Here’s a step by step guide for starting your own SMS marketing campaign –
This would give you an outlook on SMS marketing. Before you dive in deep and do your own research.
You will still have to do your own hard work, to put everything together. But this guide will allow working smartly. And more importantly, work in a structured way.
1. Define your prospects.
The first step of any marketing campaign is to identify your prospects.
SMS marketing is no different. If you do not know who is most likely to buy your product, you should not spend money on marketing it.
Ask yourself, who benefits from your product? Is it teenagers, stay at home dads or is it professionals in a certain field?
It is better to have a small number of targeted prospects in your SMS marketing list. Then to have a huge number of phone numbers in your SMS marketing list, who are not likely in need of your product.
2. The goal of your campaign
What are you really trying to achieve with the SMS campaign?
Your SMS marketing campaign can be used to achieve different objectives from the same SMS marketing list. But decide the goal beforehand and work towards achieving it. Tailor your SMS marketing message based on your goal.
- Drive up sales.
- Create a buzz for an upcoming event.
- Up-sell or cross-sell to your buyers.
- Get more visitors to the website.
3. Decide buy or build your SMS marketing list.
This is an evergreen debate. Both buying and building your cell phone list for marketing campaigns has its pros and cons.
We have done a similar comparison on the pros and cons of buying an email list, on this blog. You can read it to get an insight on things to consider before making a decision.
Most people would vote for building a list. If such a poll ever takes place. But most of them would just end up buying a list when planning an SMS campaign.
The reason? Well, there are quite a few.
- Building a mobile phone list takes time.
- Most building a phone list is costlier than buying one.
- It is hard work.
- If you don’t reach a critical mass on cell phone number, your list would be too small.
- Validating the cell phone numbers could be a problem.
If you think about it, you can add some reasons yourselves.
4. Do you need a shortcode?
A short code is basically a 5 or 6 digit number.
It can both send text messages as well as receive messages. You must have seen big companies using it in their ads. But if you observe closely, it is used mostly to obtain messages and phone numbers of consumers.
If you do not have a campaign where you need to opt-in customers, you may not need it.
Shortcodes are costly anyways. Moreover, you have to get a shortcode for a minimum of 3 months. If you go for vanity short code numbers, it is going to cost you even more.
So, opting out of getting a shortcode is definitely good for your wallet.
5. Do you need to receive replies?
If you don’t need a shortcode, but you still want to receive replies from your prospects?
Fortunately, you can do that. There are many cell phone numbers available which can both send and receive text messages. They do not look any different from a cell phone number or an SMS marketing number.
But it allows you to receive the replies from your users. You can check the replies on the admin panel of the phone number.
Usually, an SMS marketing platform would have an admin section. To check the performance of your campaign. A cell phone number that can receive texts would have an additional section to check the replies.
6. Find a reliable SMS marketing platform.
One google search will give you a zillion, results for SMS marketing platforms.
It is important, that you go for a service that is cloud or SaaS-based, instead of an old desktop software based system.
A newer cloud-based platform is, easy to use. You can easily check your delivery rates. Bad cell phone numbers. You can time your campaign in advance. Even add different rules for sending SMS messages and receiving replies.
Make sure the SMS marketing you choose is not using a grey route to deliver your SMS messages.
7. Send all at once?
One important decision in SMS marketing campaign, as well as an email marketing campaign, is, should I send all the messages at once?
The answer would depend on the objective of your campaign. If you are sending a promotional SMS to inform people about a flash sale. You don’t have much of a choice. You need to send them at once.
Otherwise, take your time and go easy on messages. Send them within a span of time, instead of sending them at once.
If you want to test which timing, works best for your campaign. Send them at a different time of day, to see which timing gets most replies.
8. The timing of SMS Campaign.
The best timing to send messages to your cell phone list depends on the product you are promoting. As well as the prospects.
Take the instance of a restaurant. If you want more people to visit it, send them a discount coupon on their cell phones. But what time is most effective?
Certainly sending a discount coupon for a restaurant would not have much of a positive effect, if you send it in the middle of a workday. You are better of sending it on Saturday afternoon when most people go out.
If you know your product and prospects, it is easier for you to find out the perfect timing for your campaign. Otherwise, you have to rely on trial and error technique.
Divide your cell phone list into smaller groups. Send SMS messages to each at different days and times to find out the most productive time to use your cell phone list.
9. Track your conversion rate.
Progress is something you can measure.
Tracking your conversion rate is important to understand. If you are getting better results then the previous SMS campaign. or if the previous cell phone list was performing better.
Like website analytics, you can analyze your SMS marketing campaign.
Thankfully, SMS tracking is not limited to delivery rates anymore. You can check the open rates, as well as calculate the conversion rates, to some extent. Be it a visit to your website or in the form of replies.
10. Calculate the ROI
At the end of the day, SMS marketing is yet another form of marketing.
If you are investing in it you expect returns. Returns could have various form nowadays, it doesn’t have to be straight up dollars. A sign up to your website, might not be regarded dollars earned. But it does have a value.
You can also assign a dollar value to each new download or signup to your website. There are plenty of data available for established niches to assign dollar values to a user action.
Calculate the value being generated by the SMS marketing and put it against the total cost. Cell phone lists, SMS cost, tracking all should be calculated in it.
Historically SMS marketing tends to have better ROI, than most marketing forms. If you get it on the first try, congratulations!
If not work your war to get the best ROI for your SMS marketing campaign using this guide.