When it comes to SMS, 160 characters are all you have – so use them well. You’ll need to tell the customer as simply as possible what value your product or service can offer them, plus what they need to do if they want to take up your offer. Follow these 12 tips and you’ll be creating the perfect SMS campaign:

1. Be clear about what your unique value proposition is for the perfect SMS campaign

If what you’re offering can be bought elsewhere, then you’re going to get a better response if you’re offering the customer a reason to buy it from you. These could include:

A better price
A more personal service
Free or faster delivery

So decide on what it is you think makes your offer most attractive, and make that crystal clear in your message. Need help? Try completing this sentence: “My product/service is the only….” and that may provide you with your answer.

2. Use a brand name in the message

Got a brand? Use it! Simple. Brand names mean customer affinity and that normally equates to trust. When you use a brand name in your message, it will increase the chances of it being opened by the receiver, and it’s also more likely to elicit a positive response from your audience.

3: Have a clear call-to-action

What is the result you want? You need to make this clear to the consumer, so they know exactly what to do after reading your message:

eg 1. “reply YES to receive a call”
eg 2. “come to my shop and present this coupon to get a discount”
eg 3. “go to www.mywebsite.co.za and click the ‘buy’ button”

4. Use common language

Keep your message short and simple and scrap complicated words with lots of syllables. Use the sort of language people use in everyday conversations, and steer away from being overly formal. Words like “GET a great deal” or “Hey there Richard”, or even a “HOWZIT” can work well. Of course, this all depends on your brand’s tone and its positioning in the market, but you know that better than anyone.

Bad example: “If you are thinking about selling your home and don’t know where to go then I can sell it for you…..”
This message isn’t going to work. It’s boring and isn’t offering anything to the customer that they couldn’t get elsewhere. It also doesn’t hook their attention or express its message fast enough.

Good example: “Want to sell your home fast? Leadhome sells homes within an average of 35 days. Pay only one flat fee, R39,995 +VAT. Reply YES for more info or STOP to opt out”
This message has been well thought out: it’s simple and addresses the customers’ possible concerns (as well as uses the brand name).

5. Personalise your message

Even though the customer will know that these SMSes are automated, they do appreciate a more personalised message sometimes. In fact, personalised messages have been shown to increase the amount and quality of the leads that our clients generate.

While SMS marketing gives you, the marketer, the ability to communicate to the masses, it also gives you the opportunity to personalise that message. Use Custom Variables to give strength to your message by inserting a #firstname#, or #initial# #lastname#.

6. The perfect SMS campaign has a sense of urgency

Adding a time limit to your offer can create a sense of urgency and encourage the recipient to act. Take Black Friday for example, which cleverly uses a specific deadline to encourage shoppers to buy products, by hyping things up a month before, followed by a shopping frenzy on the day. But really all they’re offering is a discount with a time limit attached.

Here’s a few examples:

eg 1. “Come visit my health bar between 7 am & 11 am and show this message to get a free smoothie with any breakfast until the end of Feb”
eg 2. “Purchase from our online shop until the end of Feb and get a 10% discount on it and all future purchases… forever! yes, forever!”
eg 3. “This week only: kids under two eat for free before 6 pm on weekdays…”
eg 4. “Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Book a table at my restaurant before the 10th of Feb and get any 2 desserts free with any 2 main meals”

When an SMS is received only the first few words are visible before it’s opened. Although SMS has excellent open rates you can still improve on this by using current events such as change in the petrol price, a big sporting event or maybe even make a satire of a competitors marketing efforts (just keep it clean):

eg 1. “Petrol price is up again, don’t drive rather by your groceries online. Free deliveries for orders over R500… “
eg 2. “Save the Bokke! If you can’t then save your bucks when you order any 2 large pizzas from my pizza shop you’ll get the third one free!”
eg 3. “Climate change is upon us! Beat the heat today with a portable air-conditioner click here to order online”

8. Use free replies / reverse billed SMS (on lead generation campaigns)

The default for customer replies is that they pay for the SMS. If you’d like to be able to say “reply for free” then you’ll need to pay for that reply. However, with this tip, there is a downside: Free Replies for the customer will cost you more as an advertiser. Offering Free Replies definitely improves response to campaigns though, and it can be useful when:

The client is undecided and wants an estimate
You’re asking the client to reply with personal information like his or her I.D. number

Paying for the reply is also a courtesy, but there’s no point in doing it if you don’t actually say “Reply for free”, and this means using up valuable characters!

Note, there is a difference in the price for reverse billed sms as compared to standard rate bulk sms routes.

9. Time your message perfectly

When is the best time to send my message? The definitive answer is “it depends” on what you’re wanting to achieve and who your audience is. For example:

If you’re wanting to drive online signups and your target market is very high earners, the chances are that people in that income bracket have some freedom in their jobs and could go online right away when receiving your SMS.
If you’re targeting low-income earners, they may be working in a position that is more supervised and can’t even touch their phone, other than during breaks, during lunch or before and after work.
If you’re marketing a lunchtime burger special at a drive through, then I’d start the campaign at 11am and finish at about 2pm.

You’ll quickly see, especially with call-back campaigns, what times people in certain categories can’t or can speak to you, and what those more convenient times are.

In the Leadify platform you can also adjust your sending times as you go. See more Leadify features here.

10. Auto respond to your customers

Chances are that if someone responds to your perfect SMS campaign, they’re interested in what you have to sell. Even if they weren’t looking at other products (to compare yours against) before they received your message, they may do so now. So, make sure that you have the proper mechanisms in place to respond timeously. Turn your perfect SMS campaign into a perfect SMS responder.

If you’d like, you could set up a trigger in Leadify to fire off another SMS in response. For example, “Thanks for your interest. We’ve assigned your details to an agent who’ll call you shortly”. You could even add: “If that’s OK with you, please reply YES, else if you’d rather communicate by email the please respond with your email address”. Once again, triggers can be set up based on those responses.

Or, if you’ve received a negative response you could set up a trigger to send an SMS like “We’re sorry that we can’t help you. We’ll opt you out as requested, but if that should change in the future please let us know by going back to the message and replying YES”

11. The perfect SMS campaign requires perfect audience targeting

We have so many ways to target a consumer that most first-time users “over target”. By targeting on too many variables, you can often end up excluding a lot of potentially great customers and therefore limit your campaign’s success.

Rule of thumb: Use 3-4 targeting variables. We suggest trying to figure out what the 3-4 most important targeting metrics for your business are and sticking to those. Using more than 5 targeting metrics is probably too many.

12. Work your prospects

This is the most important tip of them all in creating the perfect SMS campaign! Leadify is a pretty clever tool, but all it does is generate interest in what you do – it’s ultimately up to you to close the deal.

So, if you’re running a lead generation campaign make sure that you call back these leads (timeously), every single time.
And if you’re running a foot traffic campaign, make sure that you give those customers the best service so that they come back again and again.

We would love to help you create the perfect SMS campaign, get in touch now to inquire as to how.