How to Avoid Common SMS Marketing Mistakes

OpenMarket – April 28, 2016

Over the past few years, SMS marketing has undergone tremendous growth and adoption. What used to be a fringe strategy is now a staple component in marketing departments across all industries. However, since it is a relatively new approach – when compared to older methods, like email marketing – many businesses are making critical mistakes. It’s in your best interest to avoid such mistakes.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid

7 common SMS marketing mistakes to avoid

If you’re currently using SMS as part of your marketing approach, then you’re already doing something right. Far too many organizations are still overlooking this all-important component of modern marketing. With that being said, you’ll need to avoid the following pitfalls:

  1. Using a Poor Call-to-Action

The issue many marketers have with SMS is that they focus too heavily on the device and not enough on the recipient. This is a classic marketing mistake, but seems to be more prevalent with the introduction of smartphones and mobile devices.

Mobile devices are much different than traditional marketing mediums, so it’s hard not to focus on them. The way in which the message is created, delivered, and consumed varies significantly from other popular approaches. However, marketers need to realize that the recipient is the same. Whether you’re investing in email marketing, SMS, or anything in between, the recipient still needs a relevant call-to-action in order to respond.

The number one mistake marketers make in regards to SMS is not providing a relevant and concise CTA (call-to-action) in the body of every message. Not only is a CTA important for facilitating action, but it’s also an important aspect of showing recipients why the message was sent in the first place. Something’s wrong if a recipient is left asking, “Why did they send this to me?”

  1. Using Inappropriate Text Language

There’s a common misconception that, because text is a more casual medium, you can use different language to engage users. Don’t fall for this trap. Some of your users may use text-speak, acronyms, and abbreviations – but that doesn’t mean you should.

Feel free to take a light approach to crafting text messages, but don’t confuse light with unprofessional. There’s no place for “LOLs” and “TTYLs” in corporate SMS. Stick with professional language that positions your brand as credible. It’s better to be credible than trendy or hip.

  1. Failing to Obtain Permission

Did you know that you must legally obtain permission to send a text message to a customer’s mobile device? The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was enacted in October 2013 and stipulates that, prior to sending any SMS communication, the business must have expressed written consent from that individual.

Where most people get confused is that they wrongfully assume obtaining a phone number from a customer constitutes permission. This alone is not enough. You must clearly indicate that you are obtaining the phone number in order to send text messages.

  1. Failing to Allow for Easy Opt-Out

On a related note, you must also allow for easy opt-out at any time. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t allow for recipients to opt out of an SMS list very easily. In extreme cases, this can even be grounds for legal action. Recipients should always be aware of their right to remove themselves from your list. You can add this option to the end of your messages for maximum legal protection.

  1. Not A/B Testing

As a marketer, you should A/B test everything. If you aren’t currently split testing your text messages, then you’re missing out on the chance to increase engagement and response rates.

For best results, use a split testing software that lets you study individual keywords, CTAs, offers, and extensions. And as always, remember to only test one element at a time. This is the only way to calculate accurate results. The data you gather may surprise you, but it’ll strengthen your approach moving forward.

  1. Bad Sending Habits

Because SMS is a relatively new communication medium, not everyone understands etiquette. This can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.

For starters, you shouldn’t send any more than one or two unsolicited messages per week. Anything above this is considered exuberant and will likely lead to high opt-out rates. Furthermore, it’s important that you understand when to send messages and when to be quiet.

According to research, the optimal time to send a message is when smartphone use is at its peak. This is typically between 12pm and 6pm. Before and after this time period is considered personal time, and users tend to gravitate towards mobile app usage and internet browsing.

  1. Using the Wrong SMS Partner

There are a lot of companies that provide SMS solutions for businesses. There’s also variance in the quality of services they provide. Generally speaking, you’ll want to stay away from the vendors that are dirt-cheap. While saving money is great, these low-priced services tend to be priced so low because they lack the proper features and security measures.

The wrong SMS partner can set you back and open your marketing strategy up to vulnerabilities and security threats. Any time you’re dealing with sensitive information – such as a customer’s phone number – you must take things seriously. The SMS partner you choose will have a direct impact on your ability to produce worthwhile returns.

Contact OpenMarket Today

SMS is a powerful marketing tool. But, along with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re going to invest in SMS, then you must learn to use it the right way. Making mistakes like these can actually water down your brand image and damage relationships with valuable customers.

Part of doing SMS the right way involves choosing a reliable service provider that can seamlessly handle your organization’s demand for security and service. At OpenMarket, we’ve established our name as one of the premier providers of SMS in the entire industry. If you’re looking to align your marketing strategy with a partner that understands the importance of doing things the right way, then please reach out by contacting us today!

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