SMS marketing best practices

SMS marketing has a lot to suggest to companies: an incredibly high open rate — up to 98%, according to Gartner, and a huge level of engagement if performed right. SMS campaigns work best for the local audience, so you can send promotions, updates, and advertising in just a few minutes.

Technically, SMS marketing means sending short text messages via an SMS gateway, which is an interface that allows texting without using your phone. It transforms SMS into email or HTTP-requests and vice versa.

So let’s now dive into best practices that will help you build a consistent and effective SMS marketing strategy!

Register sender ID

To send bulk SMS in countries like Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and UAE, you need to register your sender ID. In Russia, for example, this process may take up to two weeks, so keep that in mind when you want to start sending text messages.

Sender ID is the element alike to the sender’s name in email marketing — it is the first thing recipients look at when they decide whether to open or not.

Opt in users

Some countries like the USA have similar laws in the industry of mobile communication like the CAN-SPAM Act which regulates email marketing. It means that you can’t just take a list of phone numbers from some third parties and send promotional SMS to those people.

Get their explicit consent first, which is called an SMS opt-in. Explain how to stop this communication, in case they don’t want to get any messages from you. Usually, it’s a message like STOP. Another way to show your respect is to add an unsubscribe link to the SMS, but it will take some space away from your marketing message.

On the image below, Subway opts in people to receiving relevant promotions from the nearby venues since they also ask for a ZIP code. In the very beginning, they explain why they need the phone number: for sending weekly coupons.

Subway's SMS opt-in

Offer only exclusive deals

Special offers are the #1 incentive to join your mobile list. Make sure you don’t propose the same stuff throughout different media like emails, social media, chatbots. Mention this exclusiveness when you collect phone numbers with the help of subscription forms, for instance.

A mobile phone is something intimate for people, at least they feel this way, so don’t interrupt their privacy for no reason, but keep your mobile audience engaged with special deals.

Below is an SMS from Sephora which offers an exclusive promo code to encourage shopping soon after the New Year.

Sephora's exclusive offer

Write smart and targeted copy

There is little time for you to capture the recipient’s attention, so make sure you put your deal in the first place. Use a strong and clear call to action, which will explain everything subscribers need to do to take advantage of the sales. Use a time-sensitive element, as it adds extra value and a fear of missing out.

Keep your message within 160 symbols limit. Otherwise, it will be divided into two SMS which will be difficult to read and twice as expensive.

Domino’s in their promotion SMS put the offer first and explained what actions need to be taken to grab their 25% off.

Domino's targeted copy

Personalize SMS

Personalized text messages arouse a friendly feeling about your brand. Start with the user's name, which you get during their subscription. In SendPulse, you just need to add a variable {{name}} to the text of the message, and it will automatically take the name from the list.

Go beyond the name and segment your audience based on some common characteristics like age, gender, location, etc. It will increase your chances to attract attention since you will provide more personalized content.

In the example below, Chelsea used a person’s name and targeted the message based on a typical fan’s persona: a male between 24-45, very likely to have children, thus interested in buying merch for all the family. There is also a serious incentive to come and purchase — a chance to win tickets on the final.

Personalized SMS by Chelsea

Send at the right time

Learn what time is best for communicating with your audience. When the information is valuable for today, send emails between 9 am and noon. In case the offer is valid for the upcoming weekend, send such SMS on Friday between 5 pm and 9 pm. Avoid sending early in the morning or late at night because it will irritate users leading to unsubscribing.

Schedule your SMS campaigns, getting your mobile marketing automated. Here’s how you can do it in SendPulse.

Scheduled SMS in SendPulse

With these SMS marketing best practices at hand, you can build long-lasting relationships with your mobile audience. Let SendPulse take care of the technical side of things for you to focus on more important issues.

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