SMS Marketing Dos and Don’ts

Text message marketing is one of the best ways to spread the word about a product, service or brand. It benefits from immediacy and open rates that are unparalleled in other marketing media.

While there are many SMS marketing campaigns get it right, there are far too many that make simple mistakes in their execution that significantly impact a company's return on investment. Here are some dos and don'ts about text message marketing:

Do Adhere to Your Frequency Limit

Regulations require you to set a frequency limit before you start a campaign and relay that information to subscribers when they first opt into the program. Exceeding this limit would violate these regulations and be costly to you and your company.

"Limits help keep your customers engaged."

When you begin a text message marketing campaign, one of the first things you'll do is set a weekly message limit. This is done not only to protect yourself, legally, but to keep your campaign as effective as possible. More than that, though, the limits help keep your customers engaged in your campaign. All regulations aside, sending too many texts too often may make your subscribers feel overburdened, resulting in opt-outs. With fewer texts sent every week, customers will continue to be engaged and anticipate your next message.

Do Adhere to Program Guidelines

Similar to going over your frequency limit, sending marketing messages in a bulk SMS service not designed for marketing purposes could also cause you to violate regulations. For companies that offer notifications, like appointment reminders, it's important that the subscriber list for those messages be different from your text message marketing campaign. That's not to say a subscriber can't receive both — they can, they just need to have signed up for both separately.

Do Offer Value to Customers

One of the goals of a text message marketing campaign is to drive sales through customer engagement. A great way to do this is by offering consistent and compelling value to your subscribers through the messages. Sales and exclusive offers are two great tools to use to this end. By offering discounts only available to your subscribers, it will not only promote immediacy and engagement for your offer, but will also help increase your opt-ins as more customers begin to realize they value that is available to them.

Don't Send Long Messages

Text messaging has a strict character limit of 160 characters per message. When things like links are included, the workable space drops to around 140 characters. Anything over that amount will cause your message to be split up into multiple pieces. While some modern phones will re-assemble these into one, coherent message, the majority will split them up, so your customer will have to open two messages to get your offer. This also increases the risk that the messages will be delivered out of order, that one may be delivered late or that they don't go through at all. It also counts against your frequency limit, meaning that you now have fewer messages you can send out that week.

While that character limit may not seem like enough space, a lot can be done with 140 to 160 characters. Forcing yourself to stay within that limit helps make the messages more direct, immediate an ultimately more effective.

For companies looking to implement a comprehensive SMS marketing strategy, a robust SMS gateway will provide you with the tools you need.