SMS marketing is useful because it allows businesses like yours to connect with people on their mobile devices without having them answer a call every time someone from your organization wants to reach out. They can also be used to provide updates, alerts, and time-sensitive offers for when you don't want to send an email or make a phone call.
It’s quick, familiar, and efficient.
But let’s dig a little deeper and find out why it works, and who’s knocking it out of the park.
What is SMS Marketing?
Short Message Service (SMS) marketing uses humble SMS to send campaigns, polls, offers, or transactional messages to your target audience. This isn’t new information to any of us, but what you may not realize is why it remains so popular and why your audience is still happy to use it as a communication channel.
Why Choose SMS Marketing?
The reasons why SMS has stood the test of time are varied. Here are just a few.
Psychologist Graham Jones comments on one study unpacking the use of SMS messages. He says,
“The introduction of a plethora of new messaging services may mean that people may get confused and fall back on the reliable SMS. Running in the back of the human mind is the need to do everything with the least possible effort, and we instinctively search for the easiest way to communicate. This is why we rely on and still love text messaging.”
The study Dr Jones refers to mentions that 92% of smartphone users still prefer to use SMS, despite the prevalence of IM and social media channels.
In today’s world, many of us don’t want to get into a conversation - we simply don’t have the time that is essential in face-to-face conversations or voice calls. On average, men prefer to communicate via text, sending comparatively shorter messages than women as a functional way to send and receive information.
This, coupled with the fact that an SMS offers a 160-character limit before it’s split into separate messages, makes it the short-and-sweet solution many prefer.
The essential “paper trail” that we often need to refer back to is a welcome byproduct of SMS conversations. Dates, times, venues, PINS, and other easily forgettable information are quickly retrieved from a central place.
What Customers Want
If 64% of your customers prefer to engage via text, and 44% would rather send an SMS than be kept on hold, it’s clear what needs to happen. Businesses would benefit from meeting their customers where they are comfortable.
There’s a host of reasons why SMS is a great marketing tool, not least of which is the fact that it’s available to your entire audience, no matter their device.
SMS Marketing Best Practices
So now that we understand why we should seriously consider SMS marketing as a clever business tool, we should ensure that we know-how. There are many tripwires to be aware of when communicating with your customers. We’ll cover just three of them.
Personal privacy and the regulations surrounding the use of your customer’s details are a big deal. That means that we must follow the rules and ensure that whoever we are communicating with has agreed to our doing so.
Do you have a system in place to ensure that your audience has opted in and granted you permission to send them messages via SMS? And just as importantly, do you have a clear and simple opt-out option too?
Not only is this a legal requirement, but it also means that you will be sending messages to people who want to hear from you and are interested in what you sell.
Time it Right
We love the fact that SMS is an immediate channel and it’s for this reason that businesses use it for time-sensitive messages.
However, it also means that we have to be cognizant of the timing of our messages. OTPs, for example, can be sent at any time of the day or night as they are user-initiated. A marketing SMS or an invitation to take a survey will be less well-received at 4 am.
Keep it Relevant
Nobody likes to feel like a number. Therefore, a personalized SMS that focuses on a product or service that’s of interest to that particular person is essential. Where possible, use their name - and be sure to let them know who the message is coming from.
Tying in an SMS with an email campaign is a great way to capture interest on the one hand, and offer more details on the other. This makes your entire messaging strategy even more tailored to their needs and shopping history - provided you’re working with the right company for tracking and analytics.
Tell Them What to Do Next
Capturing a user’s attention is one thing, keeping it is a little more tricky, but having them take the next step is where the real magic lies. Delivery stats and open rates mean nothing if your audience isn’t taking action.
That’s where a call to action is needed, one that clearly tells the reader what to do next and why or how it will benefit them. It may be obvious to you, but that’s because you know your product. A CTA is an essential part of your SMS marketing campaign.
SMS Marketing Examples We Love
It’s all well and good to know the theory, but how has this smart communication tool been used in the real world?
These guys know what they’re doing when it comes to SMS marketing.
Firstly, their website is achingly cool, incredibly easy to use, and fast. Once you find what you like and you click on the product, you get a clever little pop-up inviting you to text them for a code. Bear in mind, at this point I am surfing anonymously and they have none of my information to remarket to me or to send me an email to follow up if I don’t buy.
When the reader texts this number they are offered a discount code and an immediate link back to the site to purchase. One of their campaigns invited the user to “click to text” which pulled up a native texting app with their code and link prefilled.
The entire process was frictionless.
Did it work?
We’re told that this simple SMS popup increased their conversion rate by 200% while increasing their subscriber list by 22%.
Baby Tula ai one of the most popular manufacturers of baby carriers and peripherals. Their stock is in high demand, and they have developed an almost cult-like following. Besides offering excellent products, they made the decision to feature limited Signature Carriers on a bi-weekly basis.
Their strategy developed some pretty fierce competition among their members, and this was augmented by a brilliant SMS campaign that promised early access to the newest products.
The result was a 99% open rate on their SMS, a 50% click-through rate, and a phenomenal 1,668% ROI.
Those numbers will be music to any marketer’s ears.
Amazon Treasure Truck
Of course, Amazon has something to offer in our list of amazing SMS campaigns.
The Treasure Truck has been around for several years, a brightly colored and unmissable vehicle that travels through U.S. cities offering special daily deals. The only way to access these deals, however, is via SMS.
When a user subscribes, they receive personalized texts during the month which highlight relevant specials. These limited offers are eagerly anticipated by dedicated Amazon warriors and when they see something they like via text, they can immediately purchase the product and collect it from the Treasure Truck.
They use immediate gratification and scarcity alongside the instant nature of SMS to encourage action from their buyers.
SMS Tools at Your Service
Automated SMS campaigns take the headache and guesswork out of your marketing efforts. With the amazing reach, the versatility, and the host of benefits that we’ve outlined above, why wouldn’t you want to join the SMS marketing movement?
We’re sure that you have questions, and our experienced team is standing by to show you how.