SMS Cyber 5 Checklist

Your guide to creating an A+ text message marketing strategy

SMS Cyber 5 Checklist

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Introduction

Reading about the importance of SMS marketing for BFCM 2020, and how to set it up is well and good. If you need to convince higher ups about the benefits, then it helps to have stats and read into the pros and cons so you can build your best argument and presentation.

But, if you are already convinced and need to just get heads down and working, well — then you need something a bit more to the point.

Like a checklist. Like this checklist.

Because your time is valuable, and the clock to BFCM 2020 is ticking. There is a lot to do for your overall holiday marketing strategy. Here is what you need to do to make SMS marketing part of it — beginning right now.

No explanations. No data. No examples. A plain and simple to-do list so you can do just that: get it done and check it off.

Prep work

Before you begin building your campaigns, here is the prep work you need to get done to have your BFCM 2020 SMS campaigns go off without a hitch.

  • Determine a SMS marketing budget for BFCM 2020.
  • Scope which tool or tools to use for your SMS marketing campaigns (Postscript is our favorite, clearly).
  • Determine and work with your SMS marketing tool / provider on setting up shortcodes and long codes, as needed.
  • Determine if you will use only SMS or MMS as well, and work with your SMS tool / partner on the necessary carrier approval.
  • Begin building an SMS list of both prospects and customers, in compliance with SMS marketing rules and regulations.
  • Add SMS marketing and messaging privacy and terms and services languages to your proper pages.
  • Build audience and customer personas, if you haven’t.
  • Brainstorm with the team on the types of SMS marketing campaigns you want to do to build brand affinity and increase revenue.
  • Determine your brand’s voice in SMS marketing.
  • Determine and work with your SMS marketing tool / provider on setting up shortcodes and long codes, as needed.
  • Perform routine data cleaning to ensure campaign personalization will work effectively.
  • Determine which data points you’ll want to use to personalize messaging.
  • Work cross-departmentally to understand the full scope of your BFCM 2020 plans, including new product launches, influencer marketing, and other key launch dates for a variety of activity. No marketing should happen in a silo.
  • Test out SMS marketing on segments of customers to get a baseline (you’ll need this to set proper KPIs for the SMS campaigns during BFCM 2020).
  • Set KPIs for your SMS marketing campaigns based on segment and persona. A few examples: increased loyalty program subscriptions, increased revenue, increased affinity, etc.).

Build your campaigns

Next, you’ll need to start implementing, likely beginning with the idea brought forth in the brainstorm meeting you accomplished above, and looking at baseline KPIs.

The question to answer is this: What can you do now to make the most of your BFCM 2020 SMS marketing campaigns with the ideas and with the data you have on hand?

  • Work with the team to determine which of the ideas from the brainstorm will be put into play this holiday season.
  • Determine which types of SMS messages you will need. Options include, but are not limited to, abandoned cart, conversational SMS, customer support SMS, delivery notifications, product launches / drops, VIP and loyalty programs, site-wide discounts, etc.
  • Determine which customer and prospect segments you will message to.
  • Build out specific nurture streams for those specific audiences, thinking through timing of the messages (if they are promotional messages, more than 3 a month is likely too many).
  • Given the limited number of sends brands get before becoming “spammy,” determine the purpose for each SMS message within the journey.
  • Determine KPIs for each SMS workflow, and add it to the purpose from the step above.
  • Work with a copywriter to build out SMS messages in your brand voice and specifically for the segment in this workflow, ideally two options you can A/B test per message.
  • Ensure each SMS message has a clear CTA.
  • Think about how you can further personalize messages or make them more engaging. MMS messaging can send photos — which might be a great option for abandoned cart or new product drops. Don’t go overboard, but know your options (and make sure your copywriter knows them, too).
  • Determine how and where you will measure success toward the KPIs you set for each workflow. Tools like Postscript have analytics built in. For other tools or platforms, you might need another way to measure.
  • Give the segment, copy and images a final edit and look through. Keep an eye out for timing, tone, and call to action.
  • Get the SMS campaigns set up in your tool to the proper segments.
  • Test the SMS messages to ensure they come through properly and look and read the way you want.
  • Finally, launch the campaign!

Do a look-back and start planning for next year

Once the campaigns are over — which could take into mid to late January as many folks return items after the holidays — it is time to do a look back. Here is what you want to take account of as you think through the success of your BFCM campaign.

  • Were there any errors or glitches in the tool or the way the messages were sent?
  • Be sure to connect with the customer service team and anyone who was on conversational SMS messaging duty. How did it go? What could we do better? What went well? What would you do again? What would you never do again?
  • Did each campaign hit its specific KPI?
    • At what point in time did it hit it’s KPI? If it was earlier in the holiday season, was the KPI too low?
    • Why didn’t the campaign hit its KPI?
    • Was the segment wrong?
    • Was the CTA not compelling?
    • Were there errors in sending?
    • Did the messaging not pull through well enough?
    • Was the audience too top of funnel?
  • What worked really well?
  • Should you continue what worked well as a new core business practice? The conversational SMS might be one such area you continue.
  • Do a quick look around the web. How did others do? Can you send the data to your platform or your PR team to see if there are media opportunities?
  • Send a survey to customers (segmenting them in the way that makes the most sense, but ideally at least by pre-holiday customers and post-holiday customers so you see any differences in longer vs. shorter term customer point of view).
    • Ask them how they feel about the messages — what was helpful, what wasn’t.
  • Finally, thank your customers and the team. This isn’t an easy feat to pull off, on top of an already challenging year. But you did it. It is now 2021, and you have a new SMS marketing program up and running, and only iteratively getting better. It’s a great start to a new year.

Conclusion

Remember, running a business heading up marketing or being an operator for a retailer is about iterating. It is about testing and trying. It is about doing what you would want a brand to do to you as a customer — in your brand’s voice of course.

Once you have compliance figured out and are building a list, you can test and try whatever you want. But keep notes. You’ll want to see what worked and what didn’t. What you threw out versus what customers threw out. What you thought would fail, that customers ended up loving.

From there, make your SMS marketing campaigns even better. Segment even further. Build on cohorts, add conversational resources on an on-going basis, and be there for your brand’s community.

We don’t know what the world will look like in 2021. But direct communication between brand employee and customer is on the rise. And that conversation is happening over SMS. Get ahead of the curve. Set yourself and your brand up for success. And take a well deserved vacation (even if it's a staycation) come the spring.

Kickstart your holiday SMS

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Tracey Wallace Headshot
Written by Tracey Wallace

Tracey is the Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, the marketplace for fast-growth B2B and DTC brands looking for high-quality, pre-vetted freelance marketing talent. She is also the founder of Doris Sleep and was previously the Head of Marketing at Eterneva, both fast-growth DTC brands marketplaces like MarketerHire aim to help. Before that, she was the Global Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she launched the company’s first online conference (pre-pandemic, nonetheless!), wrote books on How to Sell on Amazon, and worked closely with both ecommerce entrepreneurs and executives at Fortune 1,000 companies to help them scale strategically and profitably. She is a fifth generation Texan, the granddaughter of a depression-era baby turned WWII fighter jet pilot turned self-made millionaire, and wifed up to the truest of heroes, a pediatric trauma nurse, who keeps any of Tracey’s own complaints about business, marketing, or just a seemingly lousy day in perspective.