‘Mobile’ is definitely essential in a list of words that sums up our society today. It allows us to do what is needed from virtually anywhere. It has also given rise to SMS marketing, an ingenious way to connect with consumers. Think about it: when are people not on their mobile phones? You are now able to reach your consumer in the most instantaneous way, thanks to SMS marketing.
Getting ‘up close and personal’ with your consumer.
According to the Statistics South Africa General household survey 2013, nationally, only 5% of households don’t have access to cellphones. Along with this, 81.9% of South African households used only cellphones in their homes. In short, the average South African is in possession of a cellphone today. With the mobile phone culture comes the desire to regularly check your phone. Just look around you, people tend to walk down the street, even crossing it sometimes, while routinely checking or typing on their smartphone. Because of this, SMS marketing is the easiest way to grab your consumer’s attention as most people would react to the sound of an SMS coming through immediately, whether first thing in the morning or last thing at night. You therefore gain round-the-clock access to your target market.
SMS marketing is highly personal – you are connecting within your customer’s immediate personal space through their mobile phone, the item they tend to look at the most. Because it’s so personal, this either works in your favour or, if not executed properly, to your marketing campaign’s detriment.
There are regulations surrounding SMS marketing.
Clever marketers view mobile phones as an integral part of their marketing campaigns. SMS marketing is a proven driver of increased customer engagement, improved customer satisfaction and a useful tool for acquiring new customers. However, it should be carried out professionally and responsibly.
There are a few parties involved in keeping the SMS marketing industry regulated. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is the leading global non-profit trade association established to nurture growth of all areas of mobile marketing. The MMA's stated goals are to clear obstacles to market development, establish mobile media guidelines and best practices for sustainable growth, as well as promote the use of mobile media.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts of SMS marketing:
Successful SMS marketing campaigns begin with building a loyal subscriber list in the most legal and ethical manner. SMS marketing is not complicated, but there are a few guidelines and rules you must follow.
- Proper acquisition of mobile phone numbers:
SMS marketing is permission based. The recipient must be the one who decides and takes action in entering your SMS marketing program. This can be done via web opt-in. You can’t use old, rented or purchased contact lists. Some companies have been penalised for this violation and incurred significant legal damages from not following the rules. Ultimately, if the recipient gave you their number willingly to market to them, your chances of engagement will be much higher.
Any advertising (print, TV, online, and radio) or signup forms that solicit mobile numbers must include ‘clear and conspicuous’ disclosure of how a user can opt-out of a program, called STOP instructions. (The word ‘stop’ must be in bold, for recurring campaigns only. If you are only sending one message then it’s not required).
- Confirming the subscribers’ opt-in and initial messaging:
To ensure that no one is entered into a program without their permission, you should use a ‘double opt-in’ process. This is required when the opt-in comes from somewhere other than the mobile device itself, such as a web or paper registration page. The double opt-in requirement is completed by sending an initial text message to the mobile number. It asks the subscriber to reply ‘Yes’ to the received message to verify that they are in possession of the mobile phone and that they give their permission to join the mobile database and receive text alerts from your company.
- What to message your company’s most loyal fans:
It’s one thing ethically attaining your SMS audience. What to send them without irritating them to the point where they want to unsubscribe is another thing. Keep them engaged with ongoing, branded experiences filled with valuable content and information based on their interests and preferences. Only send what the consumer originally agreed to receive. If your mobile subscription program sign up page says they will receive exclusive content and discounts, focus on creating a program featuring mobile discounts and content. If you send content like advertising or unrelated text messages, you risk alienating your database, as well as potential legal and regulatory violations.
SMS marketing can give your business amazing results.
SMS marketing is a remarkably easy tool for building long term relationships with customers from the convenience of their most used possession, their cellphone. By adhering to a few simple rules, you can build a database that drives incredibly high ROI and long-term customer loyalty. Sage Online Tools bulk SMS marketing platform can help you promote your business’ products and services.