BFCM and the holiday season will be here before you know it, and Listrak has curated tips, advice, and to-dos to make the most out of your digital marketing messaging. For text messages specifically, it’s critical to send campaigns that cut through the clutter during such a busy time of year and in a channel that is becoming very popular! To do this, you’ll need to capture your subscribers’ attention and nurture a conversion. Read on for some SMS best practice reminders as you execute your final holiday prep!

Encourage Engagement with Contact Cards

More and more brands are adopting Text Message Marketing as part of their programs. So, your contacts are likely receiving many campaigns daily across multiple programs. To stand out from the competition, encourage your subscribers to save your sender information as a contact on their device so your conversations are more recognizable. This can be done right after someone signs up via an automated Contact Card message in your Welcome Series. When they’ve joined your list, send them an MMS with a .vcf file of all your contact information and branding. Then, all they need to do is click that card, and your information is pre-populated into a contact record they can easily save. From there, all your messages will come to their device with your logo and brand name as the contact image and name.

This strategy helps build channel and brand awareness from the start of the customer journey and visually helps your campaigns stand out. Without saving your information as a contact, subscribers only see your short code or Toll-Free Number whenever you send a text, which limits your brand exposure. 

Brand Links with Your Personal Domain

What’s great about SMS, and why campaigns earn so much engagement, is they allow for near-immediate action and click from a short, sweet message. But you don’t want to waste so much of that available space on a long URL. Listrak clients can use our automated link shortener to maximize the 160 unique characters available in one standard text message. We know it’s critical to include all the tagging and other parameters important to your business, so the link shortener reduces the overall character count of a URL to just 22 characters, even if you’re starting with something much longer. While many third-party link shorteners are available, be sure to use a native option from which you’re sending so you don’t lose tracking and analytics.

Additionally, consider branding your shortened links with a domain alias. This ensures that condensed URLs still feature your brand, and messages appear more secure. With smishing and other scams on the rise via mobile, branded links look far more reliable, and your subscribers know engaging with your messaging is safe.

Get Subscribers to Your Site Faster by Omitting Link Previews

With different devices and operating systems available for end users, controlling how your messaging appears to everyone can be tricky. Sometimes, what’s known as a Link Preview can be shown, which creates more steps for your contacts to get back to your site. While Link Previews can have the advantage of sharing a visual from the page the message URL is pointing (if that page is properly formatted), you should always focus on getting your contacts back to your website as quickly and efficiently as possible through your campaigns. Needing just one click is always better than two, and buying decisions must be made onsite, not in the inbox!

So, to prevent Link Previews from showing as part of your text strategies, we recommend a few different options:

  1. Place punctuation around the link in your message, like: **
  2. Place the link in the middle of your message body copy, ending with the coupon code for promotional campaigns.
  3. Place the link in the middle of your message body copy, ending with compliance language (HELP for help, STOP to stop) for non-promotional campaigns.
  4. Place the link in the middle of your message body copy, ending with an emoji or Call To Action reminder.
  5. Include multiple links within your messages when applicable.

All these options will prevent Link Previews from appearing alongside your messages and provide your contacts a direct way to click through to your website. This is especially important for your campaigns on critical shopping days like BFCM, Super Saturday, and Green Monday.

Stay Top of Mind with a Consistent Schedule

And speaking of holiday shopping days, don’t wait to send until those days appear on the calendar! Strive to build up a consistent broadcast send schedule from the initial launch of your Text Message Marketing program so contacts are prepared to hear from you and look forward to receiving your campaigns. At a minimum, you should strive to send two broadcast messages to your entire list of SMS subscribers each week, with the opportunity to send more in between to select audiences.

Don’t Go into Quiet Hours Territory!

As you finalize your messaging calendar, it’s also important to remember the SMS compliance rules around Quiet Hours, or when messages can’t be sent. The federal TCPA rule for sending Text Message Marketing dictates that campaigns must be sent between 8 AM and 9 PM per the recipient’s local time zone. With other states starting to write their own legislation, Listrak recommends targeting the window of 10 AM to 6 PM for your campaigns and toggling our Time Zone Optimization setting. This allows you to set the send time for all contacts based on the area code in their phone number, and the window is well within the federal allowed send time.

 No matter what vertical your brand falls within, BFCM and the holiday season present many opportunities to connect with your contacts and nurture conversions. Text Message Marketing provides a highly efficient way of delivering your most critical campaigns, so take the time now to prep your calendar and messaging. Encourage second-level engagement with your subscribers through Contact Cards, keep everything clean and branded to you, send streamlined messages to make it easy to get back to your site, and always keep compliance top of mind. Check out the Listrak Holiday Resource Center for more tips, examples, and strategic guides to delight your customers and achieve your end-of-year revenue goals!

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