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How to Kick Start Your SMS Marketing Program: A Guide for Small- to Mid-Sized Businesses

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SMS is sometimes overlooked, but it remains one of the most powerful marketing techniques: just about every phone can accept SMS, or text messages. If you’re still not convinced then consider:

  • 97% of all text messages are read.
  • 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt (SinglePoint) vs. 48 hours for emails
  • US mobile customers prefer offers via text message to those via mobile Web, apps, and voice mail. (DMA UK)

If you want to add mobile marketing to your marketing plan but you’re not sure where to begin then this article from The 60 Second Marketer is for you…

SMS marketing doesn’t have to be difficult…so don’t get discouraged! Here are five steps to help you begin using SMS in your marketing today:

  1. What do you want to accomplish? If you run a business, you probably want to drive sales (duh!). But consider that SMS is a much more personal medium than email or even social media to some extent. Think about how you can use the opportunity to grow long-term relationships, and harness the power of SMS beyond a one-off promotion or bulk alert.
  2. Get a short code. A short code is a five or six digit number from which you can deliver messages, and consumers can message you back. There are two basic types: dedicated and shared. Dedicated codes are great for maintaining the most control over your brand messaging, but they are costly, so shared codes are often a good bet for small- to mid-sized businesses.
  3. Build your opt-in list. SMS marketing is a fantastic tool for driving repeat business, so start by inviting your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, or in-store patrons to text a keyword to your short code to begin receiving offers and alerts. Get off on the right foot by offering an incentive to sign up. Remember, you can’t send anyone a text until they’ve opted in, and you must always give them an easy way to opt out. Check out the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)’s best practices for more information.
  4. Make it personal. These days, even friends have to be careful about mass texting for risk of appearing impersonal, and the same is true for marketers. While you still want to respect your audience’s anonymity, the content should be customized. For example, ask about a customer’s favorite dish or product in the sign-up form, then send a related offer.
  5. Optimize. As with any marketing program, it’s important to test and compare. Are you sending most of your texts during the week? Try sending on the weekend and see how this affects response rates. Are some offers being redeemed more often than others? Move the underperformers out and test some new ones.

Kick-start your SMS marketing plan today! We’re a SMS marketing provider and can help with planning and execution. Click to find out more. Or, contact us to discuss your specific needs.

  1. May 1, 2012

    Phil

    Your certainly right when you say “Make it personal. These days, even friends have to be careful about mass texting for risk of appearing impersonal, and the same is true for marketers. While you still want to respect your audience’s anonymity, the content should be customized.”

    • May 2, 2012

      Universalbite

      Very true Phil.

      If you send unwanted or irrelevant content to your list, then people will unsubscribe. When used correctly with the right message, text messaging can be a very powerful tool for a lot of different companies in different industries.

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