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SMS Best Practices

Today's consumers are mobile, sending and receiving all types of messages. When marketing via SMS, marketers can meet these consumers' mobile expectations by following the recommended SMS best practices below.

1. Focus on providing value with VIP-style offers. Make your SMS offers exclusive if you can and if you can't, at least make them available to your SMS subscribers before these consumers can find them in your emails, print ads, or on your site. If consumers let you into their messaging inner circle, make this honour worth their while.

2. Personal communication, personal message. A great example is: “Hi Lois, thank you for shopping with us. We look forward to seeing you soon. Show this msg to receive 20% off your next purchase within 30 days at [STORE NAME].”

3. Focus on usefulness. What types of messages would consumers like to receive? What useful information can you provide? How can you make it easiest to obtain? According to ExactTarget's Channel Preference Study, 15% of consumers prefer to receive financial alerts via SMS and 25 percent of consumers prefer to receive travel alerts via SMS. Consider SMS for the following types of messages:

  • Alerts
  • Event interactions
  • Event messaging
  • In-store promotions
  • Mobile marketing opt-ins
  • Personal interaction

4. Don't wake them up. Avoid sending promotional text messages between late evening and late morning, 9 PM to 11 AM. When a consumer opts in to receive your text messages, request time zone information; and, accordingly, send your SMS in waves to ensure you aren't texting them while they sleep.

5. Monitor opt-outs per send. To gauge content value, track opt-out rates for each outbound campaign. Over time, such analysis can help you determine the content types that generate rates above and below your average.

6. Protect your business and brand. A common short code is a number that is shorter than a phone number and is used to send and receive messages. There are both dedicated and shared short codes you can buy from your SMS gateway provider. While they may be somewhat cheaper, a shared short code means you are likely sharing that code with multiple other businesses. This means your service may be disrupted if another company sharing your code abuses the service. As well you may not get to use the keywords you desire for your campaign and you do not own the information gathered through the interaction with your customers. Find a SMS service provider that offers dedicated codes so you can protect your brand and leverage useful customer data collected.


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