If you’re a consumer, chances are you have been on the receiving end of SMS marketing at least once. SMS marketing has become increasingly popular and now that the average user is on their phone for most of the day, more companies are investing in SMS marketing. So, what is it all fuss about and how can companies utilize it when attempting to reach consumers? Check out these tips and tricks below to utilize SMS marketing.
This concept doesn’t take much explaining. Simply put, short message service or SMS marketing is a form of marketing where businesses send promotional messages to customers via text messages. Common examples include appointment reminders, upcoming sales, and delivery updates. Customers can receive messages by opting-in for your service usually through a sign-up form or by texting a keyword to a phone number. For example, a pizza place may tell customers “text PIZZA to 000 for delivery/order updates and upcoming specials.” SMS marketing can be a great tool to increase engagement and keep customers updated. According to Aspect, almost 50% of US customers make a direct purchase after they’re sent an SMS text, coupon, or discount code. If that isn't enough, here are some more benefits of SMS marketing:
Although choosing which SMS platform to use will depend on your business, there are some important aspects to keep in mind during your research. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before choosing a platform:
Sendinblue - Best all-in-one communication platform for small businesses
Sendinblue is a digital marketing platform that offers email marketing, email API, SMS marketing, chat, and inbox. This platform is great for small businesses looking for an all-in-one platform. The platform also has over 150 integrations available. Sendinblue is the perfect tool for any business just starting, plus you can receive a one-week free trial to test out all of its tools, and honestly, who doesn't love free stuff?
TextMagic - Best for new businesses
Based in the UK, TextMagic is an SMS marketing platform aimed at helping businesses communicate digitally to their customers. The platform allows businesses to send notifications, alerts, reminders, and other SMS marketing messages to customers. One great tool about this platform is that they offer two-way communication where you can interact with customers via text or email. Additionally, TextMagic provides API, tracking metrics, and integrations. This platform is great for businesses looking to test the waters of SMS marketing because, with TextMagic, you pay as you go.
Omnisend - Best for e-commerce/retail marketing
Omnisend is an all-in-one e-commerce marketing platform aimed at driving sales through email and SMS marketing. The platform is easy to use and offers email marketing, marketing automation, customer intelligence, popups and forms, reports, SMS, and push notification. This platform is great for e-commerce or retail businesses because it works to automate your process. One interesting feature is their Omnisend Academy where you can learn about all types of email/SMS marketing tactics.
Disclaimer: although the price will not change, the number of contacts reached will depend on how many contacts you plan on sending to.
EngageBay - Most accessible and easy to use
Engagebay is a marketing platform that encompasses marketing, sales, and support team needs. The platform offers CRM software, marketing automation, live chat software, and helpdesk software, all aimed at helping you connect with customers. If your business wants to communicate with customers but has little technical knowledge, this platform is just for you. With guides for all forms of marketing and available templates, your business can easily communicate with customers and better yet, track their behavior.
SimpleTexting - Best for simplicity
SimpleTexting is just that, a marketing platform focused on providing simple and accessible features. The platform offers 2 way messaging, mass texting, autoresponders, custom fields, data collection, segmentation, link tracking, MMS marketing, and more. Additionally, one great feature they offer is text to win or text to vote where customers can enter contests and you can run surveys to get customer feedback. This platform is great for businesses who want a simple yet innovative way to communicate with their customers.
In your SMS marketing research, you’ll find tons of best practices and it can be difficult to understand which ones you should really be focusing on when developing your campaign. That’s why our team of experts has listed the best practices to help put your best foot forward when it comes to starting your own SMS marketing campaign.
1. Collect Consent and be Honest With Your Customers
In order to begin sending messages to a customer, you must receive consent from them to send messages. As mentioned above, you can collect consent via sign-up form or have customers text your business a certain keyword to opt-in. You must also offer a way for customers to opt-out of receiving messages. This means that customers can choose to stop receiving messages at any time. Collecting consent will ensure that you will receive the correct metrics and can help avoid having your messages marked as spam.
One practice you should avoid under any circumstances is paid SMS marketing lists. Sometimes, a company will pay for a list of potential customers to begin sending messages to. This is highly frowned upon and will result in your messages being marked as spam, therefore, your customers will not receive the messages you send. You also cannot use pre-checked boxes or make opting in a default option for customers. If you want your messages to reach your target audience, it’s simple - get consent! Most consumers are open to signing up for this if they receive even the smallest discount.
Bonus tip: once a customer has signed up to receive messages from your business, send them a welcome message and let them know how often you’ll be sending messages. Because honestly, who doesn't love a little personalized message welcoming them to the company’s community?
2. Personalize Your Messages
One of the great perks of SMS marketing is that you can send personalized messages to your customers. These messages can be sent based on a customer’s interests and can increase engagement/conversion. One simple way to personalize your messages is to include the customer’s first name in the message. This makes the conversation seem more personal to customers. Customers are much more likely to engage with your messages if it sounds like a text coming from a friend, versus an automated system.
Another way to keep customers engaged is to send them messages based on their interests and actions. For example, let’s say you have a business that sells pet care products such as toys, furniture/beds, and treats/food. Your customers can purchase items in-store or online by placing them in a cart. However, some of your customers are abandoning their full carts. To encourage them to purchase those items in their cart, you might re-engage them by sending an SMS message about how they can still purchase those items in their cart. Account-based marketing is the best way to increase those conversions and build those loyal customers!
3. Respond to Customers
SMS marketing allows for two-way communication between you and the customer. Take advantage of that! When you send a message, sometimes a customer will respond with a “Thank you” or they might say how much they enjoy your product or service. For these, consider adding automated responses to continue the conversation. This will help the conversation feel more personal. You can also use automated responses to help customers with frequently asked questions and technical support. If the problem cannot be resolved over text, refer them to your customer service phone number or main phone number.
4. Text Customers at the Right Time and be Consistent
Just like other forms of marketing, timing is key We’ve all gotten those messages at the wrong time and have either quickly unsubscribed or simply ignored them. Sending messages to customers at the right time can maximize engagement and can avoid a high number of unsubscribes. The best time to send messages will depend on when your customers are most active. If you have these metrics available, review them to make sure you’re sending messages at the best time for your customers. If you are just starting out, experiment with different times to find the one that works for you. Generally, it’s best to send messages during business hours between 9 am and 5 pm.
Another thing you should consider is how often you want to send messages to your customers. Sending too many messages could result in customers opting out, blocking you, or simply not opening your messages. How frequently you message customers will depend on your business, some businesses may message customers monthly whereas others may be weely. Research suggests that for optimal conversions, you should be messaging customers up to once a week, with 2-4 messages monthly. This will keep things consistent while still engaging with your customers.
5. Track Metrics Continuously
Most SMS marketing platforms will provide metrics based on user interaction. This could be open rate, engagement, clicks, opt-outs, etc. It’s important to review your metrics continuously to see how your campaigns are going and to see if there are any changes to be made. Here are some important metrics you should be tracking.
Developing your own SMS marketing campaign is no easy task, but now that you have the best practices, you're on the right track! SMS marketing is a great tool for interacting with and updating your customers. Remember to experiment to find the best combination for you and if you’re struggling, ask your customers what they think. Gathering outside information will help with future campaigns and can give insight into what customers enjoy the most. Overall, SMS marketing, just like any other form of marketing, isn't about making a sale, it’s about providing value to your customers. Providing value will greatly increase engagement and will in the long-term increase customer loyalty.
Looking for more expert marketing tips? Check out our other blogs!
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