While some marketers are focused on discovering the next big thing, others are looking back at that old channel that has been around for almost three decades now and is nearly universal these days. It is the short message service, or SMS, for short.
As consumers become more and more comfortable interacting with businesses on their mobile devices, SMS marketing is making a comeback.
There’s a lot SMS marketing has to offer. Drop Cowboy, one of the players in SMS marketing software space, also provides several expert tips on effectively using it.
SMS Marketing: What Is It?
SMS marketing’s primary tool is the text message, using it to promote a business’s services, products, discounts, events, and other information. This digital marketing strategy is usually called ‘mass texting.’ It works similarly to email marketing but uses SMS instead.
SMS marketing has come a long way since the 2000s, and has been used by businesses in various ways:
- Boost Sales: Sending promotions, limited-time offers, discount offers to grow revenue.
- Engage Audience: Effectively share new content and important updates. Also, generate excitement by hosting text-to-vote polls or text-to-win sweepstakes.
- Build Relationships: Enhance customer service and support with two-way conversations.
- Collect and Nurture Leads: Allow potential customers to opt-in for texts or send in one-off questions. Then, follow-up on leads, keeping them engaged with occasional texts.
5 Advantages of SMS Marketing
So, is SMS marketing really effective? Here’s a list of benefits that says so.
There is undeniable evidence on the effectiveness of SMS marketing.
To start, SMS has a high open rate of 98%.
SMS engagement rates are also higher than any channel. A site reported that there’s up to 45% of SMS response rates, in contrast with the 6% response rate from email. SMS engagement is not only high, but it’s fast, too. In fact, consumers only take 90 seconds to respond to texts, in contrast with the almost 2 hours response time for email.
SMS also leads in terms of click-through rates (CTRs) among popular channels, sitting at 36% high. This far exceeds the 0.98% of one very popular social media website, 2.43% of email, and 2% of a leading advertisement platform.
Reaches Consumers On Their Favorite Device
There’s no denying that mobile devices have been a part of people’s lives. In fact, the average mobile user touches their device at least 2,617 times a day. This shouldn’t come as a surprise ever since the launch of the first smartphone in 2007. Since then, mobile users and mobile activity have risen significantly every year.
Mobile phones are the undisputable favorite device of today. So, targeting consumers on this platform only make sense, with the capacity to deliver higher ROI (return on investment).
Marketers live off of data. And one might think that with SMS marketing, tracking data seems impossible. Well, in this modern era, everything can be tracked.
An intuitive web SMS platform like Drop Cowboy provides extensive reporting functions on the success of your SMS marketing campaigns.
Campaign reporting may include received messages, instant delivery receipts, response percentage, and so much more. With the right provider, you’ll know precisely how many SMS messages have been delivered, received, and responded to.
This should help you shape your SMS marketing campaign to perfection.
Avoids The Spam Filter
Any email marketer fears the Spam box. After all, who would want to spend a lot of time designing and writing their copy only to end up in the spam folder?
Unfortunately, 49.7% of emails are sent directly to that same folder. Most email providers are switched on to this and constantly files away promotional material, never to be seen by the user again.
Text messaging apps have a spam filter, but not as strict as those in email. By avoiding the pesky spam filters, you can give your marketing message the best opportunity to be read and engaged with.
SMS marketing is simplistic. There’s no need to write long-form copy. Using services like Text Blast Software allows you to send a single message to all of your audience at a touch of a button. Thus, it is cost-effective to both produce and distribute.
Unless you have SMS marketing software, there are no subscription fees, lengthy commitments, or contracts to worry about. You only pay for the messages you send, ensuring flexibility in your spending.
9 Tips To Create A Winning SMS Marketing Campaign
So, now that you understand how SMS can enhance your overall marketing strategies, here are expert tips to ensure its effectiveness:
Think of Your Opt-In
First and foremost, you need to think about how you’re going to get consumers to opt-in and provide their phone numbers to you.
After all, you don’t just make up any number and hope that your message is received by the right audience.
You need to design a strategy on how to collect and grow your subscriber’s list. The most common opt-in methods include:
You probably have a good list of email subscribers. So, use it to your advantage and send your subscribers an email campaign directing them to a landing page and asking for their phone numbers.
A more common method used to capture subscriber, adding pop-ups on your webpages ensure higher opt-in rate. To make it more effective, you can include an engaging offer like a particular discount or access to special content in exchange for their phone number.
Add On Checkout
It’s normal to ask for personal information during checkout. You can use this chance to ask for their phone number.
Now, just because you have someone’s phone number doesn’t mean you can start texting them with unending marketing messages.
Over the past years, an increasing number of nations and countries have introduced laws limiting how businesses and brands can use technology like SMS to communicate with shoppers.
As mentioned before, you should always ask for permission from your shoppers. Sending texts without their consent can mean hefty fines for your brand. So, be sure to always include a necessary disclaimer wherever you promote your SMS opt-in strategy. Be explicit about using their phone number for your promotional efforts.
Understand Your Audience
For the most part, how successful your marketing campaign will be—whether SMS, email, or ad—will depend on how well you understand your audience.
Thus, in terms of making an effective SMS marketing campaign, you need to conduct research into several things such as:
- The mobile devices they use (e.g., the operating system). What’s the typical screen size?
- The amount of time they spend on their devices
- The activities they do on their phones
- The time they use their phone; At night or in the mornings? Weekends or weekdays?
As a starting point, you can use a text analysis software to answer these questions, particularly in terms of device details.
Make The Conversation Fun And Personalized
With SMS marketing, businesses have the chance to make personal connections. It is a 2-way communication, allowing customers to respond and give valuable feedback.
While it’s essential to be courteous, make sure your messages are friendly, fun, and conversational. You can include emojis or slang language as appropriate.
Also, adding a personal touch to the conversation can help win over customers. Personalizing your SMS campaigns by adding the receiver’s name, referring to their previous purchases, and using local language can lead to better engagement.
Include An Image (For Multimedia Messaging Service)
It’s no secret that including images in your communications can have a direct impact on click-through rates. A study revealed that messages with an image have 52% higher CTR than those that didn’t.
Humans are visual beings and respond well to images. This is why it makes sense to include a photo as long as it’s relevant to the message. For instance, if you have a restaurant, you can use a mouthwatering snapshot of your dishes.
Including a photo makes your message more relatable and engaging.
Set Your Timing
Just as with email, the response rate can differ on the time of day you send your text messages.
The best time will depend on the behavior of your audience. Still, you want to send your messages at a time when your customers are free to receive and respond to your messages.
The ideal time is after and before work hours and during lunch hour. But make sure to test your target audience to see the best times available for you. As a general rule, though, never disturb your customers after 9 in the evening or earlier than 6 in the morning. It can be really annoying and push them to opt-out of your messaging services.
Speaking of annoying, receiving multiple marketing messages a day might be downright irritating. While it may be tempting to text your customers several times a day to remind them of your discounts, promotions, or best-selling goodies they might miss out on, you’re more likely pushing them to unsubscribe from your SMS campaign.
Overloading your subscribers with too many text messages may be effective at keeping your brand on their mind, but on a more negative impression, in this case, annoying.
So, make sure to message your customers at least once every week. You can also stick to messages that are most valuable and relevant. If it’s not urgent, then you can convey it through other marketing channels such as email, or a social media post instead.
Make It Easy To Opt-Out
It’s frustrating to have someone unsubscribe from your services. This is a general feeling among most marketers.
Unsubscribing might sound like the final stage of your marketing process. But it doesn’t actually mean that your relationship with that customer is over. Most of the time, people who want to unsubscribe have lost interest in the brand, or their expectations for the subscription weren’t met. Others just want to feel they are in control and can unsubscribe at any time.
While you might hate unsubscribes, it’s actually a good practice and, sometimes, a legal requirement for all marketing communication, particularly for an easily executable method like SMS. Providing people with a seamless subscription experience can actually work in your favor over time.
When people voluntarily unsubscribe, it can help in keeping your SMS list clear of customers who aren’t interested in your content. After all, you don’t get any benefits from the ‘ghost’ subscribers who keep on ignoring your messages. It also helps in maintaining high CTR since the share of active users among your subscriber list grows.
To make it easier for your customers to opt-out of your messaging services, you can include a link or instruction on how to unsubscribe from your SMS marketing for every message you send.
Test And Track
Testing makes your marketing efforts perfect. Whether you’re an experienced or amateur SMS marketer, A/B testing should be a part of your strategy. While you might have a lot of knowledge about your customers, and have developed a strong instinct on what they respond best to, A/B testing can help sharpen your strategy and make it the best it can be.
Then, once you start sending out your marketing text messages, you’ll need to track and monitor the data rolling in. Using a text marketing platform with robust analytical and reporting tools can provide you with the most significant trends on your campaign, and reveal the strengths and weaknesses in your strategies. These metrics can play a huge role in setting data-driven goals and decisions, optimizing future campaigns to perfection.
SMS marketing can be an effective complement to other existing marketing channels you’re using, allowing you to reach existing and potential customers in real-time with effective and targeted messaging.
So, what are you waiting for? Time to jump onto the SMS marketing train now!
Whether you need to check in or engage your existing customers, or promote a new product launch or promotional discounts, make sure to keep the above tips in mind as you start developing your SMS marketing strategy.