The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, and launching a far-reaching SMS marketing campaign begins with building as many contact opt-ins as possible.
Thus, Step 1 in getting a strong text marketing strategy is building a recipient list the right way while avoiding pitfalls and even legal problems. Therefore, it’s essential that all phone numbers placed on your testing list have been granted permission to receive texts.
It’s required by law. It is also necessary to provide clear instructions on how to opt out.
Another crucial step is filtering your audience so that messages are not incorrectly formatted or sometimes undelivered. The latter happens, for example, when people change phone numbers or have moved out of your service area.
Describing the numerous details of opt-in and opt-out techniques is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say some homework is required. That’s why many companies opt to hire an SMS marketing service to handle these types of tasks to avoid the learning curve.
Segment the Audience
Segmenting an SMS audience is important because it helps divide the recipient list into smaller, specific groups based on various factors. These include vital data points like age, location, gender, purchase history and individual interests.
Segmenting enables the targeting of well-defined groups that can be fed text messages that are highly relevant to audience mindsets, interests, etc. For example, it tailors messages to the preferences and actual needs of the recipient.
Again, segmenting has developed into a complicated “art,” so working with a competent SMS service is prudent.
A/B Testing of SMS Text Content
A/B testing is a method to evaluate the effectiveness of one text message content versus another. In short, it’s a way to determine which message produces a better response, sales or other actions the marketer seeks to urge from the recipient.
A/B testing is crucial for zeroing in on the most effective communications that can be jammed into the limited space of 160 characters that make up text copy. A/B testing is conducted by experimenting with keywords and phrases, sales vs. discounts or coupons, differing times of day, tone of the message and a host of other variables.
If you don’t A/B test, you’re working blind.
Speaking of Timing
A/B testing can provide insights on the best time to text an audience, but some “rules of thumb” have emerged based on the feedback data of thousands of SMS marketers. In general, it can be said the best texting times are:
- Between Noon and 1 p.m.
- After 10 a.m. for morning texts
- Best days: Tuesdays and Saturdays
Here again, legal concerns may be an issue. That’s because some states prohibit telemarketing calls and text messaging before or after certain hours. These restrictions must be obeyed.
In the “old world” of mail order, marketers used snail mail lists to send paper brochures, sales letters and other marketing messages to the post office boxes of what was hopefully a “well-qualified list.” They quickly learned that a “clean list” was essential.
The same is true today for an SMS marketing opt-in list. For optimal performance, the best recipients are “pre-qualified prospects.” That is names that have demonstrated a high interest in a particular product, subject or life interest. That kind of information is obtained through data analysis and other methodologies.
Smart SMS marketers deploy an HLR to “cleanse” their lists. HLR stands for Home Location Register. Learning how to use HLR is essential to maximizing your SMS marketing potential.
Use an SMS Marketing Expert
Any business owner can build his or her own SMS marketing campaign. However, the steps outlined above are just a few of the essential ingredients required for doing it correctly and effectively.
Anyone seeking to tap into the incredible power of SMS marketing is well advised to contract with an experienced professional SMS service provider.
SMS texting is inexpensive compared to most other forms of marketing and advertising. Costs may range from $0.0007 to $0.30 per text, depending on a range of variables.
But as many business owners have discovered and say: “SMS marketing does not cost you money, it makes you money.”