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SMS Marketing Best Practice

Doing it right

Mobile marketing can be one of the most effective methods of telling customers about your products and services. Like any other form of business to consumer communication there are a number of key considerations or “factors for success” that contribute to a successful marketing campaign. These include both a number of laws and regulations that your campaigns will need to comply with, along with direction on how to make the content of your messaging appeal to your intended audience.

Information on each of these key factors can be found by selecting the appropriate guideline on the right. By incorporating each of these into the construction of your messaging, you can help to ensure the success of your mobile campaigns.

Obtaining consent

You should always obtain the prior consent of the recipients before sending out your marketing and promotional messages. Unsolicited communications should not be sent to your target audience. Not only are there legal requirements to do so, but also obtaining preconsent will influence the likely success of your campaign as people are more likely to be receptive to messages when they have given their permission to receive them, not when they are received by unexpected and uninvited parties.

Double Opt-in

If a consumer has opted in to receive your communications, you can seek further clarification by requesting the recipient texts an instruction back, such as the word ‘YES’ as a clear confirmation of them opting in. This is sometimes referred to as a Double Opt-in. This request could be included as part of your first message and could also give consumers the opportunity to opt out of receiving further messages.

Periodic Reminders

To ensure that the members of your campaign database wish to continue to receive your marketing and promotional messages, you may choose to send periodic reminder messages e.g. every fifth message after the first message.

Appealing to your audience

Constructing the content of your messaging is no different to constructing a message communicated via any other form of advertising – the message needs to appeal and be relevant to its intended audience.

Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when creating your messages:

  • Identify yourself. Mobile marketing must contain the identity of the sender and a valid contact address (this can be done within the body of the message or as the sender ID (also known as an Alpha Tag). The contact address could be a web or physical address where a consumer may send an opt out to or request a full copy of the terms and conditions
  • Gear the language used in your message to make it suitable for your target audience
  • Common text language abbreviations will allow you to say more within the standard 160 characters of an SMS
  • SMS is an interactive media, your message copy should aim to exploit the opportunity to encourage a response e.g. “for more info send the word “MORE” to 80081

Opting in

If you are putting together a database of mobile numbers for mobile marketing you should make sure that the intended use of the data is made clear prior to its collection either via SMS or an on or off-line media. This sets a clear expectation to a subscriber of what they can expect to receive in future campaigns and it helps maximise the effectiveness of the data captured.

Third party opt-in

Lists obtained from third parties should be checked to ensure that the likely recipients of your communications have actually opted in to receive messages from your organisation. This will save on confusion and help to ensure that your communications are received positively. Naturally you should include a means for recipients to opt out in the usual manner.

Significantly different use

During the collection of personal data, consumers may give their explicit consent to receive direct marketing messages from a range of different companies about a range of different products. Companies should inform consumers at the time of collection (opting in) of the intention to disclose their information to third parties, which could include associated but legally separated companies. They must also do the same if it is to be used in a significantly different fashion from which it was first provided.

Opting out

As a rule you should always offer the audience of your SMS campaigns the opportunity to unsubscribe from receiving further messages from the very outset of a campaign and also right through the course of the campaign.

The Universal Opt Out Command

The universal opt out command is the word “STOP”. When a consumer sends in the word STOP to the mobile number (or SMS Short Code) attached to a campaign, the consumer’s mobile number should be removed from the campaign database and broadcasting of campaign messages to their mobile number should cease.

Reacting to requests to opt out

On receipt of an SMS request to unsubscribe, you should remove the person’s mobile number immediately to ensure the person receives no further marketing messages. If opt out instructions are received via a non-SMS source e.g. an email or phone helpline, details should be suppressed within 14 days of receipt.

Opting Out of Services on a Shared Short Code

Often mobile marketing campaigns will utilise a SMS Short Code and various response keywords to identify different campaigns. When running such campaigns, you should make it as easy as possible to identify the different opt out requests.

For example if you are running two campaigns using a Shared Short Code with the keywords ‘FOCUS’ and ‘MONDEO’ to subscribe to each campaign, offer the words ‘FOCUS STOP’ and ‘MONDEO STOP’ as the respective instructions to opt out.

Organisations utilising a Shared Short Code will use the same number as a number of other companies, sometimes companies which are totally different to their own. For the characteristics of Shared and Dedicated Short Codes click here.

To find out about using SMS within your communications mix, Contact Us today.