Succeeding with SMS Marketing in 2020

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Digital media soared during the pandemic and is expected to continue its popularity going forward.

One of the winners was SMS marketing whose pre-pandemic open rate was already way up there at 98% based on 2019 data from text marketing firm SlickText.

Despite that, the firm reported 63% of brands surveyed had no formal SMS strategy despite findings that 45% of consumers who receive branded SMS messages respond to them.

The good news is that it’s not too late to get started.

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Platform

Having the proper SMS platform is critical. Research the many platforms in the marketplace and find one that keeps up with the laws and regulation governing SMS as not all are current.

Determine if it’s scalable and will be able to handle the anticipated growth both in terms of the number of employees who can access and work on the account, as well as the number of customers that can receive a text.

It’s also important to learn how the platform manages opt outs and imports contacts. It’s crucial to be sure there are no keyword restrictions and what kind of short code the brand will be getting.

It’s worth paying a bit extra for a dedicated short code rather than sharing it.

Being able to automate when messages are sent out and having a platform capable of handling both basic and advanced SMS marketing automation is preferred.

The final important piece is ensuring that the platform assimilates with other key parts of the business, particularly shipping so that customers receive a text when their product is being sent out.

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Set Up

Choose a keyword that’s unique, easy to remember, and relevant to the brand. Also be sure that anyone signing up receives an automatic acknowledgment and reply.

Be sure to include that they can opt out at any time (to be compliant with federal regs), what message and data rates could be based on their carrier, and how often they might expect to receive future messages.

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Strategy

Segment the list of products so that each group of customers can be targeted with tailored messages and offers.

Begin to build the distribution list by inviting customers checking out after a purchase or consumers visiting the website to opt in. Do the same on other social media platforms and via emails.

What’s also been successful for many brands are simple text-to-win contests with incentives to opt in.

Determine what the most favorable days of the week and times are.

That can be done either through a survey or accessing ones already performed on specific industries and demographics by various research firms. Surveys also open up the opportunity to invite customers to opt in.

Set up personal promo codes for each customer so each customer’s behavior can be tracked and recorded. It will also reveal when they redeemed promotional offers, they received to better understand what worked when.

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What Works

Improve chances of success by personalizing and tailoring messages based on existing customer data. Receiving a boring and generic text is like getting a standard flyer in the home mailbox.

Include an enticing incentive like a discount or free shipping. And be sure to insert a deadline to encourage immediate responses.

Just know that it takes time to grow a mailing list and see results, but the effort will be worthwhile.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.

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