5 tips to avoid spam filters and boost engagement with your SMS campaigns.

Sending SMS campaigns? Don't let all your hard work get blocked by spam filters, here's some tips and tricks for improving deliverability.

9 July 2021

There’s nothing more frustrating than sending marketing campaigns that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, only to find a limited number of contacts saw your message, or the open rate was well below what you expected.

For marketers, the recipe for the perfect campaign, excellent deliverability and concrete conversions is ever-changing. Consequently, it’s important that you get the basics right. The best and most engaging collateral in the world is useless when blocked by spam filters.

Email marketing has long suffered under the increasing complexity and overall effectiveness of spam filters. Today, email marketing has an open rate of just 22%, which leaves nearly 80% of your contact list untouched. While SMS Marketing benefits from a much higher open rate of 98%, there are still a few things you should be aware of when it comes to deliverability and spam.

Links: keep them short but not too short

URL shortening tools have become a staple in many marketers’ toolboxes, but they pose a potential problem in SMS. 

Short links look great. They keep messages small and remove all of the messy jargon (parameters) after the domain path. However, from a recipient’s perspective, shortened URLs can look suspicious because there’s no way of knowing where the link is taking you. 

From a carrier perspective, if you’re sending the same link to many people, it could be flagged as spam. For most campaigns, you’ll likely be doing exactly this, so consider sending in batches to reduce the volume.

Avoid lousy grammar or random capitalisation

Fraudulent use of SMS messaging is sadly on the rise and it’s become more convincing. Carriers work tirelessly to minimise the risk of their users being subject to fraud, which means spam filters are becoming difficult to pass.

Using capital letters across an entire word or phrase could help to grab the recipient’s attention, but it also triggers spam filters. Fraudsters have been using the same technique to incite emotional responses and encourage recipients’ actions (click a link). Phrases like “URGENT ACTION REQUIRED,” “ACT NOW,” “DO NOT IGNORE” are commonplace in suspicious messages.

Bad grammar is also a classic sign of fraudulent or fake messages, brand names misspelled or a mistake on the recipient’s name. Make sure your message is formatted correctly and avoid mistakes like ‘Hi Mr’ FIRST NAME”. It’s good news that consumers are becoming wise to fraudulent messages. Still, it means marketers need to be careful in creating their own messages to ensure contacts aren’t in any doubt about the authenticity of the SMS.

Repeat messages

Try to mix things up. If carriers notice you’re sending the same thing to a large volume of contacts over and over, you’ll probably end up blacklisted. Think about how you can change your message content if users didn’t engage the first time. Sending the same thing again isn’t likely to yield better results.

TextAnywhere uses dynamic fields to help to prevent carriers from identifying your message as spam. Dynamic fields ensure each message is unique even when sending to a large number of people; customise name, date, and time without manual input.

Too much, too soon

You should be working from a campaign calendar for best results and have your SMS messages scheduled ahead of time. Creating a schedule gives a centralised view of what is going out and when. 

Sending messages in close succession is probably going to annoy your contacts. They might block your number or report you for spam. Try to think about how you want your prospect to engage with your campaign and when it is sensible or realistic. For example, sending three upsell messages the same day someone makes a purchase is unlikely to be effective.

Keep it concise

Before you even consider spam filters, it should be a priority to ensure that your business SMS messages are clear and concise with a simple objective. Too many CTAs, too much information and unnecessary text all harm engagement levels.  

The beauty of SMS is that it is by nature concise, so don’t try and copy your email content into your SMS marketing platform. While your message might be the same across multiple platforms, you need to ensure you tailor the format to suit each channel.

If carriers see lengthy messages going out to huge contact lists in quick succession, they may flag this as spam.

Best practice makes for best performance

While it can seem like marketers constantly have to fight against the many challenges that come with getting a brand’s message seen and heard, there are positives to these parameters. Firstly, best practices for deliverability generally improve the quality of your campaign and content. 

Users are more likely to find your message authentic and engaging if you’ve already done the legwork to sail through spam filters.

SMS Integrations offer a great way to automate your messages that are delivered at a logical, intelligent and meaningful pace. Although it might be becoming more challenging to reach your prospects and customers, the reward when you do often outweighs the effort.

If you’d like help optimising your campaigns or customer communications, speak to one of our experts today on +44 161 359 3100 or email [email protected].

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