SMS Guides: Best Practices for Outbound Text campaigns in 2019

Brian Keep, Ytel |  

SMS is the king of communication for B2C. Once your business aligns with this reality, the sky is the limit. To help make the transition to fully adapting SMS a smooth process, we've put together this guide that includes best practices, compliance recommendations, industry tips and tricks, and much more.

SMS is the king of communication for B2C. Once your business aligns with this reality, the sky is the limit. To help make the transition to SMS a smooth process, we've put together a guide that includes best practices, compliance recommendations, industry tips and tricks, and much more.

Sending SMS (text message) marketing campaigns can be a massively successful way for businesses to communicate with their audience. The proof is in the metrics - SMS boasts an open rate of nearly 98%, with 90% of texts being opened in the first three minutes of receiving.

But we don't need to tell you this. If you're here, you're at least somewhat aware of the power of text from a B2C landscape. 

More than likely, you've experienced it yourself. Perhaps Walgreens sent you a quick text when your prescription was filled, or your favorite restaurant texted you when your table was ready on Friday night. Maybe you engaged in a 1:1 conversation with a customer service rep via text, and you were blown away by how efficient and easy it was. Whatever the experience, SMS has filled a huge consumer need on a global scale. What business wouldn't want a piece of that pie? 

For starters - there's a lot to know about SMS campaigns, the rules and regulations that govern them, the marketing tactics behind each message... the list goes on and on. That's why we're here!

This comprehensive guide to outbound SMS campaigns will cover everything you need to know to successfully craft, launch, and repeat. Make sure you're subscribed to our blog so you'll get notifications when this post is updated with more info, stats, and tips.  

Let's get this party started! 


1. DO get recipients permission to send them messages via an opt-in message or form

If you do one thing before launching an SMS campaign, let it be this. We've talked a lot about compliance and its importance to protect not only consumers, but businesses as well.

There are rules and guidelines put in place by various government agencies to protect the recipients of SMS marketing campaigns. The MMA, CTIA, and TCPA exist to ensure businesses are compliant with all their marketing communications. Read all about opt-in requirements here.

Opt-out instructions are just as important as opt-in, so be sure to include that content as well. 

2. DON'T spam your recipients with incessant, irrelevant messages

Don't abuse the fact that you have a list of subscribers who signed up for your campaigns by sending texts more often than you said you would. Keep your texts short, sweet and relevant, and maintain the expectations you originally set; otherwise, you risk mass unsubscribes and unhappy prospects and customers.

3. DO make your messages as personal as possible

It may seem difficult to personalize a message you're sending it to hundreds or thousands of people. However, any valuable SMS provider has personalization resources within their platform for customer use.  For example, we suggest adding a first name personalization token, which will auto-populate each recipient's first name (based on the contact information provided). If anything, the personal touch of their first name can be powerful on its own.

There are also list segmentation options that include location, age, gender, industry, among many more. If you segment by any of these, you're reaching out in a way that says "We took the time to understand your interests," and that can speak volumes about the campaign AND your business.  

4. DON'T blast messages out at odd hours

Take into account that your subscriber list may include people from all over the country or globe. Time zones are important when sending marketing messages because they can really become a nuisance if you send them in the middle of the night, during dinner time, or other odd hours. This is where segmentation can be a great value - segment by time zone so you never have to worry about who you're accidentally waking up at 2am. 

5. DON'T send a message without a clear Call to Action (CTA) 

If you're new around here, a CTA is an actionable next step for users to take. For example, a CTA at the end of a blog post may be "Click here for more information on sending SMS campaigns" that includes a URL to a relevant blog post. Sending a text to a large list of people without a clear next step is fool's play! You're wasting their time and your own by failing to tell them what to do next. This step is CRUCIAL to the success of your campaign!

Potential CTAs for your SMS campaign include:

- Reply with 'CALL ME' to set up a time to chat with a salesperson
- Want more information on the sale? Respond with 'YES' and we'll send you the full catalog. 
- Looking for alerts when your favorite shoes come back in stock? Text the item # to 555-SHOES.

6. DO engage in 1:1 conversations for an improved customer experience 

If you're primarily sending outbound marketing messages, there's a huge market for your business to pivot to a more conversational strategy. What does this mean, exactly? Similar to when you're texting a friend or colleague, the back-and-forth conversation style is much more personal and allows your customers and prospects to engage with your business in a more genuine way. 

Conversational texting can easily be hosted through an SMS platform with your sales team on the other end of the "phone" (computer). The experience is identical to texting back and forth, and the best part? Your agents can have multiple conversations going on at once - increased productivity, happier customers, more genuine interactions... what more could your business want? 

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About The Author

Brian Keep, Ytel

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As the Chief Operating Officer, Brian works consistently with one finger on the pulse and an eye in the sky to ensure that everything technical at Ytel is running smoothly on a daily basis.

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