Is your SMS campaign doomed to fail?
You read about these SMS marketing best practices on Google and decided to give them a whirl. And yet, you’ve not seen any real results.
As it turns out, you’re not alone.
Just take a look at the three companies below that experienced poor results after applying these alleged best practices.
In this article, you will discover where they went wrong, how they turn the tables, and how you can do the same for your own.
1. Sending SMS During “Normal” Hours
When Moriarty’s Gem Art started with SMS marketing, they were instructed to text customers during normal business hours (10 am – 5:30 pm).
But the retail e-commerce store went on a different route. “We tested doing it earlier than we opened,” reveals Jeff Moriarty, the marketing manager. Moriarty and his team sent promotional messages between 8 and 9 am and realised results were better than expected.
Does this work only in e-commerce and retail stores? Not exactly. Adam Hempenstall, the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, experienced similar findings.
Initially, Hempenstall played along with this alleged SMS marketing best practice — he would message customers from 9 am to 6 pm in their local time zone.
The result? Like Moriarty, he found out that time never mattered.
We have customers all over the world, so no matter when you send an SMS, it may be 2 am for someone. Additionally, a large portion of our customers is made up of freelancers, who work really strange hours. It’s not unusual to see them working up until 2-4 am.”Adam Hempenstall
CEO & Founder
Hempenstall and his team tested random times and discovered that there’s a 19% increase in response rates when they send messages later than 6 pm in their time zone.
SMS Marketing Tip #1: No matter which industry you’re in (e.g. logistics, ride-hailing, FinTech), avoid getting hung up on sending promotional messages during normal business hours. It’s best to find your own optimal time — conduct tests to see which brings the highest conversions.
2. Automating SMS
Automated responses save time as you don’t need to send the same messages over and over again. But here’s where many marketers go wrong: they neglect to match these automated messages with the customer’s journey.
Melanie Hartmann found herself in this exact situation.
The Founder and CEO of Creo Home Solutions says, “I would receive odd responses back from customers. After a couple of weeks, it was brought to our attention and I stopped the automated response feature.”
Creo Home Solutions had planned to send automated messages to clients who are texting them for the first time. The initial goal was to briefly share what their business is about and notify who will call back. Unbeknownst to them, these SMS were sent to every single message that came in.
“We got very confused clients, with us being equally confused.”
This jumbled experience happens in other verticals, including retail and e-commerce.
When Kristen LaFrance was shopping for pillows at Casper, she went through multiple automation loops. On the disconnected shopping experience, she writes: “There’s no connection or trust building, and it feels uncomfortable.”
SMS Marketing Tip #2: Customer service plays an important role in marketing. As you automate your SMS campaign, focus on setting pre-qualifying questions. Keep your call-to-action simple — instruct customers to reply with a simple “keyword”. Your agent must always be available to jump into the chat. Keep waiting time short!
Build an Excellent Customer Experience: Send and Receive Messages Through Wavecell’s Two-Way SMS
3. Using SMS Templates That Work For Other Companies
Many digital marketers treat text message templates with a one-size-fits-all approach. They find a generic copy on the internet and mass send it to their entire subscriber base without a touch of personalization.
When you do that, you run the risk of sending non-targeted messages. And that’s risky. 13% of mobile users in the US are ready to unsubscribe when they receive irrelevant messages.
Joe Flanagan from Tacuna Systems can attest to this wrong approach. “We ended up wasting resources and losing leads. One of our templates worked for only half of our customers.”
“While it’s advisable to have a template that works, don’t always send it exactly as is,” advises Flanagan.
SMS Marketing Tip #3: Segment your SMS subscribers and tweak your SMS templates so it feels as though you’re speaking to them directly.
Tacuna Systems segments their customers according to:
- How much they spend (i.e., spending power),
- What they buy, and
- How often they buy
Once the e-commerce store business nails segmentation, they proceed to create several templates that speak to these different groups.
For customers with greater and frequent spending power, Tacuna Systems sends this SMS:
It also upsells customers with a complementary service based on the recent product they bought:
By tweaking their templates to speak to these hyper-segmented customers, Tacuna Systems increased conversion by 60%.
To further improve conversion rates, Flanagan offers four suggestions:
Revisit The SMS Marketing Best Practices — Are You Unintentionally Making These Mistakes?
If you could turn back the clock, what would you have done differently in your SMS marketing campaign?
Stop using those SMS templates word for word?
Conduct multiple tests to find your optimal time?
You have a unique group of challenges, goals, and customers. These alleged SMS marketing best practices that your acquaintances encourage you to follow may not always work.
The best thing to do here?
Reflect on the three SMS marketing tips above and unlock new insights through marketing experiments. You’ll get a few steps closer to creating SMS that customers rave about.