By Dan Slavin, CodeBroker
With millions of text messages read every day, SMS is a powerful and often under-utilized marketing vehicle, A staggering 90% of SMS are read within the first three seconds of being received, according to Dynmark, and 98% of all SMS sent are eventually read. Those are the kinds of rates that email can only dream of.
Clearly it makes sense to employ SMS marketing tools, but the problem for marketers is that these solutions are often technical and complex to use, and with so many options to evaluate in the market it can be daunting, making it difficult to choose one.
To engage your audience with SMS and drive campaign results, here are 10 things to consider as you shop around for the perfect texting platform.
Ease of use
Look for an intuitive interface and strong vendor support. How much in the way of self-service does it offer? Don’t be swayed by a great sales pitch, make sure that you take your chosen system for a test drive. A hands-on demo is essential, and you’ll want to inquire about aftersales service.
A truly great SMS marketing vendor will be waiting at the end of the phone whenever you need them. When tight deadlines loom, you’ll want to reach out and get instant answers. They should also provide training, recommendations on effective techniques, and any other information you might need to fully leverage the SMS marketing platform.
For successful SMS marketing you need to be able to grow your marketing list swiftly and the right vendor will help you do that with a slick sign-up process. Run through the sign-up yourself to assess it. Flexibility is important, too, so look for a sign-up that can cover email sign-up and collect demographic information, deliver SMS welcome coupons and a digital loyalty card.
SMS coupon marketing can be a powerful way to boost customer engagement, increase store tra?c, and enhance basket size. Let customers use SMS coupons directly from their phones at checkout. You should also consider incorporating single-use SMS coupons, particularly when they’re high value, to limit their redemption to one per customer.
The SMS marketing platform you choose must play nicely with your other systems with minimal IT support. Look for robust APIs and simple integrations.
It’s crucial to ensure that your SMS marketing adheres to relevant legal regulations, which are constantly changing. Look for a partner with TCPA expertise and ask about CTIA compliance.
Protecting your customer’s data must always be a priority, so look for strong security credentials. Your chosen SMS marketing platform should support PCI level 1 security — the same security required for processing credit cards. You should also conduct your own security audit, don’t take the vendor’s word for it.
In today’s evolving landscape, an omnichannel approach is vital. You need an SMS marketing partner that can scale as your needs expand. Look for text message marketing tools that go beyond the basics; consider single-use coupons, loyalty program access through SMS, and transactional alert capabilities. When Codebroker surveyed 1,287 US shoppers the top preferred channel for loyalty programs on smartphones was text message.
Tracking and reporting
To measure SMS marketing success or assess the effectiveness of SMS coupons, you must be able to accurately track their performance. Look at the reporting system and ask your prospective vendor for examples of the data you can extract. The ideal SMS marketing platform will give you a real-time big picture view of campaign performance.
If you want to know how effective any SMS marketing platform might be, then you need to ask the vendor for real metrics that show what they’ve achieved for other companies. Ask about new adds per week or month, the monthly opt-out rate, and how quickly a list can be grown. Look for the sign-up completion rate, the redemption rates for mobile offers, and revenue from similar programs to yours.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re shopping for a SMS marketing platform but taking time out for due diligence will help you pick the right tool for your business.
For more tips, download the eBook, “How to Evaluate SMS Marketing Solutions for your B2C Enterprise.”