11 SMS Marketing Best Practices You Must Know About in 2021

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Seattle Sun Tan recently ran a simple SMS marketing campaign that generated them $196k in the first month.

And in this article, I’ll show you exactly how they did it so you can replicate their results in your business as well.

First, we’ll explore the theory behind SMS marketing, then we’ll present a full case study on Seattle Sun Tan.

Let’s go!

1. Adhere to These 3 SMS Compliance First

Compliance is all about letting your SMS receiver be in control.

Before we get into the secret tips and practices for SMS marketing, I want you to understand that adhering to the law comes first!

With that being said, here are the 3 SMS compliance measures you need to take care of:

Written Consent is A Must

Before sending messages to the customer, written consent is mandatory.

This consent should be simple enough to convey the conditions and contents while receiving text messages from you.

Regardless of what type of information or offers you send, have the customer’s written consent.

Failing to get it is a direct violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Import Contacts the Right Way

Do you think that compliance only applies to contacts we generate?

No, all customers have to express written consent, even for the contacts we import externally.

When a subscriber list is imported from a non-compliant source, it would still be a violation.

So, whenever you import contacts, make sure you have their permission to send messages.

CTA Requirement for SMS Marketing

Call-to-action is a compelling message that urges the reader to act.

To make the best out of your CTA within the compliance rules, follow these parameters:

  • Clearly state the written consent requirement with a note that says giving information or not is a choice
  • Let subscribers know about incurring carrier charges
  • Mention the purpose of the SMS campaign and what the subscriber will get out of it
  • Let the subscriber know about the frequency of messages or include an estimated number of messages per week
  • List all the terms and conditions for signing up and provide a link to explain them in detail
  • Clarify the company’s details like contact information, opt-out instructions, privacy policy, etc.

2. Get Consistent to See the Positive Results

Inconsistency is one of the worst things in SMS marketing. You need to avoid this by sending timely updates and following a proper schedule.

I get that sometimes the subscriber might feel like you’re spamming their inbox, but that’s not an excuse for sending a few messages.

Whenever you want to avoid spamming, simply send periodical messages that may go once or twice a week.

You can also mention the frequency in the opt-in form to avoid any misinformed customer annoyance.

3. Don’t Just Promote Offer Value to Increase Engagement

Yes, the primary purpose of SMS marketing is promotion. However, there’s much more to it for your business as well as customers.

For instance, offering value to your customer has benefits that go beyond just making a sale.

A good engaging message only acts as a promotion but also has something in it for the reader.

In that case, make sure you add informational bits, polls, surveys, and a bunch of other nice things for value.

For more engagement, you can even add images or GIFs to make it an MMS.

In case you don’t want to put much thought, just send a discount coupon or a special subscriber-only offer to get some appreciation.

4. Don’t Trick Your Audience – Provide A Safe Exit

Your subscriber isn’t always going to love your text messages. That’s why opting out exists.

When we don’t give our subscribers a way out, it again falls into the illegal category of things in SMS marketing.

Therefore, you need to inform the subscriber about the procedure to stop receiving your messages.

It can be as simple as typing “STOP” or clicking a button to unsubscribe. Whatever it is, make sure to keep it as an option.

This won’t only stop annoying your subscribers but also create a trustworthy image for your brand.

After all, there’s no need to keep a gigantic list with unwilling subscribers.

5. Make Sure to Pick the Best Timing for Your SMS

Nobody likes noise at a time of peace. To keep your subscribers hooked, don’t send the right message at the wrong time or vice-versa.

Otherwise, they will unsubscribe and you could potentially lose a valuable customer.

Did you know that text messages have over 98% open rate and over 90% of them are read within 3 seconds if sent at the right time?

So, just keep the messages during business hours or at reasonable times to avoid disturbances and maximize open rates.

6. Personalize Your SMS

Getting contacts is the first part of SMS Marketing. The second is utilizing the contacts in the best possible way.

When running an SMS marketing campaign, it’s crucial to personalize messages to make a direct impact on the reader.

To do that, utilize techniques like custom fields and segments for smarter & relevant texts.

This will allow you to send product information, order tracking updates, abandoned cart messages, etc.

You can also use various integrations and AI messaging to make it easier to personalize the messages.

7. Try Bringing Responsiveness into the Picture

These days most SMS marketing campaigns are experimenting with two-way communication.

This responsive communication could work great for customer service, sales, inquiries, etc.

Although only a few brands are doing this, you should do it to offer a competitive service.

For instance, you can take inspiration from mobile carriers who include options for the users to send a text.

You can also start experimenting with it by setting a specific duration for responding. This would save your team from burning.

8. Invest In Good Copywriting

A poorly written message may reach thousands but only a few will care to act on it. Your copy should be exciting and must excite customers to buy.

Here are a few things to nail copywriting for your messages:

  • Keep to the point messages
  • Highlight important words by making them bold or uppercase
  • Incorporate CTAs carefully
  • Utilize FOMO and include urgency
  • Find out power words and use them frequently
  • Avoid special characters because some devices may not recognize them

9. Analyze Important KPIs

To see the effectiveness of a campaign, figure out where it went great and where it didn’t.

As of now, there are 4 effective KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that can help you measure both strong and weak points:

Click-Through Rate

Click-Through Rate indicates the no. of clicks on your link.

It’s a metric that shows how effectively your message convinces your customer to follow through a certain action.

To calculate CTR, you can compare the total number of clicks with the total number of impressions (how many people saw the message).

Conversion Rate

Just like CTR, Conversion rate indicates the success of your messages.

The only difference between CTR and conversion rate is – CTR shows how many people performed the action suggested in the message.

Whereas, Conversion Rate shows how many people actually purchased the product.

To get a high conversion rate, excel at attracting customers while providing the best product.

Delivery Rate

Some contacts will change their phone numbers or disable it. What’s the point of reaching out to those who can’t even get your text?

To save your money and time, the delivery rate indicates whether contacts are receiving your message or not.

  1. Return on Investment

ROI is one of the most common KPIs for SMS marketing. It indicates the percentage of profit you make relative to the cost of the campaign.

If the ROI is low, your campaign isn’t engaging enough and you need to work on your copy.

If it’s high, try to scale it up.

10. Keep Improving and Growing your Subscriber List

Having a big list is not enough for SMS marketing. Along with quantity, you should grow a quality list.

Here are a few tips to do so:

  • Advertise your text marketing campaigns on multiple platforms like social media, email newsletter, website, and offline forms
  • Incentivize subscription with offers and benefits
  • Outreach in events and gatherings
  • Add opt-in options in order check-outs
  • Add referral programs for your existing subscribers to invite more people

Now that we’ve talked about all the best SMS marketing practices let’s take a look at a case study about Seattle Sun Tan.

CASE STUDY: How Seattle Sun Tan Generated $196k In 30 Days with SMS Marketing

Earning $196K in 30 days with SMS marketing isn’t easy.

However, Seattle Sun Tan, a Tanning Salon based in Washington State did it.

Here’s how they pulled this off:

Advertising Strategy

Seattle Sun Tan didn’t have an existing contact list.

They advertised their SMS marketing campaign on the official website, in-store, emails and leveraged other traditional methods.

They also had an email database of 80,000+ contacts and a combined reach of over 37,000+ on social media.

With that, they grew their list from 0 to 4,750+ in a single month.

Subscriber Incentives for Opt-in

How about getting $20 off on your next purchase? Yes, that’s what Seattle Sun Tan offered to their new SMS subscribers. Who wouldn’t opt for it?

The customers had a 5-day time limit to redeem the coupon before it expired.

The offer had a redemption rate of 57% on the initial text message, making it an impressive response from the subscribers.

Results of the Campaign

The efforts of Seattle paid back massively with a staggering ROI. They generated $196.1K in new sales within the 1st month of the campaign.

The customers who received the SMS offer spent 500% more than those who didn’t subscribe.

As far as the opt-out rate is concerned, Seattle only saw about 1.3% – 6.1% in the first 24 hours.

About the Author

From 9-5, Mihael is a content marketing expert at Voila Norbert. And from 5-9, Mihael is the CEO of his conversion-focused content marketing agency, 21writers.com.

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