Overcoming the Top 8 Challenges of SMS Marketing: Expert Strategies

5 min read

There’s no question about it: text message marketing is a great tool to boost your conversion counts. In our recent survey of 896 customers, 73.6% held a positive sentiment toward texting. In fact, texting was by far their most-preferred communication channel when interacting with businesses.

But sadly, most businesses end up ruining the experience with an aggressive, impersonal approach. They blast contacts indiscriminately with offers, product announcements, and all manner of sales and promotions. Worse, the text is often monotonous and rarely engaging–never mind useful.

If that describes your own marketing, it means frustrated customers ignore your messages or mark them as spam. You’ve lost a potential customer, while their team has lost time and focus by sending those messages in the first place. It's pure waste.

Don’t let this be your story. Before you dive into adopting an automated SMS marketing strategy, it’s critical to identify the challenges and steer clear of them. This blog will walk you through the top challenges and trouble spots of text message marketing, and illustrate how an AI texting platform can get you past them.

Always remember that most customers aren’t against text messages for increased awareness: they just don’t want you to overdo it.

Let’s dig in.

Top 8 challenges of text message marketing

Unsolicited SMS, with no subscriber opt-in

No customer likes receiving unexpected promotional texts. Before you message customers, make sure you have their permission.

You'll give your clients more control over their experience by including explicit opt-in and opt-out options in your texts, allowing them to decide which marketing communications they want, whether that means offers or heads-up alerts about upcoming events.

Taking a hard-sell approach

Straightforward promotional messages often fail to deliver value. Aggressive copy loaded with links and sales jargon could also land you a penalty from mobile providers. Worse: prospects are more likely to mark you as spam and drop you entirely.

So consider creating SMS drip campaigns to move customers down your funnel rather than hammering them with generic offers. Give customers the time they need to comprehend your value before demanding a purchase.

Not personalizing your message

Each customer’s purchase intent is unique. Sending the same offer to all your contacts means losing the interest of most. Customers like messages that are relevant to their interests.

So tailor offers based on your customer data and make messages more compelling. Create personalized messages for each recipient with any relevant data at your disposal by referring to prior purchases, hobbies, or interactions.

Using long URLs

Think about your own experience: Lengthy links look spammy. Is your link as transparent and compact as possible? Extra parameters stretch the link, waste characters, and rob space that you should reserve for critical information. Can’t fit everything you need? Consider using a URL shortener tool to reduce the link length or to customize your link with a crucial keyword.

Disregarding your contacts’ schedule

Timing is crucial in text messaging. No customer will check their phone when relaxing just after a long day. Nor will they look into messages while rushing to work. A good rule of thumb: your text messaging platform should not contact customers before 9:00 AM or after 9:00 PM.

Sending long, spammy messages

It's called the Short Messaging System: your message actually needs to be short and sweet. Don’t send a message that breaks and distorts the intent of your text.

SMS is informal; messages should be readable and graspable even if the user decides to read them from the lock screen. So make sure that no text is longer than 160 characters.

Speaking of spammy messages, do you know there are spam filter triggers set on users’ phones? They include factors like ALL-CAPS text, the inclusion of email addresses, and messages having only URLs. Make sure your text includes none of these elements.

Leaving out an appealing CTA

This is one of the primary mistakes that most businesses make with their automated SMS marketing. Messages either don’t have any call to action or include too many. With no CTA, you lose out on possible purchases, conversions, and chances to accomplish your goals. And nobody will know what to do after reading the text.

Link your text to promotions, discounts, blogs, and business location directions–but to something. People seek a clear understanding of their options. So make them clear and easy, with phrases like "download here," "shop now," or "respond with this."

Overloading their inbox

Too many text messages is a deal breaker. Just because the open rate of SMS is close to 95%, businesses keep sending SMS past the point of tolerance – that is, until a customer finally puts them in the block or spam list.

Be clear about and upfront about message frequency. Assure contacts that you won’t bombard them with texts and send more more than a few on-point messages in a single week.

Robotic/One-way messages + Too many messages = Ruined experience and Abandonment

Of all the eight challenges listed above, the biggest mistake you can make is to send non-conversational long messages and deepen that error by sending them multiple times.

When you adopt automated SMS marketing, your text messaging platform may send messages with no regard for customer sentiment. For recipients, that means a glut of meaningless messages and wasted inbox capacity.

Sending these types of messages is called transactional text message marketing. What are the hallmarks of transactional texts?

  • They lack any sense of human touch
  • They sound irrelevant and unclear
  • They rely on lazy prompts like "Reply Yes," or "Press 1"
  • They don’t embrace or reflect customers’ preferences

The result: the customer doesn't get the information they need, develops a negative view of your business, and may abandon it for good.

In fact, according to a PwC report, 59% of consumers believe that companies lack human feel in their text messages. Time to revamp your automated SMS marketing strategy?

The solution: Conversational, Two-Way Text Messaging

Just because business text messages typically center on a naive transactional model doesn’t mean you have to leave SMS automation altogether. You just have to make sure that you instead enable two-way, conversational automated SMS.

Our survey revealed that almost 65% of 896 customers preferred a two-way conversation that feels more human. Your messages should:

  • Answer questions directly and exactly
  • Exhibit a friendly, helpful personality
  • Ask open-ended questions instead of giving options, which can lead to choice paralysis and confusion

Lastly, your automated SMS should offer a seamless, quicker, and personalized experience. If you value customer loyalty, it should help you foster a real connection with your subscribers.

AI SMS Marketing is the new norm

Forbes research says 86% of people prefer connecting with humans over text with bots since it provides a conversational and human feel to the chat. Conventional chatbots are only good at automating messages, but they are no match for humans: their simple, transactional models fail to escalate to customer service reps on time, leading to frustration.

This is where AI SMS marketing comes into play. AI-led text messaging platforms go beyond answering questions with pre-programmed, monotonous answers by offering an interactive, one-on-one experience. That interactivity increases conversions and SMS subscriptions by:

  • Prioritizing customer preferences and satisfaction
  • Making both businesses and customers comfortable in sharing text messages
  • Avoiding the negative experiences of transactional SMS

How will Meera AI help you score big on text message marketing?

Today’s customers want to connect with companies on their terms, and through their preferred channels—including conversational SMS. To help you improve your contacts’ experience through text, Meera brings you AI texting technology.

With Meera, you can:

  • Automate human-like conversations at scale and engage via empathetic conversation
  • Adapt to ever-evolving customer behavior
  • Offer flexible and dynamic messaging that answers questions and acts on problems

The result: Your customers or prospects feel comfortable communicating via SMS and feel in control of the conversation.

Does this intrigue you? Want to learn more about how you can boost your contacts and sales with AI-driven SMS automation? Reach out to us today for a demo.