Short Message Service (SMS) marketing has been around for a quite some time, yet most businesses still fail to integrate it into their marketing strategy correctly. Without getting into too much detail (not yet at least), here are a few reasons why every marketer should be considering this underused channel to maximize their customer interactions:
- Smartphone penetration in the US is nearing 80%
- Nearly 100% of all devices on the market enable SMS messaging
- SMS message open rates are approximately 99%
- 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received
- All the above points combined offer a very high ROI on a very inexpensive channel
Let me take this opportunity to dive into the world of SMS marketing to see how it works and why more organizations need to start using it.
What Marketers Need to Know
The standard SMS campaign consists of two main components: a short code –simply, a phone number – and a keyword that will trigger a campaign promoted via a call-to-action communication.
The call-to-action is the most critical component of any SMS campaign. It is important to present the message in a way that customers can recognize and respond to quickly. Best practices suggest that the selected keyword should be the focal point of the call-to-action and everything else involved should revolve around that.
Typically, the audience segments that do interact with your SMS campaigns are more likely to be your more dedicated customers. Granted, to involve your audience in SMS campaigns, like email, requires some opt-in functionality. Usually, you can handle this feature in one of two ways:
- Having the customer text the short code with the keyword, subscribing them to your campaign;
- Provide a client with a web form where they can subscribe and register their number to take part in your campaign(s).
The SMS channel is very dependent on other marketing mediums, as direct action is required by the customer to take part in any campaign. When it comes time to promote your marketing campaign, make sure to leverage all available media outlets to maximize exposure and capture engagement.
Metrics to Measure
Like other marketing campaigns, the success of your campaign will be determined by your metrics. It is important to know and understand which metrics should be measured when determining the success of a campaign. Here are what I think are the most important metrics to follow:
- Subscriber Growth
- Customer Churn Rate: the rate at which customers opt out
- Cross-Channel Engagement: measuring which types of media and media locations are performing best (important to tweak these based on engagement rates.)
- Redemption Rate: the rate at which customer claim their offers
- Cost Per Redeeming Subscriber
SMPP vs. HTTP
When dealing with SMS campaigns, you normally have two protocols to choose from: Short Message Peer to Peer (SMPP) and The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). These are the most dominant options for developers looking for high-quality performance SMS campaigns. Each one carries with it a set of strengths and weaknesses.
- High volume, supporting millions of messages per day;
- Very fast and reliable when sending large amounts (tens of thousands of messages per day);
- Very high server uptime;
- However, no efficient way to process inbound messages.
- Much simpler to use. Direct communication with the provider, no aggregator needed;
- Much faster when dealing with lower volumes (under 10,000 per day) and the efficiency is growing;
- More features with a sophisticated API interface;
- Complex processing of inbound messages from the client can implement quickly.
Both protocols are adequate, just make sure to choose the one that suits your needs and your technical limitations.
What is Twilio?
Twilio is a San Francisco-based company that provides a globally available cloud API that developers can interact with to build intelligent and sophisticated communications systems. As your campaign usage scales up or down, Twilio automatically scales with you. On top of that, Twilio has some other significant advantages to consider:
- Inexpensive on a per message basis, costing as little as $0.01 per message;
- A powerful API with integration between your marketing campaign system and their platform;
- Great dashboard to help monitor performance and costs;
- REST HTTP API capable, allowing for real-time two-way communication.
The Munvo SMS Connector
Adobe Campaign comes with its own default SMS functionality. Unfortunately, this out-of-the-box functionality only supports the SMPP protocol and is not compatible with most services, such as Twilio. Our team at Munvo saw the potential of connecting the two tools together and developed a solution titled SMS Connector to handle customer mapping. This solution can:
- Send messages in batch or individually
- Pull message status data from Twilio
- Receive process and reply to incoming messages from customers
- Handle opt-ins and opt-outs
So, when considering how SMS marketing plays into your overall strategy, think about how you are going to use it and why. This is the most intimate channel marketers have at their disposal, but that comes with knowing your customer. Focus on your call-to-action and make sure you have the right resources to get those messages out there.