Short message service, or SMS, is a great communication tool for consumers and businesses alike. It gives organisations an open link to their audience, being able to deliver messages for marketing or transactional purposes, directly to the device consumers spend most of their time on: their smartphone. As SMS’s popularity continues to increase, scams have become commonplace. Consumers are losing trust in SMS messages being sent to them from businesses due to losing millions every year. As of August 2022, Australian consumers lost almost $100 million to SMS scams. Truecaller’s latest Insights U.S. Spam & Scam Report found that $39.5 billion USD was lost to phone scams in the U.S, with one out of three Americans (33%) reporting falling victim to phone scams.
With these statistics in mind, we’ve put together the top 5 SMS best practices that businesses, just like yours, can follow when sending SMS messages to your audience. By adhering to these best practices, you can ensure that your SMS messages resonate trust with your audience. Establishing trust and building positive relationships will always increase the effectiveness of any type of SMS campaign you wish to send.
1. Identify yourself
The first SMS best practice you need to be aware of is identifying yourself to your audience. Not only do consumers need to know the business behind the message, but identifying yourself is generally required under SMS marketing laws. A custom alphanumeric Sender ID can be a great way to quickly identify yourself in someone’s inbox. Or you can buy a dedicated virtual SMS number and send from the same number each time. This way customers get to know your number and recognise when you have sent them an SMS. These work great for brands with a reputation, or for reaching out to existing customers. By personalising your SMS messages, you build brand awareness and trust with your audience.
2. Provide immediate value
Who is your target audience? What are you sending the SMS message for? What action are you trying to get the consumer to complete? As SMS is a short message service and the standard SMS message being a maximum of 160 characters, it’s important for you to answer these questions in a quick and simple manner. Providing immediate value can be in the form of a CTA link, reply request or even an MMS image. In saying this, if you’re providing a CTA link, ensure that it is short (remember, you only have 160 characters!) and clearly represents the domain to which your audience is going to. We recommended using Bitly’s URL shortener to reduce unnecessary characters.
3. Add an unsubscribe option
Consumers need to feel that their privacy and personal space are being respected. Opt-out links show this by providing your audience with the ability to opt-out of any further SMS messages if they desire. Adding an unsubscribe option to an SMS marketing message is also a requirement under the Spam Act 2003 in Australia, and the CAN-SPAM Act protects consumers from commercial text messages from companies with which they don’t already have a relationship in the United States.
4. Send your message at the right time
Like all communication, timing is key. To ensure that your SMS messages feel credible to the consumer, be sure to schedule them to be sent at times that make sense for your business messaging and/or marketing campaigns. If you’re sending an SMS for two-factor authentication, it needs to be sent immediately after it has been requested by the consumer. However, if you’re sending an SMS to ask for feedback through a customer satisfaction survey, you may want to schedule it to be sent out after your audience attends their appointment or has made a purchase.
5. Be consistent
Ensure that you're displaying your mobile number or sender ID consistently across all platforms. If a consumer needs to second-guess themselves when opening an SMS message received from your business, then you’ve most likely already lost their trust.
If there’s a known scam that has been circulating in your industry or if the scammer has been impersonating your business specifically, it’s important to get ahead of it quickly. A simple social media post or blog article notifying your audience of the scam and letting them know that you’re aware of its circulation can help to avoid any loss of trust or reputation. Great examples of these can be seen on the Australia Post Website as well as the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) website.
Easily implement SMS best practices with Notifyre today
Are you ready to kick-start your SMS marketing campaign? Maybe you’re looking for an easy way to automate SMS appointment reminders or deliver critical information via SMS alerts or notifications to your audience. No matter what you’re looking at implementing SMS for, Notifyre has your best practices covered. Get started by signing up to Notifyre and learn more about our SMS personalisation tools.