Because of the popularity of social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, and other digital marketing channels plenty of businesses often underplay the power of text message or SMS marketing.
Make no mistake: SMS is the most widely used and accessible form of communication today, and it can be an extremely beneficial channel for your business. Consider these stats:
- 292 million people in North America use text messages, which represents approximately 80 percent of the total population.
- Text messages are opened at a 98 percent rate, whereas email typically has a 40 to 50 percent open rate (additional research shows that 90 percent of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes).
- Consumers who get text messages have a 40 percent higher conversion rate than those who aren’t sent any text messages.
Despite the compelling statistics above many businesses still shy away from texting their customers and prospects. Research found that as much as 65 percent of brands still don’t have a formal strategy in place for SMS marketing.
Why Text Your Customers? The Benefits of SMS Marketing
In some situations, texting your customers can prove to be more effective than emailing them or investing in some other digital marketing channel.
Apart from enjoying higher open rates, text message marketing is also:
- Immediate, with fast message delivery
- Flexible and customizable
- Ideal for reaching a wide (and younger) demographic
SMS Marketing: 7 Best Practices
If your business isn’t texting customers, you’re definitely missing out. SMS marketing can play a major role in building meaningful relationships with your customers and converting prospects.
Here are some SMS marketing best practices to help you get started.
Before sending any marketing material, it is vital to get permission from your customers to send messages. No one wants to get unsolicited messages, especially when it’s all about promoting a brand. By asking permission, you ensure that only those willing to receive those messages are aware of your campaign, which reduces the number of angry customers who might leave you if you begin sending messages without their consent.
Keep It Short and Simple
The most effective text messages get straight to the point.
With SMS, you have 160 characters to convey your message. Avoid jargon and flowery language. Instead of beating around the bush and using unnecessary words and phrases to describe your offer provide actionable information written in plain English.
You can drive better engagement with your SMS marketing messages by adding calls to action (CTA).
Oftentimes, this can make or break the success of your SMS campaign and turn your recipients’ attention into action. Your CTA should be direct and immediately understandable; it should motivate the recipient to not only read your text, but to also interact with it.
Here are some examples:
- “Book now / buy now…”: SMS messages have outstanding click-through rates. This makes text a great platform for boosting sales or capturing leads. A clear CTA like “book now” or “buy now” is perfect for targeted messages that make it easier for recipients to make a purchase or visit your business location.
- “Learn more here / Click the link…”: If 160 characters aren’t enough to convey your message, you can add a link that will take your recipients to a landing page that contains all the pertinent information. As a general rule of thumb, avoid sending them to your homepage. Instead, use the link to lead your audience to a page on your website with a single focused objective.
- “Show this text…”: Running a promo or special offer? Engage your recipients by asking them to show your message when they visit your business location. “Enter (code) at checkout” is a great alternative if you’re running a promo or special offer on an online store or ecommerce platform.
Time Your Texts Carefully
SMS messaging is a more instant form of communication than email. As mentioned above, 90 percent of text messages are read within 3 minutes.
This means that you have to be cognizant of when exactly users might be most responsive to your texts. There isn’t an exact science behind this, but it has generally been observed that SMS messages sent during late afternoons or evenings usually achieve higher engagement rates. If you have special offers, you may also try texting your customers on weekends or on special holidays.
Like with your other marketing efforts, it’s always best to test, measure, and adjust.
Text to Capture Feedback
SMS marketing isn’t all about promoting your products and services. You can also utilize the channel to collect valuable customer feedback or even generate more online reviews for your business.
According to research, 57 percent of all local searches are conducted from mobile devices, which makes it easy to reach customers for feedback on the same platform.
If you send customers a text message survey or a review request via SMS, there’s a good chance they’ll click on that link. Need more inspiration when crafting your message? Use these handy SMS templates for requesting reviews.
Promote Your Presence in Other Channels
Apart from driving sales and generating online reviews for your business, SMS marketing can also boost your business presence on other channels. You can leverage text messaging to drive traffic to your website, social media profiles, business contact information, and landing pages.
If you use SMS in this format, do so with one channel at a time. You should also use a URL shortener tool to keep your texts under the character limit.
Offer an Opt-Out Method
SMS marketing is 100 percent permission-based. According to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you’re not allowed to send SMS messages to consumers who have not opted to receive them.
When your customers do give their permission, tell them know what to expect, and be sure to always offer an opt-out method in all the messages you send to customers.
SMS Marketing as the Competitive Differentiator
Though still somewhat underutilized, SMS marketing has emerged as one of the most effective marketing methods today. Mobile technology continues to grow and companies that adapt can distinguish themselves from the competition.
Don’t hesitate to get started with your SMS marketing strategy today. Text your customers and reap the rewards that SMS marketing can bring your business.