A short messaging service (SMS) campaign can be a positive part of your overall marketing plan. Yes, social media and content are king, but SMS is one of the components that resonates with the largest generation of consumers right now. Studies show that texting is Millennials’ preferred method of communication, and this extends to interacting with businesses.
That doesn’t mean to say that an SMS campaign
is a walk in the park. You have to understand how to make the most of the
medium, what to personalize, and what to generalize.
Perhaps above all else, you must approach it in an organized, strategic
fashion. If you take a casual approach, chances are good that it can get out of
hand and fail to convert the customers you’re targeting.
While organization isn’t everyone’s strong suit, some best practices can help you along the way. We’re going to take a look at some of the areas into which you need to commit time and resources. What are the most effective approaches to planning and executing an SMS campaign?
The key to any organized campaign is effective planning. Putting energy and resources into these early stages can help you build systems of support throughout execution and allow you to better prepare for the aspects that could go wrong. Be thorough and be methodical.
Set out and agree to the goals of the campaign. What are you hoping to achieve by utilizing SMS in particular? You may already have the budget secured but use the planning process to explore how you can stretch this further.
Can you partner with SMS service providers? Perhaps the most important tool in your campaign planning is the timeline. Use this to not only plot key milestones, but also points for analysis — even through the planning process itself. By solidifying what should be happening at various points in the campaign, you can take a lot of the pressure off during execution.
We’re going to touch on the importance of documentation here, too, because it is often overlooked. While sitting down as a team and discussing the tactics for your SMS campaign is important, by documenting everything, you’ll have an easier time in execution. In many ways it formalizes everything you’ve discussed, and also provides a form of guidebook that keeps everybody on the same page.
Commit everything from the marketing plan, to the calendar to physical and digital media. Make sure these are accessible to everybody on the team.
So, you’ve got a solid plan in place, and everything is documented. You’re ready to start, but this doesn’t mean that your organizational prowess should halt here. Some specific areas can use additional organizational focus.
● Your SMS Subscriber List. Chances are your SMS campaign won’t be a one-and-done affair. You’ll be using your messages to tell a story that moves consumers on to the desired actions. You may even be segmenting your demographic so that you can make the messaging you use more relevant.
In both cases, keeping
your list organized is essential. The data
on who is on your list is always subject to change — they could move
geographical locations, or even opt out of messaging. Make your list both
simple to navigate and easy to update. Then keep on top of it. Assign a member
of the team to take responsibility for this, as it’ll underpin the entire
● Your Assets. If you’ve planned correctly, then you’ve already created at least the first wave of assets for your SMS campaign. The text and the links should all be prepared and ready to be inserted into whichever service you’re using.
However, you still need to keep these stored in an organized fashion. You’re likely to want to use them more than once or reuse elements for different campaigns. Different team members — from social media managers to analysts — will also need access at different stages, and you don’t want them to go walkabout! Use a cloud storage platform and keep a tight rein on editing privileges.
Just because your campaign has been executed, that doesn’t mean to say that you can let up on keeping everything organized. There is always the potential for changes to occur. The success of your initial efforts could mean that the client business wants to extend the campaign. On the other hand, things might not have gone quite to plan, and you have to shift some focus.
These kinds of adaptations can be enhanced through the organization of insights. One of the most useful aspects of an SMS marketing campaign today is the potential for real-time metrics. You’ll gather a lot of useful data — who is clicking on what links, what phrases seem to get the most responses, the time between receiving a message and engaging with it.
Throughout the campaign and following it, you may also be receiving feedback from customers directly. All this is vital to both making agile changes during a campaign and influencing future marketing decisions. Store these metrics in spreadsheets and use these to create regular reports that utilize visual elements such as charts to make them easier to digest.
Adaptation also occurs on a company-wide basis. You may learn things from your SMS marketing campaign that could inform the direction of other campaigns you’re working on, or even the entire business itself. Good organization in the form of a debriefing process is vital here.
Bring all departments who contributed to the campaign together to discuss the metrics received, and document their experiences and challenges. This allows you to not only quantify the success of the campaign. It also provides assets for you to bring into the planning stages of new campaigns.
There are best practices for a successful SMS marketing campaign. Perhaps chief among these is good organization. From start to finish, it helps to direct the planning process, keeps the execution on track, and allows you to make agile decisions.