Marketing your business can take a lot of time and resources. It is crucial to find different marketing channels to reach more customers – faster and cheaper. Especially with the near ubiquity of mobile phones, (In 2023, including both smart and feature phones, the current number of mobile phone users is 7.33 billion, which makes 91.40% of people in the world cell phone owners) SMS has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to build more direct relationships with customers.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS is an acronym which stands for “short message service”. Basically, SMS marketing is the practice of sending marketing messages to customers by text message. To explain in more detail, SMS marketing is a form of mobile and direct marketing that involves sending promotional offers, updates, and news to customers and prospects via text messages. These messages are mostly meant to communicate time-sensitive offers, updates, and alerts and they can be anything from new product rollouts and discounts to appointment reminders and shipping notifications.
Because of its relative speed and positive reception, SMS marketing is an easy and convenient way to communicate with customers. Using SMS marketing, marketers should focus on respectful and compliant communications with their target audience.
SMS marketing works similarly to email marketing:
- Like email marketing, SMS marketing is a form of opt-in marketing that requires contacts to subscribe. Brands must ensure that they are compliantly capturing consent from customers before sending them a marketing message via an SMS message.
- Similar to email marketing, SMS marketing may involve sending one message to many contacts or having a one-on-one conversation.
However, unlike email marketing, SMS messages are much shorter and more likely to be engaged with sooner than emails since they route straight to a recipient’s cell phone. Various sources report SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively; in contrast to corresponding figures of 20% and 6% for email.
SMS marketing can be used for boosting sales, building relationship with customers, facilitating customer satisfaction, engaging with the audience, generating excitement, collecting, and nurturing leads.
When starting your SMS marketing campaign, you should remember:
- Don’t send texts to people who didn’t opt-in.
- Don’t send too many messages, it would feel spammy.
- Don’t text too early or too late in the day.
- Give customers a way to opt out.
- Use personalization when crafting texts.
- Finish off messages with a clear call to action and, if applicable, a link.
Benefits of SMS Marketing
There are so many benefits to use SMS marketing, let’s look at a few of the big ones:
- They’re fast and easy to produce and send: Text messages have a low character limit (only 160 characters), so SMS messages are mostly just one or two sentences long, including a link to a website with more details about the promotion. Simply because they are short, customers are very likely to read entire messages. For the same reason, they are also easy to produce. Since customers receive instant notifications on their phone when they get a text, SMS messages can reach recipients faster than a social media post or email would. SMS Marketing allows businesses to reach a large number of people all at the same time.
- They have high open rates: As we discussed earlier, one of the biggest benefits of SMS marketing is the fact that they are opened 98% of the time when received by customers. In addition, SMS messaging is one of the fastest ways to reach consumers directly – 60% of consumers say they read a text within 5 minutes of receiving it.
- They are cost-effective: It doesn’t cost much to send an SMS message to a customer. Even when sending to a lot of people, the cost is not a big problem. SMS campaigns are more inexpensive than traditional forms of marketing and advertising like billboards, television ads, mobile ads, or magazines. Yet because they’re so versatile and customizable, they have the potential to produce much higher ROI. While data varies across the internet, a new report from the Association of National Advertisers lists SMS marketing as the channel with the 2nd highest ROI after direct mail – winning out over email, paid search, social ads, and digital display advertising.
- They help build customer loyalty: As it allows you to send personalized messages and offers to individuals, SMS marketing is a great channel for engaging and creating loyal customers. Brands can send customers exclusive discounts, early access to product launches, reminders about special events, and offers they can’t get anywhere else. All these add up to a more enjoyable customer experience that keeps consumers glued to the brands.
- They allow businesses to track responses: When it comes to marketing, being able to track your results is crucial to see what’s working and what needs improvement. SMS marketing allows businesses to do just that – they can see how many people received their message, how many people opened it, and how many people responded. By using these analytics, they can plan their SMS marketing strategies, and reach the right audience to garner more attention.
Types of SMS Marketing
There are many types of SMS marketing campaigns, but we can sort them into two main categories as promotional and transactional text messages.
- Promotional SMS marketing messages are designed to increase sales, promote a product, or build brand awareness. They include discounts, coupons, and other special offers.
- Transactional SMS marketing messages offer information that is time-sensitive and relevant to the customer, such as order confirmation details, appointment reminders, shipping notifications or password resets.
Most common types of SMS marketing messages include:
- Welcoming new subscribers, leads, and customers.
- Asking for filling out surveys, reviews, and feedback.
- Sending hyper-personalized promotions and offers.
- Announcing special offers (limited-time sales, free shipping)
- Scheduling appointments and appointment reminders.
- Loyalty programs and rewards.
- SMS coupons.
- Order and shipping statuses.
- New product arrivals.
- Flash sales or seasonal sales.
- Following up on abandoned carts.
SMS marketing has quickly become a popular channel for engaging with customers. Despite its popularity, it continues to be one of the most underutilized marketing channels as well. People are attached to their phones more than ever, and SMS marketing allow businesses to get direct access to their customers.
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