SMS (short messaging service) is among the primary strategies businesses use to engage with existing and prospective customers. It remains incredibly effective as global smartphone usage increases. Reports show that approximately 6.65 billion people globally owned smartphones as of 2022.
This marketing technique entails sending promotional or transactional messages in the form of text to existing and prospective customers. Some businesses also adopt this approach to send reminders and updates to their clients. It can be a one-to-one exchange, a broadcast message, or an automated text prompted by customer action.
This marketing strategy has an open rate of 98%, higher than other forms of marketing. Furthermore, 60% of clients read SMS in the first five minutes of receiving them. These statistics prove that SMS marketing facilitates business success as long as you implement the right strategies.
Ways Of Leveraging SMS Marketing For Business Success
The success of SMS marketing hugely depends on the approaches you adopt. For example, you can combine it with other marketing technologies, like ringless voicemail. It allows you to leave a pre-recorded message for your recipient instead of calling them directly. Therefore, the recipient is free to listen to the message whenever they want. There’s no pressure, nor does it feel like you’re intruding into their time.
Therefore, if the target client misses the SMS, they can find the same message as a pre-recorded message. It boosts the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Also, when using several marketing channels, you reach a wider audience. If one targeted audience doesn’t use SMS, you can reach them through a different avenue.
It’s also a must to choose a service provider that allows you to easily plug in numerous or any carriers, such as Twilio ringless voicemail, into your system so you can ensure a wider reach.
Here are other ways you can leverage SMS marketing:
1. Ensure You Comply With SMS Guidelines
One of the ways you can optimize SMS marketing is by ensuring you comply with SMS guidelines.
There are laws and regulations that govern gathering contacts and sending SMSs. Failure to comply with these guidelines can result in legal repercussions that may cost your business a lot of money.
For example, in 2012, Papa John’s customers sued the business for sending numerous unwanted promotional text messages. After the class action suit was certified, the company’s shares fell by almost 2%. This indicates that noncompliance can restrict your business’s success and potentially lead to financial losses.
The first step to complying with SMS guidelines is requesting consent in a clear, concise, and conspicuous manner. This ensures that your target audience knows what they’re subscribing to and are open to it. The best way to get your clients to issue consent is by incorporating a strong call-to-action (CTA) that prompts them to opt in. Only once you’ve obtained their approval should you import the said contacts.
Furthermore, sending a confirmation message after opt-in is necessary. Include your business or company name, SMS frequency, applicable charges, and criteria for opting out in the message.
It’s worth noting that content relating to alcohol, firearms, hate, sex, and tobacco is prohibited per the guidelines from CITA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association). It’s, therefore, advisable to avoid including such topics in your CTA or text messages.
However, you may be exempt if your business sells or serves alcoholic drinks. Even so, you must follow certain protocols, such as using an age verification system to prevent minors from signing up. You’re also required to verify your toll-free number before using it to send text messages.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Another great way to leverage SMS marketing for business success is understanding your target audience. This is crucial because it helps you tailor text messages to their needs and preferences.
The best way to understand your target audience is using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. It enables you to collect and store information about your audience and track your interactions with them. Consequently, it simplifies personalizing text messages, enhancing customer engagement and sales conversion.
Segmenting your customers in terms of their interests, age brackets, and purchase patterns can make your SMS marketing more effective. Consequently, this increases your SMS open rate and prompts your audience to either purchase or request a service.
Sending appropriate and relevant messages shows that you understand and value your audience. Therefore, consider the suitability of your message to your recipients before you hit send. This is especially advisable when you’re using a bulk SMS service.
3. Master Good Timing And Frequency
SMS marketing is an intimate marketing technique because your messages are delivered to your audience’s gadgets. Therefore, good timing and frequency exemplify that you respect their space. Remember that any SMS that doesn’t fulfil a need of your customers isn’t worth disrupting them.
One of the primary reasons customers mute or opt out of text messages is irrelevant content. If, for instance, you operate a restaurant, sending food offers to customers in the dead of the night might get you muted or blocked. The reason for this is wrong timing and irrelevance, considering they’re likely asleep.
Studies show that SMS marketing is more fruitful during business hours. The most preferred timelines are between 8 am and 9 pm. Thus, avoid sending text messages too early in the day or later into the night, as engagement may be low.
Furthermore, keeping track of your open and click-through rates for enhanced effectiveness is a must. Doing so will help you determine when your clients are most responsive to your texts. Afterward, segment your customers into different groups depending on their timelines for optimized outcomes.
Another tip to consider regarding timing is to take advantage of last-minute impulses. When little time is left, customers will be more receptive to promotional or sales messages. For example, if you have an in-store offer on a Monday afternoon, sending an SMS in the morning will increase your engagement. Similarly, send your message on Friday night if your gym’s membership discount goes live on Saturday morning. Besides making the most of last-minute impulses, timing your messages ensures that your customers remember to take action.
Your SMS marketing frequency speaks a lot about your consumer engagement. Frequent text messages may annoy your customers and make you seem spammy. The last thing you need is for your clients to mute your messages or mark them as spam. That’s why launching your SMS marketing campaign with low frequency is advisable.
The recommended text message threshold for brands is below 10 or 15 at most messages a month. This enables you to retain subscriptions and keep your campaign relevant because you only send vital messages. Consequently, your open rate rises and increases engagement and sales conversion.
4. Put Together An SMS Marketing Team
Sending text messages to your customers is a repetitive task that may hinder you from taking on other high-value tasks. Additionally, some aspects of this form of marketing may require expertise. This leaves you with the option of outsourcing, which may be expensive in the long run.
Consequently, your business’s performance and success can be affected, even when the SMS marketing campaigns are thriving. Therefore, consider hiring an in-house team whose sole function is to conduct SMS marketing campaigns, provided the budget allows. Some personnel to include in your team are a social media expert, a marketing specialist, and a digital creative designer. You can also choose to hire fewer multiskilled personnel.
However, it’s important to note that the success of your SMS marketing campaigns depends on your team’s collaboration. Thus, effective communication among members is essential.
5. Incorporate A CTA In Your Campaigns At All Times
Increased engagement is often linked to enhanced business success, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by including a CTA in all your SMS marketing campaigns. CTAs answer the question, ‘What action do you want your audience to take?’ Make the CTA as concise as possible to avoid any confusion on the client’s part.
CTA buttons can direct clients to websites, application forms, polls, and giveaways. Some samples of SMS marketing CTAs include:
- Click Here
- Text To Win
- Enter Promo Code To Get 20% Off
- Don’t Miss Out
More customers clicking the CTA button will catapult your engagement and conversion rates to greater heights.
6. Use A Conversational Tone
Text messages are a communication medium that mobile users leverage to have conversations with others. As such, you stand a better chance of engaging with clients if you maintain the same energy. Your focus should be communicating with consumers and getting them to react the way you want.
Along such lines, it’s advisable to personalize your messages based on your audience’s interests and needs. You’ll capture their interest by making them feel like the SMS is curated.
In addition, a touch of creativity will enable you to construct conversational text messages more easily. This is necessary because SMS marketing is limited to text, unlike other marketing techniques. Thus, you can’t complement your message with a photo or video to make it seem more approachable. Text messages also have a 160-character limit, so you must craft an appealing message. If your expertise is limited, consider adding a skilled copywriter to your team.
7. Prioritize Your Best Clients
While SMS marketing is great for acquiring new customers, your existing clients are a huge asset for your business. They make purchases, request services, give feedback, and refer other clients to you. As such, prioritizing and investing in them can enhance the success of your business.
The first step is to identify who they are based on purchase history and interactions with your business. Next, formulate personalized SMS marketing campaigns for them. These could be in-depth polls or special benefits and offers. The more valued they feel, the more likely they’ll keep interacting with and referring your business.
Besides them sending new clients your way, they’ll also help build your brand’s reputation. Consequently, this will move you to the top of the competition and grow your business.
8. Respond To Your Clients In Real Time
Sometimes, clients may respond to you after receiving a promotional text or other types of messages from your business. This indicates their interest, and your response speed determines whether they’ll keep engaging with you. As such, you must reply in real time.
Real-time responses enable you to form customer connections, which can help build trust and loyalty. Consequently, this increases client retention, boosts sales, and minimizes customer acquisition costs, giving you a competitive edge in your industry.
The above strategies apply to companies and organizations across multiple industries. In addition, you can use SMS marketing for a variety of purposes. These include sending promotional and transactional messages and sending messages for special events, like birthdays and anniversaries. More so, you can tailor these tips to match your business goals and needs for even better outcomes.
Marketing is vital to your business for many reasons. For one, it boosts your revenue. Whether you’re launching a new product or trying to improve sales for an existing one, you’ll need marketing to reach consumers. However, selling products or services only to make ends meet increases your risk of becoming irrelevant. Therefore, focusing your marketing strategies on your target audience is essential. This keeps you relevant and gives you a competitive advantage in your industry.
SMS marketing is designed to help your business achieve these feats and gain many other benefits. Its high open rate means you get higher customer engagement than other marketing forms, like email marketing. In addition, it’s timely in that majority of your audience will view your message within the first few minutes of receiving it. More so, it’s an intimate way of communicating that allows you to build strong customer relationships.
However, it’s important to note that adopting the right strategies is necessary, such as complying with SMS guidelines, understanding your target audience, and acquiring an SMS marketing team. It’s also important to master good timing and frequency, use a conversational tone in your messages, respond in real time, and incorporate a CTA.