With the year on year growth of mobile phone usage businesses are beginning to see the power and necessity of using mobile marketing strategies to capture, engage and sell to their markets.
One of the most surprising marketing channels that is experiencing continued growth is SMS marketing and it’s easy to see why, it’s cheaper than most other marketing channels, generates high ROI, doesn’t need Wi-Fi to work and with the simplicity of bulk SMS services like 160.com.au anyone can pick it up and start sending text messages and generating sales.
In this article, I’ll share the best tactics to deploy so that you stay out of legal trouble while driving up your sales growth.
- Be Transparent About Your SMS Program
A lot of companies will put their SMS promotion out there without realizing that they’re accidentally breaking the law which in some countries or states could mean $1,500 fine for every text message sent.
Here’s a typical promotion:
Text FREESHIP to 5666 and get free shipping on any order.
If you’re planning on just using this to increase sales this is fine BUT if you’re planning on using this to collect mobile numbers so you can send ongoing SMS promotions then this could get you into some deep legal problems.
If you plan on collecting mobile numbers to send ongoing promotions then you must state that clearly on the promotion itself.
- Get Permission
A lot of people confuse SMS marketing and SMS broadcasting but they are a little bit different.
SMS marketing is when you send a promotion to people who have explicitly stated that they wish to receive SMS marketing messages.
SMS broadcasting is when you send out an SMS blast to 5,000+ people who didn’t ask for it.
The best way to keep yourself free from legal problems but also generate a lot of sales is to build your SMS list organically by allowing people to opt-in, it takes a little longer to build up the numbers but that list will spend a lot more with you on each campaign.
- Don’t Send Too Often
Although email and SMS are similar there a big differences, and one of them is frequency or the number of times you can message someone during a given time period.
With email marketing you can happily send daily messages and customers aren’t too bothered by this.
Try this with SMS and you’re going to be fielding complaints, a lot of them.
Mobile devices are more than a circuit board wrapped in a fancy case, they’re an important personal belonging and on top of that SMS is typically reserved for close family and friends so you’ve been invited into a very small inner-circle so it’s best to keep that in mind and send SMS promotions only when you have something that will blow them away.
- Include An Opt-Out
This is another legal requirement in many countries and states.
People want to know that they can unsubscribe from your promotions when they want so it’s a good idea to show them how to do that with a simple ‘Text STOP to unsubscribe’ at the end of every SMS.
TIP: Avoid using your business name as the sender
This would be a good idea if it wasn’t for the fact that people can’t reply to letters, so if a person wants to opt-out they won’t be able to. Not only that but they not be able to block you either since phones can only block numbers.
This means that they literally trapped which may force them to seek legal action.
- Deliver Value
One of the very best ways to keep people on your SMS list longer is to always provide solid value when you reach out to them.
One of the ways to deliver value is to make your offers highly relevant to the recipients interests.
If your text message is in some way going to help that person solve or take a step closer to their goals then you will always be welcome.
A good way to know if you’re delivering value is by monitoring opt-outs are they increasing? Also, are your sales decreasing from each campaign.
You’ll find there will be direct relationship between these two metrics.
- Use SMS Segmentation
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with SMS is plonking everyone into one single group. Why? It’s impossible to be relevant to everyone because people buy products to achieve different goals.
Instead, group people together based on their commonalities and interests.
For example, a person may purchase a fish tank to place fish into or perhaps a reptile so if you send fish offers to the reptile owner he’s going to want to exit from your list.
By placing everyone into specific groups it helps you tailor both offers and the wording which ultimately increases your sales conversions as well as reducing your opt-out rate.
- Have Mobile Friendly Landing Pages
If you’re going to be linking to your offer inside a text message then you’ll want to make sure that the page that person is going to will good on their device.
You use tools like User Agent-Switcher (a Google chrome plugin) which will allow you to view your landing on different devices including phones and tablets, iOS and Android etc.
There’s nothing worse than going to a page where you have to pinch the mobile screen and zoom in to read the words.
Also, make sure that your page load times are under 3 seconds any longer than that and you start to see people dropping off. in fact, Google found that 53% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s half of your traffic gone and potential sales. Want to know how fast your page loads? Head over to this site to find out.
- Aggressively Promote Your SMS List
Even if you’ve got the best offer you can’t build your SMS list if no one sees it. Once you’ve got everything in place you’ll need to get as many eyeballs on your offer as you can.
List out all of the places where your target market come into contact with your business and if it makes sense you can promotion your text messaging offer there, these are typically places like:
- Email newsletter
- Social media
- Paid ads (create a Facebook post with your SMS promotion and boost it every day with $5 and watch your SMS list fill up!)
- Store signage
- Drop your offer into customer shopping bags when they purchase
- Vehicle signage
- Website homepage and blog posts
- Turn Your SMS List Into A VIP List
Generally speaking, it’s a little tougher to get SMS leads than email leads since the risk is higher for the mobile user so once you get a person on to your list you want to do your best to keep them there and one of the best ways to do this is to make exclusive offers only for SMS subscribers.
The most important things to do with this strategy is to remind them that they will be getting rare offers not advertised anywhere else and if you want extra points create a little sense of scarcity by restricting the number of people you let onto your list, this will further increase the value of your service.