4 Common SMS Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

SMS Marketing Resources

Short Message Service marketing - SMS - carries none of the production infrastructure of many other advertising forms. It's quick to write, and if done well, feels informal. Because of its simplicity, though, some marketers don't treat their SMS campaigns with enough respect.  Churning messages out, for example, isn't effective. Here are some common  mistakes to avoid, so you can get the full benefits of your SMS campaign. 


1. Missing the Call to Action in your Text
While a billboard or a TV spot - even one with a call to action - is passive, your text message invites interaction. Too many SMS marketing lists fail to capitalize on this, by not including a call to action or by having one that's easy to miss. You have to ask your marketing list to buy or do something, or else your SMS campaign is just a friendly chat.

  • Check your messages with someone on staff, before sending them. If that person can't identify the call to action, it needs to be reworked. 
  • Call for responses in every SMS broadcast, even if it's just to confirm who's most involved.
  • Create a second, "elite" broadcast list, for die-hard fans who respond to every one of your messages. 
  • Integrate other media by including an SMS message as part of the advertising. 

2. Poor Timing
Some SMS marketers send out occasional texts, and miss the chance to build a real dialogue with their broadcast list. Others go to the opposite extreme, sending multiple daily texts with no real value - which alienates their subscribers and loses traction. In both cases, the marketer is guilty of poor timing. 

  • Set a schedule of one message every one to three days - just enough to stay top-of-mind, but not enough to be annoying.
  • Never send a message because it's "on schedule." It's better to skip a day than to send out something meaningless. 
  • Include "opt-out" codes in all your messages. Some consumers are more forgiving of over-frequent contact if they see you've given them an out. 

3. Generic Content
SMS, done best, feels like a one-on-one conversation between you and every one of your subscribers. But don't take advantage of the enormous benefits of this modern marketing modality. 

  • Either insert subscriber names or don't include a greeting - never address the recipient as "customer" or "sir/ma'am."
  • Use your brand and product names whenever possible. Don't give a coupon for a "burger." Give one for the "Big Kahuna Burger Deal."
  • Incorporate local details, such as an after-game special celebrating your high school ball team by name. 

4. Not Setting Up for Future Contact
This takes one of two forms. A poorly constructed SMS message does nothing to capture customer information - leaving you with no way to send them your next brilliant message. The other form is failing to let those customers know you plan to be back in touch - which can leave them surprised and angry when you hit them with the next broadcast. 

  • Respond to an initial contact with a second call to action, collecting details of the most engaged potential subscribers. 
  • Pay attention to the sub scriber list - especially how many subscribers "bite" on new calls to action. 
  • Include a short note about future promotions, and your opt-out code, in all your messages.