There are so many marketing channels at your fingertips these days, it’s difficult to know which of them best suits your needs while remaining cost effective and engaging for customers. Cost is especially relevant to smaller businesses and start-ups whose budgets are a bit tighter than most. They don’t have spare time or cash to waste on imprudent marketing efforts.
To avoid this, you want an approach and platform that can deliver that without all the costly (and distracting) bells and whistles. Businesses and brands in this position are turning to SMS marketing to grow their reach and engage more meaningfully with their consumer base.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into what exactly SMS marketing is and how it can benefit your business.
What Is SMS Marketing?
A way of sending promotional, transactional, and other marketing-related texts to customers via their mobile phones, SMS (short message service) marketing has become incredibly popular. Although started in rather rudimentary ways in the 1990s, SMS marketing has recently become a powerful outreach channel with the ascension of SMS marketing software and ubiquity of mobile phones—smartphones, in particular.
Customers opt in to receive SMS texts from a particular company or brand by texting a specific keyword and shortcode to join a campaign. A keyword is a phrase or term specific to the company, while the shortcode is the precise number—which can range between five or six digits and a typical phone number’s length.
For example, a prospective lead might receive the following SMS text: We’re finally in your neighborhood! Text “MISTERROGERS” to (123) 456-7890 to receive updates on activities!
Once texting back the keyword and shortcode, a customer will begin receiving messages from you. You now have an instantaneous, two-way connection with members of your target audience. (But don’t abuse that privilege!)
With more than 7 billion mobile phone users in the world, as reported by global market and consumer data firm Statista, SMS marketing enables businesses to reach consumers at any moment, wherever they are—although you absolutely need to be deliberate about when you send SMS campaigns. Seriously. Be smart about it.
In addition to what have become traditional marketing avenues, such as email and social media campaigns, SMS marketing is another arrow in your quiver. And with 160-character-limit SMS texts, you’ll have to be incredibly precise with messaging, and selective with whom you target. And believe it or not, consumers actually prefer SMS communications over many other marketing channels.
The list of applications is long, so let’s just look at a few groups who can benefit from SMS marketing.
Benefits of SMS Marketing for Retailers, Service Providers & Travel Companies
While SMS marketing can be advantageous to nearly any industry (if you have a business or organization looking to grow, then that probably includes you), let’s briefly consider how it benefits retailers, service providers, and travel companies.
SMS Marketing for Retailers
Of all industries, retailers might stand to benefit the most from SMS marketing. In fact, 77% of consumers will like you better if you utilize SMS, according to research by OpenMarket, a subsidiary of cloud-based mobile-messaging solutions provider Infobip. Whether you’re informing customers about upcoming deals and special sales, updates to your store, or offering promos, SMS is an effective way to communicate directly.
Imagine timing an SMS campaign to go out the morning of a big sale while a consumer is on their way to work downtown, where your store is located. There’s a chance this text might nudge them a bit when they pass by later in the day.
Alternatively, if you’re an outdoor gear provider, you might send an SMS campaign the afternoon before a region receives fresh snow, encouraging customers to gear up in preparation for it.
A sample text might read something like: Jennifer, you may have seen the weather report for the big snow storm? Be sure you have all your cold weather gear. We’ve got some icy deals going on right now at Outdoor Gear!
SMS Marketing for Service Providers
Of course, service providers can utilize SMS similarly as retailers, but there’s a bit more they can do, as well. Given the frequently more personal nature of service industries, a provider may need to give customers or clients more regular communications regarding services, such as upcoming appointments, for example.
SMS marketing enables service providers to deliver reminders the day before or morning of an appointment. Service providers can avoid being plagued by routine no shows that can undermine their bottom line. Clients can also receive helpful notifications so they don’t forget about important appointments, such as a dentist visit, for instance.
A sample SMS text from an auto shop might read: Lucinda, it’s Timothy from Gomez Auto. You have an appointment at 3:45pm today. Please arrive 15 mins early. If you need to reschedule, you can click here. Hope to see you soon!
SMS Marketing for Travel Companies
Similar to retailers and service providers, travel companies might utilize SMS marketing to communicate about promotions or upcoming appointments, but they can also send SMS campaigns that might be relevant to a customer’s travel preferences.
Suppose a client wants to be notified as soon as possible when a cheap flight is available to Scotland. You might text them the day an inexpensive flight comes up. They want to get after those flights quickly, otherwise seats will likely be gone.
A sample text might say: Hey, Stefano! There are one-way flights from New York to Scotland available for under $499. Book your seat now at Cheapairtravel.com before the flight fills up. Happy travels!
As you can probably surmise, these same SMS marketing techniques can be applied to most industries, but to truly succeed you’ll need a nimble and powerful SMS marketing software. With a thoughtful strategy and the technology to execute it, you’ll soon see your sales increase and leads generate at a faster rate, while providing more engaging forms of communication with your customers.
Salesmsg is a scalable, but simple, two-way texting and calling platform for businesses. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of SMS marketing and how it can grow your brand.