The other day I received a text message promising me ten days of deals. All I had to do was reply “DEALS” to the shortcode each day and they would send me a coupon for their service (and I apologise for being vague, but I don’t want to call anyone out). This was great I thought, because my kids had been asking about the company for a while. A deal was just what I needed to get me to let my kids have their way.
When I got the message I wasn’t in a position to reply right away, but I was able to glance at it and see what the message was. I’d gotten these SMS marketing messages before so I knew what it was without reading the whole thing. That’s one of the beauties of SMS marketing – because of the limited character count available you have to keep it simple and understandable.
I was talking with my son later on and I remembered the text. So I excitedly told him we could do the activity he wanted because we were going to get a coupon for it. He became excited too as I went to reply to the message on my phone. I typed in “Deals”. I’m too lazy to capitalise everything. And it usually doesn’t matter. But I didn’t get an immediate response like I usually do. I decided to put my phone away as it was time for my son and I to get back into the car. But on the way home I said we’d stop and use the coupon. I fully expected it to be delivered by the time we got there.
But it never was.
Of course I’d already told my son we could go there, so we did – at full price (yes I could have argued to get the discount once we arrived but decided it wasn’t worth the effort or the time). When we got home I looked at my phone and thought perhaps capitalisation does matter. But that would be silly.
So the next day was another chance for a deal. This time I replied “DEALS”, all caps. And there in the blink of an eye was the coupon. Though we weren’t going to go again, I needed to know if it capitalisation mattered. So the next day I replied again, this time with “Deals”. And voila, there was another coupon fast as can be.
So capitalisation doesn’t matter. Which is good because who can expect someone to use all caps, all the time, when they’re texting? People don’t do that, unless they are very, very mad. So what happened then?
I guess my first message got lost along the way somewhere. I’ll never know if it was the mobile network or if there was some technical issue within the company that prevented a response. But if it was the latter, I would expect something from the company in the form of a bonus coupon offered to everyone since they weren’t able to fulfill their end of the bargain for a period of time. Of course that didn’t happen in this case, but I can’t blame them since I don’t know the cause of the issue.
But if something goes wrong on your end during an SMS marketing promotion, do whatever you can to make it up to people. Even if they hadn’t replied in the first place. Proactively managing a failure, even a small one, will endear people to your company. But if they feel you’ve overlooked them, or don’t care, then they may just unsubscribe.
Of course it’s worth remembering that not all SMS service providers are the same. Some save money by using lower quality routes and connections. Their prices look attractive but what good does that do you if the messages associated with your SMS marketing campaign don’t hit their target 100% reliably. To find out what to look for in an SMS supplier read our SMS Buyers Guide.