SMS is quickly becoming one of the best channels to personalize communications and build lasting connections. With more than 97% of the US population owning a cell phone that’s viewed on average 52 times a day, sending messages via text to customers not only enhances engagement, it can boost conversions and significantly improve customer satisfaction. But, there’s a right way to do it to achieve maximum opt-ins and ensure you’re in compliance. Here, we outline 6 best practices for SMS implementation success.
Review your business
The first step to launching a successful SMS program is to prepare and review your business. What are your initial use cases for SMS? How will your customers be engaging? What is your plan? Begin collecting customer information to assist in launching your SMS program and prepare for using SMS as a new channel. Keep in mind any vertical or industry nuances that could impact how you use SMS.
Prepare your contact data and keywords
Next, prepare your data, segmentation parameters, and your keywords. Consent messages need to be considered. What will your opt-in/opt-out message contain? If applicable, what will global help and stop messages contain? All of these messages need specific language, and in some cases, brand information. Next, decide how you will capture consent for SMS? Will that be via a web form or a text-to-join program? Will it be over the phone or by using a paper form? Whichever method you choose needs to be mocked up and presented to the aggregator for review (more on this in step 4 below).
Overview opt-in process
Carrier Approval Form
Where does SMS fit in your customer lifecycle?
Whether SMS is for customer acquisition, or top of the funnel branding, SMS is a great channel to be helpful to customers and timely in the moment. From a lifecycle perspective, it fits really well in an always-on strategy. SMS can be used at each point in a customer’s lifecycle, to make sure that you are maximizing that touch and getting the conversion and the metrics that you need.
For SMS programs, click-through rate is the most important metric to measure performance. According to Gartner, the average SMS response rate is 45% compared to 6% for email. If that’s not compelling enough, businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies see 91% or higher year-over-year customer retention rates. And, companies that deliver consistent cross-channel marketing experiences realize a 14.6% year-over-year increase in annual revenue. One more for you: Brands using three or more channels in one campaign earned a 287%* higher purchase rate. Clearly, making SMS a key part of your marketing efforts has the potential to significantly increase customer engagement, conversions and enhance the overall customer experience.
Pro tip: If you’re using Bitly to shorten links in SMS messages, keep in mind that in certain parts of the world this can affect your delivery rate. Lean on your vendor of choice to supply some method of link shortening so if anyone clicks the link in an SMS, you can track and report on that behavior. It’s important to capture all of the clicks and even use those clicks to trigger follow-up messaging or reminders within your overall customer journey.
If you missed our SMS 101 webinar covering the benefits of an SMS strategy, view it here or read our blog: How to create an SMS strategy that drives conversions.
To view our SMS 201 webinar, visit here.
If you'd like help implementing a successful SMS program, please contact us.