Now that you have some ideas to spark your SMS program, here’s a quick four-step road map to help you develop and implement a successful SMS program into your existing marketing strategy:
- Determine Your Strategy. Think about all of the communication channels you can use to correspond with other businesses and then determine when it’s most appropriate to use SMS. Ask yourself if a particular message you’d like to send to another business requires urgency or portability. If it doesn’t, it’s best to send the message through a different, less personal channel like e-mail or direct mail.
- Choose a Provider. Knowing your intended SMS uses and estimated messaging volume will make vendor selection far more effective. You’ll also need to ensure the vendor you chose can meet your implementation schedule, particularly when it comes to leasing a short code — a five- or six-digit number customers use to access mobile content. You can either lease a shared or private short code. Shared is ideal for short-term or infrequent campaigns to get up and running quickly. They cost less, but you have less control because you’re sharing the same number with many other companies. A private short code can take four to five months to provision and configure and it costs you more, but you’re the only company using that number. For large companies with a variety of brands and complex campaigns, the private short code is best.
- Get Permission. Companies sending outbound text messages are required to obtain a double opt-in from their subscribers, according to industry standards from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). The first opt-in can be done on the Web and the second half is confirming on the user’s mobile phone that they intended to subscribe to your messages.
- Engage Those That Engage. Now that you are a savvy SMS marketer, be sure not to lose sight of why you started this effort — engaging with other businesses. Be sure to continuously evolve your tactics, calls to action and promotion based on their feedback.
Amanda Berkey is a product marketing manager at ExactTarget focusing on emerging digital communications that complement e-mail, including SMS/text messaging, permission-based voice messaging and advanced e-mail features including Live Images, Live Ads and Live Content. Contact Berkey at firstname.lastname@example.org.