A guest post by Henry Cazalet of Text Marketer.
Mobiles enable direct communication between businesses and their intended audience. However, because it's so easy to set up SMS gateways and send out text messages to target audiences without thinking them through, businesses often get mobile campaigns horribly wrong.
To ensure your business SMS campaigns don’t end up doing more damage than good, make sure you follow these simple guidelines.
1. Consider your relationship with customers
The type of message that you send your customers depends on what type of relationship you have with them. Are they customers who have used you once or twice, or loyal customers who have purchased from you time and time again? Have these customers ever used your product or service?
To target customers effectively, you first need to categorize them in your SMS mailing lists. This will enable you to tailor your campaigns and ensure that customers receive messages that reflect their relationship with your business. So, if someone has returned a faulty product or complained about your service, any communications should adopt an apologetic tone---not a generic promoting one. Your customers will have differing relationships with your business, so your messages must be targeted to their various needs.
2. Offer a choice to opt out
Businesses should not spam their contacts. Also, businesses must allow their target audience to easily and quickly opt out of any campaign. Otherwise, further texts could easily turn into spam, meaning your marketing efforts could attract more complaints than conversions. Make sure your SMS marketing complies with legislative guidelines and gives your recipients the option to opt out at any time.
3. Know when the time is right
Don’t just ping out your messages at any time of the day. Instead, be sensitive to your customers’ lives. For example, sending customers a message about a promotion or offer during the day, when they may be busy, will make your customers ignore, delete, or fail to fully understand your message. It’s more effective to send a text message when they are less likely to be busy.
The beauty of business SMS marketing is that the message you send can be instantaneous. So, if someone has made a purchase at your store or online, send the customer a quick thanks and information on your returns policy. Or you could offer a discount on the next purchase and include a unique code within the message.
4. Be personal and friendly
According to research, 95% of all SMS messages are read by the recipient, making this an extremely effective channel. The more personal and friendly you can be, the better and more natural your text will read.
For example, when you receive mail that is addressed to a “home owner,” it’ll most likely go straight into the bin. Don’t let your text message run into the same problem. Address your customers personally, and give customers the details about exactly who is sending the message. Here's an example: “Hi, John. We have dispatched your recent order with us. It will be with you within five working days. Thanks for shopping with [Name]. We look forward to hearing from you again soon. [Contact details].”
5. Send non-sales messages
Business SMS campaigns don’t have to always be related to selling or marketing offers and promotions. Texts also are a great way for businesses to keep customers and staff up to date with developments, such as the status of a customer’s order or the latest company information. For example, if your store is closed due to adverse weather conditions, inform your customers about that fact in a text and include the link to your online store.
Consider the types of messages that you’re sending your audience. And remember: Relying too heavily on sales messages may put customers off and cause them to opt out of any future campaigns. Text wisely.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Businesswoman Texting)
Henry Cazalet is a director at Text Marketer, a leading SMS marketing agency.