SMS campaigns are utilised across a huge range of industries, and are an extremely popular method of getting messages out to visitors. Although they are simple and quick, the campaigns require planning to ensure that the results generated from them are maximised
Sending an SMS campaign out to a large audience, containing thousands of people can be a daunting task. Is the audience correct? Is the tone of the message appropriate? Are there any mistakes? These are thoughts that can run through the mind of even experienced marketeers as the time to hit the send button is upon you.
Read on to find out what you should do before, during and after your SMS campaigns to generate awesome results.
What should you be planning and checking before getting to the point of send?
A good starting point is to consider the time and the day that your campaign will be sent. The content of your SMS should be the driving force behind this, as you should look to send it out when it will be best received by the audience – e.g. if you’re sending out an offer for a Saturday afternoon event in a theme park or visitor attraction, consider sending the campaign during Friday morning as the event is close enough to be relevant, yet the recipient still has the time required to plan with family/friends and to make any relevant purchases. Also, try and avoid sending SMS campaigns during rush hour as this reduces the audience’s ability to open and read the SMS.
Another consideration is who you are targeting with your SMS campaign. Segmenting your database allows you to exclusively include visitors for whom the message is relevant. For example, an audience for an SMS campaign promoting ticket sales for a visitor attraction would need to have annual pass holders removed as they already have a ticket to the visitor attraction and would not be interested in the product being marketed. Segmenting your database also means a reduction in campaign costs, as it reduces the volume of ‘wasted’ SMS’ being sent to uninterested or non-engaged visitors.
In an SMS you have a maximum of 160 characters of content, so making each one of them count is key. One way to save on those precious characters is to use Google’s URL Shortener Tool, as it allows you to reduce the length of URLs down to just 13 characters.
The message given in your SMS is the crux of the campaign, so while planning the message ask yourself these questions:
1. Does the SMS have a clear call to action?
2. Does the SMS make sense?
3. Would you respond to the SMS if you received it?
Proofreading your SMS is important as it ensures that you have the opportunity to identify and amend any spelling or grammatical errors. Asking a few different members of your team to look over your proposed SMS for any errors is a great way of screening out mistakes too.
If you want the recipient to reply to your SMS, then you’ll need to include a reply number in the SMS itself or in the Sender ID. The Sender ID can be a maximum of 11 characters long, so if you’re sending from a brand you can consider abbreviating the name to fit within the limit. To really personalise the SMS, you can use a name as the Sender ID.
Before you send your SMS campaign, I recommend that you carry out a test campaign to your own phone or to your team. Sending a test SMS campaign allows you to check the following:
• How the SMS will look to the recipient when it comes through to their mobile
• How well the SMS copy reads
• The functionality of any reply mechanism
• Whether your click-through links point towards the correct webpage
• Whether the webpages your click-throughs point towards are fully mobile optimised
Once you have carried out all of the above checks and you’re happy with your SMS content, then you’re in a position to send the campaign on its way or schedule it to go out at your chosen time.
Although sending out your SMS might feel like the campaign is complete, in reality the analysis conducted afterwards is just as important. Most SMS platforms allow you to analyse the delivery of your campaign in terms of how many were successfully sent and how many failed. Getting a list of the failed send attempts and their associated mobile numbers allows you to amend and improve the quality of your data.
Using Google Analytics to track the URLs included in your SMS is a great way of reporting on the performance of your campaign. Tracking the URL allows you to measure how many clicks, the general demographic profile of who’s clicking, what time they’re clicking and on what device. This helps you to plan and devise your future SMS campaigns.
Using the click data you’ve collected, you can then implement follow up SMS campaigns to recipients who have clicked through on your URLs. Acting on this type of click data insight allows you to produce a more targeted approach to sales and marketing as you’ll already have an inclination of their interest in your product. If you gave a reply number in the Sender ID or the SMS copy, any contacts who reply can be placed into a hot prospects list to receive a personal call back to close the sale or to give some extra information.
I hope this guide to marketing SMS campaigns has given you a bit of food for thought, but if you ever need any SMS campaign advice please do get in touch!
At Green 4 we enable our customers to utilise data to build improved fan and visitor relationships and create compelling digital journeys across the sport, leisure and attraction industries. As your partner, we are committed to your success and focused on delivering results using cutting edge, insight led strategies. Join us for our seminar at the Family Attraction Expo – Improving your Visitor Engagement Strategy to Ensure Success - and come and visit us at Stand 1331.