Mobile marketing is frequently an afterthought in company’s business strategies, even though a recent report found that 2/3rds of customers will use a mobile device when shopping online. In order to reap success in your SMS marketing, you need to make it an integral part of your marketing strategy. Studies also show that text messages are one of the best performing marketing channels. The open rate is almost unheard of at 98% and the click-through rate is at 36%.

One of the reasons retailers aren’t cashing in on SMS marketing is the fear that they will scare away customers with annoying messages. But, a successful SMS marketing campaign will always offer a customer something they truly want: value.

Always get permission

First, and foremost, always get permission to send your customer messages. The worst thing you can do is tick off a potential customer with unwanted and unwarranted SMS messages. Your customers should always opt-in to receive messages and if they don’t and you send the messages anyway, their wrath could be something that could derail your marketing efforts. You know that if someone has opted in, they are more prone to open the message, will look at your messages more positively and they might also share that information with others. Of course, Canada’s anti-spam legislation also requires that you get permission before you send your SMS message.

Look at the customer’s point of view

Because what you place on the web doesn’t always translate on a mobile device, marketers need to look at the customer’s unique point of view when crafting their messages for mobile. Mobeen Khan, Executive Director of Mobility Solutions Marketing for AT&T said in an interview with Forbes that the “difference of context can be exploited and those that do it well harness the real power of mobile”. Because users are getting the info via text and then clicking over to your mobile site, it is absolutely crucial that your site is mobile-friendly

Measure your progress

Rather than sending out texts and short bursts blindly, marketers need to discuss and define the goals of their SMS marketing campaign. Views and impressions aren’t always the most important data to collect, says Khan. Instead, focus on the specifics of the demographics you are targeting with your campaign. Another reason retailers are scared of SMS, especially smaller businesses, is because they aren’t aware of the tools available to them. These tools can reach out over several platforms, give real-time analytics and make unsubscribing easy.

Create value

In order to get a customer to agree to SMS marketing on their device, there has to be an incentive. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of marketing dollars on advertising, offer mobile-only coupons that entice mobile users to sign up to your list. As well, contests and giveaways are wildly popular with SMS users. Your customers are more likely to opt-in when they feel they are getting something for even just the the time spent reading your messages.

While in-store, retailers should be optimizing on the fact that customers want real-time incentives to get these messages. Offering coupons or other deals through SMS is a great way to keep a customer engaged and wanting to receive more information. Khan says that a potential opportunity for SMS marketing success is allowing customers to ‘check-in’ at a store to receive special offers.

High-value content will ensure your messages are opened and that your users are actually excited about receiving them. Also, just because your message is a text, this doesn’t give marketers free reign to skimp on well-crafted content. All of the regular marketing rules also apply to SMS, including a strong call to action.

Be consistent

There is a trick to the timing of messages: too many messages and people will unsubscribe, too few and you’ll be forgotten. As with all of your marketing strategies, setting a time schedule for sending messages is very important. What’s great about SMS is that you’ve got a real-time reach, since most mobile users always have their phones on them, night and day.

SMS marketing can be a powerful tool to use for your business. As long as you are following these five tips, you’ll be led down the path to success.

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