5 ways branded links can improve your SMS marketing campaigns

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Over the past decade, SMS marketing has continued to go from strength to strength. 

And it’s not difficult to see why, given that it boasts a whopping open-rate of 98% and a response rate of 45% — figures that are unparalleled when compared with other channels like email.

But, there are still a few pitfalls to watch out for when it comes to planning your SMS marketing campaigns — one of which is the link you’re including in your message. 

When you think about SMS marketing, you think about short, snappy messages that pack a punch. And for that reason (along with the obvious length limitation issue), people often opt to use short links in their campaigns. 

But, what appears to be a solution here is also the problem in many cases. 

Spam filters pick up generic domains because, well, they’re generally associated with spam. If you’re only one of a million people using that same domain, chances are at least one person is going to try and use it to mask a malicious link. And guess what? That’s right, everyone gets tarnished with the same brush. 

Luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid this. 

By using custom short URLs (also known as branded links), you’re creating short links with a domain that you own, meaning you don’t have to worry about how responsibly other people are using it. Simply put, you’re in full control of the security and safety of your links. 

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of using branded links over generic short ones – let’s jump in and take a look at the rest. 

1. They increase deliverability 

Branded vs generic SMS link - SMS marketing

As we touched on earlier, if the links you’re including in your SMS campaigns are being marked as spam, it stands to reason that your messages aren’t going to be delivered. 

The link isn’t the only thing that triggers these filters, but it’s definitely an important considering factor. For that reason, you should avoid using generic short links at all costs, and opt to use a branded link in its place. 

2. You can edit the destination URL

Edit destination URL - SMS marketing

With generic short links, once you’ve shortened the link you want to share, you can’t change it. With branded links, however, you can easily manage all destination URLs in your link management dashboard — a lifesaver if you ever accidentally send out the wrong link (which, let’s face it, we all have at some stage). All you need to do is click into the branded link you’ve created and there’s an edit option beside the final destination – it only takes a second to swap out. 

3. They provide analytics

Click data - SMS marketing

When planning out your SMS campaigns, you’re obviously going to have goals in terms of the metrics you want to hit with your messages. Generally speaking, people focus on metrics like the open-rate, click-through-rate, and in the case of SMS, the response rate. 

Using a branded link in your messages can help you track so much more than just the click-through-rate — you can use the analytics it captures to learn more about your audience and their habits. These links collect what’s known as ‘click data’, and this is what tells you where the clicks are coming from, when people are clicking, and lots more. 

These analytics are super useful for campaign analysis and planning, given that you can identify the best times and days to send your messages. You can also compare multiple campaigns to see what types of promotional offers or content your audience is most responsive to. 

4. You can use them to route traffic 

Traffic routing - SMS marketing

Nowadays, personalization is one of the most important aspects of marketing, so the one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work anymore. 

Personalization beyond including someone’s first name in an SMS can be tricky, given the strict character limit. But with branded links, you can personalize the customer journey based on the behavior of whoever’s clicking thanks to a feature called dynamic linking

For example, you could create a rule to direct users to pages in specific languages based on the country they’re browsing from. Or, you could send them to a special offers page between certain hours of the day or days of the week. The opportunities are endless. 

With SMS marketing in particular, this is a massive benefit. Being able to personalize the user journey based on rules that you can set ahead of time means that you don’t have to customize every link to send to every audience segment. 

5. They can help you to sync your other online marketing efforts with your SMS campaigns

If there’s even a slight chance that your SMS marketing lists aren’t familiar with your brand’s online presence, your aim should be to fuse the two.

SMS lists can contain people from all stages of the funnel — some of whom might need more of a push than others. An easy way to ensure your brand is getting in front of the right people — at the right times and in the right places — is to add users from your SMS lists to your retargeting audience. 

Traditionally, you can only retarget people who have landed on your website. The reason for this is that a retargeting pixel (be it from Facebook, Google AdWords, or any other platform) is a snippet of code that’s put into the header of your website, and when people land on your website, that piece of code fires and tags them. 

With link retargeting, however, you can add this retargeting code (also known as the retargeting pixel ID) to your links — meaning that anyone who clicks on your links gets tagged in the same way, even if they haven’t landed on your website. 

Link retargeting -SMS marketing

So, if you’re directing people somewhere other than your website in your SMS marketing campaigns, you can still add them to your retargeting audience and serve them tailored ads online at a later stage. 

Wrapping up 

Generic short links have long been used in SMS marketing campaigns. But with rapidly-evolving spam detection systems and the growing demand for a seamless, personalized user experience, they just don’t cut it anymore. 

Links that you create using a domain that you own are protected against being marked as spam or blacklisted because you have full control over the use of that domain. 

And not being marked as spam means your messages actually get delivered, which is the whole point anyway. 

Not only that, but utilizing the full suite of customization options that a branded link management platform has to offer means that you can personalize user journeys, customize your tracking and retargeting, and much more. 

What are some of the creative ways you’ve used branded links to improve your SMS campaigns? Let us know in the comments! 

Further reading: 

This article is about:

  • SMS marketing
  • SMS marketing campaigns
  • How to improve your SMS campaigns
  • Improving your SMS marketing campaigns
  • Branded links and SMS marketing

 

 

Beth McEntee
Beth is a Marketing Manager at Rebrandly, the URL shortener and link management solution. When she’s not dreaming about generating leads you’ll find her wandering the streets of Dublin with her golden retriever (getting rained on, most likely) or curled up by the fire with a book and a cup of tea.