The last text message you got was probably from a friend or family member, like most of your texts. However, you probably know exactly which businesses regularly send you text messages as well; the pharmacy, your credit card company, Amazon with shipping updates, and more. These messages keep you up to date on your account with that company, but what about the others you receive? Odds are your favorite stores send texts about coupons, deals, and more. How do you normally handle these messages on your phone? Some people delete them, some use the coupons, and some let them sit there… but remember the message.

Sending an SMS message that catches the recipient’s eye and makes them read the message is the real goal of SMS Marketing. With almost 100% of phones able to receive SMS messages, this is one the best and farthest reaching marketing methods available to your business. You can send an SMS message for about 2 cents/message, making the possible ROI very impactful. Follow the 7 best practices below for the most effective SMS marketing campaign your customers will ever see.

Create Your Goals

Creating a campaign is great, but not without some direction. First, find out what will be most effective on your audience; this is likely what they engage with most from your other forms of marketing. This message should be similar weekly, monthly, or however often you send SMS messages. Send your new happy hour specials every Monday, a coupon every time, or a schedule of your classes/lessons weekly. Creating this regular schedule will prompt your customers to look forward to the messages regularly.

Build Your List

There are many different ways to build your SMS marketing list. One of the easiest ways out is using a POS system like Clover or Square. These systems are more efficient at collecting information about your customers than traditional cash registers. Customers are prompted to enter their email address and phone numbers when checking out, building your lists for you.

Another way to build your list is through opt-in campaigns. Using signs around your store, email campaigns, or slips you put in customers’ bags is a great way to have them opt-in to a campaign. This means providing a keyword, usually displayed in all caps, and a number to text the keyword to. This is a great voluntary way for people to know they are deciding to receive text messages from your business.

Figure Out Your Call-to-Action

Now that you have your goals mapped out, figuring out a clear call-to-actin is necessary. Are you trying to get people to call you? Visit your website? Come into your store? The action you expect the customer to take must be clearly stated in the message they receive.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Getting a text message saying there’s a sale as opposed to a text message saying there’s a sale this week only makes a big difference. Create a sense of urgency in your message so your customer feels like they need to act on it and perform your call-to-action.

Design Your Message

Text messages to your friends can be casual and have spelling errors. However, your business’ SMS marketing campaign needs to be clearly planned out and easy to read. A list format makes your message easier to read and your call-to-action clearly displayed.

Design Your Tracking Method

Just like any other marketing campaign, tracking and evaluation are very important here. Use a special barcode, coupon code, or other method to evaluate how many people actually acted on your special offer. Even better, create a unique code for those using the email code, those using the text code, and those using the code from your newsletter. This will help you create future campaigns and learn which lists to focus on growing.

Send and Evaluate!

Sending your message is obviously the final step, and sending the message at an appropriate time of day is an important part of that. If your deal is good today only, send it early in the morning; but not too early. If your list has people from several timezones, choose a central time that isn’t too obnoxious for people to receive a text message. While sending an email at 4am might be okay, people are more likely to have their text tones turned on as they sleep. Don’t wake your customers up with a text message every week; they’ll unsubscribe right away.

SMS Marketing is a great opportunity for your business to reach new and old customers you may not always be able to get ahold of. Do your research and start your first campaign today! COSO Media is here to help you figure out what will work best for your business if you aren’t sure.