According to statistics, there are 6.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. The same statistics also show that adults worldwide spend 2 hours and 55 minutes on their smartphones daily. Additionally, 69% of internet users worldwide prefer using their smartphones when looking for information online or browsing the World Wide Web.
The above numbers are enough reasons to invest in SMS marketing. As long as it is created carefully and implemented consistently, SMS marketing can become your key to gaining new customers, retaining old ones, increasing revenue, and attaining long-term success in today's competitive business landscape.
This article will discuss everything you need to learn about SMS marketing - from the most effective SMS marketing strategies to tips and tricks on creating effective SMS marketing campaigns. By the end of this article, you'll be able to use SMS messages to contribute to your business's success!
But First, What is SMS Marketing?
As the name suggests, SMS marketing is a marketing strategy that uses text messages to send customers promotions, updates, and news. The term "SMS" is an acronym for short message service, and businesses worldwide use SMS to engage and interact with their customers on a more intimate or personal level.
The text messages sent in SMS marketing only contain up to 160 characters and can be made up of clickable phone numbers and links, emojis, and texts. Depending on your goals, you can send two types of text messages when you implement an SMS marketing program: campaign and transactional messages. Campaign messages are used to communicate promotions or general information. In contrast, transactional SMS messages are one-to-one messages triggered by a specific behavior or event (e.g., shipping updates of a product a customer ordered or an abandoned cart left by a visitor on your website).
Marketing using text messages became increasingly popular in the early 2000s when businesses in Asian and European countries started collecting phone numbers and sending wanted (sometimes unwanted) content to thousands of recipients. By 2002, 250 billion SMS messages were sent to and from different parts of the globe.
Businesses can invest in different marketing campaigns, but using SMS marketing messages is still one of the most effective. For one, SMS marketing is highly effective because it adapts to B2B and B2C audiences. An SMS marketing strategy can be used by commercial businesses, public- and private-sector companies, and even internal communications by businesses. An SMS marketing campaign is also versatile as businesses operating in various industries can use it - regardless if you're running a business in healthcare, retail, and food, you can use text message marketing to inform your audience about your latest updates and promotions.
Why Should You Use SMS Marketing?
Large and small business owners need to be careful with the marketing platform they choose to use. Creating and implementing a marketing strategy requires a lot of resources - time, money, and effort - and spending these on a strategy that generates little results can hurt different aspects of the business.
If you're looking for a cost-effective marketing strategy, integrate SMS marketing into your existing strategy. Well-planned SMS campaigns can provide the following benefits:
Has the Best Engagement Rate of Any Marketing Platform
Email marketing is no longer as effective as before because people tend to leave their emails unopened or unread for days. Phone calls, on the other hand, are often unanswered. Fortunately, an SMS marketing message is often read immediately after a recipient receives one. This is one of the reasons why investing in SMS marketing software is a wise investment for businesses.
It’s Easy to Track
Tracking your marketing efforts is just as important as creating and implementing them. How will you know if you're making progress without monitoring your digital marketing strategy? Or if your marketing communications are bringing benefits to your business?
Another benefit of an SMS campaign is that it's very easy to track. There are now analytic tools that help you determine the effectiveness of your mobile marketing campaign by checking different metrics, such as the number of customers who engage with your brand via text messaging and the Return of Investment or ROI.
Using a marketing strategy that's easy to track will help you improve your campaign moving forward as you know which to improve, retain, and discontinue using. This will enable you to streamline your resources, so you can double them on strategies that actually work.
Increases Customer Engagement
Engaging with your customers is a must for your business to succeed. The more engaged customers are to your brand, the easier it'll be for you to foster customer loyalty. This can significantly improve your branding and drive sales to your business.
Using SMS marketing services is one of the best ways to engage with your customers. Text messages allow you to engage with your customers regardless of where they are in the marketing funnel. Do you want to inform your existing customers about your brand's upcoming promos and discounts? Send them a text message about when and how they can avail themselves of these gimmicks. Are you looking for ways to connect with your SMS subscribers through social media? Use SMS messaging to send them links to your profiles available on multiple channels.
As mentioned, SMS marketing strategies are highly versatile, so you can customize them to better fit the needs and wants of your target audience. This will enable you to engage with them and create professional, long-term relationships!
Accessibility to Consumers
Billions of people use smartphones every single day. Statistics show that some people have never gone longer than 24 hours without their cell phones. This status quo is beneficial when you use an SMS marketing service because the more people depend on their smartphones, the easier it'll be for you to reach them.
Instead of focusing on one target audience, SMS marketing enables you to reach out to many. This broadens your reach, significantly increasing your chances of converting customers. By implementing SMS marketing, you'll have unlimited contacts, which often results in better revenues and a customer base.
Enables Businesses to Learn More About Their Target Audience
Your business will not operate or thrive without your customers, so you must exert resources to know your customers. How can you earn more or stand out from the competition if you don't know which products or services your customers expect?
Another benefit of using an SMS program as part of your marketing campaign is that it enables businesses to gather information about their target audience. You can send a survey to your target audience using a text message to collect data. For example, if you're in the process of improving your service, you can have your customers answer a poll on how effective they think your existing services are. This way, you'll know what your customers want in your brand. You can also use a text message to collect data about your customers' demographics, like their location, gender, age, and lifestyle.
Customers Can Opt In or Opt Out
Giving your customers options can help with your branding. This enables them to personalize their experience with your brand to fit their lifestyle better. With SMS marketing, you can offer customers options because they can opt in or opt out.
Customers can opt in on your SMS marketing platforms by signing up for your newsletter or subscribing to a multimedia messaging service. Conversely, they can quickly opt out by discontinuing the use of these services.
Providing options can prevent customers from being frustrated about your brand or the marketing channels you're using. This will help you create a more positive, pleasant brand in their eyes, which can eventually convince them to patronize your offerings.
Works With Other Types of Marketing Channels
Nowadays, using one marketing campaign is no longer enough to drive traffic and increase revenue. As the business landscape is becoming more competitive, eCommerce marketers and entrepreneurs must mix and match marketing campaigns to get the most benefits.
Fortunately, text message marketing works well with other types of marketing channels. You can use SMS messages along with your existing content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing campaigns. You can even use text message marketing to boost the efficacy of traditional print marketing.
How Can You Get Started With SMS Marketing?
After reading the previous section, it's easy to see why SMS marketing is necessary for all businesses. This easy-to-use platform can provide countless benefits that guarantee your business's success. But how can you actually get started with SMS marketing?
If you have no experience creating highly effective SMS marketing campaigns, this section is for you. Here, we've listed easy-to-follow steps on how you can start making an SMS marketing campaign for your business.
- Set up realistic goals
You can achieve many things through SMS marketing but not having a clear idea of what you want will prevent you from creating successful marketing strategies. How can you determine which SMS messages to send if you don't know what you want to achieve? How can you pick an SMS service provider if you don't have any goal in mind?
The first step in creating an SMS marketing campaign is setting realistic goals. In this phase, you need to determine if you will use an SMS message to haul in new customers, retain existing customers, improve abandoned cart revenue, or promote promos and discounts.
You can have more than one goal for your SMS marketing campaign, but make sure that these are categorized based on priority. Attempting to achieve too many things at once through mobile marketing doesn't warrant the best results.
- Segment the Target Audience
Sending a generic text message to thousands of people simultaneously and hoping some will engage with your brand is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Aside from being ineffective, this strategy will only put your marketing efforts down the drain. Additionally, this can put your brand in a bad light because existing customers expect that you already know something about them and use that information when sending an SMS message to them.
To increase the effectiveness of your SMS marketing campaign, always segment your audience. Audience segmentation minimizes mediocrity because it enables your brand to create more personalized and engaging text messages.
To segment your audience, follow these steps:
- Define your target customer personas.
- Identify specific criteria to help identify different personas. Some of the criteria you can use are demographics (age, location, gender, and language), behaviors (purchase behavior or search behavior), interests (liked pages or pursuits), or psychographics (lifestyle, attitude, opinions, or values).
- Analyze the available customer data. You can collect information about your target audience through customer feedback online or through surveys.
- Segment your audience based on your chosen criteria.
- Include a Strong Call to Action
It'll be challenging to meet any of your goals if you don't include a strong call to action in your text messages. After reading the message you sent to your audience, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to visit your website, submit their information through your app, or sign up for your email list? So you don't leave your audience hanging, incorporate a call to action at the end of your text message.
Look for SMS marketing examples to check how businesses incorporate a compelling call to action in their campaigns. Depending on the goals you want to reach, you can add a link to your website, invite recipients to visit your brick-and-store office, or encourage them to call your business as your call to action.
Regardless of the call to action you plan to incorporate into your text messages, make sure it's short. Don't make it hard for your audience to determine what they should do next, as this will likely cause them to patronize your competitors.
- Create Clear Value
Even if customers choose to receive text messages from your business, there will be instances when they find your timing inconvenient or even frustrating. For example, your audience will likely ignore your message if you send it in the middle of the night when they're sleeping or too busy at work.
To ensure your audience engages with your text marketing, create clear value. You can do this by informing your SMS subscribers about an irresistible offer, possibly one that provides solutions to their common dilemmas or pain points. For example, if customers have become budget-conscious, offer them discounts through SMS. This will surely entice your customers to engage with your brand and buy from you ASAP.
- Track Metrics
You won't be able to improve your SMS marketing strategy if you don't track its progress. Additionally, you can't assess if you're hitting any of your goals if you're not tracking your efforts.
Before implementing an SMS marketing campaign, make sure that you have some baseline metrics and use them to track your progress as you go along. Having these baseline metrics set will help you determine if your SMS marketing is working or if it needs a little tweaking.
Experts recommend using the following metrics when tracking the progress of your SMS marketing campaign:
- Churn rate: The rate at which people decide to opt out or unsubscribe from your list.
- List growth: The number of individuals joining your campaign or list.
- Redemption rate: The number of people who respond to your SMS messaging with an action, like a sale or visiting your website.
- Cost per redeeming subscriber.
What Are the Common SMS Marketing Mistakes to Avoid?
Now that you know the dos in making an SMS marketing campaign, it's time to discuss the don'ts. This information is just as important as it prevents you from wasting resources on strategies that don't positively impact your business. This is especially important if your business is still small or new in the industry.
To guarantee the success of your SMS marketing campaign, avoid committing the following mistakes:
Sending Unwanted Texts
Unlike email marketing, your customers don't have the option not to open your text message. As long as you have their phone numbers, your text message will be directly sent to their device. This is one reason why SMS marketing can be intrusive at times.
When creating an SMS marketing campaign, avoid sending unwanted messages by understanding your customers' pain points first. You should know what your customer needs, when they need it, and what type of messaging is ideal for their lifestyle. Besides, your customers joined your campaign or list to acquire solutions to their problems, not fill their phone's inbox with unnecessary messages.
To prevent sending unwanted texts, put yourself in your customers' shoes and think about the products and services they might need. For instance, if you own a restaurant, send a text message to your customers about your promos and discounts by 3 PM on Fridays. This could save the recipient time and effort from preparing meals from scratch. Conversely, when you send the same message at 7 AM when dinner is the last thing on the recipient's mind, they might choose to unsubscribe from your campaign or list pronto.
Sending Untimely Messages
When it comes to SMS marketing, timing is everything. Imagine receiving a package from your favorite brand in the middle of the night. Would you feel happy or irritated? More often than not, it's the latter.
The best timing to send your text messages depends on your offerings, industry, and customers. But you can start by testing what works for your brand best by sending text messages based on your email marketing schedule. Moving forward, you can run A/B tests to determine which days of the week and time of the day earn the highest engagement from recipients.
Sending SMS Without Any Strategy
Sending text messages to your customers just for the sake of it can only do more harm than good. Instead of promoting your products and services, sending without a strategy can shoo away potential customers and even cause existing customers to discontinue choosing your brand.
Your SMS marketing strategy should complement other existing marketing strategies. For example, you can schedule when you send SMS messages based on your content calendar and social media campaign.
It's also important to harness the power of marketing automation to build complex but consistent sequences in your overall marketing campaign. For example, you can send an SMS if customers don't open their emails or when your promotion is about to end.
Not Staying On Brand
Out of all the marketing platforms available today, SMS is the more intimate channel. This is what your customers use to communicate with their loved ones.
To ensure that your text messages don't come across as awkward, let your brand's personality shine in your SMS marketing campaign. Refrain from fitting into a character as this will make your brand look and feel robotic, which can prevent you from evoking your customers' interest and creating professional relationships with them.
If your brand is bubbly and energetic, ensure that your SMS marketing message depicts the same. If your business is more technical and formal, don't stray away from creating that brand.
Sending SMS Without Any Call to Action or CTA
Regardless of the goal you want to achieve with your SMS marketing campaign, never forget to include a call to action or CTA. Remember, your CTA influences what the recipient will do next after reading your message. Even if you informed them about the best deals, if you didn't include a link to your website in the message, the recipient will still not buy from you.
Make sure that your text messages include a clear, easy-to-follow call to action. Give your customers an idea of what they should do next - whether it's buying a product or trying your services.
SMS marketing offers many benefits to businesses and can even catapult your business into its long-term success. But reaching those milestones isn't easy because you have to spend time and effort to form an effective SMS marketing from scratch.
If you don't know how to create an SMS marketing campaign for your business, use this article as your guide. Here, we've discussed all the information you'll need to create a successful SMS marketing strategy. Follow all the tips mentioned here, and your business will eventually reap the many benefits of SMS marketing!