SPAM is NOT Marketing: Using SMS in the right way, Part II


Hello there! 🙂 In the previous part of this series we saw what is SPAM and why it’s not an ethic, legal, or cost effective way of conducting mobile marketing. Today, we are going to see some rules and best practices that will put you on the right track to have a great mobile marketing experience.

This is in line with our previous post “Doing SMS Marketing with Good Karma“, which is also a good introduction to the subject. This post goes a bit deeper trying to elaborate more on the different requirements of a successful SMS marketing campaign.

How to actually do Mobile Marketing with SMS

First of all, the official recommendations and the ultimate guides to all the best practices of mobile marketing can be found at the CTIA Best Practices & Successes website. It’s highly recommendable to read the material there to have an overview of what is expected from you as a mobile marketer.

Get a Short Code

We briefly discussed this in “Short Codes or Long Codes? Benefits and Drawbacks for your SMS Campaigns“. Marketing messages are not allowed on long codes (that is, regular telephone numbers), so you need to use a short code.

Short codes are mostly “white listed” by carriers, they expect high traffic from them, and more important, they expect to have a lot of promotional content running on them. In contrast,  toll frees and regular LVNs, are expected to have much less traffic and also, that traffic is expected to be transactional.

Permission Marketing and consent to receive content

Mobile marketing is all about permission. This is different than just uploading thousands of consecutive telephone numbers or grabbing your database (or buying one) to start sending messages. This is a big no-no, and as we saw in our last post, completely illegal because it violates the TCPA.

We briefly described the concept of permission in “Permission Marketing: The Four Noble Truths“, where we explain how Permission Marketing works exactly.

People should give you their prior written consent before you can send them messages. This can be obtained via a form in a website, or verbally in a telephone conversation, or via an SMS message (and/or any other kind of methods allowed by the E-SIGN bill). And you have to keep this proof of concept for at least 4 years in case of a dispute.

Clear opt-out instructions, terms and conditions, and customer service telephone number

Once a user opts in for your messages, you have to provide him clear opt-out instructions, and a process that allows him to opt out automatically.

You should make your terms and conditions available before and after an opt in, and provide a telephone number so anyone can reach out to you in case of any questions or issues.

A commercial transaction is not a consent to receive messages

If someone acquires your products or services, it doesn’t count as a consent to receive your messages. You can only send messages with a prior written consent in any of its allowed forms according to E-SIGN.

A consent for a marketing program can’t be used as a consent for other programs

This is a really important one. Your clients must know exactly to what service they are opting in. You can’t make them accept to receive messages for multiple programs (or get a “generic consent” from them so you can send them any kind of promotional messages).

If they accept to receive messages from a specific marketing program, you can only send them messages related to that particular program.

Work in your Call-To-Action, make your products and services attractive

This is where hard work pays the most in the long term. If you become good at designing the content of your messages you will hit the jackpot.

In “Creating Great Call-To-Action Text For Your SMS Campaigns” and “Are You Sending The Most Effective SMS Coupons?” we discussed some techniques that will help you out in creating the right content for your audience.

The CTA (or Call-To-Action) part of your message is where you convince your audience that they should click, call, or reply back because it’s on their best interest to do so. So getting better at this and the content where you offer your deals is crucial to achieve success.

Achieve a stable and growing client base, improve brand loyalty

One of the main differences between SPAM and real marketing practices, is that with SPAM you are not expecting that a customer will make another purchase, because the customer experience becomes poor.

Real marketing practices are all about the customer journey and customer experience. The challenge is not so much about getting new customers but how to keep them coming and making new purchases. In “How to Build a Successful Loyalty Program” and “Best Practices For Running Effective SMS Campaigns” we discussed how an SMS loyalty program can work and improve your revenue with current customers.

SMS is a great way to stay in touch with your clients in an intimate way. Work and grow that relation by offering special discounts and offers for loyal customers that continue to purchase your goods and services.

Segment your client base, send customized offers, discounts, and promotions

To get the best results from your SMS campaigns you have to know your customers. And this might go beyond knowing your customer base, this really means to know each and every one of your clients.

In “Effective Customer Segmentation For Your SMS Campaigns” we discussed how to gather that extra ounce of information from your CRM in order to send promotions to your clients that might better suit their needs. And of course this is a great way to start.

But following advices like the ones described in “The power of variables in your SMS campaigns” and “Using Templates to Send Personalized Messages“, in combination with your CRM, will allow you to actually send better targeted deals, promotions, and discounts.

From your CRM you will be able to see the past interests of each one of your clients, and then you can figure out other products and services that match that criteria. Then you can customize the texts by adding the client name, language, and other things.

Plan, Design, Test, Measure, Loop!

Once you know what you need to do for your marketing campaign, you should test it in the field. It’s really important that you can get some numbers afterwards and see how good or bad the plan performed. Go back to the lab, apply what you learned, and then do it all over again from the top 🙂

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help with these matters, we’ll be glad to help!

— The PortaText Team.