SMS messaging can be one of your more effective marketing techniques, but only if you do it right. A poorly executed SMS marketing campaign could have disastrous results for your future budget, and for your organisation.
Here are three things that you must get right in every SMS marketing campaign, that are also very easy to get wrong!
1. Include Your Name In Every Text
I can’t tell you how often I get texts and upon initial reading I have no idea who it’s from. Really. Coupons, discount codes, contests, all from companies that don’t mention who they are. If I’m interested enough, I can scroll back through the history of the text conversation on my mobile and figure it out. For some that send messages frequently, I’m beginning to recognise their shortcode but I’m never certain until I check.
Granted, I signed up for the messages. But I’ve signed up for quite a few offers and I’m on many SMS lists. It’s mad for a company to assume I’ll know who the message is from without their name on it. If a person is interested enough in a topic to sign up for text message marketing, then it’s probably safe to assume that they just might sign up to multiple lists in the same industry. Is the coupon I received for you, or your competitor across the street?
Adding your organisations name is easy to do, but may take some creativity to figure out a short way to write it. If your company already uses an abbreviation, or has a short name, you’re all set. Otherwise try to pick something that “sounds like” your name when said, or uses your initials so the recipients know immediately who the message is from.
Where should you include it in the message? Make it first. A pattern I’ve noticed is placing the company name or abbreviation is all caps followed by a colon as the very first part of the message. This works well for immediate recognition, even when only the first few characters are displayed as a notification on mobile screens.
2. Remember Your Spelling
Text messages are short and if you’re texting between friends a few spelling errors won’t matter as long as the intent is clear. But for a marketing message, correct spelling is as important in a text message campaign as it is in any other marketing activity. Simple mistakes like spelling errors, give the appearance that you don’t care, or are incompetent. Neither will result in a successful campaign.
Proofread every message as diligently as you would your most important documents. And be careful of autocorrect features if you are composing on a mobile device (or other software using such a feature). The website Damnyouautocorrect.com has many humorous, and some not so humorous, results of autocorrect on text messaging. One that sticks with me is about two people discussing what to have for dinner. One person said they were having “bbq children”, quickly followed by another message of “CHICKEN!” Imagine someone’s horror to find they suggested eating children. Again, these may offer a humorous moment between friends (or not!), but never when you’re marketing your products and services to customers.
Beyond just spelling, think carefully about using “common” abbreviations typically seen in instant messaging. If you’re considering it, read my blog on the topic before you decide.
3. Get Right To The Point, But Still Be Complete
You know you have limited characters for each text message, which can make it difficult to convey what you want the recipient to do with the information in the text. Decide beforehand what your call to action is, then craft your message in the clearest and most complete way possible.
Do you have a 50% off coupon for two entrées at your restaurant? Did you remember to include it was only valid for lunch? If you don’t, you’ll have many disappointed diners at evening service. Then you’ll have to decide whether to turn them away or honour the coupon because it was your mistake. Financially, this can be a disaster. It can also be bad for your reputation if you decide not to honour it.
In every message, make sure to include: what your offer is, when it is valid, and how people can claim it. That sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re really clear in your own mind what it is you want to achieve.
It’s easy to make sure you get these three things right in every SMS marketing message, but it does take focus and effort to make sure you check what you write each and every time. SMS is short and fast, but that’s no excuse for being sloppy.