If you’ve ever sat in front of your computer waiting for the well of inspiration to rise as you type out a text message to your subscriber list, this guide is for you. Planning and writing content for SMS does not have to be complicated, but it should be deliberate. In this guide, we break down the steps for planning your SMS content and how to review your results for future campaigns.
Before You Write Your Message
> Set Your Goals
The first step of SMS planning and creating content for the year is determining your key performance indicators (KPI) or benchmark goals. Set goals for each campaign and individual messages. The information gained from tracking your messages at each level will give you insight into customer behaviors, preferences, and if your message is working. SMS KPI’s include conversion rates, keyword growth, opt-ins, opt-outs, and click-through rates (CTR). The SBT KPI dashboard demonstrates how effectively you achieve your goals with multiple levels to evaluate your success in reaching targets. High-level KPI’s focus on overall performance of the enterprise, while low-level KPI’s focus on processes.
> Determine Message Type
Each type of message requires a different level of consent, and you must have that squared away before you start messaging your list. Account-related messages such as payment reminders, confirmations, statements, and payment links require prior express consent. Marketing-related messages such as promotions, special offers, and business updates require prior express written consent. For more information about SMS compliance, check our guide on how to compliantly add texting to your business tools or talk with one of our compliance experts.
> Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
Utilize the power of text to increase engagement and conversions on your other channels. CTR’s for text messages are significantly higher (19%) when compared to email marketing (4%) and Facebook (1%) (source). While text messaging is a solution that works well solo, it’s also a powerful tool for a comprehensive marketing strategy that relies on multiple channels.
+ Send text messages to highlight critical social media posts that get buried in feeds.
+ Promote keywords on your social feeds, emails, and traditional marketing to grow your lists.
+ Time messages across platforms to complement each other. Each message should be different but lead your client to act.
Sending Your Message
Now it’s time to focus on writing your message—every word matters when you only have 160 characters to get your information across. Keep the language simple and clear. While it is tempting to shorten words or use acronyms, doing so can cause the message to become confusing and unreadable. Don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar! Not sure what to write? The team at Solutions By Text has developed a library of message templates that can save you time or help you craft your next message (https://solutionsbytext.com/lets-talk/).
> Make It Personal
The non-invasive nature and real-time response capabilities of SMS makes brands more approachable than other forms of communication. Using customer data to personalize messages can lead to prolonged engagement.
> Emojis by Text™
When it makes sense, use Emojis by Text™ to help convey your message, set the tone, and create an environment of approachability. Keep in mind that messages with an emoji are sent as Unicode messages, limiting them to 70 characters instead of the standard 160 characters.
To get the most out of your messaging, include a call to action like a branded SmartURL™ that affirms who you are and directs customers on what to do next. Looking back at your goals will help you determine which CTA fits best.
There is no magic time that guarantees the most success for your messaging campaign, but there are a few queues that you can pick up on that will determine the best time for scheduling your message. Reviewing analytics from your previous text messages and other channels can help determine when your clients interact most with your brand. Don’t forget to consider customer service business hours to field and address incoming messages when using Two-Way Texting.
Promotional marketing messages have more flexibility and could benefit from multiple approaches. Time-sensitive messages like appointment reminders and billing reminders should be sent at least 24-48 hours in advance, giving enough time for the recipients to act. Send messages up to a week in advance to let your customers know of any upcoming promotions, changes in business hours, or new inventory and features. Day of messages are great for follow-ups, reminders, and to generate excitement.
When in doubt, stick to business hours for message delivery to help avoid disturbances and give your messaging team balance. Developing a messaging timetable is equally as important as writing your message.
After You Hit Send
> Response Time
If your message features Two-Way Texting capabilities, now is the time to focus on responding to those messages. 74% of customers react to business texts within an hour, making it vital that the response team responds promptly. Learn more about our Two-Way Texting best practices for customer service.
> Collect Feedback & Metrics
Before you send your next message, take time to review the metrics from this correspondence. Using a SmartURL™ allows you to examine how people interacted with your link. Check your data for any changes in opt-outs, opt-ins, delivery rates, and errors. Each of these factors can help you make adjustments for your next campaign.
In conclusion, creating an SMS content calendar upfront is a lot of work but establishing a framework will allow campaigns and messages to flow easier. Instead of throwing messages out into the universe, you will have a well-thought plan with measurable KPIs, successful CTAs, and an informed, loyal customer base.