Ten Rules to SMS Marketing

If you’re reading this old post you should probably also read my more recent (and better) thoughts on mobile communications.

Marketing with text messages is a different take on communicating with customers. It’s not simply a short email-type thing. Smart marketers are using SMS to build very close connections with the market, and even though the space is in its infancy there are some tried and true qualities.

As a quick introduction to text message marketing here are 10 simple guidelines, all short enough to be a text message (160 characters).

  1. Every text message will be opened and read by the recipient.
  2. Work smarter not harder. 3 or 4 messages a month is more than enough to engage your customers.
  3. You can collect consumer information like email and zipcode through text. Cheaper, faster and more accurate than paper signups at live events.
  4. SMS is a totaly no-spam medium. Sorry, cant buy lists. Good news is that every1 ur messaging wants to hear from you. Bad news is that you cant b boring or lazy.
  5. Your BIG DemoGraphics ttly get it! U bettr learn it SOON.
  6. You can reach people when they are actually making purchase decisions (without their TV or computers). How? Text the word FISH and THE NAME OF A FISH to 30644.
  7. Integrate with your existing CRM.
  8. Secure financial transsactions with 1 text message. Amount donated/purchased is added to the user’s mobile phone bill.
  9. It takes one push of a button to turn and SMS into a phone call, and everything is trackable.
  10. Imagine a list that reads every message, wants to hear from you and takes action on what you say. Conversions range from 15-80%.
This entry was posted in Marketing, Text Messaging and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ten Rules to SMS Marketing

  1. Tim Rueb says:

    I like your post, but I disagree with your #4 premise. Unwanted communications in any form is spam. Just because you can’t buy a list and send out blind SMS, doesn’t mean that the medium can’t be abused or trust be violated. Someone asking to be removed and still gets another SMS, that is still spam.

    And, I think you can buy lists. Most phone companies will sell phone numbers. If you have the right tool you can determine with is a cell number, which carrier it is, and the which email address to use to send SMS to that phone. ie. 1234567890@txt.att.net if this cell number were on the att network.

  2. mikesabat says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Regarding the spam issue – yes any system can be abused. The reason that SMS is/will be different is because of the carriers and aggregators owning this pipe. With email spam anyone can set up a server and start sending out spam. With SMS the carriers and aggregators can and will shut you down if you are spamming. That would be very costly and you probably would not be able to get another shortcode.

    Our SMS application requires opt ins and is way over-compliant in terms of opting people out. I have seen many more people want to get back on the list after accidentally opting out (I can’t just manually add them) than people complaining they can’t opt out (never seen this).

    Sure you could parse out cell numbers if you somehow had a list of emails in that format, but as long as the opt-out system is in place building that list would do no good.

    Finally, I would be shocked if it’s possible to buy a mobile number list in the US. I’ve heard some carriers in Africa and maybe Europe will sell lists, but never in the US. Do you know otherwise?

    Good to hear from you.


    Michael Sabat

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