SMS has the highest open rate of any communication channel, at around 98% (compared to less than 20% for marketing emails). But whether or not your customers take action after opening the SMS depends on how well it’s structured and how compelling your call to action is.
“There are huge opportunities in SMS marketing, but conversion rates vary widely, from around 5% to 30%,” says Grant Fleming, CEO at Leadify.
How can you make your SMS campaign stand out from the crowd and achieve higher conversion rates? Start with these 7 tips.
Choose your SMS campaign words carefully
You only have around 25 words (160 characters) to convince the recipient that your message is worthwhile, so choose each word with care. If you can’t say it in 25 words, your message probably isn’t clear enough. Don’t be tempted to use “txt spk” to squeeze in more words; rather start from scratch and rethink your message. Words that increase conversions: You, Get, Free, Sale, Deal, Save, Special, Limited, Exclusive, Now, Today.
Your first 10 words are crucial
Most phones display the first few words of a text message on the phone’s SMS page. This means users get the gist of a text without having to open it up, and they can opt for an instant delete if it doesn’t seem like something they’d be interested in.
Personalise your message
Addressing recipients by name increases engagement and makes them feel valued. A lifestyle brand may choose to address customers by their first name, whereas a financial services company may wish to use their title and surname for a more professional feel. Think about which option best suits your brand.
Include a strong call to action
Your offer to customers should be clear and concise, and convey a sense of exclusivity and urgency. People typically react to SMSs within 90 seconds, so you want them to be able to take up your offer right away.
Be clear who the SMS campaign is from
Given how many scams and schemes get forwarded via SMS, consumers respond better when they know who an SMS is from. Including your brand or company name in the message is shown to drive a higher response rate.
Target your audience
Low conversion rates drive up your sales costs, so you don’t want to target anyone who is never going to buy your product. Invest in data analytics to better understand your target audience and save on marketing costs down the line. It’s also worth bearing in mind that SMS campaigns generally work best in mass market (i.e. low to mid LSM). If you’re wanting to target upper LSM consumers, SMS probably isn’t the best medium – although there are product related exceptions. For example, 60% off your favourite wine or beauty products would work well via SMS to an upper LSM target group.
POPI & Make it easy to opt out
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is expected to become fully enforced during the course of 2018. Once that happens, you won’t be able to send SMSs to anyone who hasn’t opted-in to receive them. In the meantime, make it easy for consumers to stop receiving your messages if they want to. And remember: including the opt-out information is a legal requirement, so you can’t just skip this if you’re running low on characters.