This guide seeks to introduce some key points to think about when planning to use SMS for behavioral change campaigning. Getting SMS campaigns right is not simple and it is critical to deliver the 
right content at the right time and in the right context. This can make them more engaging and increase their power in encouraging positive change. These campaigns should be measurable; however, this is not easy when recipients are difficult to reach.

1Step 1
Context is King
Research the mobile market and infrastructure in the context in which you plan to run your campaign.

• Find out which communication patterns people use and trust

• Do not ignore cultural norms and their impact on communications patterns.

• Do not presume that everyone will be able to use SMS.

2Step 2
Effective Content Development

• Use the language and dialect of the people you are trying to reach

• Test software and content with the target population before launching your campaign.

• Local partners can help you ensure the content you are producing is suitable for the context you are working in.

• Give people the opportunity to subscribe and unsubscribe to your campaign, and avoid sending messages at inconvenient times, like late at night, early in the morning, or on religious festivals and sacred days.

• Try to get your point across within one SMS, in order to communicate a succinct message at a low cost and ensure that the message is not confusing for those on simpler handsets.

3Step 3
Ensuring Sustainability in Campaigns

• Having a member or team of staff accountable for the SMS service will help ensure your SMS campaign is sustainable, interactive and receptive to people’s needs.

• Although SMS can be a relatively cheap option, it is nonetheless
important to consider the cost of outbound messages.

• To create sustainable behavior change through campaigning it is advisable to do a thorough needs assessment of your target community before you start.

4Step 4
Effective Impact Measurement

• Identify measurable indicators of success at the outset, as milestones your project can use to gauge its progress and effectiveness.

• Collect baseline data on those indicators, enabling you to measure the change your campaign creates over time.

• Interactive SMS campaigns are important because they allow you to engage populations in interactive dialogue, to improve the service and learn from your mistakes.