The Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing
Marketing specialists have always been looking for ways on how to better communicate with customers.
They want an opportunity that would help them reach their customers whenever and wherever they are.
One of these ways is SMS marketing.
You may wonder how SMS marketing is so popular these days. Even though this type of marketing is quite old, it is still applicable when connecting with customers in a blink of an eye.
If you have never used SMS marketing in practice, this blog article will change your opinion!
In this guide, you will find out everything you need to know about SMS marketing.
Shall we begin?
The Basics of SMS Marketing
First thing first, let’s review the definition of SMS marketing.
SMS marketing is the process of sending text messages to get in touch with customers. These messages pursue the aim to share different information with customers to inform them about business-related news.
In other words, SMS marketing allows you to let customers know about upcoming deals, new products, or purchase updates.
You might think – why not just use email marketing instead of SCO Marketing or SMS Marketing?
The answer to this question is relatively straightforward – an SMS marketing campaign focuses on getting time-sensitive responses. Plus, these statistics prove the following observations:
- 98% of all text messages are opened and read within minutes after receiving
- 61% of customers prefer to receive mobile offers
- 43% of customers build their interaction with a brand using text messages
SMS marketing is more user-friendly. Customers tend to reply to SMS messages more willingly in contrast to emails. It is because people spend their time with smartphones where they receive SMS messages in real-time.
Do you need more facts that prove the effectiveness of SMS marketing?
Then jump to the next chapter of this guide!
Benefits of SMS Marketing
The benefits of SMS marketing are significant. You will be surprised at how an ordinary text SMS is more effective than emails.
Here are ten benefits of SMS marketing you should take into account:
- 9/10 people open text SMS
The open rate for text SMS, in contrast to emails, is higher. 98% of people open SMS messages. While only 20% of people read emails they get.
Why does it happen?
The thing is that mobile texting uses push notifications. That’s why your customers open SMS messages right off the bat. To read emails, customers have to connect to the Internet, log in to their mail accounts, and open the message. It takes lots of time.
- 60% of people read SMS within 5 minutes
A text message is the best way to notify customers of your content. 60% of recipients will read your SMS during the first five minutes.
- You have more chances that customers will open offer messages
People like receiving offers. When buyers receive an offer message, the CTR becomes 10% higher compared to other messages (product updates, feedback, polls, etc.)
- 45% of potential customers tend to buy a product after receiving an SMS message
Consumers believe that companies that use the SMS approach are worth their attention. That’s why 45% of potential customers take action and purchase the product.
- 75% of people aged below 44 prefer to communicate with businesses using text messaging
Nowadays, people who are 44 years old (and younger) communicate with businesses using an SMS method. While teenagers spend their time on social channels, the elder generation follows the old-fashioned way of communication via mobile SMSing.
- 60% of customers prefer to make reservations using SMS
You can make a reservation in a few minutes by SMS. It doesn’t require you to visit a website, create an account (if needed), or fill in the form. Therefore, those businesses that use booking via SMS will have a 60% higher level of customer influx.
- 45% of customers respond to branded messages
The statistic shows that 45% of consumers respond to SMS messages that contain a brand name of the company. Moreover, by personalizing your SMS blast with a company’s name you will let your customers understand that it is not spam.
- 50% of customers want to get in touch with support via SMS
Almost 50% of consumers found using SMS the most convenient way to reach out to support.
- SMS subscriber list could reach 8 billion by 2023
SMS marketing gathers pace drastically. The numbers don’t lie – SMS subscribers will surpass 8 billion by 2023.
- 62% of business representatives believe that SMSing is fast
SMS messages are delivered at the speed of light. That’s why 62% of businesses prefer an SMS approach better than emails.
A few benefits behind SMS marketing that you can get during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- COVID-19 forced 64% of people to spend more time on their mobile devices
According to a Zipwhip study, the COVID-19 pandemic has locked people in their houses and forced them to spend more time hanging out with their cell phones. Therefore, the majority of respondents believed that their smartphones are the only way to stay in touch with the world.
Despite the fact, 30% of respondents haven’t felt any time changes while using their phones. Only 7% of Zipwhip respondents spent less time with the phones during a lockdown period.
- Coronavirus pandemic helped 34% of business owners got used to texting SMS
A modern-day pandemic has limited business communication dramatically. Businesses had to adapt to new work conditions and find ways to sustain a direct connection with customers.
Consequently, 34% of businesses have included SMS messaging in their marketing toolkit. It helped businesses keep connected with customers and reach out to them quickly.
- 50% of people preferred sending SMS during the lockdown period
Cell phones are among the few ways to communicate. People started to use smartphones during the lockdown more frequently. As a result, 50% of the responders preferred texting via cell phones to private communication.
As you can see, SMS marketing is rich in benefits. But how can you feel them in practice?
Let’s find out!
Usage of SMS Marketing
You may have noticed that the main top benefit of SMS marketing is a high open rate. However, SMS marketing has other benefits as well.
This type of marketing helps you to stay relevant to your customers and reach specific people at a certain point in time. Here are a few different niche-related practical examples:
- Ecommerce. Send SMS messages to your customers who abandon their shopping carts due to a payment failure. The goal of this SMS marketing campaign is to help customers complete a purchase.
- Conference activity. You can reach out to conference attendees with SMS messages during the event. Nudge people to sign up to the speaker’s social channels or buy anything from the expert.
- Restaurant business. Send “Thank you” SMS messages to your restaurant visitors. Also, you can offer them some discounts for their upcoming visit.
SMS marketing is a multi-niche strategy. Moreover, if you integrate an SMS marketing campaign with other marketing tools, you will improve the efficiency of the entire marketing performance.
Keep in mind that SMS marketing is quite cost-effective. You don’t need to invest in design, video/audio production, human resources, etc.
For example, when you create content to communicate with the audience, you try to make it engaging. You play with different tools that help you add visual elements to the content like infographics, charts, videos. Your goal is to impress the audience with content.
You don’t need all this stuff running an SMS marketing campaign.
You won’t be able to use a map maker to create a map with all locations of your shops in your text message, as an example. You can only write business addresses on how to get to the shops.
SMS Marketing Mistakes You Should Stay Away From
No one is safe from making mistakes in the business. It is a part of the game. Likely, you can always learn from others’ mistakes.
Here are four of the most common SMS marketing mistakes you should avoid:
- Sending SMS without permission
The telephone Consumer Protection Act requires businesses to obtain written permission from the customers that would allow them to reach out to consumers using SMS.
How can you get this permission?
There are several ways you can do this:
a) Ask users to provide their phone number
b) Require users to text a keyword
c) Sign up via an email link
Your audience must know that they sign up for it and can leave it if they want to.
- Give no choice to your customers
When consumers receive text messages on their phones, it might distract them somehow. Thus, it is critically important to let them know how to stop receiving messages from you. Create ideal conditions for your customers.
- One-way channel for communication
Practice shows that text messaging allows consumers to receive messages and just read them. Customers don’t have an opportunity to send feedback technically.
Instead, offer a chance to your consumers to send feedback. It will improve your business relationships.
- Show disrespect
Text messaging is one of the most private forms of reaching out to customers. Hence, send text messages to your consumers with “respect” in mind.
For example, if you have customers around the world, you must take into account the difference in time zones. Thus, when you don’t bother yourself with this nuance, some customers may receive your messages in the middle of the night.
- Use the same text both for SMS and email campaign
Sometimes marketers prefer to save their time and use the same text for two different channels – SMS and email. This is a big mistake. These channels work with their specific type of messages.
The SMS channel has a 160-character limit. It works when you need to send short and time-sensitive promotions.
The email channel is a good choice for sending a long-from message with links and media files.
Don’t mix these channels.
SMS Marketing Tips
The effectiveness of your SMS marketing campaign depends on the strategies and techniques you use. A paramount objective of your SMS marketing campaign is to make customers view your messages.
There are a few core principles you should follow:
- Create a short text message
- Write a clear and straightforward call-to-action
- Don’t bother your customers with multiple messages
If you can use emails to write long-form messages, the SMS you send should be short and sweet. It is critically important to write an appealing CTA in the text message. The idea behind every CTA is to force people to do an action.
Check out two examples of a text SMS message:
“For more information, visit our site“
“Follow through the link (insert link) and get a 15% discount for that product. This offer expires in five days“
The first example of the CTA doesn’t attract the attention of customers. The second example contains a link to click and an offering to get a discount. Plus, it creates a sense of urgency.
Now, let’s review four actionable tips that will help you boost your SMS marketing campaign.
- Analyze when it is the right time to send SMS messages
You are already aware of the fact that SMS marketing allows you to reach out to your customers immediately. No other marketing channels can boast of this option. However, you still need to identify trigger moments. The moments when people will likely receive your message.
For instance, when a customer opts in to make a purchase, it is a trigger moment to send an SMS message. You can “welcome” this person or invite him/her to become a part of a community.
Other trigger moments can be – flash sales, promotions, holidays.
- Split your audience into segments
If you think that you can send a blast of SMS messages – you are wrong. SMS marketing starts to work when you send text messages to specific people. And to find these specific people you will need to split the audience into segments.
There are many options to segment your audience. You can sort customers based on the stage of the marketing funnel they are. The other variants are – age, demographics, hobbies, interests, goals, etc.
- Abide by the rules of SMS marketing
SMS marketing has a set of rules you should follow. Since you use customers’ private numbers, you need to protect their data for all costs. Also, be mindful of the laws and regulations every country has.
Be transparent with your customers. Let them know why you’re contacting people, create an easy opt-in procedure, and don’t complicate the process of opt-out. Don’t spam!
- Don’t limit your SMS marketing campaign
At first glance, SMS marketing is just sending text messages with ordinary business offers. Despite this fact, you can diversify your SMS pitch.
To get you a few ideas, check out these examples:
- TULA Skincare used SMS marketing that helped them build a community with customers
- The National Cancer Institute applied SMS marketing to get in touch with young people and explained to them the difficulties of quitting smoking
- Arby used SMS marketing to build brand awareness by encouraging customers in their No Kid Hungry philanthropic campaign
There is no limitation in bringing new ideas to your SMS marketing campaign.
Technical Difficulties of SMS Marketing You Might Face
You are not free from facing technical difficulties when running SMS marketing campaigns. What are the main issues that may occur?
The first issue that you might stumble upon is sending text messages overseas. The messages can be delayed or undelivered. Plus, you won’t be able to track a delivery rate.
Apart from this delivery issue, there are specific communication regulations that you should follow. For instance, the UK’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations provide people with a set of rules that predetermines how people can react to text messages.
Some countries require a sender identification code to let customers know who is contacting them.
Is SMS Marketing Worth the Candle?
To make the process of setting up an SMS marketing campaign easier and safer, you can build a partnership with an SMS API provider. The main function of any SMS API provider is to reduce the volume of technical issues for your SMS marketing campaigns.
Practice shows that SMS marketing is widely used by companies across different niches.
One more thing you should draw your attention to is that traditional marketing channels have apparent problems you can’t ignore. Print and TV are pretty expensive. Email marketing faces spam filters. Mobile advertising struggles against ad-blocking.
SMS marketing gains traction. It is definitely worth the candle.
To Sum Up
SMS marketing is a popular strategy in marketing that helps grow business tremendously.
By implementing this marketing strategy, you will have more chances to succeed in interaction with customers. This way of communication works perfectly when it comes to giving a final nudge to make a purchase.
Take SMS marketing seriously. Invest your time and efforts. You will see that this type of marketing really works!
If you feel that this guide lacks some tips, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Mariya is an SEO consultant and she loves to write attention grabbing content, when not writing you can find her playing her guitar