Emails & SMS

SMS Marketing 101: Definition, Importance, and Proven Strategies for Better Results

June 22, 2022

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing works by sending crucial information to customers where they are - on their phones. Consider your phone habits and look at those around you. 

No matter where you are, chances are high you'll see at least one (if not dozens) of people looking at their phones. If they aren't looking at their phones, you can bet most people you see have their cell phone tucked into a pocket, purse, or bag.

SMS message marketing is vital today because it offers a way to tell current and potential customers time-sensitive information in a way guaranteed to have a high turnover. The open rate for marketing with SMS is 98 percent, whereas marketing emails only have about a 20 percent open rate.

Why are these open rates so high? It's because modern people are glued to their phones. More than 70 percent of people say they check their phones before they even get out of bed in the morning. These same people check their phones hundreds of times every day.

How Does SMS Marketing Work?

Marketing by SMS is done using shortcodes that are usually five to six digits instead of full phone numbers. Although these shortcodes are generally associated with a single sender, they can also be shared across several different senders.

Since many countries don't allow sender information to be altered, your message will appear as having been sent from this code. Your business name or phone number won't be the sender, making it vital you include your company's name inside every message text.

With SMS messaging, you can send two types of messages - campaigns or transactional.

Campaigns

Campaigns are sent to the masses and are usually used to communicate time-sensitive promotions or information. For example, your company might use a campaign message to promote sales, coupons, event details, or important business updates.

Transactional

Transactional messages are sent to individuals after they've done a particular thing. For example, you might use a transactional message to confirm an order, thank someone for signing up to receive SMS messages, or update them on shipping information.

Why is SMS Marketing Important?

SMS marketing is important because it closes the email marketing gap. While email marketing still has a place for campaigns that aren't as time-sensitive, texting closes the gap for information that needs to be seen right now. Within minutes of receiving a text, most people have already opened it.

The benefits of using SMS marketing are vast and go well beyond high open rates or fast views. It also provides a better communication platform for companies in developing areas.

Campaigns targeting people in developing countries or areas can use SMS marketing as a more cost-efficient and user-friendly way to deliver their message. In these areas, the costs of wi-fi and data can be astronomical. Therefore, it's significantly more likely that potential customers will open a text instead of an email because it costs less.

How Can You Improve Your SMS Marketing?

The benefits of marketing by SMS are vast and wide-ranging, so it's crucial you exert time and effort to improve your strategies. Below are a few simple yet effective strategies you can begin implementing right away to see better results.

Be Mindful of Your Message's Timing

Sending SMS message marketing texts at the wrong time can negatively affect your messages. There's almost nothing more annoying than having your phone go off in the middle of the night, and being the sender of one of those texts can have your opt-ins dwindling fast.

To prevent your subscribers from opting out of your alerts, you should be mindful of your message's timing. For example, avoid texts:

  • On holidays (with one exception, discussed below)
  • After 10 pm
  • Before 6 am
  • Too soon after a previous SMS marketing message

The one exception to sending an SMS message on holidays is a brief text wishing your followers well for that specific holiday. It's okay to briefly mention a special holiday sale or discount during this message. For example, your message might say:

Happy Mother's Day from everyone at [insert company name here]. Celebrate mom with 10% off your entire cart today.

You should also avoid repeat messages. Ideally, you shouldn't be sending more than one SMS daily maximum and should try to stick to two or less a week. To ensure you don't send too many messages (or send them at the wrong time), you should have a well-defined schedule planned in advance.

Always Mention Your Company Name

Since SMS marketing uses short codes instead of phone numbers, customers won't know who sent them the text unless you add your company name. There are a few ways to remember you never forget to add this crucial detail in SMS digital marketing.

  • Make a checklist of items to include in each SMS for marketing. For example, your checklist might consist of your company name, a short URL referral, and a greeting.
  • Create a template to include at the end of each text that includes your company name and other pertinent information, like your website or contact information.
  • Consider ways to incorporate your company name into the body of the email, alone or in addition to a sign-off.

Ensure Your SMS Marketing Complements Your Overall Digital Marketing Strategy

Your overall digital marketing strategy should be made up of numerous pieces that fit together to achieve a singular goal. SMS Marketing is no exception to that rule. To be most effective, you need to determine how SMS marketing can be used to further goals and achieve objectives.

For example, let's say your current objective is to increase your presence on social media. You could use SMS marketing to ask current subscribers to follow your social media accounts. Offering an incentive to do so will help drive results. Here's an example:

Have you followed us on Facebook yet? Stay current on all our new products AND get 10% off your first order by following today. Thanks from all of us at [company name]! [short URL to Facebook page]

This message can be used alongside email marketing and used for cross-platform promotion. After sending the SMS, you can schedule an email to follow up with subscribers after two or three days. At the same time, you can regularly promote your Instagram account from your company's website and other social platforms.

To make sure your SMS efforts align with your overall content strategy, you should:

  • Create a detailed content publishing schedule in advance
  • Share your content publishing schedule with all marketing team members so everyone remains on the same page
  • Automate your digital marketing campaign wherever possible to help your team stay on track
  • Update each task on your publishing schedule when it's completed, so nobody accidentally doubles up
  • Consider hiring professional marketing help

Create an Opt-in Box for Sign up Forms

A successful SMS marketing campaign has plenty of subscribers. When you first begin marketing by SMS, you should slowly but steadily increase your text subscribers list. One simple yet highly effective way to do this is by creating an opt-in box on all your basic sign-up forms. For example, you can include this opt-in box when people register for your website, sign up for your emailing list, or fill out a survey.

An opt-in box is a small checkbox you can add at the end of a sign-up form. When someone checks the box, they permit you to send them marketing texts. To ensure your SMS opt-in box is most successful:

  • Make it clear what people are signing up for
  • Keep the text beside your box short and to the point
  • Include the box before any terms, conditions, or agreements individuals need to agree to

Make Your Messages Valuable

To keep people subscribed to your marketing SMS messages, you need to ensure your messages are valuable. The examples included in previous sections were good examples of this. The messages are short and sweet while still providing real value to your customers. As an incentive to SMS marketing subscribers, try offering exclusive discounts, deals, coupons, or sales.

One excellent time to do this is when someone first signs up for your SMS marketing list. For example, you may send a transactional text like this:

Thank you for subscribing to receive text updates from [company name]. As a thank you, we'd like to offer 15% off your first order! Click here: [short URL] and use code ABCD to receive your discount.

Another great time to offer an incentive would be when your company achieves a goal you've been updating them on. For example, you could provide a special discount after reaching 1,000 SMS subscribers if that was one of your primary objectives. This campaign text may look like this:

We finally reached 1,000 text subscribers! Here at [company name], we know we couldn't have achieved this without you. That's why we're offering free shipping and up to 20% off our most popular products as a thank you! Click here [short URL] to take advantage of this deal!

Again, you're offering something of value to your customers. In this last example, you've offered valuable news and an offer to save money.

Takeaway Points

SMS marketing is crucial to the modern marketing strategy thanks to high open rates and fast views. This modern marketing technique allows you to meet your customers where they are - on their phones.

You can begin reaping the benefits of SMS marketing today by implementing the strategies above. Contact us today to learn more about how SMS marketing can help your company achieve its goals.

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