Getting your message across: 10 tips for effective text message marketing

Last updated: 20 March 2014

Text message marketing should be straightforward, yet, as outlined by @MarianaFangLin, many companies still get the basics wrong. For those running their first mobile marketing campaign, or just looking to refresh their memories on the basics, here are ten tips to ensure that your campaign pushes all the right buttons.

1. Keep it simple. Mobiles offer limited space and time for users to grasp marketing messages, so these messages must be sharp and focused in order to grab the attention. Avoid messages which require any scrolling from the user, and bear in mind that anything over five screens will almost certainly not be read.

2. Don’t spam. Advertisers and operators alike must be careful about how they use the potential offered by the third screen. Different people have different levels of tolerance to advertising and no marketer would want to be accused of be accused of spamming, especially on the mobile as Jorma Vartia explains, but CRM databases should be able to tell brands which consumers should receive one message each day, and which one each month. On average, most consumers seem happy to receive one each week.

3. Be targeted.  As with any campaign, the more you know about your targets, the greater your chance of success. Use your mobile CRM data to identify the customers who are most likely to respond to your message. We have previously blogged on mobile CRM in relation to Netsize, our colleagues with expertise in this arena, where you can read more about this aspect of effective mobile marketing.

4. Be clear. Research we ran with Axance in 2010 showed that consumers don’t trust messages if they don’t know who the sender is. They are, however, far more likely to trust their mobile operator, so messages should identify in the first sentence that the sender is the operator AND the brand.

5. Be fair. If customers feel that they are being ‘tricked’ by a marketer, the company in question will not only lose their business, but also that of anyone with whom they may discuss their experience. The recent explosion in social media has meant that the potential brand damage of a negative customer experience is now huge. To avoid this, be sure to create easy pricing schemes which are easy to understand and communicate costs upfront, in the very first message.

6.Show ROI. Make sure that your campaigns are designed in a way that records consumer responses effectively. This is essential to evaluate the ROI of the project and, therefore, to secure  future investment in similar campaigns. Performance indicators should be defined before the start of the campaign in order to show whether targets have been reached.

7. Offer rewards. Who doesn’t love rewards? Mobile is a great medium for coupon deals (discounts), exclusive offers (eg:  free test drives of a new car) or up-selling (eg: buy a new handset and get a headset free).

8. Be confident. Don’t be afraid to give consumers control over what messages they receive.  Making it easy for customers to opt-out should be seen as a benefit for both operators (or advertisers) and consumers. Because users who are no longer targets can step out at anytime, this automatically “cleans” the database and therefore increases the acceptance rates of future campaigns.

9. Be relevant. Only offer services which are supported by the consumer’s handset. For example, if their device doesn’t support polyphonic ringtones, offer them only monophonic options.

10. Be topical. Link your campaigns with external events to increase interest in the service or content you’re promoting. From key sporting events to important dates in the political calendar, referencing events in the customer’s ‘here and now’ will help your messages seem fresh and relevant.