Are you looking to give your marketing strategy an extra boost?
Have you tried using text messages to do this?
Getting started takes almost zero effort, even if you lack experience.
In this guide, I’ll share the exact blueprint you need to create a successful SMS marketing campaign — including 5 do’s and don’ts to keep in mind to increase your chances of connecting with your audience.
By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have everything you need to hit your next marketing campaign out of the park and get closer to reaching your core business goals.
Here’s how to start:
Step 1: Align Your Goals & Set New Ones
Text message marketing should be treated like any other channel. That means your specific goals should align with your core business goals.
What are you trying to reach this year?
What milestones do you hope to achieve for this quarter?
Do you have one primary focus or a few targets you’re trying to hit?
Instead of creating a separate silo for texts to fall under, ask yourself: How can I use text messages to help me reach my business goals?
To answer that, write out your goals and keep them handy. If you have more than one, consider how texts could support each goal and then prioritize each of them.
Figure out a plan to use text messages to reach these existing goals before creating new ones for your SMS marketing campaign. Then, set targets for your text messages to hit those goals.
So, for example, if your overarching goal is to grow your customer base, you can do so using text message marketing.
A more fine-tuned, text-specific goal would be to drive 100 new text subscribers to your website in 90 days.
With this larger goal in mind and your specific SMS marketing campaign goal in-sync, you’re ready to break down this figure into smaller goals to achieve over the course of those 90 days.
In this example, the benchmark to hit each month is:
- ~35 new customers in Month 1
- ~35 new customers in Month 2
- ~30 new customers in Month 3
Now that you have a better idea of the targets to hit, you can then determine how you’re going to get your customers to that point. Luckily, this happens to be our next step.
Step 2: Decide On Your Call to Action
When it comes to deciding a call to action, think in terms of: What action do I want my customers to take to help me reach my goal?
Using our previous scenario, if you want to add 100 customers to your tribe using text messages, come up with different ways to drive traffic to your subscriber sign up.
A good way to do this is to use a call to action like “Sign Up for Text Alerts” on prominent places such as your website, social media posts, online banners, and other key areas.
This CTA should be paired with an enticing and irresistible offer so potential subscribers are motivated enough to follow your suggested action.
Step 3: Create an Irresistible Offer That’s Worth Acting On
Text messages are a very personal form of communication, and they should be treated as such.
In the same way you wouldn’t text your friends or family members anything spammy, you must do the same for your subscribers.
You also shouldn’t use the same ol’ promotions with text messages.
For example, if free shipping is standard, and you’re advertising it as a reward for signing up for your text alerts, don’t be surprised if your customers ignore your request.
Give your potential subscribers a more valuable offer, say a friends and family price or 40% discount, and you’ll instantly grab their attention.
First-purchase incentives this high are a surefire way to drive customers to your list and eventually to your site for the sale.
You can also use this same strategy for your existing text subscriber base.
This time, you have two options:
- Send one discount via text message to your customers who have been active and loyal.
- Send another text to those who need a revival, like a We Miss You text discount, to bring them back.
By doing this, you’ll build brand loyalty and nudge your sleeper customers back into existence.
So your next step is to come up with an irresistible offer that will actually motivate your customers to take action.
Once you have that, you can move on to step 4: creating your delivery schedule.
Step 4: Map Out a Delivery Schedule
Text messages are fast so you need to map out a delivery schedule that keeps up.
Each reply should be set up in advance and properly planned so the right people receive the right message.
Spend time sketching out this conversation map on paper or in a digital doc so you understand how your customer’s text journey will unfold.
To keep things simple for them, include only one call to action in each text. Anything more and your customers won’t bother taking any action.
This is why it’s so important to narrow down your call to action, like you did in step 2.
Testing your campaign’s flow is also another crucial step you don’t want to skip.
Step 5: Test Your Campaign
Before your customers take the plunge, you and your team should test your text campaigns to ensure there are no hiccups along the way.
Take the same actions your customers will and don’t just call it a day once you receive and open the texts.
Don’t forget to test that your links are working properly before you launch anything.
If your tests pass inspection, you can then launch your campaign.
Step 6: Launch Your Campaign & Measure Its Performance
Now that the technical side of your SMS marketing campaign is all set, you can finally hit the publish button.
From here, decide which metrics you’ll use to gauge the success of your campaign’s performance.
Using our original example of increasing your subscriber base by ~35 customers each month, the biggest metric to pay attention to would be your subscriber growth rate.
How many customers are you adding each day?
You’ll also want to see if your new subscribers have taken any action since subscribing. So the next two metrics to watch for are your open and click through rates.
And did they clink the link inside?
Getting your customers to subscribe to your list is your first priority, but you also need them to take action if you want a successful campaign.
So determine which metrics you’ll be watching here. When you monitor your metrics consistently, you’ll know how to optimize them for maximum effectiveness.
Which leads us right into our final step…
Step 7: Continue to Optimize
Successful marketing campaigns are never switched to autopilot; they are consistently fine-tuned to build upon what’s working and get rid of anything that’s failing.
Text messages are no different.
Keep an eye on your important metrics (growth and click through rates to start) and track the performance of your campaign every step of the way.
Find out what’s doing well and what needs to be tweaked, then make those necessary adjustments and monitor the results.
Keep brainstorming ideas for how you can improve your campaign’s performance based on these stats.
With the basics of text message marketing under your belt, let’s talk about more advanced tips to give your campaign the edge it needs to thrive.
5 Best Practices to Keep in Mind with SMS Marketing
Consider this list your official do’s and don’ts of creating a successful SMS marketing strategy:
- Segment your list. Segmenting your list ensures the right customers see the right messages.
It’s also going to help improve your open and engagement rates, so it’s worth your time to start organizing your list right from the start.
Think about groups for repeat buyers, browsers who haven’t made a purchase yet, those already on your email list, etc.
- Personalization is crucial. Since texts are so personal, personalization is a key ingredient to a successful SMS campaign.
Make sure you have all the important information you need — name, birthday, etc. — to customize the experience for your subscribers.
Remember: people buy from people and brands they like and trust so do your best to treat each subscriber like a personal acquaintance and not like any ol’ number on your list.
- Timing is everything. To get your timing method right, experiment and work on customizing your text delivery times.
Generally, sign up texts should trigger responses immediately while update texts should be sent out the same time each week.
Always keep your texts within normal business hours so you don’t bother your subscribers during their down time.
- Don’t use long URLs. Chop down any URLs in your texts to more manageable bites so they’re not overwhelming to read or take up half your text message space.
You can find a free a URL shortening tool here. Your subscribers will thank you.
- Don’t overuse this channel. As with email or any other marketing method, you should not overuse or bombard your customers with text messages.
Rather, you need to keep thinking about how to build and foster a better relationship with them.
Send too many texts each week and you’ll quickly lose their trust and attention.
On the flipside, if you don’t send enough texts, your subscribers will forget who you are altogether.
So when your customers sign up for your list, include a quick survey on how often they’d like to hear from you in your thank you reply. This will help guide you towards striking the right balance with your base.
Create Your First SMS Marketing Campaign Today
Using this exact blueprint, you’ll have everything you need to create your first, successful SMS marketing campaign in no time.
If you haven’t already, sign up with a reliable SMS service to get the ball rolling today.
From there, simply follow the steps in today’s guide, while keeping our 5 expert do’s and don’ts in mind, and you’ll quickly build an SMS campaign worth humble bragging about.