October 25, 2013
A guest post by Phil Speer – Senior Client Service Manager @ Velti
We live in an era of smart-connected devices, of hyperlocal targeting, “freemium” applications and responsive design. We at Velti are passionate about all of these technologies.
However, SMS messaging — while perhaps not as “sexy” of a mobile marketing solution as the latest in, say, augmented reality – works. And it works well. A user can receive a text message anywhere around the globe, and on virtually any handset (and, increasingly, on tablets as well). SMS messaging works regardless of handset manufacturer, carrier and operating system.
Specifically in the U.S., users prefer SMS when receiving offers; 75% of U.S. smartphone users prefer to receive promotional offers and coupons via SMS, compared to mobile web and apps.
But make sure to keep in mind, SMS is personal. A user’s inbox is not a junk folder. When a brand is invited to send a customer an SMS alert, the brand needs to make sure that the campaign is simple for the end user, and that the message is clear and valuable.
Below are six tips to help you make your messaging campaign a success:
- Frequency – Do not send messages too often. Give the control to your customers and allow them to select the frequency of which to receive your messages. Frequency should be conservative and consistent; we recommend 2-4 times per month for optimal readership and brand engagement.
- Consistency – Chances are your audience will not remember your short code or keyword. Keeping the format consistent from alert to alert will ensure your message is recognizable, well-received and even anticipated. Additionally, make sure your alert is compliant with the MMA guidelines.
- Message length – Ensure your messages are 160 characters or fewer. Messages longer than 160 characters can be cut off and therefore sent as multiple messages on many devices, which can cause a negative user experience. (And on some older devices, users may not receive the message at all!)
- Real-time messaging – Consider offering your customers real-time communication by tying SMS into your backend system. Whether it’s restaurant reservations, car rental confirmations, shipping notifications or billing reminders, real-time messaging can help improve your company’s bottom line.
- Timing – Make sure your messages are delivered at a reasonable time. Take into consideration time zones and user locations to make your campaigns more effective and less intrusive. We’ve found that sending messages after 9pm or before 11am are not optimal for the user. You can also send an SMS message asking your customers to respond with their time zones, which will help segment your database, allowing you to personalize your SMS notifications in the future.
SMS messaging is not only a means to acquire new customers or leads, but also a way to engage and interact with your current customers on a one-on-one basis. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure a seamless customer experience.
UK readers – get this exclusive whitepaper for tips on driving SMS response rates for the European market!