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What is SMS Marketing

Short message service (SMS) marketing is a method of promotion sent to customers via text messages. Text message marketing refers to the act of sending messages directly to your customers' phones. 

As an independent retailer, it can be difficult to gain traction through your marketing efforts due to social media algorithm updates and the sheer volume of emails that most people receive daily. 

However, SMS marketing, or text message marketing, is a simple way to reach your customers and get a much higher ROI. Customers welcome this form of marketing--with 70% agreeing that it’s a great way for businesses to get their attention.

What are the benefits of SMS Marketing

Fast

Text message marketing is fast in multiple ways. Unlike social media or email marketing, you don't need a photo to accompany your content. Text message marketing is faster than other forms of content marketing because it requires less design time and allows for concise, instant communication.

Text messages also have a low character limit, so you don't need to write a lot, either. Text is a fast way to get in touch with your audience, whether you’re offering special savings or requesting their feedback. 

Secondly, since texts receive instant notifications on the devices of recipients, they reach recipients faster than any other form of marketing would. Customers can get instant updates via their phones without needing to take an additional step such as opening a social media app or emailing themselves.

Perfect Open Rates

As a marketing strategy, using text messaging to reach people is the most effective way to get the highest percentage of recipients to read your message.

A study by Mailchimp indicates that 21.3% of recipients open a marketing email. By comparison, 98% of subscribers look at a text message, which comes close to a full 100%.

High Response Rates

Since SMS open rates are high, its response rates are high as well. The average response rate for an SMS marketing message is 45%, whereas rates for email marketing campaigns rarely break higher than 7%. 

Customers are significantly more likely to click on a link you send through text versus email.

How to use SMS Marketing

Simple Marketing Solutions (SMS), or text messaging, is a great way to get your business information out, but it’s also important you carry on good customer service through SMS. 

Since this is quite a new way of marketing, there are some logistics to work out, but with these following tips from the experts you should be fine.

Create a credible list of customers

In the United States and Canada, it is illegal to send a text message to someone without their prior consent. Before launching an SMS marketing campaign, be sure you have a confirmed opt-in list of recipients. 

Remove any entries on the list that you cannot verify as valid opt-ins. Loyalty software can track customer information and help ensure you remain compliant.

Use the right tool

You can choose to just focus on the text message marketing by using a service such as a loyalty program that sends automated messages or use a separate SMS marketing system that will allow you to upload a list of customer contact info and track your campaign data separately from all of your other marketing initiatives.

Integrated systems like ContactBook can make it easier to run SMS marketing campaigns. The benefit of this tool is that it manages and organizes every contact information that you may need for SMS Marketing. 

Never will you ever miss out on a lead or contact in future with the reminders, notes, labels, and so much more than these contact management systems like ContactBook offer. 

Craft your message

You can send text message campaigns that are up to 300 characters long, which is about 2-5 sentences. Include a way for your customers to opt-out if they are no longer interested in receiving messages from you (opt-outs are required by law).

Track Results

After you have sent a message, monitor the response to that message. If you included a promotional link in your message, see how many people clicked on it (your web hosting company should be able to provide you with this information). 

If you created a special discount code exclusively for SMS users, measure how many people used it when they made a purchase and how many sales they generated. Compare these figures to the number of messages that you sent.

Types of SMS Marketing

When you execute SMS messaging as part of your marketing strategy, there are two primary types of communications you might want to send to your audience: 

  • Promotional
  • Transactional

Promotional

Promotional text messages, also called SMS (short message service) marketing, are sent to your customers to help boost sales and build brand recognition. 

A promotional SMS is a text message sent to prospects and customers by a business owner to inform them about promotions, discounts, and offers. Marketers run promotional campaigns to increase customer engagement and boost sales.

They can be sent directly to customers to generate sales, provide information about new products or promotions, announce company news, and even help customers use the products you're selling. 

Event-triggered promotional SMS messages are text messages that you can send to your customers based on the activities they take on your website. 

For example, if a customer signs up to receive text messages from your brand or adds an item to their cart on your website, you could send her a welcome text and offer her a coupon.

Transactional 

Transactional SMS messages are texts that contain information your customers need, like confirmation details or shipping information. 

Sending delivery updates to your customers’ phones could be a great way to keep them informed, but you should check with them first to make sure they want these types of messages. 

Transactional texts are simple, and unlike email marketing, there’s not a lot of creative freedom you can take with the design or content. 

You’re pretty limited in terms of creativity with transactional texting (with respect to content or design), so make sure you check out our Transactional Text Messages FAQ for more information.

One note: If your customer signs up to receive transactional text messages from you, you can’t market to them through this channel unless they give you their consent.

SMS Marketing strategies

Arrival of New Products

Once new arrivals are available, you should use an SMS campaign to communicate the fact that the products are now for sale. 

This will drive traffic and buzz for the new arrivals. If you run a seasonal business, we suggest using an SMS campaign at a particular time of year; otherwise you may get a reputation as a spammer.

Welcome Messages

Similar to a welcome e-mail, a text message with a welcome message could encourage new customers. 

You can offer a special discount to reinforce the customer's decision to follow through after signing up for your loyalty program.

Seasonal Sales

As a merchant, when it's time to clear out your inventory, consider sending a text message to your customers letting them know about your seasonal sale. By segmenting your sends by specific groups, you can send targeted messaging. 

For example, text a link to your shoes that are on sale to customers that have bought shoes from you in the past.

Flash Sales

Flash sales are a great way to reward customers who have signed up for your loyalty program. Let them know there’s a special sale just for them, one that expires soon and only those who receive an exclusive code via SMS can access it. 

If the price is right and you make it easy by sending them a message with the code, it’ll be a simple decision to buy because they won’t have to spend time looking for your offer.

Surveys

Sending a survey link through SMS is a great way to learn more about the expectations of your customers. The response rate for surveys sent via SMS is often higher than that of other marketing channels. 

To increase response rates create short surveys with tools like Google Forms send a survey link by SMS rather than using other marketing channels. Learn more about what your audience expects from you.

Tools such as Google Forms can be used to create a short survey.

Social Media

Recruiting followers for your business's social media accounts can become a full-time job, especially if you are not careful about how you approach the issue. 

Do not hesitate to contact your SMS marketing audience with a text message encouraging them to follow you on social media. You might also consider giving away a prize to those who follow you on social media if the response is positive. 

Who can benefit from SMS Marketing?

Regardless of what business type you have, text messages can become a great addition to your digital marketing efforts. They present the special function of communicating immediate information in a highly reliable way.

However, there are a few business that cannot live without SMS Marketing as their marketing strategy:

Travel Companies

For travel companies, SMS is essential because it enables companies to communicate real-time information with customers. 

This includes flight time updates, gate changes, cancellations, weather alerts and many other details that not only keep customers informed but also ensure that they make it through security on time.

Service businesses that require appointments

Send text-message reminders of upcoming appointments to ensure that your clients do not miss them. 

This will save you money and the time you would have spent rebooking clients who fail to turn up for their appointments or are late.

Large organizations with 100+ employees

Internal communications are essential, but it can be difficult to communicate with every employee in larger companies. It can be especially challenging when employees are at different locations or need information quickly. 

Using SMS for internal communications is the best way to ensure that you can deliver critical information in real time to all relevant employees.

E-Commerce Stores

No matter if you are sending a promotional message or campaign, or confirmations of order/shipping, SMS is the most reliable and a great tool for e-commerce stores and platforms. 

How is it better than email marketing

With ever-evolving customer preferences and new marketing tools, it can sometimes be a little confusing to choose between SMS marketing and email marketing. 

Here are a few factors to consider when you are choosing the right strategy for your marketing campaign.

Open rate

Among mobile marketing methods, SMS technology has a higher open rate than email marketing. The average open rate of a mobile text message campaign is 98% while the average open rate of an email marketing campaign is 20%. 

This can be attributed to the fact that text messages are delivered directly to a customer's mobile phone. In addition, SMS response rates are much higher than email because recipients see notifications instantly and have better chances of being seen. 

Text messages are opened within 90 seconds of delivery, while email open rates hover around 90 minutes.

Deliverability

It is estimated that about 269 billion emails are sent every day. For comparison, about 22 billion texts are sent every day. 

Notifications for text messages arrive almost immediately on users’ phones, whereas users get email notifications later, if at all. Text marketing is a great option because subscribers have to opt in to receive SMS communications from your brand. 

They receive the mobile number of others in their network, but it is up to them to send a text message or not. Once they do, you can offer incentives to build your brand’s mobile number database.

Customization

Email campaigns are more customizable than SMS messages that have a 160 character limit. When sending out messages, consider what message you want to get across and make your message short, precise, and free of fluff. 

If you are sharing my details, try email as it allows the inclusion of hyperlinks, attachments, images, videos, forms, etc. It also allows your brand tone and voice to be clearly conveyed through colors, design, and logo.

Click-through rate

Marketing emails are much less effective when sent in a text format and likely to be ignored, as many people can’t bring themselves to open them. They often contain lengthy lists of products or services that quickly become boring and unattractive.

Conclusion

Marketing channels—SMS and email—are each effective by themselves. However, when used simultaneously, they can be more effective than using either channel independently. 

SMS marketing helps build an email list while email subscriptions provide valuable insights for sending personalized messages to SMS recipients. 

Regardless of which marketing channel you choose, customer permission is vital for collecting emails or phone numbers. Plus, when you have customer consent, you are actually building trust and avoiding being sent to spam.

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