According to an infographic released by Microsoft there are 4 billion mobile phones in use: 1 billion of them are smartphones, 3 billion are SMS enabled and strangely 1 billion mobile phones do not have SMS function.
Mobile phones have been an essential part of modern day life for some time, when people leave their houses they grab for 3 things: wallet or purse, keys, and mobile phones. This high usage rate creates an important opportunity for brands; mobile messaging.
However, Ronan Shields the mobile expert at New Media Age believes that businesses are missing out on this great opportunity as mobile messaging remains a low priority when marketing plans are being devised. The Mobile Marketing Association also named SMS marketing as ‘the most effective direct marketing channel’ available thus presenting a unique opportunity for businesses if used in the right way.
For business to use SMS Marketing in the right way there are some guidelines which need to be considered.
Gathering Mobile Numbers for SMS Marketing
SMS Marketing requires the mobile phone numbers of your customers, mobile phones are very private and personal devices therefore consumers are much more wary of sharing their mobile phone numbers than their e-mails, which could create a challenge for businesses. For your consumers to give you their mobile phone numbers, you will need to earn their trust.
You should make your customers realize that you will be sending business SMS’s that are relevant for them. If you don’t differentiate your promotional material in your promotional mix, it will not make your customers feel as though they will miss out on opportunities if they were not to sign up for your SMS Marketing services.
Differentiate Your Material
As mentioned above, if your messages are not differentiated between the different platforms, you will not be using SMS Marketing in the right way. Do not bombard your customers with the same message on every promotional channel you are using, think about who the person is at the end of that mobile phone.
Segment and Target
Segment your customers and target them with business SMS’s that will genuinely interest them rather than sending them bulk messages. Think about your product range and think about the special offers and promotions you are offering to your customers and most importantly think about the person at the end of that phone. Remember that SMS Marketing provides you with a unique chance to engage with your customers directly, do not waste that opportunity.
If you are sending your wine promotion message to your customers at 9 a.m. on a Monday and a big percentage of your customers are office workers it will not create a buying effect. If you send the same business SMS on a Friday afternoon, they will be much more interested in the offer.
Segmenting your customers is also a great way to earn their trust. Once they unsubscribe, you have lost them forever. If you send them too many messages with content that is not of interest to them, your material will be seen as spam. Therefore get to know the person at the end of that phone as much as you can and segment them into groups to ensure that your message has some value to them rather than being spam.
Frequency is another key point to consider, do not send a high volume of messages. Infrequency is the way to go! There is a difference between regular and frequent, send them regular messages – infrequently. Once a month is a safe way to get started.
Know the Legislation
Stay within the legal framework, although legislation differs depending on your location there are some common ones you need to be aware of:
- Obtain consent from your customers before sending them business SMS messages.
- Send an unsubscribe option with every message and if they do choose that option, you must do so immediately.
- Realize the cost, if you ask your customers to reply and they are not on an unlimited tariff unexpected costs can incur. If that is the case inform your customers to avoid any misunderstanding.
For other guidelines you should consult your relevant authority.