The Beginner’s Guide to SMS That Actually Works 

By:  Amy Dean - Marketing Director

The Beginner's Guide to SMS That Actually Works

Strengthening relationships with your customers is critical to your business’s continued success, and with the rise of technology comes new ways to drive engagement. There were about two trillion text messages sent in the United States in 2021, showing that text messages are a valuable channel for customer engagement. Short message service (SMS) campaigns can effectively connect companies across industries and of all sizes to clients, employees and volunteers.

If your business is interested in sending text messages to provide customers with the best experience, it’s time to get started with SMS messaging. Take a look at the best practices for running text messaging campaigns in this guide to using SMS.

What Are SMS Campaigns?

An SMS campaign is a form of text message communication businesses use to connect with large groups of contacts like customers, volunteers or members of their organization. SMS messaging is an opt-in form of communication, so contacts must sign up to receive these messages. SMS messages typically have a 160-character limit, meaning that businesses must craft concise and focused texts that accurately convey their message while providing their audience with a positive experience.

How to Use SMS

Businesses use SMS campaigns to accomplish several goals. Here are a few of the ways companies use SMS campaigns:

  • Provide customer service: Companies often use SMS messages to improve their customer services, such as sending order confirmations and delivery update notifications.
  • Reengage customers: If a customer hasn’t engaged with your business in a while, reaching out with a personalized text message can be a great way to demonstrate that your business understands their needs and is available to help.
  • Send reminders: Scheduling SMS reminders can decrease customers’ late payments and missed appointments.

How to Build an SMS Campaign

Whether you want to draw customer’s attention to a sale or send scheduled texts to save your employees time, SMS campaigns can help you achieve your goals. Follow these steps to build a text campaign that drives results:

1. Select an SMS Services Provider

An SMS services provider is a third-party company that allows your company to design, schedule and send SMS messages to your contact list. Through an SMS service provider, your business can upload contact lists, single out recipients or seamlessly personalize bulk SMS messages. Some providers enable your company to send SMS messages from a browser or even text through your email interface like Outlook or Gmail.

2. Compile a Contact List

SMS messaging requires a clear opt-in from your customers and clients. Sending unsolicited messages can get your number blocked by carriers or result in hefty fines for your business. But how do you grow your contact list and obtain opt-ins from customers? By advertising your organization’s SMS messaging services and requesting customers text your number to opt-in.

You can advertise your SMS messages at the following locations:

  • Your website
  • Social media platforms
  • QR codes on printed items
  • At your store
  • Your email list

3. Craft Compelling Messages

Successful SMS campaigns are all about the wording and tone of your messages. Consider these tips for writing SMS messages that compel responses:

  • Create a sense of urgency: Communicating a sense of urgency in your SMS messages can demonstrate their importance if done correctly. Encourage recipients to respond to your message within a specific time frame to confirm their appointment or take advantage of an offer.
  • Provide value: Whatever the content of your message, it should provide value to the intended recipient. Include information like promotions or reminders that customers will find helpful.
  • Include a call to action: Every SMS message should include a clear call to action, whether it’s to contact you or visit your website.

Craft Compelling Messages

4. Measure Results

Once you’ve deployed your campaign, measuring the results is important. Some providers may allow you to track open or click-thru rates to see whether messages have the intended effect and refine your approach as needed.

SMS Best Practices

SMS campaigns can be a powerful form of communicating with customers and clients, if run correctly. Consider these SMS best practices as you plan campaigns for your business to give your texts the best chance at success:

1. Ensure SMS Campaign Compliance

Depending on where your business is located, you may be subject to different organizational and governmental compliance rules regarding your customers’ privacy and rights. For example, the U.S. governing body of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authority under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 to ensure marketers follow guidelines for calls and SMS messages. Along with regulations and fees from U.S. mobile carriers requiring companies and messages sent over their networks to be registered with The Campaign Registry (TCR). And, other countries like Australia have governance by the Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act) and the Spam Regulations 2021.

2. Identify Yourself

It’s important to identify your business as the sender of each text message. Including your company’s recognizable name in a text makes the recipient more likely to open and engage with the message. Identifying your company or organization in every SMS message can also help keep your messages from being blocked by carriers.

3. Use Personalization

Whether you want to send a few texts to a couple of recipients or hundreds of SMS messages at once, including personal (but not confidential) information about the recipients can result in higher open rates. When recipients see their name, order number or the date of their last appointment in a text, they are more likely to engage with it. A carrier network may also be less likely to flag and block your messages if they include personalized information.

4. Send Timely Messages

Few people want to receive text messages at three o’clock in the morning. It’s crucial to understand that timing is everything in SMS messaging, so research your customers’ needs and schedules to send messages when they’re most likely to read them.

5. Think Quality Over Quantity

Most customers don’t want to be bombarded with multiple long SMS messages from your company every day or week. When it comes to SMS campaigns, quality is better than quantity. Keep messages short and to the point, and send them strategically to avoid overburdening your contact list.

6. Include Opt-Out Instructions

To prevent recipients from blocking your number and maintain a trustworthy image with customers, make opting out of your SMS messages as easy as possible. Include a phrase like “Text STOP to opt-out” in your texts, so customers know exactly how to stop receiving messages.

Send SMS Messages Through Red Oxygen

When your business wants to connect and strengthen relationships with its customers, employees and volunteers, SMS messaging is a great way to do it. By following best practices and compliance regulations, your company or organization can effectively engage with your intended recipients and deliver a seamless customer experience.

With Red Oxygen, sending SMS campaigns is simple. Red Oxygen provides plenty of SMS features that simplify communication, like personalization, bulk texting, opt-out management and more. To explore Red Oxygen’s solutions, request a demo today.
Send SMS Messages Through Red Oxygen

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