What lessons can we learn from Labour leader candidate Owen Smith?

Topic: Marketing

Timing is key with sms marketing
When you roll over in bed to hear your mobile phone buzzing at 4am, the last person you expect to be contacting you is a politician canvassing for your support.
Well, for a fair few people that surreal moment happened when Labour leadership candidate, Owen Smith decided to text a load of potential supporters – in the middle of the night. Unsurprisingly, they’re not too happy about it, especially as they appear to have been unsolicited.
The text message which asked, “can I count on you?”, and promised to deliver fair policies that mattered to all, including investing £200bn in public services, was sent out from midnight on Saturday, right through until late Sunday morning.
Naturally we can’t fault Mr Smith for his choice of SMS to canvas for support; the channel boasts a 98% open rate compared to 20% for email (Digital Marketing)
But what’s usually a selling point – that 90% of all SMS are read within the first 3 minutes of receipt (Venturebeat) – became an overwhelming negative for Mr Smith’s campaign.
While we’re sure Mr Smith had positive intentions in attempting to win support, judging by the reaction online, and largely as a result of the disastrous scheduling, it did a pretty poor job. Good timing as well as opt-in permission is essential for building a reputation for any brand, business or institution.
We’ve already seen Brexit campaigners get fined £50k for sending more than half a million unsolicited text messages asking people to vote to leave the EU, earlier this year.
So what can your business or brand learn from these mistakes?
1. Don’t be a nuisance, provide options
When you share your mobile number with someone it is their privilege, not their right, to have it. It works the same in marketing. A good text message, unlike Mr Smith’s, should be anticipated. Many took to Twitter to complain that they had little or no knowledge they’d opted in to receive texts from the politician or been given an opt out.
Always provide your recipients with a clear opportunity to opt out. Often just being given the option will put you in their good books.
2. Remember that timing is everything
Consider the best contact time for your recipients by putting yourselves in their shoes. While research suggests that smartphone use is at its highest in the evening, text messaging is in fact most effective during business hours and between 10am and 8pm (Zokem) with apps dominating mobile usage past 8pm.
In fact, the most popular times for businesses to send text messages are just before or after lunch. We took a detailed look at this back in 2012.
3. Choose quality over quantity
A spokesperson for Smith’s campaign has since apologised for the after hours text messages blaming a “technical glitch” for messages delivered past the 8pm cut-off. Investing in a high quality, reliable and robust platform when communicating with your customers and staff will ensure your marketing delivers results at the standard your business or brand demands.
Contact us today for all your mobile messaging needs and discover how Esendex can make your business communications better.