Knowing When To Use SMSThe first step in developing an effective messaging campaign is to decide what message pathways would best help you meet the objectives of the campaign. As message fees drop and the population continues to move towards mobile devices as their primary source of communication, SMS is quickly becoming an increasingly attractive way to interact with your audience. The question now is how do you know when it\’s best to use SMS over other available channels?

SMS provides unique advantages over other communication methods. In determining whether or not it\’s a good fit, it is important to take a close look at your audience demographics, their varying needs and the overall objective of your campaign. For example, if the content of your campaign is time sensitive or changes at pre-determined intervals, SMS is the logical choice based on its flexibility and the guarantee that it will most likely be received at the time you send it.

If you\’re attempting to engage your target audience on a more personal level, SMS works much more effectively than broad-based distribution such as email. Cell phones are usually with a person all day, every day, and the nature of SMS means that their open rates are virtually 100%. This results in a type of engagement that is much more personal than with email, making SMS a much better choice if this is the primary objective. This may seem like a better form of communication for all cases but keep in mind that there is the risk of rejection of your message, and your campaign, if you abuse the trust required in this personal interaction. Be selective with your messaging and respectful of your audience’s attention.

Another aspect to analyze in terms of your audience is the age demographic associated with SMS over email. A younger demographic is more prone to use SMS on a regular basis, while the older generations may not understand what to do with your message and be better candidates for email. Consideration in terms of open-rate and follow-through on your call-to-action is important when determining whether to use SMS. Email may be better suited in terms of allowing the user to click-through immediately without the limitations of mobile browsers.

The frequency of messaging also plays a large role in determining the appropriate channel. Does your campaign require several follow-up messages? Do you intend on sending several messages before initiating a call-to-action? Knowing how often your customers need information is something you need to consider when planning out your campaign.

Your list building activities need to be catered towards SMS capabilities as well. Your methods for collecting user-information in order build your marketing database are important to evaluate, because collecting cell phone data is far different than collecting email addresses or other types of contact information. Do you have a plan in place to collect cell phone data? Do you believe your target audience will respond well to opt-in requests? Remember, users are much more apt to give up their email address than their cell phone number.

Though it\’s harder to gather, cell phone contact information is much more valuable than email addresses, given the fact that email addresses change frequently, with nearly 33% going bad in the first year alone. Cell phone numbers, however, stay with a person for a lifetime in most cases thanks to number portability. Paying close attention to your audience and determining their receptiveness to submitting personal information plays a huge role in whether or not to choose SMS for your campaign strategy.

SMS is quickly becoming a standard communication method for a large majority of today’s population. This has lead to an explosion in new marketing and promotional opportunities in a wide variety of industries. Knowing when it is appropriate to use this new communication method is important in constructing effective campaigns that yield high ROIs and are sustainable over long periods of time. Careful consideration in the areas described can help you quickly determine whether SMS is the appropriate choice, or whether another channel is more suited to your campaign\’s objectives.

Having the right campaign on the wrong channel means losing out on the results you were hoping for. Aligning yourself with an organization that can bring a wide range of experience to the table and can give you the right advice when you\’re building your campaign can mean the difference between a positive and negative ROI.