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Ten Best Practices for Marketing with SMS and Mobile Studio

Dawn McKitty | May 19, 2021 

When you send a customer an email, they might see it in a day or two, but they may not open it. It’s also possible they might not even see it because it gets filtered to a folder other than their main inbox. However, if you send your customer an SMS message, they’ll probably see it in minutes. 

SMS (standing for “short message service”) is the method businesses use to send text messages to customers. The average time it takes someone to respond to a text message is 90 seconds, and SMS messages have a 98% open rate. Mobile phone coupons also get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons. These are all reasons why businesses need a solid SMS marketing strategy. 

To form a marketing plan including SMS, you should understand the best practices for using it. Here’s a list of the ten best practices for marketing with SMS.

1. Use SMS marketing software tools. 

Obviously, you’re not going to message dozens to hundreds of customers using your personal mobile phone. A great SMS marketing tool like Salesforce Mobile Studio will allow you to text all your customers at once, only groups of customers, or send specific messages to certain customers that are triggered by their behaviors, such as messages to confirm a purchase that was just made. Most importantly, with a tool like Mobile Studio, you can track your results to see how many people viewed the message and whether or not they responded. 

2. Obtain consent and allow people to opt out.

Companies must get permission from customers before sending them text messages. To do this, you can create an opt-in message through email, your website, or during the purchaser checkout process. When they opt in, it’s important to let people know what types of messages you’ll be sending and how often you’ll be sending them. The clearer you are, the better your chances of gaining your customer’s trust and avoiding miscommunication. Also, every time you send a message, remind customers of how they can opt out, for example, replying with “STOP” if they no longer want to receive texts. 

3. Personalize your texts.

Your customers are more likely to pay attention and respond to messages that are specifically for them. You can address them by name, send offers based on their location, or refer to their recent activity or purchases, such as sending abandoned cart messages or shipping updates. 

4. Keep messages short.

If you want your message to be read, you need to keep it short. With most SMS tools, you have a limit of 160 characters. Start off with a few words that will grab the reader’s attention and gain their interest so they’ll keep reading, and make sure to end by providing a CTA, telling them where to go or how to take action. 

5. Think about timing. 

You probably don’t want to set off a customer’s message alert at 2:00 a.m. waking them from a restful sleep and annoying them when they realize the alert isn’t an emergency. However, if you’re Krispy Kreme and it’s 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday night, you might want to text your college-aged crowd to let them know the nearest location just turned on its “Hot now” sign. (Had this technology been available when I was in college, I would have spent SO much more money on donuts!) What we’re saying is … know your audience and schedule your messages during times they’ll best receive them. 

6. Make sure you’re responsive.

If you’re going to allow people to text you back, make sure you set up a system for them to get a quick response. You can set up auto-responder messages directing customers to the information they need, like an FAQs page or a section on your website. However, if they’ll need help from Customer Service, an autoresponse can let them know how to contact Customer Service. If you make sure you’re texting people during times when customer service is open, that’ll help make people feel like you’re addressing needs quickly.

7. Don’t forget to include a CTA.

If you want your customers to do something, it’s important to ask them. If you want them to go to your website, provide a link. If you want them to take advantage of a discount, tell them what code to use. If you want them to get more interested in a product, provide a video or link to a video of the product being used in a cool way. Every CTA helps lead them along the buyer’s journey.

8. Choose the right text frequency and be consistent.

Send too many marketing messages, and customers will be annoyed. Don’t send enough and customers may forget about you, causing you to miss out on opportunities. Customers respond well to consistent messaging that doesn’t feel intrusive or “spammy.” The best practice is to send two to four texts a month.

9. Consider adding exclusivity.

If someone has signed up for texts, they’re interested in reaping the rewards of being on your list. So, avoid recycling content you’re already posting to social media channels or offering on your website. People will wonder if there’s any reason to be on your SMS list. Plus, their mobile phone is the most personal way you can reach your customers, so it’s good to reward their trust in you by providing them something exclusive they won’t receive anywhere else. Flash sales and promotions are the biggest reason customers will opt in to business texts, so why not give your SMS list first dibs on the latest promos?

10. Consider Using SMS as part of Omni-Channel Journeys

Salesforce’s Journey Builder allows you to leverage multiple marketing channels as part of one automated lifecycle campaign, like onboarding or reengagement. Using SMS as part of your customer Journeys can lead to increased engagement and a more personalized experience. For example, you may route certain communications through SMS versus another channel based on subscriber communication preferences (either implicit or explicit). Or, you may route to SMS for customers who opt out of or are unengaged on other channels.

Salesforce Mobile Studio is equipped with the right SMS tools to help you put all of these practices into place. We Engagers at ListEngage can show you how and even program alerts and triggers for you. Contact us to learn more about how we create SMS campaigns for growing businesses. 

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Dawn McKitty | Solutions Architect

Dawn is a 3x certified Solutions Architect who serves as the subject matter expert for SMS marketing at ListEngage. She has successfully helped many clients get into the mobile channel by enabling their short code provisioning process, training them in the use of the Salesforce MobileConnect platform and providing implementation strategy for SMS messaging solutions in omni-channel journeys. Dawn has worked with multiple clients in assorted categories such as healthcare, financial, CPG, and hospitality. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and has previously worked as an Implementation Engineer in the telecommunications field. With Dawn’s technical background and nine years of consulting in the Salesforce ecosystem, she brings a wealth of mobile and digital marketing experience to her projects.