SMS marketing is making a comeback.
Artificial intelligence and stricter data regulations have created a favorable ecosystem for text messaging. With its high open rates and immediate reach, mobile messaging empowers you to engage with your audience more personally. As a result, you’ll build brand loyalty and be better able to nurture your customers through the buying journey.
The e-commerce marketplace is competitive. With so many brands vying for your customer’s attention, you need robust, assertive outreach strategies. Conversational marketing empowers you to personalize your outreach and target your messaging, giving you an advantage over your competitors.
A recent report from Simple Text reveals that 71% of consumers willingly subscribe to receive text messages from businesses, and 53% desire the ability to text companies back.
But proceed with caution. You don’t want to appear spammy, and you don’t want your customers to unsubscribe.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to tap into the power of an SMS marketing campaign (or launch one).
What is SMS Marketing?
Short Message Service (SMS) is a 160 or less-character text message with no graphics. SMS marketing takes advantage of a device approximately 4.7 billion people use worldwide—mobile phones. Using text messages to stay in touch with your customer base can vastly improve your outreach. Email marketing, for instance, depends on opens. But text messages are seen as soon as the user opens their phone.
What’s the Difference Between SMS and MMS?
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is similar to SMS, except you can also send media, such as photos, videos, GIFs, audio clips, etc. The amount of characters is generally unlimited; however, this varies depending on the phone carrier. Adding an engaging graphic to your text message could result in more opens, but MMS is more expensive for you and your consumers.
SMS may be more limited regarding characters and content, but it’s more affordable. SMS messages are compatible and can be sent and received by almost all mobile devices, including older models.
How Does SMS Marketing Maximize Your Brand Reach?
When you have limited resources, you want to be sure they’re well spent. Text-based marketing is an affordable and relatively easy way to stay in touch with your consumer base, build brand loyalty, and increase sales or services.
You should use SMS marketing for many reasons to maximize your brand reach. But let’s take a look at the facts.
- Approximately 5 billion people send and receive SMS messages daily, and more than 6 billion have access to mobile phones.
- The average open rate for text message marketing campaigns is 98%, compared to 20% for email marketing campaigns. (99 Firms Statistics)
- According to GWI data, 9 of 10 internet users access online services via their smartphones.
- Roughly 80% of consumers say they like receiving offers via text. (TechJury)
- The response rate to SMS messages is more than 45%, significantly higher than emails.
- SMS click-through rates are 9.18% compared to email’s 2.43%. (Textedly)
- SMS messages are more personal. Because your text is opened on your customer’s phones, they feel like they’ve received a personal message from you. The result is a stronger relationship between you and your customers.
- There are many ways to use SMS messaging, such as to send out promos, reminders, announcements, holiday greetings, and even milestone acknowledgments. With so much flexibility built into a single platform, SMS marketing is an easy way to grow your business.
- The average American checks their phone 47 times a day. (Journal of Accountancy)
Define Your Goals
As with any marketing campaign, the first step is to set clear and measurable goals for your SMS marketing campaign. Some examples are
- drive website traffic
- increase registrations for your webinars or live events
- promote new products or services
- improve conversions
- build a brand community
Know Your Target Audience
Another common denominator is knowing your target audience. With text messaging, your communication can be personal to each customer you want to reach. Before you launch, be sure you know your audience’s preferences, behaviors, pain points, experience with your business, and other elements so that you’re able to tailor your campaign effectively.
How to Use SMS Marketing to Grow Your Reach
There are unlimited ways to use SMS marketing to maximize your brand reach, bordered only by your imagination. Here are some examples:
- short promos
- transactional details
- reminders to read the latest email newsletter
- inform about upcoming webinars
- direct customers to new offers on your website
- announce a book launch
- create social events around national or international holidays
- launch a challenge or contest
- send birthday greetings
- thank you messages or quick follow-ups to check in after a transaction or appointment
- send an alert about a recent news item, such as “Did you see …” in an area that is relevant to your brand’s product or services
SMS marketing is an excellent way to build relationships with your customer base. Your marketing campaign should be personal, not merely a platform for short advertisements. Build a community with your consumers. Think about how friends might text each other. Use language that resonates with the receiver. Tell stories. Don’t be afraid to use humor or share inspiring quotes.
Don’t Forget Your CTA
Your SMS marketing campaign is about getting your audience to do something.
For instance, if you launch a contest, make it easy for your consumers to take action with specific instructions on what to do.
Provide a link to a social media channel, for instance. If it’s an upcoming sale, your CTA might be something like, “Follow this link today to find out the latest on our sale rack.”
Include a link to your e-commerce site. If you’re offering discounted consulting or other services, add “book now” with a link to your website to make an appointment.
The goal is to make the CTA clear, identifiable, and easy to do.
SMS Marketing is Working for Brands
A retail store in New York City used text messaging to send out promotional content to their customers, resulting in a 30% increase in sales. (SimpleTexting)
A Chicago law firm used SMS marketing to communicate with their clients, reducing the need for phone calls. Their operations became more efficient, and customer satisfaction increased. (Swift Digital)
Janna Land, the co-founder of FarmFoods, Inc, said that SMS marketing gave her “the ability to break through in a boisterous and competitive environment.” She said that they began texting customers who weren’t opening their emails. On a budget of only $60, they secured $4,000 in sales in under 24 hours.
TULA Skincare began an aggressive SMS marketing campaign at the beginning of 2020. Zack Abbell, VP of digital, says they saw dramatic growth immediately after the launch. He says they see the strategy as a sales and customer relationship channel, driving engagement to increase sales and brand loyalty.
By leveraging SMS campaigns, you can enhance brand awareness, drive sales and improve customer satisfaction. When you provide personalized, relevant information to your target audience, you’ll build strong relationships that result in long-term customers and brand ambassadors.
Integrate Your SMS Marketing Campaign With Your Social Channels
Amplify your marketing campaign by making it multi-channel.
Here are some examples.
- Promote an exclusive SMS subscriber offer on your social media platforms and leave a CTA encouraging your audience to sign up for your SMS list to receive the offer.
- Add a widget on your website that allows visitors to opt-in to your SMS subscriber list.
- Send an SMS reminder to customers who visited your website, placed items in the cart but left without checking out. Embed a link in the text to make it easy for them to pick up where they left off.
- When hosting a live event, send a text message to remind your registrants to join the event.
- Promote your SMS campaigns on all digital media, including email signatures, website banners, and social media profiles.
Social media channel popularity is fluid. From year to year, one platform rises, and another one falls. Online users switch their social media preferences but never give up their mobile phones.
Be Sure to Follow the SMS Marketing Protocols
Spam is damaging to your brand reputation and illegal in most jurisdictions. Be sure to follow the rules in the location wherever you are marketing and ask your customers to opt-in to receive messages from you. Failing to secure opt-in permission from your customers can lead to being barred from using the telephone carrier. Avoid over-messaging by discovering the optimal frequency for your target audience.
In addition, keep these spam protocols in mind.
TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). This is a US law that regulates telemarketing communications. You must obtain consent before sending promotional text messages to your consumers.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). GDPR is an EU regulation that governs privacy and data protection. Businesses operating in the EU or sending messages to EU residents must abide by these regulations, including obtaining consent from customers and providing easy opt-out options.
Carrier-Specific Regulations. Mobile carriers also have their own protocols to protect their customers from SMS spam. They use algorithms and filters to block or identify spammy messages or anything that looks suspicious.
The online world has become increasingly crowded, with many personal and corporate brands vying for space and to be heard. To be successful today, you need an omnichannel approach. SMS marketing can play a pivotal role in helping you reach your goals. As with all things, you need to be consistent and have patience. Know your audience, and don’t be afraid to experiment. You might want to start if you haven’t already jumped on board.
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