The open-rate differences between email and SMS is staggering — 20-30 percent for the former compared to almost 98 percent for the later. On top of that, approximately 90 percent of recipients open their text messages within the first three seconds of receiving it. These numbers provide serious opportunities for companies to enjoy some meaty returns on investments. The following are four key ways to take full advantage of SMS marketing.

Respect Timing, Always

Timing is the element of utmost pertinence that runs through all business mediums. Marketing is no exception; by extension, neither is SMS marketing. Brands must be mindful about the time of day, week, month, and year that they are conducting their work. Timing should serve to enhance a SMS marketing campaign’s objective, not produce obstacles for it. “The nature of the medium is such that the recipients open their messages instantly upon receiving them. But at the same time, the lack of a visual medium makes it difficult for marketers to build brand recall through this channel,” offers Entrepreneur contributor Anand Srinivasan. “Consequently, the main objective for a marketer must be to reach out to their consumers just when they are making a purchasing decision. So while a pizza chain may send out their offers during lunch hour, a salon may schedule their messages to align with how frequently a particular customer needs their service.”

Don’t Exceed the 160 Character Limit

“When you send a lengthy SMS — more than 160 characters — mobile networks typically break the text into smaller chunks of 160 characters each. Messages are restitched before they are delivered to the intended recipient. This does not happen seamlessly at all times,” offers Srinivasan. “Some networks do not break or merge messages and other networks can refuse to carry such texts. As a result, your recipient may either fail to receive these messages altogether, or messages may sometimes get delivered out of order.” In any case, when a message does not respect the 160 character limit, the central point of the promotion will not be properly conveyed to the recipient.

Promotional Materials Should Advertise Shortcode

According to Srinivasan: “No matter how good your promotional message is, SMS marketing is still a numbers game. The size of your list determines the success of your campaigns. One trick to organically grow your SMS marketing list is by promoting your shortcodes over other channels like email, fliers or through stickers inside your store.” Paying proper attention to shortcode is a pertinent step that marketers should not overlook. Additionally, promoting opt-in keywords have been shown to be effective in constructing a basis of recurring buyers.

Use a URL or Phone Number as the Call to Action

The call to action is a central component to a successful marketing campaign. However, when it comes to SMS marketing, there are no lavish input formats available to catch consumer’s eyes and direct them to the call to action button. In these cases, the only way to fully engage consumers is to inform them on how to reach you. Srinivasan says: “One of the most popular and easy ways to do this is by including a phone number or URL at the end of your message. You may make use of URL shorteners like Bitly to keep your messages down to 160 characters. While this may not be the most ideal call for action, it is still important to enable your recipient to act on their impulse, and reach out to your business.”

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