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5 Tips for Starting Your First SMS Campaign

Posted by Sophorn Chhay on Dec 14, 2015

7945249_s.jpgCopyright: anterovium / 123RF Stock Photo
Ready, set, text! Creating and executing an SMS campaign is just that simple, right?

If you’ve done your research, you’ll know that it only seems easy, especially when you’re talking about something exciting to you and potentially exciting to customers.

There are a lot of questions to start with: who gets your message? How many messages do you send out? How specific or general should you be? Is anyone reading it? What happens if no one likes it? What happens if everyone likes it?

Some of these anxieties will diminish as you launch more campaigns and start seeing results. Then you can get into different concerns as you begin experimenting with different variables, such as different headlines, different messages and different links. But that’s all part of the fun, especially if you keep your focus on growing your audience and driving sales.

But there are still some rules and recommendations that people should consider when launching new campaigns.

  • Know the rules. In the SMS marketing industry, there are rules and there are also general guidelines/helpful suggestions. The latter ones are usually based on successes that others have seen. Your results may vary, and you can take the advice with a grain of salt – or follow what they’ve done and see how it works. But the former ones are requirements about who should receive your messages and what kind of legal information must be included. Learn what’s required from the Wireless Association/CTIA, the Mobile Marketing Association, and the Federal Communications Commission – essentially, you must receive approval/opt-in before sending them anyone a commercial message, or face all sorts of penalties, from fines to being blacklisted by your Internet service provider.

  • Create a publishing schedule. Texts work well for marketing purposes because recipients often look at new messages right when they arrive, and also respond quickly to any suggested action such as clicking. This is why smart marketers prefer to use them in comparison to emails, which have a lower opening rate and also may take recipients hours to open. But you also face the risk of people getting tired of being interrupted, and you don’t want to overstay your welcome with too many contacts that may not really be that urgent. For your “everyone” audience you may only want to contact them once or twice a week, but for sub-sets, they may be more interested in texts more often.

  • Determine what offers to include. “Saying hi” is certainly friendly, and may work well on your social media channels. But it’s a good bet that most people didn’t sign up for your texts just to get on your Christmas card list or who just want to chat. Though there are some people who outright love your company and will do anything to help spread the word and show their goodwill (and if there aren’t any, work on that) but most people may be more interested in what they can get by signing up for your texts. So a message like “save big this weekend” or even more specific “VIP Club members can get 2-for-1 deals” will be more appetizing. Figure out what to put on sale and how to let them know.

  • Get the word out besides texting. Your texting audience may not grow much organically unless more and more people know how/where to sign up. So you ultimately need to create a campaign about your SMS campaign. This can include email newsletters telling people that you’re starting text outreach and inviting them to sign up; spreading the news on Facebook/Twitter and other social media channels; links on your site inviting people to subscribe; and in-person opportunities to join the text mailing list – perhaps a booth at a trade show or event, or an offer at a retail establishment. All of these can drive people to subscribe, possibly with different incentives appropriate to the different audiences – “sign up today to get info on our company plus regular great deals!”

  •  Memorable messages. Whether this is your first SMS campaign or you’re a pro, you need to find that perfect balance between identification, entertainment, information and encouragement for your recipients to take action – usually a click to a landing page. And do it all in 160 characters or less – preferably less. It definitely takes practice and editing to be as brief as possible – but you also don’t have to say it all: just get people excited to know more. Sometimes it can be as simple as “Hi, ___ from _____! We’re excited about offering some deals you’ll love this weekend. Take a peek!”

There are plenty of other suggestions for strong SMS campaigns, but sometimes the best strategy is just to start, see what happens, and adjust as needed (while following the rules, of course). For more advice, visit Trumpia.com.


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