SMS marketing has become a powerhouse tool for businesses of all sizes. With an astonishing 98% open rate, SMS marketing offers a direct and effective way to reach your audience. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what SMS marketing is, how to get started, and best practices to maximize your success.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing, or text marketing, involves sending promotional messages and updates to your customers’ mobile phones via SMS (Short Message Service ) or MMS (Mult-media Message Service. It’s a highly effective way to interact with your audience, whether you’re a small local business or a large e-commerce store.
Benefits of SMS Marketing
SMS marketing boasts an astounding 98% open rate. That makes it one of the most effective channels for reaching your customers. Text messages are delivered instantly, guaranteeing that your messages are seen quickly. SMS messages have a higher engagement rate compared to emails. This makes it a perfect channel for promotions, updates, and customer interactions. You can customize SMS messages to address recipients by their names, providing a personalized experience.
Understanding Your Audience with SMS Marketing
Another significant advantage of SMS marketing is the ability to understand and tap into your audience’s preferences. By considering their responsiveness, how they opted-in, customer preferences, businesses can develop and trigger campaigns focused on what their audience values the most.
- Instant Feedback: Texting allows for two-way communication. Encourage your subscribers to give feedback on products, services by devising surveys or asking open-ended questions via text. This direct channel can be a goldmine for product development or refinement.
- Preference Targeting: Some advanced SMS platforms allow businesses to send messages based on the customer segment as indicated by tags that might represent an event they attended, a recently purchased product or a recent activity, such as an estimate was provided . This can be particularly useful for businesses with more sophisticated customer segements.
How to Start SMS Marketing
Getting started with SMS marketing software is easier than you might think. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
- Obtain Consent and Build Your Subscriber List
Before sending marketing type messages as compared to customer service type messages, you must obtain explicit consent from your customers identifying their willingness to receive text messages. Devise an opt-in process to guarantee compliance with regulations like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This can be done by asking prospects and customers via advertising or an in-store promotion to opt-in by texting you a keyword, such as SPECIALS or something applicable to your business, such as CLEAN. Offering some kind of incentive works well. Another method is to provide a form on your website that allows them to provide their mobile phone number while asking them to opt-in to receive responses via text.
- Choose a Flexible SMS Marketing Platform
Select a reliable SMS marketing platform (like Textellent) to manage your campaigns. These platforms offer features like message templates, ability to include images, campaigns sent via customer segments, advanced scheduling, contact management, and more. Another more advanced capability is a Speed-to_lead campaign. This allows you to immediately and automatically send a personalized response to those who opt-in. It could be sending out a coupon or a flyer about your services to help move them forward and maybe ask them to describe what they need to pre-qualify them. Be sure to ask how the platform can help you nurture leads that opt-in.
- Create Engaging Content
Create compelling and concise messages that provide value to your subscribers. Include clear calls to action (CTAs) and incentives to promote engagement. Including quality images that are related to your text message encourages customers to look more closely and are far more engaging while allowing you to cut down on the words needed.
- Send Targeted Messages
Segment your subscriber list based on demographics, preferences, events attended or areas of interest. This lets you send targeted and relevant messages based on the variety of tags or labels associated with your customers. If you make sure your messages are relevant and personalized, you are increasing the likelihood of conversions. You can get very creative with your segments by determining which tags to include and which ones to suppress for your text campaigns.
- Measure and Optimize
Track the performance of your SMS campaigns using analytics from your chosen platform. Use the data to refine your strategies and improve results over time. If you embed trackable links with you calls to action (CTAs), you will be able to more clearly see which campaigns move the needle for you.
Integrating with Other Marketing Channels
While SMS marketing is powerful on its own, its strength multiplies when used with other marketing channels. Emails, for instance, allow for more detailed content. Consider a strategy where you introduce a topic or offer through SMS and then direct subscribers to a more detailed email or a specific landing page on your website. Alternatively, use SMS to notify subscribers of exclusive content or flash sales on your social media platforms, driving traffic to those channels.
Consider the Entire Customer Journey
Thus fare we have discussed op-tin approaches and ways to use texting to market to your prospects and customers, but don’t forget about all the other aspects of the customer journey. For example, maybe you should also use texting to confirm appointments and send reminders that might include an intake form before the meeting or service. Or maybe you need to inform customers of a delivery or installation plan. You may also want to use texting to request a 5 star review on your review sites or ask for a referral. All the other aspects of the customer journey may be equally important to improving and streamlining how you serve your customers.
The Power of Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
While SMS is restricted to text, MMS allows you to send images, videos, and audio clips. This can be particularly impactful when showcasing new products, offering a sneak peek into an event, or sharing testimonials. Sometimes a picture speaks louder than words. For instance, if you’re a fashion brand, sending an image of your latest collection can be more impactful than a descriptive text.
Best Practices for SMS Marketing
To make the most of your SMS marketing efforts, There are additional considerations such as timing and cadence. Send messages at appropriate times to avoid inconveniencing your subscribers. Consider time zones and the preferences of your audience. Use clear language to make sure your message is easily understood. Provide valuable information in your messages to encourage engagement. Always respect your subscribers’ privacy and preferences. Include opt-out opportunities in some of your messages . If a subscriber does opt-out, that request will be handled promptly and automatically by most texting platforms. Regularly test different messages, CTAs, and sending frequencies to figure out what fits best with your audience. Continuously refine your strategy based on the results.
Compliance and Ethical Considerations
Beyond the regulatory requirements, it’s essential to respect the personal space of your subscribers. Keep in mind that texting is a powerful engagement tool, but just because it works doesn’t mean you should overuse it.
- Frequency: Avoid overwhelming your subscribers. Even if you have their consent, sending messages too frequently can lead to increased opt-outs.
- Transparency: Be transparent about how you use the data you collect through SMS marketing. If subscribers feel that their data is mishandled, trust in your brand can be eroded.
Need Help? A Bit of Advice?
With SMS marketing, you have the power to boost customer engagement and drive measurable business growth. At Textellent, we are dedicated to simplifying customer interactions through our award-winning automated texting service. Contact us today to learn more about our products and start your free trial. Let our text-based solutions elevate your business to the next level.