Inside this article
Businesses and organizations are constantly seeking effective ways to engage with their audience, promote their products or services, and deliver timely information.
One powerful marketing strategy that has gained significant popularity are SMS campaigns. They leverage the ubiquity and high engagement rates of mobile phones and enable businesses to connect with a large group of recipients instantly and effectively.
Their high open rates and the immediacy of communication makes them an ideal tool for time-sensitive promotions, urgent updates, or important notifications, bringing impressive results when executed effectively.
What is an SMS campaign?
An SMS campaign, also known as a text message campaign, is a marketing strategy that involves sending promotional or informational messages to a large group of recipients via SMS.
SMS campaigns are typically used by businesses and organizations to engage with their customers, promote products or services, deliver important updates, or drive specific actions.
SMS campaigns can be an effective marketing tool, as text messages have high open rates and are often read within minutes of being received. However, it's important to strike a balance and respect subscribers' privacy by not inundating them with excessive or irrelevant messages or sending them SMSs during inconvenient times such as holidays or midnight.
How to run an SMS campaign: 7 crucial steps
1. Define the objective of the SMS campaign
As with any kind of campaign, the first step to prepare it and successfully run it, you need to determine the goals and objectives of the SMS campaign.
Do you want to promote a new product, increase brand awareness, keep customers informed on important updates?
Clearly outlining your objectives will help shape your next moves.
2. Build a subscriber list
After you have gathered the goal or goals of your SMS campaign, the next step is to think about the recipients. Do you have the list of all the contacts who you possibly want to target in your campaign?
Regarding this point, it’s incredibly important to only send messages to those customers who agreed to receive these messages in the first place.
With Outvio you don't need to worry about this because it’s part of the service to receive updates on their order. This means your customers don’t need to opt-in to receive SMSs, but you can still use them to build brand awareness and reduce WISMO claims.
3. Segment your audience
Segment your subscriber list based on demographics, preferences, purchase history, or any other relevant criteria. This allows you to tailor your messages and send targeted campaigns to specific groups, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of your SMS campaign.
For example, you can send a specific message to those customers who abandoned the purchasing process without buying the products in the cart, or announce special discounts on products targeted to only part of your customers portfolio.
4. Timing and frequency
Determine the appropriate timing and frequency for sending your messages to get the best results and lower the opting-out rate.
Consider factors such as your target audience's time zones, preferences, your business niche and the nature of your campaign.
Avoiding sending messages too frequently is a must, as it can lead to subscriber fatigue and increase opt-outs.
5. Craft compelling messages
Creating concise and impactful messages that align with your campaign objectives isn't advice, it’s an obligation.
Keep in mind that SMS messages are limited to a certain number of characters (usually 160 characters or less). Making every word count is the only decision that can turn the message into a big fail or an epic success.
Create clear, engaging messages, and include a strong call-to-action (CTA) to drive the desired response from recipients.
6. Choose your SMS service provider
Select a reliable SMS service provider or mobile marketing platform that offers the features and functionality you need. Some of the things to watch out for are: message personalization, scheduling options, automation, and analytics to effectively manage your campaign.
With Outvio you can send automated, branded SMS order updates to your customers to minimize order anxiety and foster customer loyalty.
7. Test your campaign
Before launching your SMS campaign, test your messages and delivery process to ensure everything works smoothly. Consider A/B testing different versions of the SMSs, CTAs, or even try different sending times to identify what resonates best with your audience. Continuously monitor the performance of your campaign and make adjustments based on analytics and feedback.
How to track an SMS campaign: key metrics to follow and how to obtain them
Define key performance indicators (KPIs)
Common SMS metrics for this type of campaign are:
- Delivery Rate. One of the biggest challenges of SMS campaigns is successfully delivering the messages to the recipients. Finding out how many “dead” numbers you have and deleting them from your list is key to optimizing your SMS campaigns.
- Open rate. Open rates show how many users that actually received the SMS and opened it. Your sender name on the SMS or the beginning of the message may not be compiling enough to open it.
- Click-through rate (if applicable). If you add links to your SMSs, such as links to a tracking portal or a sales section on your website, tracking how many recipients clicked on it is crucial to measure your success.
- Conversion rate. The percentage of recipients who took the desired action: a purchase, a subscription, following their order. Your conversion rate is the ultimate signal of a successful SMS campaign.
- Opt-out rate. Keeping an eye on the number of users that decide to unsubscribe from the SMS campaign can shed light on possible points of improvement, such as time and frequency, or low-quality content. This metric should always be measured with your growth rate.
- Customer acquisition costs. For this one, you’ll need to compare the investment of resources with the revenue or goals achieved.
- Growth rate. Growth rate measures how many new users you got. The number of new subscribers should always exceed your opt-out or unsubscribe rate. As it means more value per active SMS campaign.
Utilize analytics tools, implement tracking measures, compare
Depending on the SMS service provider or mobile marketing platform you are using, you may have access to built-in analytics tools or reporting features. These tools can provide valuable eCommerce KPIs and should be exploited as much as possible.
If your SMS includes links, consider using unique tracking URLs for each link to be able to monitor KPIs for specific links/campaigns with tools like Google Analytics or UTM parameters.
Compare the performance with past campaigns and industry benchmarks to understand how well your campaign is performing and identify areas for improvement, patterns and trends.
For example, if you notice low open rates, consider revising your message content. If conversion rates are low, check your call-to-action (CTA), etc.
Why creating an SMS campaign
Creating an SMS campaign can offer several benefits and advantages for businesses and organizations. Here are some reasons why you might consider creating an SMS campaign:
Wide-spread immediate communication channel
SMS messages are an effective tool for time-sensitive promotions, urgent updates, or important notifications as mobile phones are widely used. SMSs are universally accessible and allow businesses to reach a larger audience that includes those who may not have access to email or other digital platforms.
High engagement rate
SMS messages have higher chances of getting read compared to other forms of communication. This can lead to more engagement and higher conversion rates, improved customer relations, and better overall campaign performance.
Concise and effective messaging
The character limitation of SMS messages forces companies to convey the message in fewer words. This constraint often leads to clear and focused messaging, with a more impactful result that grabs the attention of your audience effectively.
By segmenting your subscriber list based on demographics, preferences, or purchase history, you can send more targeted and relevant messages, personalized to each group, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.
SMS campaigns can be cost-effective compared to other marketing channels. The costs associated with sending SMS messages are typically lower than traditional advertising methods or direct email marketing campaigns. With the right SMS service provider, you can reach a large audience without breaking the bank.
Integration with other channels
SMS campaigns can be complemented and used in conjunction with other marketing actions. Moreover, SMS campaigns can be integrated with other platforms and channels to create a cohesive and omnichannel/multi-channel strategy that reinforces your messaging and enhances customer engagement.
Outvio can be integrated with social media platforms as well as eCommerce platforms and couriers to centralize all order information and post-purchase customer journey in a single hub.
SMS campaigns typically require recipients to opt in and provide their consent to receive messages. This means that subscribers have shown an interest in your business or brand, making them a more receptive audience. This opt-in nature can result in higher engagement, increased brand loyalty, and better overall campaign performance.
When planned and executed effectively, SMS campaigns can be a valuable tool for businesses to engage with their audience, promote products or services, drive actions, and deliver timely information.
Drawbacks of SMS campaigns
While SMS campaigns can be effective marketing tools, they also have some drawbacks. Here are a few potential drawbacks of SMS campaigns to consider:
SMS messages are typically limited to a maximum of 160 characters. This constraint can make it challenging to convey complex or detailed messages, which may limit the level of information or messaging depth you can achieve.
To send marketing SMS messages to customers, you need to obtain their explicit consent and provide clear opt-out mechanisms. Building a subscriber list may take time and effort.
However, sending SMS messages that nurture the shopping experience is part of the service offered by the online store. These messages don’t need an opt-in consent, as the customer agrees to receiving communication the moment they make a purchase. They can include order updates, incident alerts, and so on.
Keeping customers informed at all times about the status and location of a parcel is easy and can be automated with Outvio. Try it now.
Lack of visuals
SMS messages can’t include visual elements. This stands in the way of creating engaging and appealing content, and it may be more challenging to capture attention and convey complex information to customers or potential buyers.
SMS campaigns only allow for small personalizations in the message, e.g., using the recipient's name, but the lack of detailed customer data and the character limitations can restrict the level of customization businesses can achieve, compared to other marketing campaigns.
Restricted analytics and tracking data
Compared to other marketing campaigns like email sendouts or online ads, SMS campaign’s metrics are harder to track and measure.
Gathering detailed insights or attributing specific actions to SMS messages may be more challenging, leaving companies only with basic metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, and opt-outs.
It's important to consider these drawbacks when planning an SMS campaign and to evaluate whether they align with your marketing goals and target audience.
Combining SMS campaigns with other marketing channels can help mitigate some of these limitations and create a more comprehensive and effective marketing strategy.
SMS campaigns are a marketing strategy that offer direct and immediate communication, wide reach, high engagement, concise messaging, targeting possibilities, and cost-effectiveness.
However, there are drawbacks to consider, such as character limitations, consent requirements, lack of visuals, limited personalization, or restricted analytical data.
For this reason, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to launch an SMS campaign.
But if you are an online retailer and your goals and target audience seem to align with this marketing action, combining the use of SMSs with other communication channels is a great decision to nurture your customers before, during and after the sale.
Outvio is your best ally to communicate with your customers during the delivery process and after the product reaches your customers’ hand. Try it now.