SMS marketing, or the act of sending text messages to your customers who have signed up to receive them, can be a very effective tool for increasing sales, building brand loyalty, and broadening your customer base in this age of increasingly mobile-oriented consumers. But if your texts go unopened, it will be a waste of time and money. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your SMS marketing.
- Tailor Your Texts to Your Audience
SMS marketing is rarely “one size fits all.” You should be segmenting your customer phone number list into similar populations and targeting your texts to specific groups of customers. By making sure that your customers get messages that are relevant to them, you’re less likely to be ignored. Demographics and purchase history are two good ways to segment your audience, to help you determine which products and services are most likely to appeal to which customers.
- Timing is Everything
By determining the optimum time to send a particular message, you will get much better results. For instance, if you’re offering a lunch special, you might send out that text maybe an hour before lunch time, just when people are starting to get hungry. And by collecting customer business cards, you can segment your population into those who work nearby, and target them with your lunch special during the week. On the weekend, you might send a text about a Sunday brunch offer to those who live nearby instead.
- Make it a Limited Time Offer
Be sure to put a time limit on your offers. Nothing incentivizes customers better than thinking they’re getting in on a special, this-hour-only deal. These types of specials are a reward for signing up to receive your texts in the first place.
- Keep it Simple, Sherlock
This is not hard to do, since most carriers limit you to 160 characters, but the quicker you get to the point the better. Put the most tantalizing part up front, since that’s what your customers will see before they open it. Rather than saying something like “Come in to Harry’s Hair between 10 am and 2 pm for 30% off blowouts,” switch it around to “Get 30% off blowouts between 10 am and 2 pm at Harry’s Hair.” This way, the customer sees “Get 30% off blowouts” at the front of the sentence, and if they’re interested they will open the text to see the rest.
And if your text includes a link, be sure and shorten it with a URL shortening service like Bit.ly or Goo.gl, both to save space and reduce unsightly gobbled-gook.
- Don’t Spam Your Customers
How many texts is too many? It really depends on how good they are. If you’re offering lots of really great deals, your customers probably won’t mind getting a few extra texts. But if your special offers aren’t really all that special, you might not want to send more than one text a day. If you’re hosting an event, you might send out a text to announce it, and then a follow-up the day before as a reminder. If the event is more than a few weeks out, a weekly text to build up some excitement around it is also a good idea. If at any time you start to get customers opting out of your service, you know you’re doing something wrong. Stop sending out texts and take a good hard look at your program.
SMS marketing relies a lot on experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try different things. Experiment to find the optimum times for your messages as well as the best content. The greatest results can be had by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and envisioning what kind of texts you would like to get and when.