8 Best Practices for Creating an Effective SMS Automation

Look around you: everyone has a phone in their hands. 

No wonder SMS has grown to become one of the most powerful marketing tools.

The open rate of SMS is 98% compared to just 20% for emails, and it takes over 90 minutes to open and reply to an email, whereas only 90 seconds to reply to an SMS. 

Digitization just gave us the tools to fast track the whole process of sending SMS at bulk. And even made it a lot cheaper than what it was a decade ago. All this thanks to SMS automation.

SMS automation gives you a platform to send bulk messages automatically at a predefined schedule.

All you have to do is write the text, upload the list of recipients, and set the date in the SMS scheduler. And voila, the message is sent. 

SMS automation is fast, secure and does not require much human intervention. Let’s take a look at eight key best practices you can keep in mind for SMS automation.

Get The User’s Consent First

Consent is a must. The same applies before starting an SMS automation strategy. 

It is imperative that you are compliant and adhering to local laws and CTIA recommendations that are there to protect the consumers from unwanted solicitation. 

There are many ways to go about it: You can ask them to opt for SMS updates during checkout or ask them to send a keyword (eg. Yes) to give their consent.

Source: Zipwhip

Create a Unique Shortcode

Shortcodes are 5-6 digit codes that are used for commercial use and mass text communication. Use an easy-to-remember and catchy code so that your customer base can easily remember or save it for future purposes.

Source: LeadsRain

Be Short and Precise

SMS has a character limit of 160 characters. 
Using abbreviated words can help you say a lot in a short text message. You can even use links, CTA, automated forms to make the SMS more direct and precise.

Personalize Your Content

SMS is very personal to all of us. That is why banks still prefer sending us account updates over SMS than any other communication channel. Also, it gives you the liberty to send personalized messages about new updates or offers to your customers
Even sending out abandoned cart reminders can be easily automated with the help of SMS automation. Or ask them to read your latest blog post. And if you want, you can even send these updates in the regional languages.

Be Mindful of the Messaging Frequency

If you can send a message doesn’t mean you bombard your customer’s inbox with n-number of messages. Text messages are best suited for time-sensitive and important messages.

Weekly, ensure that your brand is not sending more than 2-3 messages and in a month, initially keep a cap at 4-5 messages. You can probably increase the frequency depending on its success rate. Utilize other channels like email, phone for all other communications.

Provide Opt-out or Unsubscribe Option

As per the complaint laws and CTIA, you must provide your customers with an opt-out option. Providing an opt-out builds a sense of trust in your customers, as it gives the command to the customers

This way they receive the updates because they want to. And these customers are the ones that would convert from being a potential lead to a loyal customer. Provide a user-friendly and clear CTA or SMS Keyword for users to opt-out.

Source: Tatango

Analyze Your Campaigns

Without actually measuring the statistics, how can you know if your SMS campaign is a success.

Check the open rates, bounce rates, and even utilize UTM parameters on the links that you add in your texts. So that you can keep track of how many people visit your website because of the campaign. 

SMS campaigns are a little more expensive than emails, so you have to ensure that you are utilizing your money in the right place. You can use email campaigns for customer retention and many other use cases.

AB test your campaigns

AB tests help you compare two versions of the same marketing asset or messaging. By using AB testing for your texts, you can measure CTR (Click through rate), opt-out rate, and most importantly, conversion rate. 

For example, you can roll out two offers at the same time to check on which offer your customer responds better. Or you can send collateral to the customer with two different subject lines to check which subject line your customers respond better to.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for inbound or else outbound messaging, SMS automation can play a crucial role in customer engagement strategies. Not only does it save you time but it also helps you personalize the messaging, making it more relevant to your customers.