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How to build your first SMS campaign

January 13, 2021
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SMS campaigns put your message directly on the home screen of your customer’s phone. It can be used to spur action, drive sales, or automatically answer logistics questions. And with studies showing that consumers respond to text messages nearly an hour and a half faster than email messages, it’s easy to see why more businesses are communicating with their customers via text messaging.

Creating a mobile list

The first thing you’ll need for your SMS campaign is a list of mobile phone numbers of customers who agree to receive notifications from you, so they don’t feel that you’re spamming their phone. There are a number of ways to generate a list, including:

  • Ask customers for their phone number when they make a purchase
  • Run a contest asking customers to text you for a chance to win
  • Email customers with an offer available to anyone who signs up for mobile notifications

Businesses with CRM systems should be able to generate a list that includes the phone number and first and last names, but if you don’t you want to create a spreadsheet with those columns. Ideally, you’ll also want to include location information, interests, and other information that is relevant to your product or services.

This information allows you to personalize your messages to your recipients and customize the content they receive. For example, if you are an international retailer, having recipient location information enables you to create messages that are specific to a location.

Finding an SMS service provider

Once you have your list ready, it’s time to find an SMS service provider. While it is always tempting to use a low-cost provider, you want to make sure that the provider you choose can support your business needs.

For example, if you are sending out direct sales messages, you’ll probably want a service provider that includes A/B testing in their services. Other businesses may prefer a service provider that provides messaging analytics so you can track your messages and calculate your cost per conversion. Still others might prefer a provider with HLR lookup services, which checks phone lists to make sure the numbers are valid.

Make a list of the services that are important to your business needs as you shop for a provider.

Writing your first SMS campaign

Once you have your phone list in hand and service provider selected, you’re ready to send out your first SMS campaign.

If you’re using a web application, you’ll have to upload your phone list into the system. Once it’s ready, you can write your message, add links, and send it off.

Congratulations. You’ve just started your first SMS messaging campaign.