The growth and popularity of SMS can be partly explained by the immediate, concise, and unobtrusive nature of a 160-character text message. But its rise to prominence is equally explained by its ubiquity - i.e. SMS is on every mobile phone and most Americans carry their mobile phones at all times. For marketers and organizational leaders, these characteristics make SMS the ideal connective tissue to link and enhance all other marketing channels.
SMS is the Enhancement Channel
Before we dive into the list, let's establish some context and introduce some caveats. At SUMOTEXT, we like to refer to SMS as the 'enhancement' channel. In other words, we like to think that no matter the strategy du jour, SMS can likely enhance it.
If you're into email marketing, then SMS is the absolute best way to capture an email address. If you're into social media, then SMS is the best way to link followers to your page at the latest social destination. If you're into mobile applications, then SMS can provide a 1-click link that will detect and install the appropriate application. In summary, SMS is really good at increasing response rates, collecting data, and providing fun, self-service utilities to customers.
That being said, we constantly remind ourselves and our clients to ask the question, "What are we really trying to accomplish? What is the real end goal?". Only then can we honestly evaluate whether SMS can or should be used to enhance the objective.
Sadly, most SMS marketing objectives tend to be been short term, cyclical, and campaign-driven - when they should be long term, strategic, and tied to a core business unit's profit and loss (P&L). After all, SMS is simply a mobile transaction protocol - i.e. a method to conduct a transaction on a mobile device. Until organizations embrace that definition and create loftier ambitions tied to revenue or cost-savings, SMS will remain relegated to the trivial contests and treasure hunts born by agencies and interactive marketing departments.
The good news is that sometimes the simplest SMS transactions can make a huge impact on an organization's financials. Mobile payment reminders, password resets, subscription renewals, receipts and confirmations, upgrade offers, and links to persuasive, conversion-oriented multimedia are all common, 1st-step offerings that can dramatically increase revenue and reduce costs - not to mention collect opt-ins and customer profiles for future communications.
Top 10 Attributes of a Successful SMS Campaign
When planning your creative, try to incorporate as many of these attributes as possible!
The 'Call to Action' must be easy for the customer to understand and execute.
Both the 'Call to Action' and the SMS content should answer the question, "Why now?"
What is the service or efficiency we are providing through this program?
What's in it for us? What's in it for the customer?
5. Broad Appeal
The larger the potential audience, the better. Also, MMS & WAP should not be required!
6. Personal Relevance
The consumer should be able to understand "Why me? Why my phone?"
7. Personal Context
Use a personal writing style that builds a sense of community - e.g. "We", "You", and "Us".
Design programs that are easy to deploy, execute, and leverage across the whole organization
Incorporate economy into the original Call to Action - e.g. "Text your email address to 54321"
Understand and embrace the notion that consumers like to remain anonymous!