Mobile marketing if done right can be extremely effective. As our latest white paper ”SMS or Die” points out a stat comparing responses rates of email, SMS and direct mail. Because of the personal nature of SMS, it really is true that you can see great response rates than a lot of other modes of communication. These 10 tips will help you get there:
- 1. Build your database the right way: Don’t just start adding cell phone numbers to your mobile marketing database, get permission first! This can be done via a Web form or when someone is texting your keyword to your short code (example: SHOP to 38714). In either case, I always recommend a double opt-in (confirmation) where the person has one extra step before they are added to your database. They need to respond with the word ”YES” or ”Y” to confirm their subscription. Having a double opt-in database will ensure a response list that yields few to no complaints.
- 2. Set frequency expectations and cover yourself legally: After someone opts-in, or even during the opt-in process, alert your audience how often they should expect a text message and give them the chance to not opt-in if it is going to be too frequent or they don’t want to pay the possible message charges. Also, always say somewhere that ”Standard rates may apply”. You can even say this next to your short code campaign on other forms of media like print, billboards and television. This will fly with most legal departments.
- 3. Use a dedicated short code: Dedicated short codes can be a bit pricey (God knows if domains were this expensive the net wouldn’t have taken off like it did), but they assure you keep your brand intact. Don’t get me wrong, mobileStorm provides shared short codes and they can be perfect for small businesses who don’t want to spend the $1,500 to $3,000 per quarter from www.usshortcodes.com, but if you are a larger company you need to make sure that you are the only one using that short code. Not only because you want people to recognize your short code, but there could be legal ramifications if another company sharing the code abuses the system.
- 4. Put some thought into the message composition: Remember: you only have 160 characters so you need to be very concise but clear. Using short cuts are acceptable for text messaging. For instance use the number ”2” instead of ”To” and ”B” instead of ”Be”. Your opt-out message might look like this ”Reply STOP 2b removed”. You saved 2 characters by using 2 and b. You can get some good ideas from this translator by Lingo.
- 5. Personalize: Capture your subscriber’s first name and make sure the mobile marketing platform you are using allows you to inset tokens into your messages so you can personalize them. Having someone’s first name show up in the message goes a long way to help increase your response rates and build a stronger relationship with your customers. Remember though, you only have 160 characters so if the person’s name for instance is ”Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo” it will eat into your character count after the first name is inserted and might cut your message off, so keep the message shorter when personalizing.
- 6. Be relevant: This truly is the most important factor for mobile marketing . Because though because this is not email! A text message is very personal and it interrupts someone no matter what they are doing. Make sure you are not just repurposing content from an email. Your text message should be very relevant, like when your sports team scores, your favorite movie just got returned at Blockbuster, or a surprise guest is showing up in the next 30 minutes at Virgin Mega Store.
- 7. Be timely: Being timely goes along with being relevant. You can send out an email about a sale happening in two weeks but it doesn’t work in the SMS world. Remind someone of the sale minutes before your doors open, not days.
- 8. Have clear opt-out instructions: I firmly believe every text message sent should automatically add opt-out instructions. The best sentence I believe is: ”Reply STOP 2b removed”. However make sure that the keywords UNSUBSCRIBE and REMOVE will also work and remove them.
- 9. Make it viral: Text messages can be easily and quickly forwarded. Every now and then ask your audience to invite their friends if they like your service and include opt-in instructions such as ”Text KEYWORD to SHORTCODE”. You will be amazed at how quick your database grows.
- 10. Enhance text messaging with other forms of communication: Nowadays it’s all about multi-channel marketing. Using just one way of communicating with your audience doesn’t work anymore. Sending someone a piece of direct mail about a special you are offering puts something physical in their hands. Sending someone an email about the offer gives you real-time insight into how effective your offer is. Sending someone a text message that your offer is about to expire and if they act now you will even give them a bigger incentive creates a sense of urgency. Use each method of communication the right way to create one giant effective campaign. Learn more about this in my ”Future of Digital Marketing” post.
If you can think of more tips please share them below. I will most likely do another 10 tips soon.