The Benefits of Adding SMS Marketing to Your Marketing Strategy
by Quinn Curtis • March 16, 2022
It is no secret that mobile phones are popular. No matter where you are, you will find people actively using their smartphones so it should come as no surprise then that marketers have been actively searching for ways to engage their customers while they are engaged on their phones.
One of the strategies that have proven successful is short messaging service (SMS) marketing. SMS is more commonly known as texting and is almost exclusively the way that certain groups of our population — including the vast majority of those under the age of 30 — communicate. Considering this, it would be a great benefit to a marketing campaign if it could use this line of communication to get its message out to potential customers. This is the goal of SMS marketing.
What Is SMS Marketing All About?
SMS marketing is a way to reach your customers through an intimate channel. People are much more likely to read an SMS message than they are to open an unsolicited email because it is a more trusted venue — but there is a catch. To be able to send potential customers text messages on a private number, you must first get them to agree, or opt-in, to have you do so.
This is not as difficult as it may seem. To begin you must send a pop-up ad or banner asking for people to send texts to your business for more information about whatever it is that you are selling, across a wide audience. Interested people can click on the ad to send a text. At this point, whether they are aware of it or not, they have agreed to allow you to send them text messages.
Now you can send out SMS messages to groups or individuals telling them about upcoming events, promotions, or just increasing your brand recognition.
What Are the Major Benefits of SMS Marketing?
There is a good reason why SMS marketing is so popular with online marketers — it is very successful. It offers some very clear benefits over other types of marketing campaigns. Here are just a few of the many benefits of SMS marketing.
Enhances Customer Engagement
People who receive appeals through their text messaging service are much more likely to read and respond to those messages. Perhaps it is because they trust their text messages to be a more reliable source of information than email or social media ads. Perhaps it is because they had to choose to have those text messages sent to them so chances are higher that they are interested in the service or product being offered. Most likely it is a combination of reasons.
Whatever the reason, text message marketing has proven to be effective in getting the customer to engage with your brand. This may help you to increase sales, but where it is really helpful is in increasing your brand’s recognition.
While many forms of online marketing are a cost-effective way to get your sales pitch out to potential customers, SMS marketing may give you the most bang for your buck. Once you have laid out the original cost to have an invitation ad plastered anywhere and everywhere your potential customers may see it, there is little time or money needed to reap the benefits.
A good SMS marketing software can help to collate and prioritize the responses to your original query and then it is simply a matter of generating texts to be sent out. For the minimal effort that must be made on your part, the returns can be huge.
Expands Your Customer Base and Reach
Because the cost for text messaging is not limited by distance, it is a great way to drastically expand your company’s reach without incurring extra costs. The fact that people are more likely to engage with SMS marketing campaigns than many other forms of online marketing means that those you are sending messages to are more likely to become loyal fans of your brand.
A widespread and loyal base is one of the best harbingers of future success for any business, be it a tiny startup with two employees or a multinational corporation.
Improved Conversion Rates
Customers who opt-in to have SMS messages sent to them from your business have already shown an interest in your goods or services. This means that the time, money, and energy you put into developing and maintaining an SMS marketing campaign geared towards them is more likely to pay off.
When a potential customer opts in to receive messages that already have the feeling that they are in control of the information being sent to them. This makes them much more likely to see your text messages as an invasion of their privacy. This, in turn, makes them more likely to respond positively to the information you are sending them.
Your Marketing Messages Reach the Customers Instantly
Being able to send messages that your customer will receive within seconds of your sending them makes this a highly adaptable and fluid marketing campaign type. This means that a restaurant that delivers sends out ads to people at work about their lunch delivery program at 11:30 a.m., just about when their customers’ stomachs are beginning to growl.
It also allows for impromptu changes. Using the restaurant example, that same restaurant could look at their bookings for the evening and decide they could use a boost in sales. All they need to do is generate an SMS message offering a discount, good for that evening only, and send it out in the late afternoon when folks are making their plans for the evening. Just like that, no more empty tables.
How To Get Started With SMS Marketing
All that makes SMS marketing sound like a great choice for your next online marketing campaign. You have lived long enough to know that nothing can get done until it gets started. So, now the big question. How do you get started with SMS marketing?
Find SMS Software That Fits Your Needs
As with so many things that businesses and individuals need to get accomplished these days, the first step to beginning a successful SMS marketing campaign is finding the right software. Although you may be able to accomplish a small, very directed SMS marketing campaign on your own, the work would be tedious and demand a great deal of your time. It is so much better to find software that can do much of the work for you and allow you to broaden the scale of your campaign.
While there is a huge variety of applications and options offered by different SMS marketing software, the following things should be included in any you are considering:
- A training program: This should teach you how to get the most out of the software, with live customer service available for any questions at any time.
- The ability to sort and prioritize your contact list: You should be able to sort based on demographics, geographic location, industry, or customized groupings.
- An easy-to-use interface: You should be able to develop messages, send them out, and track their success with minimal effort.
- A cloud-based SaaS: This should allow you to access your account from anywhere you have access to a computer.
- An app for easy access: This app should allow you not only to access your information from a smart device but also to make changes while on the go.
If you have found a few choices that meet the above-listed parameters, take a bit of time to find out if the software platform is adaptable enough to meet your business’s specific needs. Your goods or services may not be commonplace, makes sure the software you use to advertise them isn’t either.
Obtain Consent From Customers
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted very clear regulations to protect the privacy of those who use text messaging. You cannot legally go through a phone directory and begin to send text messages to everyone or anyone on it.
To be able to send SMS messages to people, they have to get their permission first. While there are some unscrupulous ways to accomplish this, like hiding the permission statement deep in the privacy statement, it is much wiser to get your customers to knowingly opt to receive text messages from you. Not only will your company avoid potential lawsuits, but a customer that knowingly opts in to have a message sent to them is much more likely to respond positively to those messages.
Fortunately, this is not all that difficult. You just need to get a banner or pop-up ad generated that offers a glimpse of what your company has to offer and ask folks to text a message to you for more information. Once they have done that, you have their contact information and their permission to send them messages.
Determine Which Types of Messages You Want To Send
Which type of message you choose to send is based largely on what your goals for the ad campaign are. If your ultimate goal is to increase brand awareness and expand your customer base, then you may want to start by sending out informative messages. No need to be sales-y, just let your potential customers know what you have to offer them and why you do it better than others.
If your goal is to drum up sales of a particular good or service, then you want to create an effective sales pitch. This should pique your customers’ interest and make it easy for them to see themselves as the owner or user of the product in question.
If your goal is to inform your customers of an upcoming event or launch a short-lived promotion or sale, then you will want to create a message that conveys urgency and showcases the benefits of your brand.
A long-term successful SMS strategy will likely involve all of these types of messages at some point or another. If you are just getting your name out there, the brand awareness type may be your best place to start.
Follow Best Practices for SMS Marketing
Here is a list of best practices for a successful SMS marketing campaign:
- Make it easy for your customers. They should be able to opt-in and opt-out of receiving your messages.
- Create clear, concise messages. Aim for 160 words or less.
- Do everything in moderation. Once a customer has opted to receive text messages from you, it is important to keep them engaged. Don’t overdo it. Too many texts will annoy them and you may find yourself blocked.
- Time your messages to be convenient for your customers. Early morning, late at night, or during the dinner hour should be avoided.
- Give them new information with each text. You should avoid rehashing information your customers can find on your website or social media sites.
- Consider using visuals. You can use multimedia messaging services (MMS). It will cost you more but it will allow you to send images, videos, and gifs and up the number of words you can send in a single message. This may not be necessary for all business types and could be something you grow into once you have gotten comfortable with SMS marketing.
Strategies for Growing Your SMS Contact List
You’ve found the right software, have decided exactly what messages you want to send, and have studied the best practices to create a successful SMS marketing strategy. Your problem now: How do you find contacts to send them to? Thankfully, people have asked that question before and have come up with some effective and creative ways to grow your SMS contact list:
- Add a sign-up form to your website. These people are already browsing your website for information. Encourage them to opt-in for SMS messaging.
- Encourage your email contacts to opt-in. Tell them they can get more personalized information sent directly, and quickly, to them through texts.
- Encourage your social media followers to opt-in. Tell them that same thing you told your email contacts.
- Offer checkout discounts. Offer your customers the chance to save some money at the checkout by adding their phone number to your newsletter list.
- Create a contest. Allow your customers to win prizes if they enter by texting a given word or phrase to you.
- Offer exclusive deals and discounts through SMS. As mentioned before, this is an easy way to attract more business.
Regardless of how you get it done, creating a large and responsive contact list allows you to increase brand awareness and sales through the use of SMS marketing.
How To Win With SMS Marketing
The trick to winning with SMS marketing is twofold. Step one is to know and understand your audience so you can send them messages that are relevant and interesting to them. Step two, find the right SMS marketing software from a company that has the desire and staff to help you succeed.If you need more help to figure out SMS marketing, you can contact Disruptive Advertising for more information and advice.