SMS Marketing and Challenges Faced by the Businesses
SMS marketing is one of the important channels to market your product and service. Especially in Pakistan where the mainstream advertising is not in the reach of small to medium size businesses due to its cost. SMS marketing is the best option for advertising for all types of businesses.
SMS marketing, not only cost effective but is also a direct means of communication. In most cases, the businesses can make it personal by using the personalise/customise messages option. Despite a huge number of advantages including less debated Eco-Friendly and green way of advertising compared to the other means of advertising. Small and medium-size business face lots of challenges with SMS marketing and businesses need to consider multiple factors to encounter these challenges. Some of the challenges are described below.
Reply Back – hum missing
Currently, in Pakistan, the main tool to do SMS marketing is mask SMS and this does not have a reply back facility.
Reply back is equally important as the market is getting mature and businesses are growing, as well as clients, are getting aware of shortcode messages and wanted a reply back facility.
We at SMS 4 Connect also provide short code SMS services as well.
Promotional Block SMS
Some operators have categorised their users according to the profile and applied the promotional block SMS function to protect high profile customers. To avoid such blockage the clients may have to ask the end users to subscribe for the promotional SMS.
For the organisations such as banks, schools etc the operators have either requested to do a separate request mentioning that they are in transactional business or client may need to mark the SMS as transactional SMS. The operators where they have given the functionality to mark the SMS with transactional SMS, later found that the SMS was marketing may result in a block of that mask permanently.
Length of Message
In SMS marketing one of the real challenge faced by all clients is the recommended limit of SMS length is which is 160 characters and when it is not in English it even reduced to half. The only way to solve this issue is to design the SMS carefully and considering using known abbreviations and short urls.
Timing and Delivery
Another challenge market is facing the correct timing of SMS. One of the operators have implemented a time restriction policy i.e. the SMS will only be delivered from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. In some cases, late delivery of SMS is observed especially where there is a huge queue of, SMS and operators are struggling with the nationwide traffic. On national occasions, the late delivery is very obvious due to traffic congestion at the operator level. It is always recommended that a time margin should be considered between SMS sent and delivery time.
Currently one of the biggest challenges is to have a correct and relevant contact list. In the market, people are just using random numbers to broadcast the SMS. SMS 4 Connect recommend that the brands/clients should start compiling their own contact list and must take a client consent either electronically or written to ensure the legal side of this matter is also covered.
There are no fast and hard rules, that how many people will open your SMS and how many of them will responses in return of your campaign or will shop at the end. There are lots of statistic and numbers around which include a number of mobile subscribers, smartphone users and how many people see the SMS within the first 1 or 2 minutes etc. In reality, in Pakistan, it is very hard to track how many of the users open the SMS and what percentage was a targeted segment. To overcome this challenge often people add web link or Facebook link in the message and click or traffic helps to determine the return of the SMS campaign.
Despite the challenges and limitations of the SMS marketing tool, it is still most popular and effective way of marketing. To achive best results, businesses should have focus on the message, continuity of compaign and correct data of targeted audience. A continues compaign not only create brand awareness to potential customers but also remind existing and new customers about your brand which ultimatlery increase customers visits and more revenue.