Almost everybody has a mobile phone. Since they became commonplace objects a little over twenty years ago, they’ve become integral to our day to day lives. We contact our friends through them. We arrange our calendars through them. We use them to shop for groceries, and we store all of our photographs on them. Some statistics indicate that there are now more mobile phones in the world than there are people, which is an incredible statistic to consider when we live in a world of more than seven billion human beings. While this is fantastic news for mobile phone companies, it’s also great news for anyone who works in marketing.

Think about this for a second. Each of your customers has a device that they hold in their hands and look at multiple times every day. Each of those phones has a number, and if you can obtain that number and gain consent to approach them, you can deliver your promotional material and offers directly to them. You can be almost sure they’ll read it, too. So long as you approach those customers in the right way, generating sales needn’t be any more difficult than pressing the ‘send’ button.

Despite this, far too many businesses get it wrong. We’re not just talking about sending SMS messages without consent, which continues to be a problem despite the fact that it’s been illegal in most of the world’s major territories for many years. We’re talking about poor decision-making processes that result in the money you or your company is paying to send those messages being wasted, with would-be customers becoming alienated from your company in the process.

Bad practices cost businesses both in terms of their finances and their reputation, and we’re sure you don’t want that to happen to you. Because of that, we’re happy to share these five SMS marketing mistakes for you to avoid.

Use Of Slang

Your customers are not your friends. You shouldn’t be overly familiar with them. As you may not know much about your potential customers when you approach them for the first time, you also shouldn’t assume that they’re familiar with the latest text slang or abbreviations. We appreciate that space is limited with texts, but coming up with a strong message that fits within the character limit is your job. Don’t take shortcuts. At best, it will make your company sound unprofessional. At worst, it will result in the creation of messages that many recipients won’t understand. Repeated acronyms and abbreviations typed out in block capitals will make your message look like a scam. That’s the polar opposite of the effect you’re going for.

Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to sales. If you can put the right product or service in front of the right person at the precise moment they need that product or service, you’ll become very rich. Reverse all of that and put the wrong product in front of the wrong person at the wrong time, and you’ll never make back the money you spend on marketing. Most market research suggests that the best time to send marketing messages is between 10 and 11 am, and between 2 and 3 pm. Even in knowing that, you should be careful if you have customers who live in different time zones. What your automated systems might believe is 3 pm where you are might be the dead of night where they are, and they’re never going to buy from you again if you disturb their sleep with marketing approaches.

Overloading

This is a common problem when it comes to just about every form of marketing. Because it’s so difficult to get customers through email marketing, the ‘online slots approach’ to email marketing has spread out across other forms of business promotion, including SMS messaging. What we mean by the online slots approach is that any amount of money you put into Shamans dream slot could result in a jackpot. The player never knows which spin is going to be a winner, but they do know that if they continue to put money into that online slots website for long enough, they’ll eventually get something back in return. Putting that back into marketing terms, if you send out enough emails, you’ll eventually get a bite. It might be the first email you send, or it might be the five millionth, but you’ll get there. The same isn’t true with SMS. If you bombard people with promotional material, they’ll eventually block your number. They might even report you for sending spam, which might lead to issues with your service provider.

Calls To Action

As a whole, businesses are getting better at including ‘calls to action’ on their social media adverts, but they’re not great at it when it comes to SMS messaging. Sending information to your possible customers is no use to you if you don’t invite them to do something with that information. They might read it and think it’s interesting, but if there’s no solid invitation for them to take a specific form of action, they’ll probably think no more of it. A few hours later, they’ll have forgotten they received the message at all. We all know what a good ‘call to action’ looks like. It’s a code you can use for a discount. It’s an invitation to complete a survey for a free prize. It’s a link that takes them directly to an introductory offers page. Your message is no good without it, so include space for it within your character limit.

Introducing Yourself

The very first word of your text message should be the name of your company. You might not think you need to do this if the name of your business is included in place of a number in the ‘sender’ line, but a lot of people open texts as soon as they receive them without reading the sender line. If all they see is a lot of ‘salesy’ text without a clear indication of where the information is coming from, they probably won’t even finish reading the message. They’ll delete it, and you’ll have wasted your efforts. Don’t take chances with this. Make it clear who’s getting in touch right at the beginning of your message, and you should find that the people you’re trying to get in contact with are more receptive to your approaches.

While this isn’t a ‘sales tip,’ there’s one more piece of advice we want to leave you with before you go. Do not, in any circumstances, exclude the option for customers to opt-out of receiving messages for you. We know that it takes up space, and it doesn’t benefit you, so it’s tempting to do away with it, but you could find yourself breaking the law by omitting it. It’s dull, but it’s important. Make sure the option’s there – and make sure you’re following the rest of our advice while you’re at it!