Your 10-Point SMS Hands-on Checklist Before Pressing Send—Part 1
Following a four-post series on SMS starting with one on opt-ins and opt-outs, here’s the first installment of a pair of posts with some very hands-on advice from one of our key consultants, SMS expert Ludovic Velu. If you’re planning to start an SMS campaign, you should first read this two-part, 10-point checklist. If you’re already using SMS, let me know what you think of this list, and don’t hesitate to complement it through comments or by pinging me on Twitter! With that said, let’s jump into five higher-level tips.
1. Managing Marketing Fatigue—a Must-Do
Customers who receive too many SMS messages in too short a time, especially if you’ve been sending them too many emails and push notifications at the same time, are likely to get tired of hearing from you. Such customers will likely opt out, complain to their friends, or worst, bash you on social media. To avoid this, set up marketing fatigue rules. It’s very easy to do using Adobe Campaign, so there’s no excuse for not doing it!
When setting up marketing fatigue rules, differentiate based on the type of message. Always send alerts and service messages such as order confirmations. Next, prioritize VIP and personal offers, since they’re usually attractive to the customer. However, if you’ve sent several messages over the past week, delay or even skip an informative message, say one announcing a new game.
As always, listen to the customer. A preference center with easy-to-access frequency preferences the customer can update is the best way to avoid frustration, opt-outs, and public shaming. It’s a perfect complement to your marketing fatigue rules and your own segments and customer buying intent scores. Such preference centers engender teamwork between you and your customers, rather than setting you up as the customer’s adversary.
2. Push or SMS? Both!
If you have an app, sending pushes instead of SMS messages reduces your cost, since sending push messages is free. Campaign Workflows makes it very easy to configure push messages. The best way is to let your customer set their preference; then, Campaign Workflows does the rest. If you want to make sure your push messages are read and clicked, use Campaign to follow up with an SMS message and/or email if the push wasn’t read or clicked.
3. Include Your Brand Name in the Sender Field: a Great Idea … or Not
Although including your brand name in the SMS sender field is great for branding, it does require you to provide your recipients with an opt-out number, such as, “Send STOP to 56764.” The problem here is not that they may opt out, since you should want them to do so rather than bashing you on Twitter or Facebook. No, the problem is that it takes up valuable character space (in the above example, 18 characters out of at most 160 available!), so you may want to carefully consider both options.
It’s not a fun fact, but people do opt out at times. The key advice here is to manage these opt-outs yourself rather than letting your SMS router do it for you. The reason is simple. SMS routers don’t offer much in the way of granularity. They simply remove the person opting out from the list for all future messages.
If you manage opt-outs yourself, using solutions such as Campaign, you can identify the specific type of message to which the customer reacted. Say you send out newsletters, last-minute offers, and service messages. The customer may have wanted to opt out of your newsletter, but wants to continue receiving service messages and enticing last-minute offers. Campaign makes this easy, so leverage it!
5. Go Cross-Channel, Efficiently!
As alluded to above, you can and should use other channels to augment and work with your SMS campaigns. This includes sending push notifications ahead of your SMS message, following up with email, and even sending out highly targeted direct mail offers.
Use all your customer knowledge to tailor what offers you send to which customer, and send it via the most effective channel for that customer and offer. Campaign makes it easy to do all this, and easily connects to your Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution to minimize cost and maximize efficiency.
SMS is a great marketing tool, if used correctly. Campaign makes it easy to manage this channel alongside all your other marketing channels. This makes it efficient, helps comply with laws and regulations, and increases your ROI. Use the above five points to make sure you manage your SMS campaign right.