How To Do SMS Marketing The Right Way

How To Do SMS Marketing The Right Way

It’s probably the world’s worst kept secret that if you aren’t using digital technology to market your business, you may not have one in a few years’ time. Indeed, marketing – especially of the digital variety – is becoming the lifeblood of businesses across the globe. And we’re not only talking about having a mobile-friendly website. This includes email marketing, SMS marketing, AdWords campaigns, social media and more.

However, it is also no secret that the technology and platforms that work for one business or industry, may not work for another.

While many of us are familiar with the concept of promoting content through our websites, we may not see the value of SMS marketing.

What Exactly is SMS Marketing?

SMS (short message service) marketing (or text message marketing) is a business tool that uses a permission-based short message service to your mobile device to promote goods or services.

Once customers have opted in or given permission for a business to contact them, they are added to a database and receive updates on special offers, events, reminders and more.

This is a friendly and inexpensive way for a company to stay front of mind with their customers and keep them informed.

Why Is SMS Marketing So Effective in Africa?

Ask yourself this: where is my cell phone right now? Our mobile devices are never far from us and we access them multiple times a day. It’s easy to see then, that with more people owning a mobile phone than own a toothbrush, SMS marketing enjoys an incredibly wide audience.

In a telling article from Forbes, we learn that “76% [of consumers] report that they are more likely to read a message sooner if it’s an SMS/text message than if it’s an email.”

Here in Africa where most people don’t enjoy the privilege of owning a laptop or desktop, we rely a great deal on our mobile phones to keep us connected. A website or email may not be accessible to us due to data restrictions or technological issues, but you can bet that those SMS’s still come through.

This is great news for savvy businesses, who have been making good use of SMS gateways to communicate regularly and effectively with their customers. Cheap. Accessible. Easy to use.

How Can We Use SMS Marketing Effectively?

Getting SMS marketing right for our particular niche means finding the type of message and the frequency that our audience enjoys. Once a customer agrees to give you their number, they will unsubscribe in a heartbeat if you send them irrelevant messages too often. So you would need to find that fine line between encouraging new customers on board, as well as providing the right content for your existing subscribers.

However, there’s more to it than just finding the right message.

Other factors to consider are:

  • Character count

As we mentioned, SMS equals short message service. Your message is limited to 918 characters in total, but – and this is important – once your message hits 160 characters it will be split into two or three messages. Unless your message is truly fascinating or ground-breaking, they won’t read message number two.

  • Preview

Most phones offer a preview window to give you a heads up on what the message is about. The length depends largely on the device, but the key takeaway here is that you have perhaps 4 – 6 words to capture the attention of your customer. This is where the most important part of your message should go.

  • Call to Action

A key point to remember for all your marketing efforts is to ensure that you clearly and concisely tell your audience what to do next. If you are asking them to send details, go to a page, view specials – or anything that requires them to DO something – then you need to clearly state it at the end of the SMS.

  • Stay compliant

Whether we like it or not, there are rules and regs around how we interact with our customers once they have given us their details. Be sure not to become a spammer, give out the required opt out/ unsubscribe details, and be sure to stay within your boundaries as a business.

So, it’s clear to see that SMS marketing may be a highly efficient and targeted marketing option, it needs to be handled with care and due attention. Choosing the correct SMS Gateway company is imperative to the success of your marketing efforts.

For more information on SMS marketing, push notifications and USSD please feel free to call our team on +27 87 151 1043 or email us directly.

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