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The marketing SMS : we’ve all seen it done well, but it can also be done poorly, and this results in irritated customers who want nothing more to do with your business.

Using the power of SMS to help a company isn’t for everyone, but texts can be an effective way of sending out a message, garnering feedback, or simply making your customers’ lives that much easier. It’s also a fairly cheap method of reaching large amounts of people.

SMS contests are one great way of letting the public interact with your business, and they’ll be far more likely to respond with the added motivation of a prize at the end of it all.

However, for an SMS contest to be executed properly, there are a few deciding factors in need of careful consideration.

The Convenience of Texts

Compared to the intrusive nature of sales calls, texting is a convenient and safe method of communicating with customers.

Research has shown that 98% of texts are opened, perhaps simply out of curiosity. And out of these, 83% are opened in the next three minutes. We live in a world in which everyone is intimately connected to their phone, to the point where it becomes almost impossible for a person to ‘miss’ a text.

Therefore it can almost be said that you have a captive audience, provided said audience is on a specific opt-in list. When the receiver is offered the chance to win a prize simply by way of their phone, it’s hard to refuse, especially when you take steps to make things as easy for them as possible.

The Game Is On

The actual wording of the text is crucial. Remember, you only have around 160 characters to work with, so detailed explanations and long-winded spiels are going to either get cut off or result in the customer giving up after the first line.

The recipient has to get the gist in a short and to-the-point message, which clearly details exactly what they have to do, and also the incentive that may await. As an aside, it should be noted that ‘text speak’ (‘r u goin 2nite?’) met its end several years ago with the advent of predictive text, so don’t employ it unless you want to sound completely outdated.

The incentive doesn’t necessarily have to be a traditional prize, available only for a select few. One way of offering a benefit to all customers is by providing coupons and vouchers that offer codes to be used in-store or online.

If a customer is loyal enough to opt into receiving texts, you might decide that they deserve a voucher to be used in their next purchase. All you need to send is a code with a congratulatory message telling them exactly what to do. Or, if customer interaction is a factor you’d like to encourage, you can promote your audience sending in pictures, suggesting slogans or anything else that engages their creativity.

Remember, this isn’t meant to be an arduous task to be completed for a reward. You want to keep the competition enjoyable for the customer at every stage.

The Downsides

The potential problems with using SMS campaigns are mostly limited to the potential for abusing the connection. Only send texts to customers who have consented receive them, as well as giving them the option to stop having them sent.

Barrages of texts do nothing to improve your public image, so messages should be infrequent so that customers remain engaged and not irritated. Ironically, slews of messages reminding them that you exist are simply going to make them want to forget you completely.

The Power of a Simple Message

Once the text has been sent out, inciting loyal customers everywhere to engage with your product and win big at the same time, you’re going to want to follow up. Send around a text after the competition is over, maybe detailing the winners, reiterating your message, and thanking everyone for participating.

Once you have your message, your audience, and the competition ready to go, it’s time to begin your successful SMS campaign. The idea is to have scores of participants engaging and learning about your business—and having a bit of fun at the same time.