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How to Plan an SMS Marketing Campaign

SMS marketing offers speed and convenience for your customer, and increased conversion and retention for you. Here’s how to plan an SMS campaign.

How to Plan an SMS Marketing Campaign

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to plan an SMS marketing campaign.

  • Set goals and understand the benefits - It’s almost impossible to work towards a result if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Figure out why you’re doing this and what you want to achieve. Your goals, such as sending out offers or product updates, community building, or conversions, will define your campaign from the start. SMS has the potential to drive significantly higher numbers for metrics like open rate, customer response, and conversion than regular email marketing efforts. Understand what these pay-offs look like before you start sending out SMS messages.
  • Choose an SMS marketing platform ‍- You’ll probably need to invest in an SMS marketing software package. SMS platforms usually offer a portal where you can manage and segment your target lists, share messaging with your audience and collect data about customers. Not all SMS platforms are equal, though, and offer varying functionality at different prices. Do some research and make a choice based on your needs, budget, and the best fit for your business. 
  • Understand the laws - There are important regulations to be aware of when your business contacts customers using SMS. These laws are different depending on which country you’re operating in, so knowing the local legislation is important to avoid trouble. In the US, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPR) requires businesses to obtain explicit written consent before adding customers to a marketing list. Subscribers must also clearly be given an opportunity to opt-out of communications at any time. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is similar, and the UK is governed by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). You must be compliant within the relevant region where you’re running an SMS campaign.
  • Know your audience - Understanding who you’re talking to is essential for any marketing campaign, including SMS. Since customers have to opt-in, those who do are probably explicitly interested in your business. Similar consent is required for email marketing, but sending direct messages to people’s phones is a much more personal interaction, and customers will be more choosey about who they engage with through SMS. Your SMS marketing list will probably be highly concentrated and only have the customers who are most actively engaged with your business. SMS will let you build up historical data associated with the mobile numbers in your list. You’ll be able to see what content people engage with, what they’re buying from you, how often, and for how much. You’ll be able to segment your audience in detail and send highly relevant messages to customers.
  • Educate your customers‍ - It’s likely that many of your customers haven’t interacted with a business through SMS, so they might not understand the benefits and be hesitant to share their mobile phone numbers with you. You’ll probably need to educate and reassure potential subscribers. Set up a transparent, informational landing page where customers can opt-in to SMS-based subscription services. It should explain what they’re agreeing to before they subscribe and articulate the benefits to ease fears. You can also publish your SMS policy on your website and the SMS content should continuously explain its value.
  • Be ready for two-way conversations - An effective SMS strategy takes more than pushing content at subscribers and forgetting about them. SMS lets you treat every customer like an individual so be prepared to engage everyone you contact using SMS in ongoing one-to-one conversations in-channel. Most online shoppers even prefer this kind of proactive customer support. Conversational commerce creates customer relationships based on two-way personalized dialogue. Chatbots are one solution, but they’re limited and must be supplemented by a human customer service rep. These systems take time to develop so consider how to put them in place when planning your SMS campaign.
  • Craft effective content - SMS campaigns take time to consistently promote your brand, nurture your audience, provide customer support,  and drive conversions, so you’ll need plenty of content.  Plan a campaign that aligns with your messaging and has enough content to support it. Avoid spam. You will want to use short, snappy, valuable content that people will don’t mind pinging up as a notification on their phones as they are going about their day. 

If you want to know more about SMS marketing, read our article, “What is SMS Marketing?” or contact us.

Tags: sms, marketing

Geoff Strauss

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