities; if you send your SMS at dinnertime, it won’t be well received. Know your market: send the right offer at the right time.
Using keywords to segment your lists is another way to get more conversions, a higher CTR, and fewer unsubscribes. Common ways to divide your database are demographics, location, sales history and even VIPS: your most loyal customers. Make sure you use the correct custom field for your data; give big-spending customers better offers or for appointments – use custom dates and times. It’s a continuous process; make sure you track each campaign so you can refine your segments.
4. Numbers matter
Virtual numbers and shortcodes are unbeatable for instilling trust, protecting your brand, and leveraging valuable customer data. A shared virtual mobile number is your free default option, however, a dedicated virtual mobile number offers consistency and exclusivity, and you can also receive SMS replies.
You also have the option to use shortcodes. They are very similar to dedicated numbers but will cost you more and range between 4 to 6 digits. Their length depends on the country’s delivery policies and general availability. Large enterprises and organisations use them for promotions, voting, and information services.
Burst SMS does not offer shortcodes in Australia, but you can enquire with your local carrier to get one.
Here’s a more in-depth explanation of your virtual mobile number options.
The Kollel Menachem Lubavitch campaign raised an incredible $30,000 in just 30mins using a virtual number with the keyword ‘TORAH.’ Simplified transactions allowed direct donations via SMS, and a digital thermometer rose in response to each gift. Instant updates and ease of contribution made the process completely seamless.
5. Be spam compliant
There’s nothing worse than getting SMS messages you don’t care about. Be transparent – make it easy for your customer to opt-out of receiving your marketing messages. ‘Reply ‘STOP’ to unsubscribe’ is all you need to include. This one small sentence builds trust, and besides, it’s against spam laws to leave it out.
Setting-up and sending is the easy part; getting to the heart of how your customers want to hear from you is what will determine the success of your campaign. Win customers over by tailoring a thoroughly considered message – if you’d be annoyed to receive it, so will your recipient.
6. Write great copy
Without refined, creative copy – your text message adds more noise to the digital overload. Think carefully about who you’re writing to and the best language and tone to use. Don’t be afraid to use the element of surprise and have a bit of fun – boring messages make for bored readers.
As an example of imaginative copy that inspires, The Bible Society’s donation campaign employed epic storytelling to share the Easter story. In a sequence of messages, combining text, imagery, and video, Custom Sender IDs were used over seven days and three time zones so subscribers could identify each disciple. The campaign converted 2,000 leads, and 61% of the 3,281 new leads signed up to receive more messages.
7. Use tracked URLs and simplify reporting
It’s important to monitor the results of your SMS marketing campaigns. Using key metrics like CTR, delivery, reply, unsubscribe, conversion rates, and monitoring how your list grows over time are great places to start. Set baseline goals for your SMS marketing metrics, then compare campaigns to find out what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention to how the topic, call-to-action, timing and offers can each help make your next campaign better.
Include links in your SMS to ultimately increase traffic to your website. A trackable link allows you to monitor the success of each campaign. You can get granular about what makes a message more engaging and who’s interacting with it, from the timing to the way you word it.
Reporting is a great way to see what’s working. For example, if you’re running multiple monthly SMS campaigns, each pointing your prospects to your website, you need to keep track of how each campaign performs in terms of conversion and website traffic.
For an intuitive data visualisation tool, try creating a Google Data Studio dashboard to easily monitor your SMS campaign metrics. Check out our three-part series on how to easily build one: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. It’s highly effective, and you don’t have to be a data scientist to use it.
Proven framework that works
Apply these seven best practices to your SMS campaigns with our feature-savvy platform. We’ve done all the groundwork, so all you have to do is create a great campaign, then press ‘send.’