The underlying foundation of any effective SMS marketing strategy is good software, but with so many texting platforms out there, how do you know what to look for?
Most SMS marketing software tools cover the basics for setting up, sending, and managing text campaigns. Others boast a collection of bells and whistles over and beyond the basics that can feel completely overwhelming.
Fortunately, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to make SMS marketing effective. You just need the right approach.
SMS marketing that makes sense
If you operate a small local business or a multi-location one, or you run a digital agency that supports local businesses, and you want the benefits of SMS marketing without the overwhelm, it’s most helpful to look at the SMS marketing function as an extension of reputation management.
Here’s what we mean:
The customers who sign up for texts from your business already appreciate you. How do you know who those customers are? You can find out by monitoring and managing your online reputation — i.e., collecting customer reviews and other types of feedback.
When you’re able to identify who your avid and loyal fans are, you can then grow your SMS subscriber base. SMS marketing becomes the next logical step in engaging your happy customers, improving the customer experience, and attracting new customers.
Focusing on how reputation management and SMS marketing work together can help you narrow down your choices of software and worry less about ending up with functionality you don’t really need.
With that in mind, there are certain SMS features and capabilities that are especially useful today and can meet your specific business, customer, and regulatory needs.
Whether you’re in the market to adopt your first SMS platform or need to switch from what you’re currently using, here’s a rundown of the must-haves when evaluating SMS marketing software.
1. Ease of use & smart functionality
First and foremost, SMS marketing software needs to be easy to use and include relevant features that accommodate how businesses operate today. A smart, user-friendly platform provides:
- Quick onboarding so you can get up and running on your own and start building your SMS campaigns right away.
- Clear instructions for how to create and send a text message — no complicated or lengthy user manual required.
- Automation that defines easy opt-in user flows and helps you automatically create, test, and schedule messages at the right time — all with just a few clicks.
- Customizability & flexibility for creating and changing any message to suit any audience and being able to do so on the fly.
- Link shortener so you can include a link as a call to action (CTA) without going over the 160-character limit.
- Click tracker to determine when links are clicked and the click-through rate so you can track message performance..
- Artificial intelligence (AI) assistance in crafting your text messages when you need to save time and effort.
- MMS or multi-media messages and emojis that can boost open and engagement rates.
- Two-way messaging that allows your subscribers to respond to your texts so you can have a back-and-forth interaction.
- Bulk capabilities to reach a large number of subscribers at once with promotional campaigns or reach prospects with opt-in campaigns to boost your numbers.
- Campaign measurement with analytics and reporting so you know how your campaigns performed and what your ROI is.
- Scalability so that as your business and customer base grows, your SMS marketing software can easily grow with it.
2. Customer data & list building capabilities
SMS marketing works best when you can rely on your current customer data and reputation management system to build targeted campaigns. A good one-stop platform should:
- Integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool so you can create segmented lists of customers for personalized, highly relevant communications that increase engagement.
- Incorporate customer feedback data such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, product or service reviews, and other customer insights to inform your SMS campaign strategy.
- Capture customer phone numbers and SMS opt-ins when a customer is asked to leave a review.
- Allow for list uploads when customer data is gathered in-store or through other means.
- Provide contact status information to identify customers who have opted in to SMS or not.
Last but not least, SMS marketing software needs to help you stay legally compliant. A platform designed with compliance in mind helps you:
- Meet the standards of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), CAN-SPAM Act, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which protect the rights of consumers and generally ensure that:
- 1) consumers only receive texts from businesses for whom they have explicitly given consent,
- 2) consumers have the right to opt out or unsubscribe from these texts at any time, and
- 3) any consumer data collection — such as asking for contact info like phone numbers — is done so lawfully and transparently.
- Automatically get double opt-in for text subscribers.
- Provide opt-out options in every message for every text subscriber — automatically updating the contact status when they unsubscribe.
SMS Compliance Guide
GatherUp: Effective SMS marketing software for your business
GatherUp’s comprehensive reputation management platform includes SMS marketing capabilities so you can integrate your text strategies with your reputation management ones. From a single platform, you can:
- Monitor and gather customer feedback
- Use the feedback along with other customer data to develop strategic SMS campaigns
- Send targeted, personalized messages to individuals or customer segments
- Track campaign performance
- Uncover valuable insights that help you improve the customer experience and create even more effective SMS campaigns
- Maintain SMS compliance with opt-in confirmations and opt-out options
To learn more about GatherUp’s SMS marketing capabilities and how they can support your business, schedule a demo.