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When you look at the numbers, SMS marketing looks really good:

48% of consumers prefer to communicate directly with brands through text.

SMS messages get 19% click-through rates, which is impressive when you consider that email averages 4% and Facebook gets 1% CTR.

95% of text messages get read and receive a response within three minutes.

However, there are always two sides to every coin. 65% of customers say they have unsubscribed from getting business text messages, the top two reasons being that the messages feel like spam and receiving too many messages.

Following SMS marketing best practices help you reap all the benefits of SMS marketing, while dodging those unsubscribes. These best practices also help keep your SMS marketing compliant.

The good news is that there are only about a handful of core SMS marketing best practices that you need to follow. Yes, this list could be expanded.

However, if you follow just the best practices in this article, you’ll be in good shape. Here’s what to do.

Automate Compliance Standards

Compliance is a big deal in SMS marketing. Non-compliant SMS messages can rack up hefty fines pretty quickly.

That’s why it’s best to automate certain compliance standards, that way an honest mistake doesn’t cost your business a bunch of money.

There are two compliance best practices that are relatively easy to automate: your opt-in and opt-out processes. These are simple messages that can be automatically sent based on customer interactions.

Regardless of how a customer signs up for SMS marketing messages, it’s best to send them an automated opt-in message that asks them to reply to the message to confirm they want to continue receiving text messages. This is called a double opt-in, and it may be overkill for some SMS regulations, but having more than enough compliance is better than having too little.

On the other end, you should either create opt-out boilerplate copy that gets appended to the last message in every SMS exchange or send an additional message with opt-out instructions at the end of every text conversation.

Obviously, it’s important to make sure that you comply with additional regulations based on where your customers and your company are located. However, automating just these two compliance best practices will make your SMS marketing compliant in many jurisdictions.

The easiest way to automate compliance is to use an SMS API, such as the Telnyx SMS API, that offers automated messaging and opt-out management. That way you can automate compliance without building any automations in-house.

Use a Vanity SMS Short Code

It’s relatively easy to get a standard SMS short code. In many cases, your SMS API provider will also offer short codes.

However, a standard SMS short code is basically a random five or six digit number. A vanity SMS short code is one that you can choose, that way your short code can thematically match your business or be easy to remember.

As you may expect, vanity short codes are a bit more expensive than standard SMS short codes. If you’re just starting out with SMS marketing, it may not be worth the investment.

Once your SMS program is showing some return, though, making your short code easy to remember is usually worth the additional cost.

If you’re not ready to pay for a vanity short code right now, build a plan to get one as your SMS marketing picks up steam.

Keep Things Short, but Personal

SMS messages have a character limit of 160 characters. Any message longer than that will get split into multiple messages.

It’s very annoying to get a string of text messages, so limit your SMS content to 160 characters or less, whenever possible. Get to the point quickly. Use short codes.

However, being concise doesn’t mean sacrificing the things that universally work in marketing. Make sure you always identify your brand in your text messages and use the customer’s name whenever it’s relevant.

It might be tricky to craft SMS marketing messages that are both short and effective, but the improvement to your customer experience will more than pay off in the long run.

Be Responsive

Obviously, many SMS marketing messages are one-way communication that requires no response from the customer. Many offers, discounts, and other marketing messages don’t need a reply from the customer.

However, if you use text messages for other things like customer service and support, you must respond very quickly. Also, even if your marketing messages usually don’t require the customer to respond, you should still monitor for replies to your messages.

Most of the time, an automated response does the trick. Though, in use cases such as customer support, you’ll need some capacity for connecting customers to a live employee.

In any case, it’s best to make sure that you’re responding to customer messages quickly.

Localize Your SMS Delivery

Lastly, it’s best to work with an SMS service provider that has global reach, but offers local message delivery.

This simply means that your service provider sends messages from a local phone number, based on where the customer is located. Additionally, your SMS service provider can use message queuing to send messages during working hours, based on the customer’s time zone. That way customers in other time zones don’t get messages at odd hours.

This goes a long way toward ensuring your messages don’t feel spammy and fewer customers opt-out because they feel you send too many messages.

Put These SMS Marketing Best Practices to Work

These may not be the only SMS marketing best practices in existence.

However, these are the most important ones. If you’re new to SMS marketing, or even if your business has been sending SMS marketing content for a while, but you don’t yet have any best practice standards in place, establishing these best practices will significantly improve your text marketing program.

So use this article as your guide to start getting a better return on your SMS marketing budget.

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Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

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