WRITTEN BY DR. PIET STREICHER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BULKSMS.COM
SMS marketing is a very accessible way for small businesses to build relationships with new and existing customers. It is the marketing medium of choice for businesses seeking to maximise their exposure while minimising their cost as it places product or service messages directly in the hands of targeted customers.
A successful mobile marketing campaign needs to have advertising creative that appeals to your target market and is in line with industry rules. Adverts adhering to these fundamentals will give consumers the confidence to engage with your brand using their cell phone.
Get a shortcode
A shortcode is sourced from an SMS messaging provider or an agency that specialises in mobile marketing. Depending on your needs, going the agency route allows you to outsource your campaign. If you wish to control all aspects of the campaign, then securing a dedicated or shared shortcode from an SMS messaging provider is the best choice.
The difference between a dedicated and shared shortcode is that with a shared number you are limited to a specific keyword which may be campaign or brand specific while with a dedicated shortcode you have the option of running multiple campaigns, each with a different keyword on the same shortcode.
Know the advertising rules
Now you are ready to get the advertising creative polished to maximise your SMS call to action. Without taking away from your advertising copy, it is important to know what the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) advertising rules say for the media you will be advertising in. These industry regulations can be found on WASPA’s website.
There are three key things to check on for adverts in print and digital media. The first is that the one-off cost of the SMS must be shown immediately below, or above, or adjacent to the advertised shortcode. This is the case even if a standard rated shortcode is promoted.
The second is that in the different media the applicable font size and format for SMS pricing must be adhered to. Lastly, the terms and conditions of the campaign need to be clearly visible in the promotional material. For example, when displayed on packaging for FMCG products, the shortcode, the cost per SMS, and the terms and conditions for the promotion must be placed as close together.
Taken together, these two steps will ensure that you get your mobile marketing campaigns started on the right foot.
SMS marketing could be ‘push campaigns’ (outbound messaging about new products and service promotions to existing clients with a recent commercial relationship who have opted in for SMS communications) or ‘pull campaigns’ (incoming messaging, where customers respond by sending an SMS to a shortcode), or a combination of both.
Tips for running SMS marketing campaigns
· Call back campaigns are the most common type of SMS marketing. A business advertises a shortcode and a keyword to which an interested customer sends an SMS. The sender receives an auto-reply SMS informing them that a company representative will call them back, and includes important contact company information.
· Promotional competitions are used to grab new and existing customers’ attention as either pull or push campaigns. A company could send out an SMS to its customers informing them of a competition. This could also be used to initiate a viral marketing campaign where customers send on the SMS to their friends.
A pull campaign advertises a promotional competition using a shortcode and keyword in the media. Consumers enter the competition by sending an SMS and receive an auto-response SMS confirming the entry. It is now standard industry practice not to see these competitions as a way to make money and to run them on the R1.00 shortcode band. Importantly as mentioned previously, SMS promotional competitions need to adhere to industry regulations.
· Conversational marketing campaigns offer an interactive experience by providing free information (tips, tricks and insights) as a way of giving value to customers. These sound bytes of information can be made available using push or pull campaigns and a way of initiating a conversation with customers and gaining valuable feedback on their needs.
SMS marketing isn’t difficult
A small business does not need to seek out a specialist consultant or agency to set up an SMS marketing campaign nor find a developer to build a system. Mobile messaging providers have self-service messaging services that allow a company to quickly and easily put a campaign in place, set up an auto-response message, manage customer contact details, send and receive promotional messages, and provide reports on campaigns. With these tools available, SMS marketing is really made easy.
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