There are generally three ingredients to building a successful mobile database for a small business. We call them the three c’s: cadence, content and commitment. In the next few blog posts, we’ll examine each as it relates to building a successful mobile campaign. First up:
SMS messaging is a permission based communications channel, enabling the end user to opt out of any set of communications when it becomes bothersome or too frequent. The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) has taken great pains to create safeguards and best practices to avoid many of the pitfalls that have beset email – namely spamming and poorly executed marketing campaigns in those early years. While that provides credibility to the medium and a general perception of ‘safety’ in subscribing to these services, it also creates numerous opportunities for consumers to terminate or alter their communications with partner businesses via SMS.
As such, a small business needs to set an expectation for the consumer early on of how often they will be communicated with, and then vigilantly abide by that expectation. Typical messages of this type are sent directly after initial subscription, and include a description of service, frequency, information about how to end service and obtain help. The MMA suggests language along the lines of:
Welcome to IKEA Mobile! U may receive up to 3 messages a month. Standard rates may apply. Txt HELP for help, and STOP to unsubscribe.
Each message should contact a service description (“Welcome to IKEA Mobile!”), frequency of messaging (“U may receive up to 3 messages a month.”), additional carrier costs (“Standard rates may apply”), how to obtain help and how to unsubscribe (“Txt HELP for help, and STOP to unsubscribe.”).
While some communications lend themselves to a higher frequency (such as weather alerts, sports scores, etc), most other communications fall in line with the rule of 1’s: no less than one message per month, and no more than one message a week. The minimum (no less than one message a month) reminds the consumer about the product and service, keeping it top of mind. Any longer duration between messages would reduce the brand’s impact and negatively affect unsubscribe rates. Additionally, messaging at a faster pace (no more than one message per week) risks becoming overkill, flooding a users inbox with marginally beneficial information. Each business will find their own cadence, and may choose to vary that cadence from month to month as relevant information ebbs and flows.
My favorite subscription alert, a Country Music radio station, provides me a message every 7-10 days. It is unpredictable, as the message arrives at varying times throughout the day, and on varying days. Since I’m not a country music fan (but as a fan of the industry, really like how they are using it) – it comes just often enough for me to appreciate it, but not often enough for it to be annoying.
A business should take some time in thinking about an upper bound to the number of messages that will be sent. Just because an upper bound has been set at some level (say 4) doesn’t mean that every month 4 messages need to be sent; it just provides the end user with an idea of the maximum number of messages.