In our last post we looked at some of the opportunities your business could exploit by running an SMS marketing campaign through TextMagic. Today we’re going to look in more detail at how to start planning a campaign.
Understand the possibilities
First, it’s important to understand the various ways TextMagic allows you to send text messages to potential customers (we’ll talk about receiving messages in a later post in the series). Take a look at this screenshot from the TextMagic control panel, the interface you’ll see once you’ve signed up and logged into TextMagic:
The four menu items that are important to us here are “new message”, “scheduled”, “groups” and “templates”. You can use the simple “new message” system to send a text message to any mobile phone, as long as you know the number, and it’s in one of the 200+ countries to which TextMagic can send SMS messages.
The “scheduled” option allows you to control the time at which messages are sent to users or groups of users. This is useful because it allows you to send a series of regular messages to customers without being in front of your computer all the time. It also means you can schedule SMS sendings to customers outside your timezone without having to stay up all night! In addition, if you’re dealing with a large and diverse user base, sending all messages manually could be very time-consuming: scheduling allows you to automate some of the process, delivering increased ROI for time spent by yourself or your staff.
You can use scheduling alongside the “groups” option to create a powerful SMS marketing strategy. The chances are, like most businesses, your customers fall into several sub-segments of the same market. The groups function allows you divide up and store individuals’ phone numbers within the TextMagic system, so you don’t have to spend ages cutting and pasting from an Excel file every time you want to send different messages to different types of customer.
Finally, “templates” is another tool to help you save time. You can store the messages you use most often as reusable templates in your TextMagic control panel. Again, these saves you having to write a message from scratch every time you want to send one, or having to keep a separate document with the various messages you use. The templates function has a couple of other cool features, as you can see from this screenshot:
That’s right – templates can contain custom fields that access data from your groups and insert it into individual messages to add personalisation.
Some thoughts about lists
OK, so now we know a little about the potential TextMagic’s SMS tools offer us: we can send personalised text messages at scheduled times to tightly-defined audiences and audience segments.
But where do we find at audience to send our messages to? In this section we’re going to give some thought to the tricky business of developing a list: a database of customers with known mobile numbers.
The most valuable type of list for most businesses is usually one made up of previous customers. Why? Because they have an existing relationship with the business and its product. SMS is the perfect tool for encouraging past customers to become repeat customers. In addition, you may have some existing data about individual customers, allowing you to using the TextMagic groups function to subdivide them by need, interest or their past relationship with your company.
Of course, you may not have a list of previous customers (if not, start keeping one right away!). For example, you might have launched an entirely new business. In a situation like this it’s possible to buy a list from an individual or business known as a list broker. Most list brokers can put together long lists of customers with known mobile numbers who have an interest in your product or service. Crucially, many will also be able to provide specifically targeted SMS lists, so you can be reasonably sure you are sending your marketing messages to individuals who are happy to receive your messages.
A list bought from a broker is “cold”, and you will probably get a lower conversion rate than if you’re sending messages to a list of “warm” previous customers. However, the the great benefit of using a list is that it helps to grow your customer base.
One more thing: when you’re sending SMS marketing messages to prospects, be sure to comply with local laws and regulations in both your own country and your recipients’ countries. Usually this means offering recipients a simple way to stop receiving messages, but it’s worth checking on the particular rules you need to comply with before you launch your campaign.
In part 3, we’ll look at the nuts and bolts of writing and sending an SMS marketing message.