Fort Wayne Marketing Minute

E-Marketing Best Practices

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Which Is Best—Email or SMS?

Part 1: How and When to Use SMS for Best Results

Objective: Discovering how to leverage SMS for the greatest gain.

Implementing an e-Marketing campaign is a great way to reach your customers with news of upcoming sales, products, and workshops. But is one type of communication…SMS or email…better than another?

The short answer to that question is, “Yes,” depending, of course, on the type and timing of the message you want to send. The key is knowing how and when to use the right tool for the right message to deliver the results you crave.

How and When to Use SMS

Let’s start with SMS messaging. Here are some best practices that will help you leverage SMS tools for the greatest gain.

SMS Tip 1: Use high SMS open rates to your advantage.

Open and click-through rates are high for SMS—up to 98%—making them the perfect tool when you want to send a quick call to action, such as promoting an upcoming flash sale. A text delivers a hint of urgency, which you can leverage for fast results.

(Overuse SMS, however, and you’ll lose the effectiveness of this communication strategy. More about that later when we discuss best tips for email campaigns.) [Note: provide a hyperlink to the email campaign blog post]

SMS Tip 2: Keep your text catchy, brief, and relevant.

Make sure you trim your message to 160 characters or less. That’s not a lot of room, so make it count. Remember that URLs to your website URLs can get long and bulky, so be sure to take advantage of tools such as bitly or TinyURL. Using those shortened links in your text saves some of those limited characters for the rest of your message.

SMS Tip 3: Always offer value.

Discount codes are great, and you should consider using them often. But value means more than just offering a sale. Dig a little deeper to deliver a message that speaks to the unique ways your customers engage with your business.

For instance, if a customer recently purchased a top-selling product, let them know when a complementary product line is up for sale. If they used a top service, consider telling them about a companion service they might enjoy. Or if a desired item has been out of stock, shout out to customers when it’s available again.

Knowing what your customers want and delivering messages that speak to their buying patterns will keep them coming back for more.

SMS Tip 4: Keep the number of texts consistent.

Too few texts each month, and customers might forget about you between messages, only to be surprised by your sudden intrusion. Too many texts, and your messages begin to feel “spammy.” While every audience is different, two SMS messages per month will probably be accepted and appreciated.

SMS Tip 5: Make it exclusive.

Consider offering products or workshops only SMS subscribers can receive — a different promotion from what’s available via email. Or consider offering your SMS subscribers early access to new sales, with a time limit to respond.

SMS Tip 6: Show professional attentiveness.

If the customer responds to a text, be quick to reply and confirm. For the first hour after sending a text, stay logged in and ready to connect with those who respond. Thanking them for responding will create a sense of goodwill, and they’ll appreciate knowing that you’re looking forward to seeing them soon.

SMS Tip 7: Be sensitive to customers’ daily routines.

No one likes to receive texts during time set aside for relaxing or connecting with family. Be considerate and don’t interrupt customers during mealtimes, too early in the morning, or too late in the evening. If you wouldn’t want to receive a text at that time of day, your customers probably won’t, either.

SMS Tip 8: Incentivize invitations.

Encourage your customers to make their experience with your brand social by using “tell a friend” or “bring a friend” promotions. Doing so will not only grow your business quickly; you’ll build goodwill when everyone receives something of value.

Using these best practices for SMS will go a long way to building your base—and your brand—all in 160 characters or less. Click here [Note: hyperlink to the email post] for the latest tips for email campaigns!