04 Mar Be Direct with SMS Marketing
The world of digital marketing is ever-expanding. This is great news for your business! Many methods of digital marketing mean there are always innovative ways to reach your customers and target audience. Social media marketing, email marketing and paid advertising are just a few examples. However, one more channel you should strongly consider including in your digital marketing strategy is SMS marketing!
Also known as text message marketing, SMS marketing is a great way to connect with your customers in a direct way that can drive great results. In fact, 95% of SMS messages are read by recipients in the first three minutes! But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
What Does SMS Mean, and Why Should You Care?
Let’s start with the most basic question: What is SMS marketing? SMS stands for short message service, which is a type of text message. Therefore, as previously stated, SMS marketing is another term for text message marketing. Similar to email marketing, SMS messages are sent to users who opt in to receiving promotional content from a business or organization.
SMS marketing generally works with an automated system that individuals can opt in to by sending a short code to the designated number. The system then catalogs the number and sends both a confirmation message and a code for opting out at any time. Remember: your intended recipients must opt in to receive your messages. Unsolicited text messages can result in heavy fines, such as the almost $10 million fine that Domino’s Pizza was ordered to pay in 2013 for unsolicited texts.
However, when you follow the regulations, SMS marketing is one of the easiest ways to grow a database of loyal followers who are interested in receiving information about your business — such as sales — and who are likely to act on any calls-to-action (CTAs) you include.
You can also share reminders about upcoming events and the latest news about your business. Include shortened URLs to drive traffic to your website or for quick customer surveys. Allison Holt of OptinMonster offers six ways that businesses can use SMS marketing to boost brand awareness or improve customer engagement:
- Offer a coupon.
- Promote a sale.
- Announce new products.
- Send updates and notifications.
- Create appointment reminders.
- Collect customer feedback.
Customers feel positively about SMS marketing, too! Consumers are almost five times more likely to reply to an SMS marketing message than a marketing email. Lauren Pope – content marketing manager for Oracle – provides the following fascinating statistics in her article for G2:
- 85% of consumers prefer to receive an SMS to a voice call or an email.
- 66% of consumers either prefer mobile messaging or consider it their second choice for communications when compared to phone and email.
- Consumers are 134% more likely to respond to a text than an email, and 86% of businesses using texting find it generates higher engagement than email.
Other benefits of SMS marketing include easy customer segmentation and cost-effectiveness. The bottom line is that your business could benefit greatly from an SMS marketing strategy!
How to Do SMS Marketing Right
It might be easy to get started with SMS marketing, but your business will only see those benefits if you’re doing it right. Here’s how to effectively leverage the power of SMS marketing:
Know your customers — Using a CRM platform in conjunction with your SMS marketing campaigns will ensure you’re sending the correct messages and campaigns to the correct segmented customers.
Be clear — The first “S” in SMS stands for short, and that’s absolutely right! Your messages need to be clear and engaging, all within a 160-character limit.
Include calls-to-action (CTAs) — Similar to being clear, your CTAs must also be concise. Some examples include “show this text” for in-person offers, or CTAs for text with hyperlinks such as “buy now” or “click here.” Keep it simple!
Send messages at the right time — You’ll need to effectively plan your campaigns to send out at key moments. This is often right before a sale or promotion, not days in advance. Of course, also use common sense and avoid sending automated messages to customers at odd hours. Try to keep everything between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. as much as possible.
Encourage new sign-ups — Your SMS marketing is only effective if it keeps growing. To do that, you’ll need to make sure customers are always signing up and opting in. Promote your SMS marketing by including CTAs to opt in on in-store signage, on social media, on your website, in email newsletters and elsewhere. Just be sure not to overdo it and come across as annoying!
Prioritize your loyal customers — Your loyal customers are the ones who will be the first to make any purchase or take advantage of any deal. Be sure to devote additional time and resources in your SMS strategy to make sure they feel valued. This can include special offers and extra benefits!
Avoid These SMS Marketing Mistakes
Not only are there things you need to make sure you’re doing right when it comes to SMS marketing, but there are also four important mistakes to avoid:
Sending too many messages — Customers are already overwhelmed with marketing messages from other SMS campaigns, marketing emails, social media posts and more. Annoying your customers by sending messages too frequently or too many in a row is a sure-fire way to lose subscribers fast — and your ROI with them!
Not including opt out directions — Legally, you have to include a clear way for customers to opt out of receiving your messages at any time. Besides that, it’s just common courtesy if you value your customers. Make sure that aside from the confirmation message they receive when they sign up, the first message they should also receive includes directions on what to do to unsubscribe at any time.
Leaving out CTAs — Not including a CTA makes your marketing messages nearly pointless. If you want to see an increase in sales and conversions, be sure to always include one of those quick but clear CTAs we mentioned earlier.
Forgetting introductions — Neglecting to introduce your business or organization in your first SMS marketing message is a fast track to getting blocked and put on a spam list. Make sure your customers know it’s your business that is messaging them!
The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion
Unlike many other marketing channels, text marketing is economical and within easy reach of most businesses. Virtual Stacks Systems offers a robust SMS text marketing solution ideal for every need – and provides tracking and reports so you can see the success of your campaigns.
Combined with our other services – such as email marketing and social media marketing – we can give your company a comprehensive solution that positions it as the ultimate destination for the customer journey. Contact us today to learn more and get started!