If you’re not adding SMS marketing to your multi-channel marketing campaigns, you’re missing out. With over 292 million people in North America using text messaging services, there is a lot to be gained from robust SMS marketing campaign strategies. Several industries have benefited from SMS marketing service. But what is SMS marketing and how is it used? Here are some of the ways different industries use SMS marketing:
• Health and Beauty: Salon owners use SMS marketing to send appointment reminders and reduce or eliminate no-shows.
• Hospitality: Business owners in this industry use location-based marketing to send last-minute hotel or restaurant discounts and special offers via SMS.
• Retail: Retailers send their customers loyalty rewards, special deals and discounts through SMS.
• Travel: Travel agencies use SMS marketing to confirm or update flight schedules and send travel ticket QR codes, flight schedule reminders, details on nearest car rentals and special perks.
• Real Estate: Real estate companies or agents send leads invitations to open house events, listing information and links to book a viewing appointment.
Knowing the practical uses of SMS marketing helps you better understand the impact of text message marketing on today’s modern businesses and how you can use the best SMS marketing strategies to boost your revenue.
Let’s Investigate SMS Marketing for Your Business
As any business owner would, you’ve probably wondered how else you can market your products and services and drive potential customers further down the funnel. SMS marketing could be your solution.
Your customers get plenty of emails regularly. They might not remember the email you sent them last week about the sale you’re having on payday or the freebies you’re giving away today. SMS marketing reminds them on the day and the brevity of your SMS promotional material means your receivers get the gist right away.
Perhaps you have yourself a highly engaged customer base. Do you find yourself stressing over the need to reply to every single SMS you get? Customers appreciate speedy replies, but a busy business owner may not have all the time to reply to every single one of them. Automating some of the moving parts seems like an efficient option.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing is a powerful tool that can propel your business to success. This entails sending promotional materials and transactional messages through SMS. This can be in the form of sales deals, promotional offers and loyalty rewards. It could also be an appointment reminder or an invitation to answer a survey. They may take various forms but they have the same goal of marketing your brand across. These messages are sent to recipients who have given you their consent to receive SMS from your company.
But before you create your SMS campaign strategies, it is important to understand what SMS marketing is definitively.
As a business owner you’ve probably pondered questions like:
• What is SMS marketing, exactly?
• What is SMS marketing going to do for my business?
• Will my clients relate to SMS marketing?
• What are the best text message marketing strategies?
In a nutshell, SMS marketing utilizes a mobile phone’s SMS or text messaging service to communicate with their customers and to keep them engaged. One SMS has a 160-character limit and if you go over this limit your message is sent in two parts. So, it’s best that SMS marketers make their message copy concise yet compelling.
Some digital marketing agencies that offer SMS marketing services use SMS technology to support their online reputation management and customer engagement efforts. You can send customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, offer customer loyalty perks and greet customers on their birthdays this way.
So, should you explore hiring an SMS marketing company or buying text message marketing software or apps with bulk SMS marketing capabilities?
Let’s take a look at how text message marketing works and why companies still run SMS marketing campaigns to this day.
How Does SMS Marketing Work?
For customers to receive text message marketing offers, they’ll need to give their permission. They may do this over the phone, at your brick-and-mortar store or on your website. This can also be done by texting a keyword to a phone number or a five- to six-digit shortcode. Texting these keywords means they’re giving their consent to be added to your SMS marketing campaign.
How do businesses keep up with their hundreds of text message marketing recipients? What does it take to deliver quality SMS marketing campaigns that deliver good return on investment (ROI)?
The answer to both of these questions is automation.
Building a solid and profitable relationship with your customers requires consistency. Drip marketing campaigns – where messages are automatically sent out to contacts on a schedule – help keep your business top-of-mind with customers and prospects. This marketing automation is commonly used in email marketing, survey campaigns and SMS marketing.
In order to have a successful SMS marketing campaign, you’ll want to build and manage a database that contains your customers’ contact information. With SMS marketing, customers and prospects will need to first confirm their consent to receiving these marketing materials.
You might have seen ads asking you to send a keyword to a certain number in exchange for a product, service or a treat. You might have also seen online pop-ups asking you to sign up. This is among the ways that a company can build a database of potential customers for their drip marketing campaigns.
SMS Marketing Software and Apps
If you prefer to manage your SMS marketing campaign yourself or have an in-house marketing team, there are text message marketing software apps worth investing in that can automate your SMS sending. SMS marketing software apps are similar to email marketing software but designed to send concise SMSes, not larger content.
These SMS marketing software and email marketing software apps allow you to customize your messages and send them to all the recipients in your database in just a few clicks. Several text message marketing software apps integrate well with other systems, such as CRM (customer relationship management) tools.
In other words, your text message marketing software can communicate with your CRM and vice versa. Such integration allows you to sync your contacts from your CRM to your SMS marketing app and to feed whatever data you gathered from your SMS marketing campaigns into your CRM, saving you time and boosting your sales and marketing efforts.
There are a few text message marketing software options available, so you’ll want to select the best SMS marketing app that suits your business needs.
So, how do you leverage this technology and gain good returns? You’ll need a robust SMS marketing plan for your business.
Is SMS Marketing Better Than Email Marketing?
SMS marketing services often get compared to email marketing services, so let’s touch on this topic.
Much like SMS marketing, email marketing services entail sending content to your current and prospective customers. With email marketing, you can send similar information without the character restrictions of SMS messaging. As such, email marketers maximize this channel by sending newsletters, long-form informative content and press releases.
You’ll find most email marketers adding interactive content, such as images, videos and GIFs, in their visual promotional content – a limitation of SMS marketing.
This begs the question of which marketing channel is more effective.
SMS marketing and email marketing each have their own sets of pros and cons. For example, a customer is more likely to read an appointment reminder sent via SMS than an email reminder. However, customers will appreciate thoroughly written technical product information that can only be sent through email.
There is no definitive answer to this question. It works best for companies to assess their goals, budgets and expected results to make a sound decision.
What Are the Benefits of SMS Marketing?
An estimated 5 billion people across the globe use SMS service. While this does not automatically guarantee marketing success, it poses a broad market to tap.
Here are more reasons why SMS marketing is right for your business and why you should invest in launching the best SMS marketing campaigns possible, whether on your own or with the help of an SMS marketing agency:
• High open rates
SMS open rates can be as high as 98 percent within 15 minutes after delivery, making this a viable direct marketing channel. This is important for time-critical messages because studies show that your target audiences will likely read them almost immediately.
Over 50 percent of SMS marketing campaigns generate successful ROI when integrated with other marketing channels like social media and email marketing services.
• Customer engagement
Customers enjoy exclusive treatments, and a well-crafted SMS marketing copy can make them feel special. When consumers are not satisfied with the level of support and attention the company is providing, that company may experience a 45 percent decrease in customer value.
• Brand exposure
According to studies, 45 percent of consumers reply to branded text blasts. If you’re a startup company looking to establish brand awareness, you can get your target audience’s attention by launching the best text message marketing strategies.
• Data collection
About 31 percent of recipients respond to an SMS survey. This makes it an effective channel for your online reputation management campaigns. Your customers’ feedback is an excellent source of valuable insights into how your brand is performing.
• Brand loyalty
Well-planned bulk SMS marketing efforts drive customer engagement and brand loyalty. Customers don’t want to read generic and irrelevant content, so you’ll want to personalize your messages about special deals and promotions. You can even send them a special message on their birthdays.
• Social media growth
SMS marketing can grow your social media followers and increase your online reviews. A well-curated SMS copy may compel your audiences to follow your page or submit their reviews.
• Data monitoring
This is an essential practice if you want to improve and deliver the best text message marketing campaigns to your valued customers. Measuring the success of your bulk SMS marketing efforts is easy because your SMS recipients only have two options: to click on the links provided or to disregard them. If most of your customers are not clicking your suggested links, there’s a clear need to revise your strategy.
SMS Marketing Best Practices for Excellent Results
Observing SMS marketing best practices helps you enjoy significant and positive outcomes from your SMS marketing efforts. Here are SMS marketing best practices you should employ today:
Send well-timed messages
Send messages when your customers are likely at the point of making a purchasing decision. For example, if your restaurant is offering lunch specials, you might want to send those promotional SMS messages mid-morning.
Don’t send messages too early in the morning or too late in the evening. These may just be disregarded because of poor timing. However, do send discount codes at random times as this helps put your brand in your customers’ minds.
Send messages about exclusives deals or promotions
Send limited-time offers and discounts to entice your customers to buy your products.
Send reminders and appointment confirmation
Use SMS marketing to remind your customers about their scheduled appointments or invite them to book an appointment using a link embedded in your SMS message.
Keep it professional
Keep your messages friendly, concise and straightforward. Avoid using text-speak as it can appear unprofessional.
Have an opt-out option
Give your customers the freedom to opt out anytime by clearly laying out the steps on how to accomplish this.
Location, location, location
Use location-based marketing to increase foot traffic in your store.
Make use of technology
Utilize technology such as text message marketing software to schedule your messaging and monitor your SMS marketing campaigns’ progress.
Let email and SMS work together
Boost your SMS marketing with email marketing and vice versa. You can purchase SMS marketing software and email marketing software if you decide to go this route.
Keep an eye on your efforts and results
Consistently observe these best SMS marketing best practices and monitor your progress.
Employ a professional
If you’re not confident about running a successful SMS marketing campaign, hire experts from an SMS marketing company who can deliver growth-focused and high-converting SMS marketing service offerings. Your SMS marketing company will have the tools and expertise to launch a custom SMS marketing campaign that suits your needs and monitor the results of these efforts.
A well-planned and properly executed SMS marketing campaign can help bring your business closer to your customers and prospects. Aside from promoting your products and services, this can drive customer engagement and inspire brand loyalty.
There is a wealth of information online about SMS marketing, but if you still feel unsure of where to start, look to hiring an expert. Thrive is a top-notch SMS marketing agency and a full-service online marketing agency that provides SMS marketing services that engage your customers throughout the entire customer journey. We know how to make your SMS marketing campaign work harder for you. Our experts can supplement any of your current digital campaigns with SMS marketing, email marketing or a full-scope drip marketing campaign.
Need help in building high-quality SMS marketing campaigns that increase brand awareness and customer engagement? Contact our SMS marketing company today, and let’s create the right SMS marketing strategy that can help you achieve your business goals.