5 SMS Marketing Do’s (…And 5 SMS Marketing Don’ts)

August 28th, 2018

Sending a bulk SMS marketing message is really easy, right?

  1. Select the people you want to text
  2. Type in the message or select a proven winning campaign
  3. Click send

What could be easier?

But before you get started in SMS there things you should do and things you shouldn’t.

The goal of this article is to let you in on the most important elements to work on as well as areas to avoid.

Let’s dig in!

 

Don’t Migrate Mobile Numbers Into Your SMS List

This one is tempting.

I get it.

You’ve got loads of mobile numbers from past customers.

And you’re confident that sending out an SMS to these people would bring in a flood of fresh new sales.

It probably would too but the risks are high.

When it comes to any marketing activity you must get a person’s consent before you can send promotions.

While it is very tempting to migrate all of your customers over to your SMS platform and start bulk messaging it’s best to leave it alone because the legal headache probably won’t be worth it.

Here’s a site with some good information regarding SMS Laws.

Here’s a better idea. If you have permission to send emails to your customers you can do this:

  • Promote your SMS list on future company newsletters – create a static ad or promote it at the bottom of each newsletter to keep driving new leads.
  • Send them a personal email asking if they’d like to subscribe to your SMS list.

In either situation, don’t ask them to join but rather promote the benefits of being on your new SMS programme/VIP list/exclusive partners list etc.

  • Will you send them offers that only SMS list subscribers will see?
  • Will they get insider information that is not publicly available?
  • Will they preferential treatment in some way?

The goal is to position the SMS list as something that has high value.

 

 

Don’t Send Out SMS Too Frequently

One mistake I see with SMS is treating it like it’s similar to email or social media.

It’s not.

SMS is very unique because you’re marketing is being sent to the SMS inbox which is a place that only friends, family and maybe some work colleagues are allowed access to.

Because of this, the rules change a little.

The SMS inbox is more “exclusive” think of it has an insiders club.

The last thing you want to do consistently pepper that person with promotion after promotion.

From our own client research once per week seems to be the maximum number of times to reach someone and even then you want to make sure you have a good reason.

If you want to send campaigns more regularly here are two ideas:

  1. Let them know how often you will message them on your offer (before they opt-in) or send them a follow-up confirmation SMS that lets them know how many SMS’s they can expect from you and that they can unsubscribe any time

 

  1. Use a 2-Step Approach – get them on to your SMS list first and send then send them a text saying that you have a special SMS group where you send frequent special offers that come in 3-4 times per week and if they’re interested they can opt-in to that group by texting VIPlist to XXXXXXX this will allow you to grow a list of people who don’t mind regular contact.

 

 

Don’t Send Irrelevant Offers

Each SMS you send has the ability to make a lot of money but if not executed correctly can create “list erosion”.

Mobile users have an incredibly low tolerance for SPAM.

SPAM will destroy your list quickly and get angry calls back to the office for your team.

Here’s the best way to avoid this:

Segment your list.

You do this by creating specific contact groups that are linked to specific keywords.

For example, when a person text message’s “keyword A” to your SMS opt-in they are added to “contact group A”.

When you have an offer that is perfect for “Contact Group A” you’re only sending it to that specific group.

This is great for creating highly targeted offers and is also easier to manage your groups.

 

 

Don’t Talk To Them As A Group

SMS is a one-to-one communication channel.

Reduce the number of SMS messages that read like the following:

Big special on for our customers 50% off! Tonight only.

Why? Because this doesn’t feel personalised to the person you are trying to engage with.

Think about a text that you’d send to a friend if you’d just become aware of an offer that they’d be interested in.

How would you word it?

Think of yourself as someone who has just stumbled across something amazing and you are keen to let that subscriber in on it.

I’ll let you know why this is very important in a few moments.

You want your text message to read like it was meant for them.

Try something like this instead:

Hey Jill, I know you love Italian shoes so we’ve got a 50% off sale on our Italian shoe range but it ends tonight. Thought you’d be interested. Jack.

It’s a much more human to human interaction.

If they perceive you to be a real person they are more likely to open to text messages and stay on your list since it’s harder to unsubscribe from a person you know, like and trust.

Also, keep it casual.

By casual I don’t mean using the letter “u” instead of “you”.

Use the language and style that would feel natural to the recipient.

This is of course dictated by the buyer persona you’re messaging, right?

Obviously, you’ll talk to school principals different than you would pizza customers but there’s no need to be overly formal.

 

 

Don’t Send SMS Users To Pages That Aren’t Mobile Friendly

You have a special offer.

You’ve added to your website that was built in the early 2000’s before online mobile browsing was a thing.

Chances are that when people click through from your SMS message to your website that it’s going to give them a frustrating experience.

They going to have to zoom in and scroll left to right to read everything.

This is not only important for improving your SMS results but as an overall strategy.

Globally, mobile has overtaken computer desktops in terms of online searches and activity.

Google hates non-mobile friendly websites.

Not only that but Google has now shown preferential treatment to mobile users and my guess is that they will start penalising websites that aren’t mobile friendly.

 

 

Use Scarcity And Urgency With Every Offer

Scarcity and urgency have always been helpful in terms of driving action and is one of the few strategies that will always work.

Imagine this for a moment:

Think of a product that you would love to have that is in your price range.

Do you feel a sense of pressure to buy it right now?

Now imagine this scenario:

Think of that same product you want but…

That company is running a good-bye promotion where that product is only available until 5pm or until the next 20 units are sold…after the price will go up by 20%.

On top of that, there are people lining up outside that store eager to get in.

Did you feel a hint of anxiety?

Fear of loss is a strong motivator.

Every special offer that you send should have an urgency and/or scarcity to drive more sales.

 

 

Use SMS To Improve Other Channels

One of the amazing benefits of SMS is that when you send a message…it will get read.

One of the downsides to email is that when you send an important email…it might get read.

If you’re sending out an important email you can improve open rates by sending out an SMS to those people who failed to open their email.

When someone is shopping online and they get halfway through the order process and then bail you can send them an SMS to recover some of those abandoned carts.

If you have a webinar or live event coming up sending an SMS is a smart way to drive more people to that event.

SMS is a great tool to deploy when you absolutely need to get as many eyeballs on your other various marketing efforts.

 

 

Turn Your List Into An Insiders Club

Once you’ve spent time and money getting people on to your SMS list the last thing you want to do is make it easy for people to unsubscribe.

The best way to reduce unsubscribes is to make the people on your list feel like they’re part of something special.

If they feel like if they unsubscribe that they could lose something valuable then you’re likely to have high retention rates.

Here are a handful of ways to turn your “list” into a VIP club:

  1. Make offers to your list that cannot be seen anywhere else.
  2. Make your list invite only.
  3. Have people pay an annual fee to be on your list.
  4. Giveaway stuff for free.
  5. Make it a hassle to get on to your list (application sign up, jump through hoops etc.)

 

 

Keep Them Separated

The worst thing you can do in SMS marketing is to lump everyone together into the same group.

Each customer buys your product or service for different reasons so you want to group those people who share the same or similar reasons together into contact group segments.

Segmenting your list into groups of people who share similar needs and interests is great for improving sales because it helps you create offers that are related to the previous offer they purchased or opted-in for.

The Benefits Of Segmentation:

  • Reduce unsubscribes due to making highly relevant and therefore valuable offers and information.
  • It’s easier to come up with promotions when you know exactly who you’re sending the offer to.
  • Conversions, bookings, leads, and sales will go up naturally because the text messages will be highly specific to their needs.
  • If you have 5 group segments then you can send out an SMS campaign every day to drive sales. If you only have one big group you can only text once per week maximum.

 

 

Build Your SMS Golden Goose

Would you like it if you have at least a dozen SMS promotions that you knew every time you ran them approximately how much money you would bring in like clockwork?

The most successful animal species are successful because they have gone through multiple iterations (versions) before landing on the model that allows them to thrive on this planet.

Use the same approach when it comes to offers.

If a business is guessing which offers to use week after week, month after month without continuing to improve them then it’s just gambling.

The goal is to create an offer and then through slight iterations, you are able to end up on what is called a Golden Goose Promotion.

This is a promotion that is successful every time it is launched.

Here’s how to create your Golden Goose Promotion:

  1. Select the SMS segment you want to promote to
  2. Craft two offers and give them slightly different codes so you can track them
  3. Send offer #1 to 50% of the list and send offer #2 out to the other 50%
  4. Record results
  5. Drop the losing offer
  6. Create a new offer to replace it
  7. Go to step 3 when you want to do the next round of promotions

 

Summary

The main rules of SMS are:

  1. Avoid legal problems by getting permission from users before sending SMS promotions.
  2. Reduce unsubscribes by creating segmented groups, targeted offers, optimal message frequency and positioning your SMS list as an insiders club.
  3. Create predictable results by testing your offers.
  4. Improve the results of other marketing channels by using SMS to recover sales, drive emails opens and webinar, sales or event attendance rates.
  5. Connect subscribers to your brand by speaking to them as individuals not as a mass audience.

 

Ready to start generating more leads and sales
for your business or sales team?

Click Here To Sign Up For A Free Trial And Get 5 Free SMS Credits

 

 

 

 

6 Ideas To Double Your SMS Marketing Results

August 24th, 2018

One of the dangers of SMS marketing is that it’s easy to use.

It requires zero learning curve, right?

  1. You type in a message.
  2. Select people from your contact group.
  3. Click send.

What else is there?

SMS campaigns are won and lost before they’re even launched.

By asking you a few questions I can tell you whether your campaign has the makings of a champion campaign or if it’s going to flop without even looking at your campaign.

In this post, I’m going to share 6 SMS marketing ideas that focus on what needs to happen before you launch your SMS campaign because if you get things right at the beginning your rewards will be greater as your list grows.

 

SMS Marketing

TIP 1: Target The Gatekeeper

The gatekeeper is the most important person because they hold the key to other important people to your business.

By helping this person out you’re more likely to get access to their personal network.

Let’s use a local dentist who is trying to drive more family units into their practice instead of just single patients.

The opt-in offer could be:

For new mothers who want to make sure their newborn babies have healthy teeth. There are 3 critical stages of teeth development before your baby reaches 12 months that determine 80% of overall health when they become adults. Text “FreeCheckup” to XXXXXXXX and receive a free baby teeth health check-up.

For every SMS lead that comes in the admin team can call or text to book the appointment.

The goal here is to:

  • Call out the decision maker: the mother.
  • Identify a potential problem and offer a low barrier solution to solving that problem.

By exposing her to the clinic, chances are she is going to recommend the dentist to her family as well giving our dentist the opportunity to bring on the entire family.

 

TIP 2: Use Granular Targeting

The “universal remote control” strategy in marketing is…long gone.

That is making one big fat offer that attempts to target everyone at once.

These offers just don’t work as well as highly targeted offers.

People have very specific needs and the more you can align your offer to that need the better results you will get.

Imagine an asthmatic who has a head-splitting headache they walk into the pharmacy to get some headache pills to solve that problem.

They’re presented with 3 options:

  1. Painkiller
  2. Headache pills
  3. Headache pills for people with asthma

Which one is she likely to go for?

Even though the ingredients are exactly the same they’ll opt for the ‘headache pills for people with asthma’ and here’s why:

If they purchase either the general painkillers or the headache pills, at best, they may not be as effective, at worst they could potentially cause serious health issues or even death.

By drilling down on your offer and matching a specific problem to a specific person you make your competitors’ products seem irrelevant, inferior and in some instances potentially dangerous.

 

TIP 3: Make Your Offer Easy Like Sunday Morning

What I see a lot of businesses doing is promoting their flagship products that require a lot of thinking on the part of the buyer.

If you have ever worked in retail you know that when a buyer as to “think about it” they’re not coming back to your store.

The goal with this strategy is to make them an offer that they’re already interested in, yet doesn’t involve a lot of commitment on their side.

Think about this for a moment…

When you think about your target customer, what are they ultimately trying to achieve as it relates to your product?

What’s the big goal that they’re marching towards?

Now, what’s the first and easiest step they need to take?

If the person is trying to lose weight from 100kgs down to 75kgs what is the first step that they are already looking for?

Maybe it’s a free fat loss consultation specifically designed for new mothers who want to lose the baby weight including and written fitness program based on their fat percentage, lifestyle and dietary habits.

Whatever that first step is to make that available for a very good price or if it makes sense give it away.

The goal of the offer isn’t to make money but to bring people into your solution in a logical way.

 

TIP 4: Build A Buyer Persona

This is considered SMS best practice.

Before you craft any offer you need to have a good understanding of who it is that you’re looking to target.

We use what is called a buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a fictional character that carries the same needs, goals, frustrations, desires etc. of a specific group of people who buy from you.

Here’s what you want to know

Demographics:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Income
  • Location (especially important if you’re a local business)

Motivators:

  • What are their frustrations? What current problems are they experiencing?
  • What are their fears?
  • What are their wants and desires?
  • What goal are they trying to accomplish?

Habits:

  • Where do they hang out online?
  • Who are they influenced by?

Beliefs:

  • What are their beliefs about their current problem?
  • What do they believe they need to solve that problem?

The more detail you can go into on each of these points the better.

Just knowing the answers to these questions will help you a great deal when running your marketing campaigns.

 

TIP 5: Always…Always…Segment

Relevancy is ultra-important, especially with SMS subscribers.

SMS subscribers have an incredibly low tolerance for irrelevant information and offers.

Before you put together your SMS campaign remember this:

Your average subscriber is looking for a reason to unsubscribe.

The moment you send them untargeted, valueless information or promotion, they’re jumpin’ ship!

The secret to avoiding this is to stay relevant and this is done through segmentation.

You can segment people based on whatever criteria you want:

  • Buyer Persona
  • Product based
  • Location-based
  • Income-based
  • Age or gender etc.

Whatever is meaningful to you in terms of improving your conversion rates.

You can find out how to create a segment using contact groups here.

 

TIP 6: Have A Goal For Your Subscribers

What do you want to achieve once you send out an SMS promotion?

A great way to get the most bang for your buck with SMS is to have an idea of what you ultimately want to do with that customer once they purchase your product or service.

Do you have specific upsells that would be a valuable complement to that product?

Do you have the next logical purchase ready to go so you know what to send them next?

Apple’s had a clear buyer path for their customers:

First, you’d buy the iPod which was an easy sell, right?

Store your entire music collection on one device.

Then they introduced the iPhone and then finally the Mac Book to complete the trinity.

I wonder how many people own a Mac book but don’t own an iPhone?

Not many.

This goes back to the buyer persona, right?

What is your buyer persona’s goal?

Can you line your product suite up so that they intersect at the top?

If you don’t have a logical plan for what you want your customers to purchase then they will buy whatever from whomever.

 

SUMMARY:

To generate a lot of sales with SMS it’s not about having an enormous list of subscribers, it’s about building a highly responsive list that values your SMS messages.

The best way to build a highly responsive list is to:

  1. Understand your buyer (preferably at a granular level).
  2. Craft offers that speak to specific pain points or interests that only that type of person would be interested in.
  3. Map out a logical solution sequence so that you know what you need to get them to buy next in order for them to achieve their ultimate goal.

Is SMS marketing B2B or B2C?

July 30th, 2018

Is SMS marketing B2B or B2C?

Is SMS marketing better for B2B or B2C?

SMS can be used for both, however, the approach needs to be adjusted. Typically, with B2C (selling inexpensive items) you can use SMS by itself to drive conversions e.g. “50% off sale today!” Typically, In B2B, with longer sales cycles and more complex solutions SMS is used as part of a multi-channel approach, for example, you would start with SMS e.g. “Download our lead generation method for fintech’s” but will have to hand it off to a human to progress the sale.

 

How to use SMS for B2B

Generally speaking, when using SMS in business you will be using it at the earlier stages of the buying process (top funnel).

This will mean using some form of information to get them onto your SMS list.

But chances are that you want to continue to message them like you would with B2C SMS campaigns instead you would hand that lead off to a salesperson to follow up.

Before creating a B2B text messaging campaign there is some groundwork that needs to be covered.

The first step is to figure out how you’re going to get them on the SMS list.

In the majority of cases you will be looking to build a list in exchange for information whether that is:

  • Guide or whitepaper
  • A strategy call
  • Some kind of Analysis

Once you know the way in which you are going to get them onto a list you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. WHO you are targeting specifically.
  2. You need to understand that person’s single biggest pain point or challenge.
  3. How will you communicate using SMS?

 

Who are you targeting?

When running B2B SMS campaigns it is important to target a specific individual, are you targeting the CMO, CCO, project manager, sales manager or the business owner etc.?

 

What is the single biggest pain point or challenge for that person?

Business people are usually quite busy so to cut through the noise you need to speak directly to their existing pain point.

 

How will you communicate using SMS?

Are you going to send them a specific drip-fed sequence of information or are you going to do send one SMS and then hand it over to your salesperson to call and set up an appointment?

 

Promote

Once you’ve got the above complete it’s now time to get as many eyeballs on this offer as you can.

You need to know where your target prospect spends most of their time.

Channels you may use to promote the campaign:

  • LinkedIn – get all of your employees to post the campaign on their feed.
  • Company Newsletter – if you have prospects that are in your newsletter then post in on there.
  • Websites – do they congregate on specific websites? Buy ad space and promote your offer there.
  • Social media channels – schedule the promotion to run on your social media channels. Pin it to the top of your feed.
  • Your website – most of your traffic won’t convert but will take a small step towards solving their problem
  • PPC – if you’re currently using paid ads then set aside a budget to promote the campaign.

Whatever marketing channels you are currently using your SMS promotion should have some kind of presence.

 

Can you use SMS to sell the product like you can with B2C?

Generally speaking, no.

But there are 2 scenarios where it may make sense.

 

Scenario #1

If you’re selling recurring services that require confirmation from a client (monthly, quarterly, annually) then you may be able to send them a quick SMS with details and they can reply back with the SMS confirmation to continue.

This is useful if you have a large portfolio of clients and SMS can help you cut your workload down.

Even then this would be for smaller dollar value clients, bigger clients should always be called.

 

Scenario #2

If the prospect has read the information, sat down with your salesperson, gone through every meaningful feature and benefit and come to the conclusion that the product fit is right but maybe they want a 10% discount to proceed and you have good rapport it could work.

As long as the price point is less than $10,000 I don’t really see why not.

Sending them a quick SMS asking if they’re still interested is fine.

I’ve closed $2,500 packages with an SMS on a few occasions but again everything had been lined up correctly before I was able to do that.

 

How to use SMS for B2C

B2C SMS marketing is typically used at the end of the buying process.

If the product is relatively cheap under $100 then SMS offers work fantastically well.

If you’re selling solutions that run into the $1,000’s of dollars then it may require an extended SMS campaign or involves a sales consultant.

 

B2C SMS process

At its most basic level all you need to do is build a list and send ongoing SMS messages.

 

Create an offer

Create different offers that are attractive to specific buyers in your market.

 

Segment your lists

Sending out offers and information to everyone on your list is not a good idea and is referred to as spam.

The goal with SMS is to separate buyers into different groups so that we’re only sending specific offers to specific buyers.

SMS segmenting helps you do this which helps reduce unsubscribes and increase sales.

 

Builds a list

To build a list we need to get eyeballs on to our promotion.

Just like in the B2B example get your promotion onto every channel you can to give it maximum exposure.

 

SMS campaign

Once your list starts to build, send our occasional offers and information to the various list segments.

 

Summary: B2B vs B2C SMS Marketing

There are more commonalities than differences between the business and consumer markets with the main differences being:

  • Consumers are generally fine with ongoing text messaging as long as it’s relevant to their needs.
  • Businesses will not want to hear from you consistently on SMS.
  • Consumers can be converted via SMS depending on the price point, for example, you can’t sell a home via SMS.
  • While you can begin a relationship with a business professional using SMS (i.e. downloading information) you will need to hand this off to a human to complete the sale.

Generally speaking, regardless of whether you’re in the B2C or B2B market, the more pressing factors are:

  1. Is what you are selling expensive? SMS is more suitable for lower commitment transactions, selling expensive items will require the human component.
  2. Is what you are selling complex in nature? Since SMS has limited characters a complex solution will require more education and a dynamic conversation i.e. get a human involved.

As I said at the beginning of this article SMS can be used for both markets but the answers to these questions will determine how it is used.