6 Reasons Your SMS Strategy Is Failing

SMS has been in tech news a lot lately. Companies are being built as “invisible apps” (a phrase that I heard from Ryan Hoover), which basically means using SMS for all communication and transactions, replacing any need to visit a website or download an app. Obviously, we’re very excited about this trend at Sonar.

However, even with these shining examples of how to use SMS properly to increase engagement, conversions, and customer satisfaction, there are still plenty of examples of companies that are doing things wrong.

Here are 6 ways your company’s SMS strategy is failing:giphy

Not Informing Customers

You’re an awesome company because you’re using SMS to drive engagement, but you’re failing because your customers don’t actually know that you allow them to text message you! Your customers can’t just guess what your SMS-enabled phone number is, you have to tell them!

Don’t hide your phone number deep on a contact page either, put it front and center on your homepage and make sure you specifically call out “you can text us here!” You can even take it a step further and use a new-ish HTML tag to link your phone number so that it opens up the customer’s native SMS app with your phone number pre-populated when they click a link. That code looks like:

<a href=”sms://+14155551234″>Send us an SMS</a> tweet

 giphy (2)Inconsistent Phone Numbers

Once a customer has sent your business a text message or you have sent you customer a message, they should be able to save your phone number in their phone for all future communication. This helps identify your brand and makes it extremely easy for your customer to send you future text messages.

Stop failing by constantly sending messages to a customer from different numbers, it gets very confusing for the customer because they aren’t sure which phone number to use. Additionally, your communication with that customer will be split between many threads in their SMS app. That’s a quick way to get them annoyed with you.

giphy (3)Responding Like It’s An Email

SMS is not email (duh), so stop responding to text messages like you respond to emails. At Sonar, we actually think the standard way companies respond to email is wrong, but that’s a topic for another post.

For SMS, your responses need to be nice and short and to the point. You don’t need much (if any) formatting like you would with an email. SMS is light weight and fast and should be treated as such. When you strip out the formatting, the long responses, the salutations and more from email, what you’re left with the meat of the response…what customers are actually wanting from the response. This stripped down version of a response is exactly how you should be doing SMS responses. Stop writing long, boring, fluff-filled SMS messages like you would with email.

Also, make it personal. You don’t need to start messages with “Dear Mr. Berman” or anything like that, you can simply say “Hey Matt” with the rest of the message.

giphy (4)Responding Slowly

As mentioned in the previous point, SMS is a much quicker, much more light weight communication channel than email. Because of that, customers expect responses more quickly than email. When I tell this to companies, some get scared off thinking “do we have the resources do respond to customer inquiries that quickly?” The answer is – YES, you do!

Since you now know how to send quick, meaty responses to your customers, you should easily be able to significantly increase your response times.

Where email response times are generally accepted at 24-48 hours, we believe SMS response times need to be less than a day. The quicker you can respond, the higher chance you’ll convert a user into a customer (or whatever else your goals may be).

giphy (5)Spamming Users

One huge failure we see companies doing is spamming their users. They start with the good intention of wanting to use SMS to improve their business, but think the best way to start is to load up all their customer’s phone numbers (without the customer’s consent) into an SMS marketing tool and blast out a marketing message.

This will not only turn your users off but it is also illegal. If your customers are not expecting a text message from you, don’t text message them. SMS is still a very personal channel and the customer has to give your business explicit permission to text them. This is also why SMS is so powerful. If your customers are expecting text messages from your business – the read, open, and conversion rates of these messages are orders of magnitude higher than email.

So, stop spamming your users. Let them initiate the conversation with your business or be explicit when telling them when and what you’ll be sending them.

giphy (6)You Don’t Have an SMS Strategy

This is the worst failure of all. If you’re running a business and aren’t giving your customers the option to use SMS to reach you, you’re missing out on a powerful communication channel between your business and your customers.

Try different things. Whether you use SMS for status updates, customer service, sales, transactions, or customer surveys, there’s something for all types of companies and customers.

Sonar can help with your SMS needs for your business.

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