SMS marketing, or text message marketing allows brands to connect with customers on the go, at any time. SMS marketing can be set up relatively quickly, but what steps should you take to get started?

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing (short message service marketing) is a strategy that enables businesses to send messages to consumers via text messages.

Simply put, SMS marketing simply refers to text message marketing. It is the action of sending short text messages directly to consumers’ mobile phones.

Benefits of SMS marketing

Mobile phones connect people to the wider world. For most adults, there isn’t a day that goes by where their mobile phone is left unused. Infact, the average person checks their phone 160 times a day

SMS marketing is a great way to drive ROI by communicating with your database and delivering short, sharp messages, directly to the palm of their hand. Although these are important factors in increasing ROI – convenience and accessibility are not the only benefits of SMS marketing…

Personalisation and automation

Similar to email marketing, SMS marketing allows you to send one-to-one messages on a huge scale. Using behavioural triggers, campaigns can be automated to deliver certain messages at a certain time or at various stages of the customer journey.

With mobile devices allowing shoppers to search for and discover new brands, they are already familiar to personalised experiences on channels such as email and websites. Therefore, the growth in mobile device usage over recent years has led to a demand for more personalised mobile experiences too.

By using intelligent SMS building programs, you can also personalise SMS messages like you would an email campaign. For example, fields such as first name or location help marketers to deliver more personalised communications. In addition to providing suggestions or sending offers based on their interests or purchase history.

Fast delivery

Like email marketing, delivery of SMS marketing messages are instant. As soon as a message is sent, it gets delivered almost immediately to the consumer.

Not only is this great for time management, it also allows you to be very reactive. For example, it allows time-sensitive messages like flash sales and event-related promotions to be sent quickly. Some businesses have used this to their advantage on days like Black Friday to maximise sales made within that day.

High open rates

Generally, anyone who has a mobile phone has it within arms reach for most of the day. This alone already increases the chances that your message will get seen as soon as it is delivered. In fact, VoiceSage claims that 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes.

In comparison to email marketing, where users have to check their inbox and filter through lots of other marketing messages, SMS marketing messages cut through the noise with an instant notification. 

Since it’s often family and friends who send text messages, it is also less likely for text messages to be ignored. For many customers, text messages are their preferred way to communicate, therefore this type of marketing is also preferred due to its convenience.

That said, messages still need to be personal and stand out from the crowd to help increase open rates.

High response rates

Not only do SMS messages get opened more, they also get responded to more. The average response rate for SMS marketing is 45%, which is particularly high compared to other marketing methods.

Higher response rates shows that SMS marketing is grabbing the attention of audiences and can lead to an increase in sales. Your response rates can also show the effectiveness of your SMS marketing messages too. 

For example, if a certain message has lower response rates, then you could tweak the message and send it again in future. If the response rates increase then it can give you a good idea that your messaging is on the right track.

Boost other channels

SMS marketing can also enhance, support and integrate with other marketing touchpoints, such as social media, email, website or store visits.

Using a follow-up text message can remind customers to read an email that they had been sent previously. As we know, text messages are more likely to be opened, therefore referring them to an email campaign can also help to increase email open rates.

A shortened hyperlink in text marketing messages are also a great way to direct users to your website, or to engage with a certain promotion that you are running. SMS is a great way to distribute coupons and refer people to make a purchase either online or in-store.

SMS campaigns to get started

If you’re new to SMS marketing, you may be unsure of where to start with adding this into your current marketing strategy. To get you started, we’ve got some ideas to give you some inspiration for your first SMS marketing campaigns…

Subscription confirmation

Data collection at the point of sign-up or subscription often requires submitting a valid mobile phone number. If opted- in to marketing messages, brands can trigger subscription confirmation messages to thank your new sign up.

SMS messages can also be used as a double opt-in technique to confirm the contact’s desire to hear from your brand. This helps to build a highly engaged contact list which can be useful for future marketing.

Welcome message

Welcome messages help to introduce your brand, differentiate you from your competitors and help you to build a relationship with your new contact.

Welcome emails are popular, however welcome SMS messages go one step further to engage with your customers. SMS welcome messages help to build a personality around your brand, which feels more personal to the receiver. It tends to leave the recipient feeling excited about connecting.

Abandoned cart

Cart abandonment can happen for a number of reasons. Distractions and further research often take customers away from the final stages of the purchase process.

Use abandoned cart SMS messages to drive customers back to your website. Offering an exclusive or time sensitive discount can often be the motivation that shoppers need to make a decision and complete a purchase.

Birthday alerts

Similar to the subscription confirmation, birthday alerts would require collecting customers’ date of birth details when they submit personal data.

Sending personalised ‘Happy Birthday’ messages via text can help your brand connect with customers on a human level. You can deliver exclusive birthday offers or discount codes through this channel, or drive them to their email inbox with a ‘keep an eye out’ message to refer them to their emails.

Order confirmation

Transactional messaging is vital for building trust and confidence with your customers. Reaffirming this trust with an SMS order confirmation helps strengthen your relationship and also gives you a chance to thank customers for choosing your brand. You can also provide more details on how to get in touch if they need to.

Thanking your customers in an order confirmation message highlights that they are valued. In turn, this will help to convert them into loyal customers who will be an advocate for your brand; making repeat purchases.

Feedback collection

We recently spoke about how important customer reviews are and how to gain more of them. An SMS message can be another way to collect feedback from your customers.

Send a shortened link via text message to allow customers to submit their thoughts and opinions. Feedback from these messages can help ensure that your customers’ needs are being met and that they are satisfied with your service. 

Using text messages to collect this information is a great way to quickly and effectively gain feedback. It is less likely to be ignored and provides a quick and easy way for customers to respond.

Re-engagement campaign

Sometimes it’s unfortunate that customers start to ignore emails or stop engaging with your brand altogether. It can be a difficult job to win back their interest, however it’s not impossible.

If you notice that customers have stopped engaging with a certain channel, SMS marketing can be a great alternative method to re-engage customers. 

Remind subscribers about your business and drive them back to your site with well-timed SMS campaigns. Offers or discounts can be a great way to do this, as it gives an incentive for customers to pay more attention.

In summary…

SMS marketing is at an all time high and we can see why. It’s an effective and low-cost marketing tool which due to its direct nature, can encourage high open and response rates versus other marketing methods.

In combination with other marketing channels, SMS marketing can also really support existing marketing efforts; increasing the successes and conversions in other areas if used correctly.

To discover how your business can capitalise on SMS marketing’s impact, get in touch with us to talk through your current digital strategy and SMS marketing options.