Over the years, Short Message Service (SMS) marketing has become a concrete and cost-effective approach to spreading the word about a brand to a target audience.
Today, mobile phones have become fully integrated into people’s lifestyles. For this reason, mobile phones will continue to become an effective marketing channel associated with a wide, extensive reach.
Mobile marketing is a rather old digital marketing concept. Even so, it has only evolved in versatility, reach, and overall effectiveness. This article will take a closer look at what SMS marketing is about, what makes it effective, and how to approach it.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing uses text messages to inform a target audience about brand messages, like sales promos and news. It is one way of establishing better awareness of your brand on a personal level. A unique aspect of mobile marketing is that it avoids marketing noise, such as unrelated email or social media ads.
SMS marketing is permission-based, meaning before you can send messages to your target market, you need to gain their permission—usually during purchases or sign-ups or when you promise to offer value, such as future exclusive deals, contests, policy changes, etc. Once you gain opt-ins, you can send either bulk text messages to groups or customized or personalized messages.
To complement your SMS marketing strategy, consider tapping a reliable provider of ringless voicemail drops. Ringless voicemail (RVM) drops are personalized prerecorded messages that can serve as an adjunct to your text messages. It’s also called a prerecorded voicemail. As the name suggests, it has a ringless feature, so the recipient’s phone will not ring but only receive a notification of a new message.
Why Use SMS For Marketing?
As a marketing medium, SMS stands out due to various factors. One notable aspect is that text messages readily reach recipients, even if they’re offline. Additionally, SMS inboxes lack spam filters.
One feature that makes text messaging especially stand out is its structure. Generally, a text message has a brief format, usually only containing 160 characters, making it easy for the recipients to read it and then take action immediately. SMS or text messages are read in just minutes, usually three minutes after recipients receive one. Compared to email, SMS boasts a higher open rate.
Essentials Of A Successful SMS Marketing Campaign
In implementing an SMS marketing strategy, you must know the essentials and best practices for running a successful campaign.
- Fully Understand The Objectives Of Your Brand
Before diving into SMS marketing, one of the crucial considerations is understanding your brand’s goals. Doing so ensures you develop a campaign that considers your current business goals.
Make it a priority to establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific (SMART) goals. Keeping this in mind ensures that your campaign pushes through in a manner that complies with your objectives. Different elements of your organization may impact your SMS campaign, so it’s crucial to convey your goals and strategy straightforwardly.
- Obtain Permission From Your Target Audience
Over the years, SMS marketing has undergone significant changes. Before, companies spammed their target audience with text messages. Today, it’s considered illegal unless you have obtained unambiguous consent. The old practice of investing in a massive database of contact details and sending out multiple text messages is no longer acceptable. A company caught violating this can incur a hefty fine and other penalties.
If you want your SMS marketing campaign to be successful, always obtain permission before sending messages. When you ask permission, you’ll know who among the audience is interested and who isn’t. If you get in touch with unsought people, you may risk losing credibility, and your clients will eventually unsubscribe from your messages.
- Determine A Suitable Time To Reach The Audience And Maintain Consistency
Timing is also crucial to make this strategy effective. It’s best to schedule the sending of your text messages between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The reason for this recommended time frame is that the average 9–5 workforce will be able to check out their text messages.
Remember that being unable to maintain consistency in the timing is a common mistake. Make it a priority to send at least one message every week. Doing so will ensure your brand will stay in the mind of your customers.
- Reach Out Based On The Customer Journey And Consider The Business Cycle
In line with timing, you should also consider where the recipient is in their engagement with your business. In other words, you can get the best outcome by making the text messages relevant to their current phase in the sales process. Remember that relevant and well-timed messages are the key to boosting sales.
SMS marketing is the ideal choice if you want to drive immediate sales. Consider time-sensitive offers that give your audience something to look forward to, especially during low seasons. Often, sending text messages that offer an exclusive and time-limited sale may help engage clients that have been inactive for some time.
- Integrate SMS Marketing With Other Marketing Platforms
Text messaging is undeniably a force that can stand out on its own. However, flexibility is also one of its major selling points. It works even better if it’s a component of an overarching campaign that utilizes various channels, including social media and email. For example, you send text messages to inform prospects about a prelaunch offer by having them engage with you on social media.
Text messaging with a specific role in your brand’s marketing campaign can contribute to better revenue. At the same time, establish better relationships with your audience.
- Create A Schedule For Your Text Messages And Automated Workflows.
To maximize your brand’s achievement, consider scheduled texts to encourage repeat engagement, such as monthly or yearly reminders or seasonal announcements.
At the same time, texting via automated workflows may be the ideal way to reach out to specific customers using relevant messages at the right time. The advantage is that it’ll not require any effort on your part. The approach is more likely to entice audiences to purchase or perform the desired action.
- Maintain Brief And Straightforward Text Messages
Text messages should be direct to the point and simple. If you send out lengthy messages, your target audience may need more time to read them and may even opt out of receiving messages in the future.
A text message typically has a limit of 160 characters. The ideal format is this: catch your audience’s attention, convey your marketing message, and conclude with a call to action (CTA). For example, when you want to present your target audience with an upcoming promo, you can grab their attention by creating an eye-catching greeting, relaying information about the promo without any unnecessary details, and then explaining how to avail of the promo.
- Avoid Bombarding Your Audience
Some companies make the mistake of sending irrelevant news or promotions. If you find it tempting to convey every piece of news or promotion about your business, take a step back and rethink whether it’s relevant to the target.
It’s crucial to remember that consumers may find it hard to ignore text messages, unlike social media or billboard advertisements. However, if your audience receives many text messages about your brand in a day, they’ll likely opt out at some point.
The best approach is to create a schedule for your text messages. Ideally, schedule sending text messages while limiting the number of messages you send to a specific group of customers.
- Use Incentives And The Element Of Immediacy To Your Advantage
Consumers who opt into your text messages should be your priority and considered your loyal customers. And you should give your loyal clients extra perks. The ideal approach is incentivizing them by offering them something valuable they cannot refuse. Today, you’re likely to find many brands offering a discount to save on their next purchase.
During the initial phases of your SMS marketing campaign, especially while building your list, it’s best to start with a low-value offer. The approach may help drive opt-ins and initial growth to your list of customers.
After steadily building your list with a good number of opt-ins, you can level up the incentives such as ‘buy one get one’ (BOGO) promos. You can also offer nonmonetary incentives, such as reminders, privileges, personalization, access, and engagement. A tip to remember is to incorporate your incentives in your CTA to ensure more opt-ins.
Text messages are considered the most immediate channel to establish a connection with your audience. People will check any phone notification almost instinctively, and with texts, the recipient doesn’t have to be online to receive (or read) your message. There’s lesser noise in your interaction with them, which can translate to a better, faster, and more relevant engagement experience.
The immediacy of SMS messages has great potential to drive the desired customer action. But, as such, it also has the potential to be disruptive to someone, so it bears repeating to make sure you deliver a straightforward and concise CTA. Make your message worth their while; make it enticing, brief, and direct to the point.
- Create A Straightforward Call-to-action
One of the reasons SMS marketing campaigns fail is that the CTA is unclear and not compelling enough. In most failed cases, the CTA wasn’t showcased in a way that the recipient could easily recognize or understand the next step to take.
If you want your SMS marketing campaign to be successful, you should consider two crucial elements: the keyword (i.e., the word portion) and the shortcode (i.e., the number portion). Generally, the common and ideal practice is to capitalize the keyword (e.g., 1-800-CLAIM). Doing so ensures that both elements stand out within your call-to-action and are easier to memorize or retain.
- Maintain Constant Monitoring Of Key Metrics
One way to ensure your SMS marketing campaign is successful is to measure the key metrics consistently. Here are some metrics to follow when executing your SMS marketing campaign.
- Monitor the subscriber growth, ideally weekly, to pinpoint the activities that play a key role in growing your list.
- The churn rate is the frequency at which consumers opt out of your text messages over time. Ideally, your campaign should stay within the 2–3% churn rate.
- The redemption rate is monitored on a campaign basis to know the percentage of customers who redeemed your offers and the rate.
- Cross-channel engagement based on keywords helps you figure out the media types and locations that perform best and make the necessary optimizations.
As you can see, knowing and measuring the key metrics will provide you with insight into the overall status of your SMS marketing campaign.
- Offer An Unsubscribe Option
While the last thing you want to happen is to get your audience to opt-out of your brand’s text messages, you should also make it straightforward for consumers. The reason for this is to make them more eager to sign up for your text messages from the start.
The ideal approach is to make it easy for consumers to opt-out anytime. You can offer this option by providing an unsubscribe link they can readily click or sending a reply to your message with the STOP keyword.
Since spreading awareness about the brand and widening reach is at the core of every business, an SMS marketing strategy is worth considering or incorporating into a marketing campaign. It’s an affordable, flexible, and immediate way to increase and improve the customer’s engagement and overall experience.
Concocting the best messaging strategy requires customer research and careful planning (note that not all types of brands may be able to benefit from SMS marketing). Just as important is an even more careful execution. When text messages are especially relevant and valuable, rather than spammy or intrusive, they can significantly give your brand a positive boost. So, before rowing the boat, know the essentials and best practices in ensuring a successful SMS marketing campaign for your brand.