SMS Marketing 101

SMS Marketing DiagramAlright, you’ve seen the benefits of having a SMS marketing campaign through examples set by other brands, and you’ve decided to adopt it for your own marketing strategy. The problem is, you’re really not sure how to get started. It might seem intimidating at first, but once you’ve got a few guidelines and services in place, it’ll make the task much easier, and help you keep in touch with customers on a new level.

Get a dedicated short code

To make it easy for customers to opt in (and out) of your SMS service, you need to create a short code (a 5-6 digit number that people will use to identify your brand’s texts). To make this task easier, use the site for the Common Short Code Association. They’ll help you lease a number and find numbers that haven’t already been used.

Get creative with promotions

Starbucks SMS

Get creative with your text messages! Although you can always use your messaging to alert customers to new sales, or give them exclusive discounts, you can also use them as a way to send reminders for upcoming events (like the Starbucks example above). Don’t limit yourself on your SMS subject, but be sure to…

Keep the character limit in mind

Short and sweet is more or less the rule on Twitter. You have to be concise to work within those 140 character limits, and that same approach needs to be applied to SMS marketing. Texts have 160 character limits, so don’t be afraid to experiment to find the best messaging for the promotion or event.

Brush up on best practices

Obama SMS Campaign

Just as a list of requirements has been established for email marketing, the Mobile Marketing Association has established a list of requirements and best practices for commercial text messaging. Did you know including instructions to opt out or contact a brand representative for assistance is a must? Brush up on the rest of the guidelines and best practices for SMS marketing with this doc from the MMA.

Find a business-oriented SMS software

The bigger your brand, the more texts you’ll have to worry about. This can result in a major headache if you’re still new to SMS marketing. Don’t be afraid to look into business-oriented/commercial SMS services or software to help take some of the pressure off of your team. They’ll help you send batch texts as well as examine analytics about open rates and some will even help with the overwhelming task of categorizing opt-ins and opt-outs, as well.

Share your short code across all your platforms

sms marketing example

Let as many people as possible know about your SMS promos and reminders by sharing your short code across your social and digital platforms. But be sure to mention any charges that might be affiliated with the texts, like the Chicago Theatre did with this recent SMS Facebook post.

Now that you’re well on your way, find inspiration from fellow SMS marketing brands, like Starbucks, here.