SMS Best Practice
Compared with email, SMS marketing is a very direct and intimate form of contact with your customers. As a channel, SMS offers both special opportunities and special challenges.
Here are some tips for how you can make the most of your SMS marketing.
Make it easy for contacts to hear more from you via SMS. For example, create a prominent banner in your stores or at an event (Text JOIN to 12345 to get our mobile updates and insider coupons!"). Or add an additional field to your email subscription form.
SMS messages must offer clear value to customers. We suggest you use SMS for limited-time-only offers - like a 24-hour flash sale. This also makes your SMS program more exclusive.
Rely on SMS for special sales, important updates, or a new product launch. SMS is also a good channel for important account information and other urgent bulletins. Use email newsletters for regular promotions.
SMS is especially useful whenever the speed of information delivery is critical. Use SMS for important transactional messages, such as product delivery notifications.
Create a two-way dialogue with contacts. Set up inbound SMS to allow your contacts to make bookings, participate in a poll or lottery, or communicate with your company.
Set a conservative upper limit to the number of times per week that contacts receive SMS messages from you. Studies show that two SMS messages per week are a safe upper limit.
Ensure legal compliance
SMS is a highly regulated channel - much more so than email. Most countries have very strict laws that control the use of SMS for marketing purposes. Each country has its own rules for SMS marketing. Be sure to research country limitations and requirements before you start to send. You may need to adapt your mobile program for different countries.
Use dedicated SMS groups
We recommend that you create separate groups for SMS sendouts.
Dedicated SMS groups offer the following advantages:
Manage SMS subscriptions and unsubscribes separately from email. This ensures better compliance with country-specific regulations for SMS marketing.
Limit the number of SMS messages you send per week.
Having dedicated SMS groups makes it easier to create automations that apply to the SMS channel only. This prevents you from accidentally creating automations that react to contact activity in multiple channels.
Use multiple SMS groups
The number of groups you need for SMS messaging depends on your sendout countries and SMS programs.
If you plan to send SMS messages internationally, you will probably have multiple SMS short codes or long numbers. For each mobile code, you must set up a Mapp Engage group. Each Mapp Engage group corresponds to one mobile short code or long number. It is not possible to use multiple mobile codes in one Mapp Engage group.
For more information, see SMS Code Types.
Multiple SMS Programs in One Country
If you run different SMS marketing programs in the same country, you will probably have multiple Mapp Engage groups. Example: a company has one SMS group for regular updates. The company has a second SMS group for contacts who have registered to attend an event at one of its stores. It is not possible to use the same mobile code or keyword (inbound mobile ID) in multiple Mapp Engage groups.
Use Separate Groups for Subscribe or Unsubscribe
In some cases it makes sense to use a separate group to manage SMS subscribes or unsubscribes. This allows you to set up special use cases.
For more information, see the following scenarios:
Use Double Opt-In
We recommend that you set up a double opt-in process for SMS. In some countries, this is a legal requirement.
An opt-in for email does not allow you to send SMS messages to your contacts. You must obtain a separate opt-in for SMS.
Generally, contacts opt in to your SMS program when they send a text to your inbound mobile ID. Or they may enter their mobile number in a web form.
Example Double Opt-In Process
For instructions, see Subscribe with Inbound SMS.
- A contact gives you her mobile number on a web form or via inbound SMS message. You must clearly inform the new subscriber about the details of the SMS program.
- Mapp Engage creates a new contact profile for the SMS subscriber. If Mapp Engage recognizes that the contact is already in the system (for example, with an email address), Mapp Engage adds the data to the same profile.
- Mapp Engage sends an SMS to the contact with a subscription invitation. This is the system message SysMsgWelcomeToGroupPasswd . The invitation includes a link to a website and a unique code.
- The contact clicks the link and enters the code on the website to confirm.
It is not sufficient for the contact to click the link in the SMS. She must also enter the code on the website. This is because mobile service providers do not track whether mobile recipients click a link in an SMS.
- You can send an optional confirmation SMS.
Tell your contacts what to expect from your SMS program, especially in terms of message frequency. This helps to set expectations. We recommend that you create a landing page or micropage where you explain your terms and conditions in detail.
Make sure that your welcome message includes clear information about how to unsubscribe. Some countries require that you provide a link to a website that provides the mobile terms and conditions.
Example Confirmation SMS
Welcome to TopFashion Alerts! You'll hear from us soon! Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel. Msg&data rates may apply. For T&C: www.topfashion.com/SMS
- Send Regular Subscription Reminders. Some mobile carriers may require you to send periodic updates to SMS contacts with information about the SMS program.
Use a time-based automation to send regular reminders. Save the reminder as a prepared message in the SMS group. You set the frequency you need.
Example Reminder SMS
Reminder. You are subscribed to TopFashion Alerts. Up to 2 msg/week. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel. Msg&data rates may apply. For T&C: www.topfashion.com/SMS
- Make It Easy to Unsubscribe. Make sure that it's easy for customers to unsubscribe at any time. This is a legal requirement in almost every country.
For instructions, see:
Test your unsubscribe process on a regular basis. We recommend the following words for opt-out: END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE and QUIT. Make sure to include local language translations of these words in your opt-out program. Some countries (such as Brazil) even require you to include local dialects. The English opt-out keywords must work in every country.
If a contact sends an inbound SMS to a shared short code with the word STOP, SAP blacklists the mobile number. It is not possible to remove a contact from the SAP blacklist from within the Mapp Engage system. This applies only to shared short codes and not to dedicated short codes or long numbers.
- When a contact unsubscribes from the SMS group, send a mobile unsubscribe confirmation. This lets the contact know that you will not continue to send unwanted SMS messages.