How To Optimize Your Online SMS Campaigns

The great thing about online SMS is that it is super easy and also effective and efficient.

These are great qualities that don’t exist in too many marketing channels especially when you consider the process it takes to send out an email marketing campaign (copy, images, design, proofing, testing, etc.) all before you click the “send” button or the number of images you test inside an advertising campaign and the endless revisions and optimizations it takes.

Believe me digital marketing has not made things easier for businesses it has made things a lot more complex, time-consuming, and ineffective.

So when you see a marketing channel that presents the exact opposite it is like a breath of fresh air.

Did you know that I could take anyone off the street and have them achieve an open rate that no email marketing specialist getting paid $100k per year could achieve?

That’s the beauty of online SMS, it doesn’t require any special talents due to the nature of the channel it does all of the work for you says Angus from online SMS provider

With that said, there are still plenty of mistakes business owners and marketers are making that is wrecking their results and this is why I’m writing this article.

Even though text message marketing comes with all of the above benefits I’m going to show you the top mistakes people are making and what to do instead.

Let us dive right in!

Not segmenting

I don’t care what you are selling – people buy you products and services for multiple reasons. For example, if I’m selling a stick of organic butter people might by it:

  • To be more healthy
  • To show off to others that they only buy premium butter
  • For climate reasons, less cattle used to make the butter, etc.

Chances are you are selling a more complex product or service so the list is going to be longer.

So, imagine for a moment if I go ahead lump everyone together into one group and then send out a climate change based message then the other two groups are going to wonder what you have been smoking, it is not relevant to them and possibly even unsubscribe from my awesome butter subscription.

The smart thing to do is understand the different types of people who are buying my product or service and then segment them based on that.

This does a few things:

  1. It allows me to change the messaging tone (if need be)
  2. It allows me to bond with that segment easier – my messaging is consistent and resonates with that group
  3. It makes it easier for me to come up with highly targeted promotional ideas

How do you segment?

The easiest way to create different opt-in keywords for your text in promotions are ‘text 50%off to 12345678 and receive a special 50%off discount code’ or whatever.

These different keywords (i.e. 50%off) will place these people into different groups automatically.

If you already have one giant list then send them an opt-in offer that allows them to enter into a different list.

No journey

Conversion is a process not an event.

This means that before a person actually commits to making a purchase they have already:

  1. Become aware of a problem
  2. Looked for information on that problem
  3. Looked for potential ways to solve that problem
  4. Identified a couple of potential solutions
  5. Gone on to review sites or forums to see which ones are best
  6. Then narrowed those options down to 1-3

Now they are ready to be sold to this is where most companies enter into the equation totally oblivious to the journey the customer has already made!

What you need to do is get into the conversation much earlier into the process so you can help guide the potential customer towards understanding their problem better and helping them select the right option.

This means setting up a text-in content offer that allows a person to opt-in to your list in exchange for valuable information.

Once you have their mobile number you can slowly educate that person and move them closer to converting.

Once they have converted they will require a different SMS pathway and so on.

Understand the problem they have and the goal that they want to achieve and design an SMS journey to help them along the way.

Keeping it brief

SMS only comes with 160 characters, right? Not true, in fact a lot of SMS providers allow much longer text message up to 1000 characters in length – of course they do cost more SMS credits but just know that the option is there.

The common advice out there is to “keep it brief” well if you only have 160 characters to work with you have no choice!

My advice is use as many characters as you need to achieve the objective. Some SMS campaigns only require a straight forward: here’s the offer and here’s the link type of approach so 160 characters is all you need.

But sometimes the offer might be more complex or need to warm up the customer first so trying to accomplish this job with 160 chars is just plain stupid.

Send Frequency

I get it. Email and SMS look the same on the surface which is why they are constantly compared to one another but they have some serious differences.

One of these differences is ‘send frequency’.

You can send an email to a person daily without getting into trouble but try that with online SMS and you are going to get into all kinds of problems you do not want.

Keep in mind that SMS is highly personal, you are sending marketing information to a person who besides you only allows their closest friends and family contact them.

The best frequency will depend on the type of business you have but at most once per week is the highest frequency – better is twice per month.

This is why segmenting your customers is so important, because if you have everyone in the same group then you can only pitch them once or twice per month but if you have a dozen groups then that means you can send an online SMS campaign 12 or 24 times per month paving the way for much higher sales revenue.