A lot of questions reach us on a daily basis. Some real simple, some more difficult. But when you are new to SMS marketing we often get the same kind of questions. We have answered the most frequently asked questions below. This will give you a jumpstart with setting up successful SMS campaigns.
1) When is SMS marketing most successful?
At CM we have helped with a lot of SMS marketing campaigns and while many had great success, often the very best results were generated around three types of campaigns. The best are grouped into:
- SMS marketing campaigns around physical locations
- Campaigns promoted at events
- SMS campaigns used at traditional media like TV, radio or print
When the incentive is right for the user, then these three type of areas always seem to generate the biggest growth in mobile databases.
2) How easy is it to start with SMS marketing?
When we are asked to help out setting up the first SMS campaign, many first-timers are surprised to see how easy it is to set up. Maybe this comes from the email marketing world where setting up a campaign with every click tag, technology issues, mail client compatibility, etc. can be quite a hassle. With SMS you have 160 characters (or more when using concatenated SMS) to use for your marketing message, so in comparison with email it will probably take up more time to decide what your message will be instead of configuring our SMS software.
3) How does marketing work with SMS shortcodes? Do we need to have our own?
Some brands find it very valuable to use their own dedicated shortcode. For obvious reasons the famous Dutch radio station 3FM uses their own dedicated shortcode 3333. For most businesses and non-profit organisations it’s not necessary to use a rather expensive dedicated shortcode. We serve a lot of different companies (from postal services to charity funding) with the shared shortcode 3669 and combine it with a company specific keyword, i.e. “Send KEYWORD to 3669”. We always help to decide if there is additional branding value to using a dedicated shortcode, but often it’s sufficient to use a shared and cheaper shortcode.
4) Any advice on how to maximise the success of SMS marketing?
The last few years we see a change in how marketing is performed. Organisations were used to grow a big list of mobile numbers so they can send numerous one-way messages. Nowadays, it is better to combine marketing tactics and use the two-way capabilities of SMS. By also using SMS to gather email addresses (like SouthWest Airlines), zip code, surveys, etc. you can outperform competition and start the conversation with your customer. Goodbye outbound marketing, welcome inbound marketing!
5) Is sending unsolicited SMS marketing illegal?
Surprisingly, many organisations think they already need to have a list of phone numbers or maybe even need to buy a list of phone numbers before they can start with SMS marketing. Beware that sending unauthorised text messages is illegal and foremost very ineffective. This could lead to lawsuits and penalties, which won’t be as cost-effective anymore. The most effective way to do SMS marketing is to grow your own list of mobile numbers on places where the customers are most engaged with your brand. Owning a pizzeria for example? Why don’t you put up a signage with “Send PIZZA DISCOUNT to 7658 and receive up to 30% discounts”? While your customers are waiting for their hot tasty pizza they will engage and send the text right there on the spot!
6) How much does is cost to start with SMS marketing?
Although we are one of the few that are this transparent about SMS prices, it still is a surprise sometimes for companies to hear the exact price of using SMS marketing. In a positive way of course. Many variables influence the price, like direct operator connections, security, etc. but once companies learn how low the entry-level costs of SMS marketing are, they quickly stop worrying about how difficult it will be for them to prove the value to their bosses.