BulkSMS Offers Businesses the Top 5 Tips to SMS Success

With mobile phone penetration now around 85% worldwide, the strategic use of SMS offers significant benefits for companies and organisations that can get it right. Dr Pieter Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.com, a provider of two-way SMS communications services, believes that SMS helps to build relationships and create customer loyalty by offering timely and worthwhile information.

The well-targeted SMS can fulfil a wide range of functions, from reminding patients of imminent doctor’s appointments, to alerting a company’s suppliers of the need for stock replenishment, through to fulfilling a valuable function in the logistics chain.

To reap the benefits, organisations intending to use, or already using, SMS should pay attention to five top tips designed to ensure that they derive maximum benefit and minimal negative reactions when engaging with clients, customers or consumers.

  1. Clean your database, regularly.

    This is a process that may appear obvious but which is often overlooked. A company database has to be maintained for relevance, and segmented in line with commercial goals or communication needs. Unwanted communications invariably results in complaints. Positive planning is the best way to drive positive SMS messaging outcomes.

  2. Allow for opt-ins and opt-outs.

    Target message recipients must be given the choice. Do they want to be kept ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the database? Ensure that the opt-in process is simple and straightforward. But if they want out - make it is as easy as possible for them to decline the service.

  3. Synchronise.

    Web-based messaging systems allow pre-scheduling of messages and also creates an SMS trail. In the logistics field this can be a critical function. If SMS is to be incorporated as a communication option then it needs to be integrated with other relevant management and information systems. Ensure that any response mechanisms built into the SMS are catered for in the main system. So, if a delivery notification is sent and requires the recipient to acknowledge receipt of the delivery, ensure that the acknowledgement is captured.

  4. Test your campaign.

    Make sure that the SMS campaign is set up correctly; ascertain the best times to send a message, and the best response mechanisms to incorporate. When it is ready to go, don’t send it to everyone; rather send it to a small sample and fine tune if the sample results indicate the need to do so.

  5. Be friendly.

    SMS is personal. It’s intimate. But it’s only effective if it comes across in the right way. Craft your message and build empathy with your audience and SMS will then serve you well in getting your message across.

Streicher adds: “The SMS is an adaptable communication tool; cost-effective and swift to deploy. For marketers, it can enhance customer relationships, build loyalty and drive traffic and responses at a cost per message which is attractive to any size of budget. For logistics operators, it’s a robust medium for ensuring the timely undertaking of tasks, deliveries, orders and the many elements in the value chain which are time-dependent and require human intervention to confirm their completion or to trigger the next stage. For service providers of any description - but particularly within the patient-surgery relationship - it’s an easy way to ensure that appointments are kept and no time wasted in handling appointment schedules. For all users it also offers its own audit trail - an automated filing system keeping a precise record of what message was sent to who, when, and what the response was.”