Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Text message marketing is a proven way of getting the attention of potential customers. While emails have a read-rate of around 25%, conservative estimates put the read-rate of SMS at more than 90%.
Because such a high proportion of text messages are opened within a few minutes of receipt, over-excited marketers often fail to create a compelling message that offers the reader something of value. After all, with such a huge audience, something will stick no matter what the SMS contains, right? Wrong. Remember, those impressive open-and-read rates apply to every company that sends texts. It’s a level playing field, and everyone’s in the game.
To make that ping really zing, it has to herald the arrival of something truly special. It has to gently coax the reader into engaging with your brand. Achieving this requires a full understanding of the anatomy of a text message. Now, let’s stretch this analogy to breaking point…
For grabbing attention. Your text message should reach out to the reader, grab them by the lapels and force them to take notice. It might come in the form of a single, appealing word such as ‘DISCOUNT’ or it might be an offer so irresistible that caps aren’t even necessary. Fail to grab a reader’s attention and your SMS will be filed under ‘recently forgotten information’.
Financial muscle is great, but without a smart approach, it’s pointless. One of the most common elementary mistakes SMS marketers make is to ignore differing timezones for customers. Wake someone up at 4am with a text message and you’ve just said goodbye to their business, so be sure to engage your brain and schedule your campaign accordingly. Research indicates the optimal time to send a commercial text message is mid to late afternoon, Mon-Fri. Equally, make sure the wording of your message is professional. Text speak looks dumb at worst, and at best like a failed attempt to appeal to young people. Remember this: nobody is offended by proper English, but some people will be alienated by abbreviations. The smart money is on proper syntax, grammar and spelling.
Listening to your contacts is the best way to retain them. What feedback are you getting on social media? Are there any common complaints? What are they saying about your latest special offer online? SMS is a two way street, so use it to engage rather than merely inform. Send polls and surveys out to get as much user data as possible. The more information you have, the easier it is to run a successful campaign. Keep your ears to the ground and your nose will largely be spared the grindstone.
The heart of your campaign lies in the way your readers relate to your brand image. This requires a certain degree of personalization. You must subtly tell recipients what your company’s ethics and values are. But above all, savvy consumers like transparency. Wear your heart on your sleeve and you’ll win the hearts of your audience.
Can your campaign go the distance, or are as many people opting out as opting in? The best type of business is repeat business, so goes the corporate mantra, so eschew one-off firework displays of generosity that can’t be maintained in favor of continuous, long term, high quality customer service.
The tone you strike in each text message is incredibly important to maintaining a long-term conversation. Be familiar but professional. Your contacts have, after all, opted in to receive messages - but they may not remember that if it’s not immediately obvious, so be sure to include your company name prominently. Striking a humorous tone can work wonders for your brand image. Combine levity with brevity in the right manner and consumers will actually look forward to your next pithy missive, irrespective of the offer contained within.