What makes an SMS relevant?

In marketing in particular, the relevance of a text message is a key factor in its success. But what exactly does that mean? When is an SMS relevant and when is it not? In this article, we take a closer look at the individual factors that determine the relevance of an SMS.

Factors that you cannot influence

There are a few factors that you have little or no control over, but they are still important for the relevance of a message. It can be useful to know these factors so that you can assess why an SMS campaign is getting better or worse results.

Basic interest

A very crucial question when it comes to relevance is: How interesting is my message or offer for the respective recipient?

The good news: If your recipients have signed up to receive your SMS, there is at least a basic level of interest. Your task: find out what they are particularly interested in. Audience segmentation is essential to making SMS relevant. Make sure your recipients only get messages that are as close to their interests as possible.

Has your recipient already bought from a competitor or has their financial situation changed so they are no longer interested? Then you will have a hard time sending relevant messages.

Technical realities

One thing is clear: we think it’s very important to address how an SMS becomes relevant – otherwise this post wouldn’t exist. Nonetheless, there are technical factors that can affect the relevance of an SMS that you have no control over. Keep these in mind when planning your SMS.

Some examples:

  • Does the cell phone receiving the SMS have reception right now, is the battery charged, and is it turned on?
  • Is it perhaps in DND mode, for example because your recipient is at work or on vacation?
  • In some countries, delivery of promotional SMS is only possible at certain times of the day

Factors you can influence

Fortunately, you do have a lot of influence on whether an SMS is relevant to your recipients. In a nutshell, it’s easier to send relevant SMS if you know a lot about your recipients and segment your audiences in detail. Also, pay attention to the following factors.

The timing

Sure, you can’t usually predict when your recipients will be taking a break without their cell phones and therefore won’t see your message right away.

Nevertheless, it is very important that you think about when an SMS might be appropriate in your recipients’ daily routine.

Of course, the right time also depends on what your SMS is about.

A few examples:
If you’re selling coffee, it’s more likely that your recipients will be open to offers in the morning than in the evening.

An offer to stock up on supplies does not really make sense two days after the last order, but rather later. If your recipient is currently on vacation, they may be more receptive to special offers.

Especially for last-minute offers, timing is essential. You want to give your customers enough time to respond to your message, but it’s the time limit that makes it so special. Especially if you want your customers to take advantage of your offer on the spot, for example in a retail store, you’d better plan a little more time.

In short: Adapt the moment you send your message to your target group.

Ask yourself:

  • When is a person in the target group most likely to have a need for your product?
  • When is the person open to offers?
  • Which offer fits into which time frame?

The content

It may seem a bit obvious, but a very basic factor in the relevance of an SMS is its content.

The good news is that you already have a bit of an advantage. If recipients have already signed up to receive your messages, you probably already know what they are particularly interested in. So you can tailor the message content well to what’s important to your recipients right now.

Also, we strongly advise you to personalize your SMS. The personal address makes your message special and creates an even greater closeness to your recipients. This way, your recipients will perceive your message as more relevant – after all, it is clearly addressed to them.

The form

The character limit of SMS helps you send relevant messages. Of course, long messages can also be relevant, but with SMS, the shorter you go, the better. This improves not only to the relevance of your message, but also the efficiency of your budget.
It’s also often a good idea to include a link that your recipients can access. Sometimes even an attachment is appropriate, such as a PDF or other file.

The ideal form of SMS depends on the situation in which you are sending your message and what kind of message it is.

Ask yourself: How much can my recipient absorb right now and in what form can I best convey my request?

What can I do to make my SMS more relevant?

It should have become clear: To send relevant messages, you need to know your recipients well. But what if you don’t have the information you need? Of course, there are several ways to find out more about your recipients, but the best one is certainly: ask them.

How you ask depends on a few factors. Do you want to ask only new recipients about their preferences or existing ones as well? How much time and effort is it worth to you to collect this data? Do you want to actively seek face-to-face conversations or automate as much as possible?
Here are some basic ideas on how to query relevant data.

Choices when signing up

It’s best practice by now: When your recipients provide you with their phone number, you make it clear what kind of messages they can expect to receive. But you’re even smarter than that. You let your recipients choose in detail what kind of messages they want to receive. What content are they really interested in? At what times do they want to receive offers, or don’t they care? How often do they want to receive messages?

The more choices you offer, the better you’ll understand how a message can be relevant to that particular recipient.

Support call opportunity

Another opportunity to gather information arises when a recipient contacts you on their own, such as when they contact your support team. Let’s make one thing really clear here: Of course the focus in this situation is on whatever it is that your customer needs. Nevertheless, there are situations in support talks that offer the chance to ask some questions. Be sure to always remain transparent and state why you are asking these questions.

And again: you have to judge from situation to situation whether and when questions that have nothing to do with the support topic are appropriate in the conversation.

Questionnaire vs. quiz

Are you looking for an effective way to obtain data even from existing recipients? With an entertaining quiz or a clear questionnaire, you can quickly obtain a lot of important information. Always be transparent: make it clear why you are asking for this data and what you will use it for.

Of course, it is up to you how you want to conduct these queries. For you SMS recipients, you can ask your questions via SMS or send a link to the respective questionnaire or quiz.



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So: what makes an SMS relevant? It’s all about how well you know your recipients. Relevance is individual, but that doesn’t mean you have to fish in the dark. The more you know about your recipients’ interests and needs, the easier it will be for you to make an SMS relevant.

It makes a lot of sense to ask about these interests when your recipients sign up to receive SMS. This keeps the communication transparent and your recipients know what to expect from the start.

Remember, well-segmented audiences are key if you want to make sure your SMS is perceived as relevant.

Do you have any questions? We look forward to your message or comment.

All the best

Your sms77 team

Header picture by FreshSplash via iStock

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