5 rookie SMS marketing mistakes (And how you can avoid them)

By Stu Thom | 15 October 2014
5 rookie SMS marketing mistakes (And how you can avoid them)

Imagine if there was a highly effective and budget-friendly way to communicate with customers and get an instant response. There is – that’s the power of SMS marketing.

Whatever your business size or type, you can build an SMS subscriber list and tap into the many advantages of this flexible, immediate and intimate channel.

But whether you’ve just started planning your first SMS campaign or you’ve been reaping the benefits of SMS marketing for years, there are five critical mistakes that you need to avoid.

Mistake 1: Not playing by the rules

There’s one very important thing you need to know about SMS marketing – it’s permission based. This means you must adhere to the Australian anti-span regulations set by ACMA. The good news is they are based on good business sense:

  • Consent: You must have the consent of the recipient before sending an SMS.
  • Identify: You need to ensure the recipient can easily identify you as the sender.
  • Unsubscribe: You must provide a simple method for the recipient to opt out – and should they choose to do so, you must deal with them promptly.

The best way to ensure you’re playing by the rules is to get to know them by visiting the ACMA Anti-Spam website.

Mistake 2: Not branding your messages

Branding is critical if you are to establish strong, trustworthy customer communications – and SMS marketing is no exception. There’s nothing more off-putting to a consumer than receiving a text from a random number. Especially when they open the message and still can’t work out who it’s from!

If you want to get results and inspire action, you need to brand your SMS messages. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Include your brand name as the first word of the message itself
  • Use your brand name as a header in Caller ID field. If so, provide a mobile number for opt-outs or replies.

Mistake 3: Filling the SMS with acronyms or abbreviations

Admittedly, text talk began in the world of SMS. LOL, ROTFL, CUL8R and YOLO anyone? But that doesn’t mean you should be using jargon in your SMS campaign. Text speak is a sure-fire way to make your SMS difficult to understand and make your brand look unprofessional. Repeat after me: no acronyms, no text jargon, no abbreviations, no Emojis. Instead, learn the art of being succinct so you can get your message across in 160 characters. If Taylor Swift can pull it off on Twitter, you can pull it off in your SMS campaign.

Mistake 4: Not adding any value

With any permission marketing, you need to show subscribers that they made the right choice by giving you their contact details. With SMS marketing, this is amplified simply because the mobile phone is the most personal channel around. Send them exclusive discounts, special invitations, pre-sale viewings, freebies – and make them believe that you’re sending this offer to them, and them alone.

Mistake 5: Using a weak call to action

If you don’t have a powerful call to action (CTA), you may as well not send the message. The CTA is the single most powerful phrase in the SMS. It tells people in no uncertain terms what you want them to do next, or where you want them to go.

Create a powerful CTA by using command words like “SHOP ONLINE”, “CALL US NOW” or “COME IN STORE TO GET $10 off your next purchase”.

By avoiding these mistakes and dedicating some planning time to your campaigns, you can unleash the true power of SMS marketing for your business.

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