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SMS campaigns continue to gain ground despite the increasing number of smartphones and applications. As people become more used to the technology, marketing strategies become more and more elaborate and allow for far greater customer interaction; but SMS continues to deliver results. The mobile marketing scene is full of such opportunities, QR codes being one such example.

However, this also means that the industry is rife with people creating sub-standard SMS campaigns. The mistakes are often minuscule, but can have a huge impact on the overall effort and could potentially be a colossal waste of time and money in the long run. Here are a few tips and check boxes to keep in mind:

Keep things Simple

First off, you have to remember that while mobile technology is taking off like never before, it’s still a new experience for many. Your elaborate SMS marketing campaign may be remembered by customers, but relatively few are going to respond if it is too complicated. No matter how great your ideas may be, trim them down to make things as simple as possible.

This will generally lead to the most popular option for SMS campaigns, which is getting the message recipient to text a word back for the chance to enter a draw or simply win a prize for participating. Before you hit ‘send’, you have to give thought to the actual incentive. Remember that your legitimate operations will essentially be competing with mobile scams for attention, so you want your offer to be as genuine and enticing as possible. Sometimes simply texting back to enter a competition isn’t enough; you have to be prepared to hand out something people will really want, term think of it as a short term investment for long term gain. These can include vouchers, special deals, or simply a decent prize.

Choose a Keyword

As for the actual word itself, a number of mistakes have been made in the past by well-meaning companies. Of course, the accompanying message is key too; so make sure it’s clear, short and gives people a genuine reason to want to participate. This can be tough to achieve in just a few characters, but taking the time to craft a perfect message certainly beats forcing your customers to scroll through several screens of text. It should include a call-to-action so that people know exactly what they need to do.

If your campaign uses a keyword, define it clearly, and make sure it stands out without punctuation, using capitals is a good way to do this. For example, if your message read simply text back with the word ‘win’, there may be confusion over whether the punctuation around the word ‘win’ is included. Entries may be lost or simply go unrecognized by the system, so make the keyword stand out.

Optimising Your Website

The third phase is what happens after the message is sent. Yes, you want people to participate in the campaign, and you’ve designed your message and keyword so that they couldn’t refuse. However, keep in mind the mobile platform; often customers will want to find out more information right there and then on their phones. A common mistake is leaving people with only the sparse message for information, so include a link to your company website that gives them all the information and insights they’ll ever need. Optimizing your site for mobile devices is also essential if you haven’t done so already.

Learning from the Past

Mistakes made by SMS campaigners might seem obvious in hindsight, but they all boil down to not getting inside the mind of the recipient. The message should be simple in order to appeal to all customers, clear in what it requires people to do, easy to respond to, and ready to offer more information if needed; everything you’d want in a promotional SMS. With past mistakes in mind, you should be ready to move on and plan your own SMS campaign – provided you have subscribers who’ve opted in, of course.