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Marketing / Business marketing

Is SMS marketing the missing piece in your business marketing puzzle?

Everyone looks at their text messages, which makes SMS marketing especially effective. So why aren’t you using it? Here are some tips to get your SMS marketing campaigns started.

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Mobile phone marketing is one of the easiest and most effective methods you can add into your marketing mix, especially if you already collect your customer’s contact details.

As of December 2011, 88 per cent of the Australian population (aged 14 and over) owned a mobile phone, with 95 per cent of a key demographic, 25-34 year olds, owning a mobile phone. (Roy Morgan)

When you couple this information with SMS open rates of close to 100 per cent (Keith Brown and Budde), SMS marketing presents a great low-cost marketing opportunity for small and solo businesses.

SMS marketing is highly effective sales strategy when used for:

"You only have 160 characters, so make sure that your message achieves what it needs to in a concise way."

  • Promoting sales, specials or discounts
  • Reminders for events or appointments
  • Competitions and voting
  • Time-sensitive promotions

If you’ve shied away from SMS marketing in the past because you are worried about annoying your customers or best practices, I have some good news – the rules and best practices for SMS are very similar to other forms of direct marketing.

Basically, there are three key things you need to take into consideration.

1. Understand your legal requirements

SMS marketing is governed by the Australian Spam Act 2003. This means you must meet the following three key requirements:

  • Consent – make sure you have consent prior to contacting the recipient. One way to gain consent is with a tick box at the bottom of your web form that says something like “I agree to receive promotional SMS messages from time to time.”
  • Identify – include accurate information to identify yourself or your organisation as the sender of the message. To do this, simply include the name of your business in each SMS.
  • Unsubscribe – make sure your SMS includes instructions on how to unsubscribe. Common practice is to say “SMS ‘stop’ to opt out.”

Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.

2. Time your SMSs carefully

No one likes getting a telemarketing call over dinner and similarly no one likes getting an SMS at 3am. So get your timing right.

Think about your customer’s routines – when are they at work, at home, shopping, busy or asleep? It really is common sense.

For example, sending me an SMS about a lunch special near my work at 11:30am on a weekday is a sure winner. On the other hand, waking me from my Saturday sleep-in at 6:30am with a shoe sale SMS a very bad idea.

3. Keep it simple

Learn the art of keeping your messages concise. SMS is not the place to start a conversation. You only have 160 characters, so make sure that your message achieves what it needs to in a concise way. Your SMS should include a maximum of four elements:

  1. What you want them to do
  2. Why they should do it (value)
  3. How they can do it
  4. How to unsubscribe

Here are some examples:

  • Come in and get 40 per cent off all shoes at ‘Shoe Lover’ tonight only. Offer valid all stores. SMS ‘stop’ to opt out.
  • Want a free frozen yogurt from Berry Me? Reply to this SMS with the word ‘yummy’ and we’ll send you a special code. SMS ‘stop’ to opt out.

Do you have any questions or reservations about using SMS marketing? Comment below or head over to the Flying Solo Forums.

Kristin Huddleston

is a marketing ‘jack of all trades’ with a deep understanding of online marketing, particularly email, social and sms marketing.

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