Before we start, an important question to ask is what is SMS marketing and why it should be a part of your marketing strategy?
If you’re like me, your smartphone is rarely out of reach at any given moment. We rely on them to provide real-time updates on everything that’s important to us. And despite the rise of social media, SMS is still the quickest and most direct way for us to communicate with each other.
The same goes for brands who want to engage with their audience and connect with them on a personal level. With exceptionally high open rates and immediate results, SMS marketing remains one of the top performing channels for brands across all industries.
But before we blast our entire database and risk no response (or worse – an unsubscribe!), let’s check out 5 brands that have nailed SMS marketing and what we can learn from them.
Right people, right time
Whether or not you’re a fan of AFL, you’ve got to appreciate this campaign by the Essendon Bombers. On a recent game day, Bombers fans that were likely to be attending had this pop up on their phones:
By targeting the right people at the right time through SMS marketing, the Bombers maximised their opportunity to drive merchandise sales at the stadium.
More importantly, they minimised the possibility of annoying their database as the audience was highly engaged and ready to support their favourite team.
Call to action
The best marketing campaigns are those that drive action. And let’s face it – as impatient consumers ourselves, we’re never going to follow instructions that are more than a couple of clicks away from our end goal.
Former James Street staple, Jules & Roc, showed us how it’s done with this SMS marketing campaign:
By keeping the message clear and linking directly to the website, the steps to purchase a new outfit are dangerously simple for those of us on a budget but great for Jules & Roc!
Start the conversation
As mentioned earlier, SMS marketing is a great way to connect with your audience on a personal level. It’s extremely easy for recipients to text back, opening up the possibilities for competition entries, customer research and other promotions.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketers are missing out on this opportunity because they don’t have the time to manage responses. But with the right SMS marketing software in place, responses can be captured and managed through a user-friendly dashboard.
You can even set up automation journeys triggered by certain actions that your recipients take – perfect for competition entries, newsletter sign-ups or promotions, like this one from Pizza Capers:
Once the recipient replies ‘YUM13’, this automated message was sent back:
With a solid understanding of your customer journey and the power of a great SMS marketing software platform, you can take your campaigns beyond simply driving website traffic and guide conversions through two-way conversations with your audience.
Report & optimise
Pizza Capers’ Valentine’s Day promotion is not only a great example of a conversation between brand and customer, but also starting an SMS marketing campaign with the end result in mind.
Reporting and optimising are vital in understanding whether your campaign was successful and learning what to improve on next time.
Google’s URL Builder is an excellent (and free) tool that allows you to track every click and attribute website traffic to a particular campaign.
And just like in Pizza Capers’ campaign, the URL can be shortened after you’ve added the meta-data using the same tool so it looks nice and neat in your SMS.
Once they’ve sent out the SMS, Pizza Capers can then measure replies, click-through-rates and open rates to determine whether their campaign was successful and optimise for next time.
Keep it legal
In addition to the above metrics, unsubscribes must not be forgotten when managing your SMS marketing campaign. Communication from businesses via SMS, just like email marketing, is deemed a ‘commercial electronic message’ and must adhere to the Spam Act 2003. There are three main elements that you must have:
Prior consent from the recipient (express or inferred)
Accurate identification of the sender (your business name)
A clear unsubscribe function
In all of our email marketing templates, we include an unsubscribe URL at the footer, but in SMS marketing it is most common to instruct recipients to reply ‘STOP’ to unsubscribe.
In the example below, The Fox Hotel has their legal requirements covered without detracting from their content:
All effective SMS marketing software platforms such as Vision6 will capture unsubscribe requests and automatically exclude them from any future campaigns. This could be prompted by the word ‘stop’ or any other word that you identify as an unsubscribe request.
If you are not sure if SMS suits your industry then check out why it should be a part of your marketing strategy backed my facts.
Otherwise, the best way is to start a free trial and check out the range of features available for SMS and email marketing first-hand.