Posted by : Amanda Stein Thursday, December 13, 2012

SMS marketing is a good way to reach your customers. It’s easy to schedule and automate the sending of messages, and most people carry their smartphones with them everywhere they go, so they are likely to read SMS messages the moment they come in where emails or postal messages might be ignored or discarded unread. Before you start on a marketing campaign, however, you should make sure you understand the marketing regulations in your area and that you know how to produce messages that won’t annoy or alienate your customers.

No One Likes a Spammer

Most people think of email when they hear the term “spam”, but text marketing could be regarded as spam too. Unsolicited bulk messaging of any form is annoying to the recipient, and it could get the sender in trouble too. Most mobile owners don’t screen their text messages; when their phone beeps, they will check the message and the last thing you want is for them to be annoyed because the message you sent looked like spam to them. Here are a few ways to make sure that your messages are appreciated by your users:

  1. Get Permission - Before you send messages to a customer, make sure you have their permission. The best way to get permission is by requiring the user to opt in – e.g. have them send a message to you, or fill out a web form and tick a box. Do not sign people up to a text marketing list without getting their explicit consent.
  2. Provide an Easy Way to Opt Out - Make sure that you include opt-out instructions in each message. Customers are accustomed to being able to opt out by replying to the text with a message saying STOP, however it is a good idea to offer other methods as well, such as opting out online or even in person if you have a store. 
  3. Send Regular Messages - Pick a schedule for sending messages, and stick to it. You should send messages often enough to keep people thinking about your business, but not often enough to annoy the recipients. If you go for several weeks without sending a message, people may forget that they opted in, and view your next message as spam.
  4. Time Your Messages Carefully - Text marketing is great for time sensitive offers. Try to schedule your messages so that the user sees the message and has a chance to respond to it immediately. For example, you could send a message about a happy hour offer at your restaurant just before people get out of work. With luck, they’ll read the message and stop by the restaurant on their way home.
  5. Add Value - Each message that you send should offer something to the recipient. If you run a store, offer people a discount if they show the text message at the counter. Other ways to add value include providing news updates, sports results, or useful tips that are relevant to your customer base.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Collstream who are specialists in the field of SMS marketing.

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