Make Your SMS Campaign Stand Out with These 4 Tips

schedule 01 Jul 2016

 

by Kevin Lee | Head of SME Sales, Enterprise Maxis

 

SMS can be among your most potent marketing tools—if you do it well. Here’s four ways to do it well.

What do Nasi Lemak and emojis have in common? Malaysians consume or use more of both than any other nation in the world! Malaysia Boleh! (We also use twice as many sleepy emojis than the rest of the world.)

But more seriously: Here’s an important marketing fact: Malaysians love their mobile phones and texting, which makes it a great medium for your brand to use to interact with customers.

SMS is among the best ways to reach out to customers. Did you know, for instance, that text messages have an open rate of 98 percent? How does that compare to email? Email’s open rate is only about 17 percent, according to a MailChimp report.

Here are two other interesting statistics: 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes and SMS has eight-times higher engagement rates than email.

While SMS is a great way to reach your customers, not all SMS marketing campaigns are created equal. Some marketers do it better than others. If you’re just starting out, or have only done a few rounds of SMS marketing, here are some secrets from the experts.

 

Be Picky, Be Very Picky

SMS marketing is superior to some other forms of marketing (take email for instance), because it is so personal. By being allowed to reach into a customer’s most private gadget, you are almost assured that your message will get read.

There’s a flip side to that access: You need to be more respectful of what, when, and how often you send out an SMS to customers.

Let’s start with ‘what’. Not every SMS your company sends out needs to be a promotion. The personal nature of the medium makes it perfect for creating deeper relationships with customers.

You could, for instance, use SMS to take polls of hot-topic issues of the day. That could serve multiple purposes: You could be seen as a thought leader in the space; or it could make your customers feel that you value them for their opinions, and not just their wallets. It could serve as a dipstick for a new release; the possibilities are endless.

Here’s what’s important: Be very picky about what you send customers using SMS.

 

Look for Efficient SMS Solutions

There are plenty of companies offering plenty of tools to help you blast out SMS. The better ones offer you ways to make your marketing team more efficient.

Look for SMS marketing solutions that offer you ready-made interactive campaign templates—that include quizzes, surveys, feedback forms—and don’t require third-party development. Or solutions that integrate directly with Microsoft Office, so you can send and receive SMS straight from your laptop or PC.

It’s also important to choose SMS solutions that are intuitive and user-friendly (because you don’t want to have to cough up money for additional training), and that allow you to send SMS in English, Malay and Chinese characters.

Choosing the right SMS solution is important because it has a significant impact on the quality and the quantity of the SMS you send your customers.

Be Mindful of Your Timing

In the rush of the everyday, it’s easy to overlook the time at which you send out SMS. Say you’ve spent the second half of your day creating your SMS message, tweaking it, and then passing it through multiple stakeholders. You’ve got it cleared and now, it’s time to send it out.

But it’s past 8:00 pm.

“So what?”, you think. We’ve send out emails at that time, too.

That’s where you’re mistaken. SMS campaigns involve a customer’s phone—among the most personal type of gadget people own. It’s important that your brand respects their privacy.

Avoid sending out SMS between 8:00 PM and 10:00 AM. Also, do remember that some of your customers might not share your time zone. Good SMS solutions will allow you to reach out to specific portions of your database of customers at different times.

Some research points out that Monday is the worst day to send out marketing SMS. And that more than five SMS a month is considered excessive. But this really depends on the type of business you are in.

Being mindful of your timing can also work in your favor--if you are willing to go the extra mile. The next Liga Perdana Malaysia match? Create a promotion around it and market it using SMS. It’ll make your marketing so much more relevant and useful to customers—which will increase their loyalty to your brand.

 

Personalize, Keep it Short, and Simple

One of the reasons SMS has a better open rate than email is because consumers instinctively know it will only take them a few seconds to read a text.

On average, text messages are read in under five seconds. So keep your texts short and to the point.

While the length of an SMS will force you to keep your message short, how simple you make it for customers is entirely in your hand. And that’s where plenty of marketers fumble.

We’ve all seen examples of this during the Year-End Sale. You get an SMS that reads something like: RM0. Send “Lucky Me” to 3332X and get a free voucher worth RM 20!

What do you think most people texted? Lucky Me—with the quotation marks.

See how easy it is to make a simple SMS complicated?

SMS is among the last safe bastions where marketers and customers can gather. Let’s stick with these simple rules to keep this going!

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