SMS marketing campaigns

SMS marketing. Picture: tatango.com

SMS marketing. Picture: tatango.com

Currently, mobile phones have a huge popularity all over the world and this can be used to benefit your business by developing a good SMS marketing campaign that allows you to engage and attract your customers. Currently, SMS is part of our daily life and people always need to be connected, nobody leaves home without keys and mobile phone.

This is like an ideal dream for marketers, being able to access directly to customers at any time and place through SMS. (Derrick, 2004). However it is important to highlight that first the client must give their permission to contact them and we can not abuse this permission, otherwise, the result will be disastrous for your company.

Do you know that “98% of text messages are read, with the average response time a mere 90 seconds (compared to 2.5 days for an email)” (Davey, 2013). This figure is amazing and we should take advantage of this one, as the short message service (SMS) could be included in our digital marketing strategy in order to reach our customers quickly and safely, because even if the customer wants to delete the message, necessarily they have to read it before deleting.

According to Chaffey (2011, p.167) “texting has proved useful for business in some niche applications”, for example, banks use text message to communicate with their customers, restaurants or retail shops to send offers, hotels text a welcome message and different companies (airlines, train, event organizer) to confirm the booking made by the customer (Barber, cited in Davey, 2013).

Furthermore, companies can use SMS to reach a young audience. “SMS is potentially a great way to get closer to customers, particularly those in the youth market who are difficult to reach with other media” (Chaffey, 2011, p.168).

On the other hand, one of the most important points to consider is that the client always must agree to receive text messages, it means we need their permission, otherwise they will not be successful and will be considered as spam and an invasion of privacy. To avoid problems, marketers should consider privacy legislation and let their customers opt-in (sign up) and also the option to opt-out (unsubscribe) in an easy way (Davey, 2013).

I remember that I received some unwanted text messages in my mobile phone (for example download ringtones), but the most annoying thing was that I had to send a message to be unsubscribed and was not sure how much it would cost me. So, instead of gaining a new customer, the opposite occurred.

“Therefore, sending text messages is likely to have a much higher conversion rate due to the fact that the customers being targeted will have already expressed an interest in the company, its news and offers” (TextAnywhere blog, 2012).

A good example of an SMS marketing campaign that respects and attracts the consumer is as follows: I was a regular shopper of the brand Biotherm in the spanish shop El corte ingles.

Biotherm’s text messages

Biotherm’s text messages

Biotherm’s text messages

Biotherm’s text messages

The first time I bought there, the saleswoman asked my permission to gather my data and send me text messages about special offers and sales. This was true and they only texted me about the topics mentioned above with the following frequency of time: 14/01, 04/04, 16/04, 04/07 and 28/07 of this year 2014 and the hours were chosen at 3 and 6 pm, which was right because they did not interfere with my daily activities.

The last SMS of Biotherm was sent four months ago. Therefore, they did not bombard me with messages all the time and the message was simple, clear and direct catching my attention: “Biotherm Enjoy 20% discount on selected Biotherm products treatment UNTIL July 31. Only in El Corte Ingles. To access your data, modify or unsubscribe write to biothermlopd@es.loreal.com”. This message clearly shows the sender name (Biotherm) and gives me the option to unsubscribe easily if I do not want to receive any more messages, just sending an email.

In contrast to this, I am a frequent buyer of the brand Clinique in Debenhams stores, despite being registered in its database, I have never received an SMS from the store. Only when I am in that shop can I find out what promotions there are, but they do not make any effort to inform me about these special sales of Clinique.

Another clear example of successful SMS campaigns is Orange Wednesdays. They offer their customers 2 for 1 cinema tickets every Wednesday and to get these ones, you only have to text ‘FILM’ to 241, then “Orange will text you back with a code for a free cinema ticket. This has been a huge success and has had over 14 million people text Orange to redeem the codes” (Jake, 2013).

Orange Wednesdays website

Orange Wednesdays website

SMS marketing - Orange Wednesdays website

SMS marketing – Orange Wednesdays website

Another advantage of SMS is that allow to build a database of your customers, for example companies can use offline advertising (like flyers) with the message: text win to 9998 for entry into a prize draw (Chaffey, 2011) and also you are creating an opt-in database for future targeting (Derrick, 2004).

Some tips of SMS marketing

  • Consider the time when you send the text message, I remember Telefonica sent me some SMS very late at night and they woke me up.
  • Test the SMS campaign, when this one is ready you can launch to a small number of people to check how it is going and make improvements (Streicher, cited in Davey, 2013).
  • Be friendly, the mobile phone is a personal device and build empathy with your audience, so that your message is well received (Streicher, cited in Davey, 2013).

This SMS marketing will become more important as currently smartphones and mobile phones with the modern technology have high quality pictures and videos. Therefore, it is important to consider the text messages as part of your marketing communications.

SMS marketing campaign - Text Marketer

SMS marketing campaign – Text Marketer

I would like to recommend these books and sites that I read to discover more about SMS marketing:

Chaffey, D. (2011). E-business and e-commerce management: strategy, implementation and practice. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Davey, N. (2013) Reviewing SMS options and how to optimise them [blog], 23th September 2013. Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/sms-marketing-campaigns/
[Accessed 21th November, 2014]

Derrick, S. (2004) SMS masterclass: The Revolution Masterclass on SMS marketing [online]. Available at: http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/article/208906/sms-masterclass-revolution-masterclass-sms-marketing
[Accessed 21th November, 2014]

Jake (2013) The perfect SMS marketing campaign [blog], 13th November 2013. Available at: http://www.textmarketer.co.uk/blog/2013/11/sms-marketing-ideas/the-perfect-sms-marketing-campaign/
[Accessed 19th November, 2014]

Orange Wednesdays [online]. Available at: http://web.orange.co.uk/p/film/cinema_tickets
[Accessed 20th November, 2014]

‪Packet Media (2012) Top Tips for effective SMS marketing. [online video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmLmIZVvRy0
[Accessed 20th November, 2014]

TextAnywhere blog, (2012). Why is SMS Marketing Important for a Successful Marketing Plan? [blog], 29th October 2012. Available at: http://blog.textanywhere.net/post/2012/10/29/Why-is-SMS-Marketing-Important-for-a-Successful-Marketing-Plan.aspx
[Accessed 21th November, 2014]

Do you think that SMS marketing should be included into digital marketing strategy? Please share your opinion.

6 thoughts on “SMS marketing campaigns

  1. Interesting post on the use of SMS Marketing.
    With SMS messages being limited to around 160 characters, it is often difficult to create effective and personalised communications that will encourage the target audience to engage. Going forward how do you see Digital marketers creating quality content to build a relationship via SMS?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sinead, I think that marketers have to give a good reason to their customers in order to accept SMS messages, such as special offers and promotions. In addition, you can attach a photo, video or link to the SMS message. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  2. Great Post! Sms strategies could be effective when customers are considered as persons with feelings, emotions, fears, they don`t only want to receive campaings. Advertising must be part of their lifes without saturating. So how brands could participe through Sms in a human way? each word must be thought and also a “call to action” must be included, but in a natural way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Beatriz, companies need to think about how their target audience will respond to their text messages, so it is very important a call to action. The message should motivate them to respond immediately, before they forget it, making them feel that they will lose a great opportunity. Thank you for your comment.

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  3. Congratulations for your post. I think is an interesting channel but it has to be used carefully. A mobile is private and personal. I expect to read messages from friends and family, not from businesses. A message has to be relevant and valuable for the user. Offers and campaigns not always are going to be relevant to me, even if I have purchased that product in the past. For instance, I’ve used vouchers in the past for one-time-off visit to a hairdresser. Now I get offers from them all the time. It´s not near where I live and I wasn’t satisfied enough with them to considering coming back. I’d prefer to get alerts of something that implies an opportunity, something that I need to know as soon as possible in order to take advantage of it. For instance, setting up alerts when you are browsing the e-commerce website to get SMS when a product that I want is in stock again, or is less than 50% would add real value and provide a multi-channel experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Paola, is very interesting your opinion about it, another example I can mention is the text banking that is a service which allows bank customers to quickly request and receive account information via text message. The schools also make a good use of text messages, such as the school of my son sent me a SMS to remind me that there is a meeting tomorrow afternoon. In both cases the messages are relevant and valuable for the user. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

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