Existing Customer | Register | About Us | Careers | Contact Us | Service Status | News

Low cost Neon SMS messaging Outstanding Customer Service

Click here to view some of Neon SMS's clients

Free Business Trial

30 Days Free. 50 free credits. No obligation.

Sign up Now!

Request a callback

And we will be in contact within 24 hours.

Get in Contact

Bulk Text marketing

Our Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing.

Read Here

Intro to SMS Marketing

Article originally published for The Marketing Institute of Ireland

In today’s economic environment marketers are seeking more cost effective and timely methods to communicate - this is where mobile marketing comes into its own. With many options available including Mobile App and Mobile Websites, the SMS Text message remains the original and most popular option, in particular for cost considerations and quick turnaround.

SMS Text Messages can be used to simply inform, update, educate or assist in further developing your customer relationship. As a text message is a direct communication into the hands of your client or prospect, it is a very powerful tool that can get results quickly for your business or organisation.

The following are some important areas to consider when planning a SMS campaign:

Data Protection

It is important to ensure that you are fully compliant with the requirements of the Data Protection Office. Many people find this a difficult area to tackle, however it need not be if you follow some simple rules.

The most important rules are:

  • Ensure all numbers you wish to text have opted in to receive communications from you and keep a record of this opt-in.
  • Opted in permission is valid for 12 months, or 12 months from your last communication.
  • Ensure that each marketing SMS message includes a low cost option for the recipient to STOP receiving messages from you. It is then important to ensure you do remove this number from your list before your next SMS campaign.
  • It is important to remember that you are the data controller and the provider is the data processor and as a controller it is important that you keep your data current and up to date on your own records.

If in doubt, my advice is to contact the commissioner’s office directly, they are very helpful and can point you in the right direction. Also the web site does have a lot of useful resources. For more information visit www.dataprotection.ie

How does it work?

It is extremely easy to set up and run a SMS campaign no matter what the size of your organisation. Firstly, it is important to have a list of opted in numbers, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Capture numbers in store at Point of Sale or competitions - clearly recording an Opt-in.
  • Current customer details, again gathering an Opt-In.
  • Use your web site - many businesses capture email addresses for special offers and updates but they fail to collect mobile numbers.
  • Run an inbound competition or information advert where you invite the public to text a keyword to a short code. You must state clearly in the terms and conditions the Opt-In.
  • Collect data at exhibitions and conferences - clearly recording an Opt-in.
  • Invite people to participate in Loyalty or Reward SMS schemes to add value to your client relationship.
  • Simply ask your clients would they like reminders, updates or product information by SMS.
  • Going forward on new business ensure to incorporate Opt in options for future use.

Many large organisations use SMS marketing for appointment reminders, booking confirmations, order confirmations, support updates, policy numbers, billing and staff communications to name but a few. There are a number of ways to connect and use SMS including a connection to an existing database so that SMS messages or campaigns can be easily automated. This is simply done by use of an API – which is an interface or plug in that allows the database to talk to the SMS Provider directly.

But what if you are a small business with no experience of SMS marketing? No matter what the size of your organisation, it is possible to tailor a text messaging campaign for your business. For smaller organisations, the SMS campaign can be simply letting your list know about an extra discount or upcoming sale, closing/opening hours due to a cold snap or to drive traffic during a quiet period. Your numbers might be simply saved in an excel file for this requirement and using an online SMS service, you can simply log on to a web account, buy credits, upload your excel file, write your text message and send. It is that simple!

Key Terms

Some terms to be aware of:

  • Origin Number - this is what appears when the recipient receives your messages. This can generally be alpha numeric. So you can place a number here or brand the message with your company name. Generally this is 16 characters long for a number and 11 characters long for text. Spaces will be removed also.
  • Standard text - a Text message is 160 characters long, some Unicode characters like {}/^€ can use 2 characters
  • Concatenation - quality providers will offer the ability to Concatenate. This simply means stringing messages together so they deliver as one. We allow you to string up to 3 standard messages together.
  • Quality and Economy providers - Cost on providers can vary, it is important to use quality providers as they will retry to send your messages for as long as the network allows, so you get a greater number of your messages delivered. Remember you pay to send the message so the more delivered the better value you get.
  • Delivery reporting - it is important your provider offers full reporting, as some messages will fail it is good to see which messages failed and why.

I hope this article gives you an insight into using SMS as a marketing tool, it really is a straightforward tool that every marketer should utilize or at least plan for. And it can be implemented even by small businesses at a moment's notice.

« Return to Resources