SMS Marketing Fail

SMS marketing: What you should avoid

Wondering just why brands fail with SMS marketing?

We all know that as marketers, we should be using and taking advantage of the power of SMS and mobile marketing. The issue is, however, that despite this knowledge, it’s easy to get frozen in stagnation, sit plump on sweaty hands and instead do absolutely nothing at all. Alternatively, jump headfirst into some form of mobile marketing endeavor without doing any necessary prep work or even basic planning beforehand. It’s easy to say that any action, regardless of what it is, is better than inaction. Something trumps nothing. But the uncomfortable truth is this: such thinking will not just waste your time, but also and far more importantly—your cold, hard cash.

Related: How effective is SMS marketing in 2018

Why Brands Fail With SMS Marketing

So take this article as a cautionary tale. Better yet, let it serve as your first step toward heading in not just any mobile marketing direction, but one that’s leading you to an actual destination. And if you are indeed brand new to the world of SMS marketing, don’t—I repeat, DO NOT—attempt to concoct any mastermind campaign without first looking over these four tips as to why brands fail with SMS marketing.

1. Failing to Obtain Customers’ Opt-in Consent

This little issue seems to pop-up more than you may think. It's a pesky little problem but by law, you need to have your customers consent before you send them a message.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen this before: you’re online, shopping for something, anything—you find what you want and proceed to the cart—everything in your cart looks good, so you then proceed to the checkout and start filling in your details.

Then you see it! a sneaky little box that’s already been checked, not asking but effectively telling you (since they’ve already assumed you were going to check the box) that by clicking ‘checkout’ you agree to sign up to receive email offers of discounts and promotions, etc.

Well, let me put it simply. Don’t do that. Not now, not ever. It’s bad practice and is not really, strictly speaking, obtaining a person’s consent. Your customers need to actively—not passively—opt-in. There’s a crucial difference between the two. And while it’s not always necessarily as black and white as offering a clear opt-out function, it’s not worth the risk.

2. Unclear or no Call to Action

We know that it’s tricky to get your message across in a succinct, eloquent and telling paragraph 170-characters or less. Nevertheless, the call to action is the single most important component of your entire text message.

It is the very thing that will determine whether your marketing effort sinks into oblivion or swims to a coconut-abundant shore. After all, the entire point of sending out SMS marketing to your customers is so that they actually do something, whether that be watching a new promotional video you made about a certain product, or visit your site to redeem a limited-time-only coupon.

Make it easy for them to do it by offering a clear, concise and compelling call to action that requires no more than clicking an embedded WAP link.

3. Sending out Messages at the Wrong Time

If you’re a coffee shop that’s open from 6am through to 4pm, let me ask you a question: would you send out a promotional SMS offering a 20% discount voucher on any coffee that’s redeemable in shop… at 6pm? The answer is a most resolute no! You wouldn’t.

It’d be ineffective and plain silly. You want to make sure that your SMS is time-conscious and getting to your target market at the exact time they need to see it. In the case above, for example, you would send it out at 7am, so people will a) be reminded of your coffee shop, and b) be reminded as they’re on the way to work at a time they’re very likely to visit.

Remember: SMS boasts an astoundingly high open rate (about 97%), of which over 90% are read within minutes of receipt. It’s about the only platform that lets you choose exactly when you want to reach your customers. Why waste such a gift?

4. Not having a Mobile-Optimised Website

Okay. So we’re in 2016 now. There is absolutely no excuse to not have a website that hasn’t been optimized for mobile. Really, no excuse whatsoever. Even basic website templates available for less than $50 will come with a responsive design.

Remember sites that aren’t responsive now rank lower on mobile searches. What’s the point of spending all this time and energy in composing a perfect marketing SMS - one that’s well-written, has a clear call to action, and that offers some awesome value -if you’re directing people to a page that’s barely legible on their smartphones?

Getting It Right

Okay. So now that the what not to do’s are out of the way, here are a few pointers to get the ball going in the right direction.

Let’s start with composing the actual message. It goes without saying that messages have to be short, but they don’t have to be dull - keep your messages sharp and on point for the best result. Shorten URLs where you can, use catchy, active verbs for your call to action, tailor messages for the people they’re being sent to and don't forget that your message is imposing on your customers’ space, so make sure the offer is actually of value and satisfying some pertinent need. Always remember: your customers come first. If you’re going to invite your business into their personal space, be a good guest, don’t show up at the wrong time, and make your company worth their while (pun very much intended).

Of course, if you would like to discuss how you can make your SMS marketing campaign the best it can be, don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can help your business excel with SMS Marketing.