Take these 7 steps to get better results from SMS marketing


As marketers and customers we’ve all been there, either having a client tell you they want to send messages to 100,000 phone numbers that they bought from the shady looking guy they met through dealdey or being bombarded by 100’s of messages from the same brand every month to a point where you have to research how to block spam SMS.

But SMS can also be a great marketing channel, a few brands like Dominos, who use it to inform customers about promotions going on at outlets and probably send out SMS messages once a month, and Spectranet that lets us know they’re giving 100% data bonuses (which we fully took advantage of 😀 ), these brands understand to some extent the power of a channel that’s been abused to a point where people would rather do without it.

So how can you as a brand use SMS marketing to produce better results and not be a pain in your customers behinds? Here are a few tips

Don’t Buy Lists! Build Yours

The only thing worse than getting 3 SMS’s a day from one brand is not knowing who the hell they are, and this is the case for most of us as customers. We receive at least 2 messages from an unknown brand every day on an average, some selling products we will never use or need in one lifetime. If you hate this as a customer, why do it as a brand?

“How can I build such a huge database of customers?” You may be wondering, the answer is simple, ask them for it. In some cases, the brand needs the phone number of the customer to complete a transaction in the first place as is seen in ecommerce businesses, these numbers can become your source for SMS marketing. And if you do not require them for making transactions, ask the customers for them when they get to your website in exchange for something, a 5% coupon off their next purchase for example. This way, they’re more inclined to come to your platform to redeem the coupon, and you also get their numbers, talk about a win-win situation.

Send the messages as your brand name

Never send an SMS campaign with the sender name being 080 123 456 789 or 50178, it reduces the chances that I’d open it, however, if I see a message from Dominos, I feel like I should look at it because they might be giving me something for free (don’t we all want free stuff). The sender name matters, be sure to include your brand’s name there, and you can do this using the popular SMS delivery platforms

Put in a Call-To-Action

So you send out your SMS message about your awesome looking shoes to all your customers, what do you need them to do next? Make a purchase online? Call your sales team to make an order? Check out your new collection? You need to guide your audience on what to do after reading your SMS because it saves them the stress of figuring it out. Best practice is to also include a link in the message to your landing page (your website, social media pages, online store…)

Check out a few good SMS messages with good calls to action in the images below

Track link clicks with URL shorteners

Now that you’ve built a proper database of your customers and potential customers, and you’ve crafted  good message with a call-to-action link, how do you know how your message performed? Shortening your link with a popular URL shortener like goo.gl and bit.ly helps you track the number of people who click the link, where they were when they clicked on it, what device they were using, and more information that could inform other marketing messages.

Here’s an example of a shortened URL – http://goo.gl/VHZJLc to view link stats, simply add a plus to the end of the link like this http://goo.gl/VHZJLc+ go ahead and click that to see the details.

Send at the right time

Different brands and different industries will have optimal times for when their SMS messages produce the most impact in terms of conversions. Catering businesses for example that provide food to working class individuals would probably get the most bang for buck sending out an SMS early to late morning (between 9 and 11AM) while a store like PEP (children’s clothing brick and mortar store) might be better off sending those messages between afternoon and evening on weekends to get people customers who are already out of their homes and close by.

The right time is never available up front, you’d need to test for about 2-3 weeks to get conclusive data on which timing works best for you

Segment to get even better results

Segmenting your messages can drastically improve its relevance and hence drive better engagement with your customers. Keeping with the Dominos example, a promotional campaign going on at the Ikeja branch shouldn’t trigger an SMS message to all customers (both those in Lagos and outside Lagos), it’ll turn up as irrelevant to anyone not close to Ikeja.

Segmenting could provide more relevant messaging that can give you much better results, think of ways that you can segment your marketing messages.

Always be testing

You never know what works with marketing, and what makes digital so awesome is the fact that you can use data to determine that, put it back into the marketing process, and test it again to make it better. Test different sender names, test different send times, test different landing pages, just keep testing.

Do you run SMS marketing for any brand? Lets know how you do it and what your results have been like!