Spam folders used to be unique to email marketing, but for a while now SMSs have started landing in them too. That’s because they’re now a standard feature of Android smart phones since the arrival of Rich Communication Services (RCS). The drive behind this is the need to protect the public from harmful and unsolicited text messages.
Still, honest businesses also see their messages marked as spam, sometimes simply because they resemble or sound like it. So, what can legitimate marketers do to avoid SMS spam folders? Let’s find out.
Improving Legitimate Text Messages
In the golden days of text message marketing, you could rely on this channel’s ability to get your message across no matter what. By nature, SMS is extremely direct and personal, and that’s its charm, because it gets into customer inboxes. But this is no longer a given.
So, what should you do to keep your short messages out of spam folders? As you’ve probably guessed, making them visibly less spammy should do the trick. There are many ways to do this, and combining these approaches is perhaps the best way forward.
1. First Do a Proper Introduction
If you’re sending marketing SMSs, putting your business’s name and corporate identity front and centre is best. Show your audience that you’re being open and honest about your intentions.
Spammers get this wrong and alienate customers. They ask too much of them — like personal and account details. On the other hand, responsible marketers would offer something valuable, like essential or useful info, in return for the details they want — and be satisfied with the response.
2. Keep It Short, Clear, and Concise
Text messaging gives you 160 characters to work with, so it’s important to keep your comms crystal clear and brief. For instance, if you go over 160 characters, your message gets cut off — a common sign of spam messages. Rather stick to the limit and look professional.
That said, short doesn’t always equal comprehensible. Depending on your brand positioning, so-called “text speak” can be either good or bad for your messaging. But in general, it’s better to avoid it in SMS marketing.
Then there are emojis. These fun and expressive images can add some spice to your short messages, but spammy texts are loaded with them. Emojis are like exclamation marks — they’re usually only effective if you use them with care and not too often.
3. The Power of Personalisation
It’s a general rule that the better you personalise your messages, the better the engagement you get from your audience. This is because personalised messages are typically more relevant to their readers, where spam messages tend to look more generic.
Of the factors we’ve looked at so far, this is probably one of the most important ones because personalisation is a common feature of legitimate messaging.
4. Use SMS the Right Way
When you open your mobile inbox, you’ll likely find a few transactional messages like:
- Password resets
- Notifications of sales
- Weather updates
What do these short messages have in common? They’re relevant, helpful, and often time sensitive. If this small experiment is anything to go by, you can avoid the spam folder by helping your audience achieve their goals or adding value when communicating with them.
5. Balance is Key to Success
Message frequency can make a business’ comms look legitimate or spammy, and marketers who continuously blast their audiences with texts generally suffer for it.
You can also expect trouble when sending business messages at times that are inconvenient for your customers. This will depend on your audience, but most folks don’t want to hear about a product or service when reading a story to their kid or when visiting an elderly relative after a hard day’s work.
6. Compliance is a Big Deal
Ever since POPIA entered the scene, South African marketers have had to make their operations more compliant. This same development can be seen with TCPA in the US.
No matter where you live though, the consequences of non-compliance will get more and more serious.
In the US, abusive messaging can mean fines on a message-by-message basis. This means an operator that sends out thousands of spammy messages daily could be liable for every text sent!
You could also be fined for not giving your contacts a clear, accessible way to opt out of your messaging — or if contacts somehow get penalised when trying to deregister from your lists.
7. Use an SMS Platform
SMS marketing is becoming more advanced. It would be a good idea to get a software platform that gives you features like database management, personalisation, and detailed analytics to make the most of this channel.
Let’s take reporting for example. Knowing how customers interact with your messaging can help you craft SMSs that engage better — and it can support you in making quick, strategic content decisions.
To end off, we’ve covered a handful of practical techniques for keeping your SMSs out of Android’s spam folder. Though these approaches don’t guarantee 100% success, a combination of them is sure to make your messages appear less spammy and make them more likely to get read.
Want More Info on Effective SMS Marketing?
If you rely on text messages to communicate with customers, then download our detailed guide on effective SMS marketing. It explains why this channel is still important to businesses and includes best practices for creating short messages that engage. Get the Guide
A version of this article was originally published on the Everlytic blog.