ExactTarget Offers Insight to SMS Success

Mobile marketers have been told to prepare for a “field guide” to end all field guides. This week, e-mail service provider ExactTarget is planning to reveal their much-hyped “Field Guide to Short Messaging Service (SMS).” The mobile marketing equivalent of David Letterman’s top ten list, RJ Talyor, ExactTarget’s product manager, has high hopes for the value of this field guide (not to mention the shameless self-promotion that accompanies their induced hype).

The first lesson? According to a sneak peak at the guide, know when to use SMS and when to stick with e-mail. “The two most important words for SMS are urgency and portability,” Taylor said. “The best marketing candidates for SMS are the ones who have an urgent message or one that their end users will need on their person-if they are walking into a retail store or are in the field and need a coupon code.”

Also revealed in the advanced look were four additional pointers:

1. Get separate permission. Just because someone has opted in to your e-mail marketing doesn’t mean they want to hear from you via SMS, especially considering that most mobile carriers still charge recipients for mobile messages delivered to a handset. Wireless carriers and aggregators require marketers to secure a double opt-in, so make sure you’re doing just that before sending out your first mobile marketing message, Talyor said.

2. Design an SMS-specific call to action and tracking code. There’s no way to track open or click-through rates with SMS messages-although most carriers and aggregators can provide delivery metrics-so if you want to calculate ROI, you’re going to have to be creative. “You can target really well, actually,” Talyor said. “You can create different tracking codes for different portions of your list and send them out so you know which segment is most responsive.”

3) Let subscribers select frequency. Marketers should create an online preferences form so prospects and customers can specify exactly how often you can contact them. This is especially important for SMS marketing-even more so than e-mail, Talyor said. “I go back to our new motto: Subscribers rule,” he said. “And make sure subscribers know exactly what they have chosen. It should be clearly spelled out in their preferences.”

4) Make sure messages contain a “Help” and “Quit” option. “You’ve got 160 characters, but that includes a ‘Help’ message-if a subscriber needs help they can click on it to text back-as well as a ‘Quit’ or ‘Unsubscribe’ message,” Talyor said.

Letterman beware! For more info on the “list” visit www.exacttarget.com