Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How to tell if people respond to your SMS message?

Traditionally email has been very good at tracking how many people viewed your email, and clicked on the link to your website. This is called "tracking clickthroughs". It can give you some interesting statistics on your campaigns too.

Say if you sent 1000 emails and 100 people actually clicked through to your website and did something, that's a 10% response rate...that may be good or bad, depending on your expectations.

So how can you do this on SMS given that it's a text message with no links?

You really cannot tell how many people "looked" at your SMS, as that would be a bit invasive. However, I'm going to give you a few ideas of how you can track responses:

If you purely want to send an informational text message, you can typically track responses by REPLIES you get back, for example "yes" or "please book me in"...or "STOP".

Of course all REPLIES can be viewed in your account at anytime (and we encourage you to always look), or you have the option of replies being CC'd to your email address (free) or mobile phone handset (1 credit). You may not even care to track these, but you can!

If you are running a promotion to drive people into your store, the easiest way is to encourage your customers to show or mention the text message to your staff when they arrive. Train your staff to track how many people do this.

For example if you are running a sale, you can text something like "Show this message to our staff for 50% off. Sale ends Tuesday".

And if you have a decent retail system or database, you can even track who responds to your SMS messages, and when, allowing you to identify your loyal customers....and of course a mobile number is a totally unique identifier so easy to match the data.

Now here's where it gets interesting and we can track clicks! Say you want to send an SMS and push people through to your website browsing your wonderful wares.

This is a common scenario now, as so many people are on their phones and can easily click a link from your SMS and their phone will open up a browser, and blammo, they are at your website.

So, you send an SMS, customer reads your SMS and then clicks through to your website.. Nice and simple.

Here's a way you can tell how many people clicked through to your site...and it costs nothing extra!

1) First make sure your website looks nice on a mobile phone (both iPhone and Android). If it looks clunky, ask your web designer to do a mobile version OR a cheaper way is check out companies like

2) Open an account with . Bitly is a URL shortener that crunches long website names (URLs) down into a short link. The extra beauty of Bitly is, you can TRACK THE CLICKS!

As you only have limited space on SMS, you don't want your website taking up all that valuable text space, so a URL shortener is a great space-saving solution.

3) Login to your SMS Express account, click on Bulk Messages, select your Group, create your text message, including your URL.

For example: "Dear VIP Clients, we have a new range in store now. Check it out here Pop in B4 Friday for a 20% discount. See u soon! 2optout rply STOP.".

Or if you have an ecommerce site, even better...hopefully they may buy on the spot!

4) Once your message has been tested and sent out, go to your REPLIES section and/or Bitly account and check out both replies AND how many people did actually click the link in your SMS.

If you want to create a mobile website on the fly just for one campaign, Instapage is great for this, and will also allow you to track clicks.

If you don't want to bother with Bitly or Instapage, another cheap way to track visits is to create a unique page on your website specifically for your SMS campaigns.

For example (and if you have a short enough domain name you can use the whole thing in your text if you want)

Only use that page for your SMS promotions, and you should see all visitors to that page by date and time in your webstats, and this will be easy to match with your SMS broadcast times....remember that most people do respond to an SMS within minutes, but we have seen some slow pokes dribble in a week later!

1 SMS = 160 characters including spaces...this is universal. But there is nothing stopping you from sending more than 160 characters, as most phones will join them into 1 message now (unlike the old days!).

Just be aware that it costs you an extra credit. But if you get a good response, it's still very cheap and quick marketing in anyone's currency!

...and of course, always obey the Spam Act and put who you are and an optout in all promotional messages..the SMS Express system will automatically remove any people who reply STOP or REMOVE (and you can also see these too).

If you need to get your head around this, call me, Kerryn, anytime on 1300 668 287 and I will be happy to help you set this up.