The three most important letters to any marketer are K-P-I (in that order 😉). KPIs, or key performance indicators, are the numerical measures that determine the success of your marketing efforts. Sometimes referred to as deliverables, these benchmarks are something that should be established before you begin any kind of campaign.
The temptation to begin a new marketing effort without much of a plan is very prevalent. A lot of the time we hear people say “we’ll just figure it out along the way!” While we commend your confidence, we suggest you take up a new motto: PPPPPPP—prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance.
Starting every campaign with benchmarks that help you determine what’s working (and what isn’t) will ensure you stay focused and successful. Not to mention, when your team or supervisor asks you to justify the investment you’re making in text marketing, solid benchmarks will help demonstrate what a knockout job you’ve been doing!
Benchmarks can always be adjusted to fit the needs of your business. However, to help you establish a framework, we’ll get you started with the top six measures to look out for in your campaigns.
“Subscribers” is just another name for contacts. They’re the people who make up your list(s) and receive all your marketing messages. While your texts could be the best in the business, if nobody is reading them it won’t be worth a hill of beans. Subscribers are the bedrock to SMS marketing success. You want to ensure that you are constantly growing your list and reaching more people with your campaigns. Tracking monthly subscriber growth (or loss) will help you determine if you have a healthy text marketing strategy and if you’re advertising in the right places.
SMS campaigns have lots of goals. Maybe you’re using it to grow your email list, or perhaps to drive purchases. Either way, in order to make sure your text messages are helping you reach those goals, you need to determine your conversion rates.
To calculate a conversion rate, divide the number of subscribers that took an action by the total number of subscribers your campaign was sent to. If you’re driving people to make a purchase or take action on your website, you can use a special piece of code called a UTM, or tracking code, to determine your conversion rate. Use a tool such as Google Analytics and their extensions to help you add the custom UTM for your campaign and add it to the link in your SMS campaign. With this code in place, each time someone makes a purchase on your site, you’ll know whether or not they came from the link in your campaign. Simple!
While valuable, this metric is only relevant if you’re sending out messages with links to a webpage. When you send a message including a link that should never be the end of the road. You should always track how many clicks your links are getting as it’s an indication of how engaging your content is. If the links you’re sending out are going unopened, that’s generally a sign that you’re not sending the most relevant material for your subscribers.
With quantity comes quality. As much as you want to continue to grow your subscribers, you also want to ensure you keep subscribers. A quick note on text marketing. Every one of your subscribers must provide you with express written consent for you to send them messages. This also means they can choose to opt out, or no longer receive your texts, at any time. If you have large numbers of people opting out of your campaigns, that’s generally an indication that you’re not sending out the right kind of content. So, just as you track your monthly subscriber count, you should also monitor opt-outs for any unusually high spikes.
Should the call to action (CTA) asking people to join your subscriber list have a sense of urgency? Maybe it should feel more exclusive? Or what about if you offer a discount for joining? Hone in on exactly what convinces people to join your list by using keywords to test your CTAs. For example, a restaurant could create a series of two table tents asking people to sign up. One could say, “Text DESSERT to sign-up for our text message offers and get a free dessert!” Another could say, “Text VIP to sign-up for exclusive offers sent to your phone directly via text. You won’t find these deals anywhere else!” Both of these keywords can route to the same list, but by using separate keywords the restaurant will know what motivates their customers to sign up.
Lastly we have an internal SMS marketing benchmark that can be used to audit your team’s efficiency. Because a large majority of texts are read so quickly, users tend to expect their messages to receive a response just as quickly. In order to achieve peak performance, you should strive to answer customer messages as quickly as they arrive. Aim for within the hour, and do your very best to never leave a text unread for more than 24 hours. Calculating your average monthly response time is important to keep yourself honest and ensure your providing the best customer service experience possible. In addition, measuring response time is a great way to check in and determine if you’re sending texts at the most convenient time for your users. With a little trial and error you’ll collect enough data to determine the optimum time to send your messages!
Measuring your KPIs constantly will help you stay ahead of any issues with your SMS campaigns. But at the end of the day, you should never be afraid to go right to the source for feedback. Sending Text to Vote Polls to your subscribers asking them if there’s anything you can do better will achieve two things. First, it will let your customers know you care about them and their opinions! Second, it’ll give you candid, concrete feedback that can go on to give you even more targeted benchmarks and measures. Data is the name of the game, and nobody knows that better than our team here at SimpleTexting.
The important thing to remember is that every industry and business is so different. It’s impossible to provide a magic number that serves as the gold standard for engagement. Our best tip is to consider your first couple messages your benchmark and aim to improve from there.
That’s why we’ve designed our dashboards to make it easy and intuitive to track all of these KPIs and more. Continually monitor your campaign performance with our tools and you’ll become a figures guru faster than you can say “PPPPPPP” ten times fast!