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SMS Marketing: Everything you Need to Boost Sales and Engagement

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Are you using SMS marketing? If not, you could be missing out on a key line of communication with your customers and leads that they actually prefer.

In this article, we’re covering all things SMS marketing. Everything you need to know about using SMS marketing to boost sales and engagement is all right here.

Specifically, we’ll be covering what SMS marketing is, benefits of SMS marketing, how to use SMS marketing to reach your target audience, and even a few SMS marketing ideas you can use right away.

Let’s get started.

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is using SMS (short message service), MMS (multimedia messaging service), or RCS (rich communications service) to share marketing messages with your SMS subscribers.

When we refer to “SMS marketing” and “text message marketing” throughout this article, we’re referring to any of those three messaging services.

SMS marketing messages are typically quite short (160 characters or so) and sometimes involve a two-way digital dialogue between your brand and your text message marketing subscribers.

You can even include simple “text to buy” instructions that send would-be customers to an eCommerce platform.

SMS marketing has been around almost as long as mobile devices have been capable of sending and receiving text messages. It’s incredibly valuable for brands as consumers tend to have their mobile devices within arm’s reach, making it easy to reach them.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

Given SMS marketing’s increasing popularity, it’s surprising that few digital marketing agencies offer SMS marketing services.

Many marketing agencies and marketing teams think that text message marketing is prohibitively expensive and doesn’t allow for targeted, personalized communications between consumers and brands.

Fortunately, that’s not actually the case. Really all you need for SMS marketing is a text-enabled mobile device.

Of course, if you want to engage in SMS marketing at scale, you’ll probably want to invest in an SMS marketing tool. Those tools tend to be moderately priced and, with the ROI of text message marketing, many brands might find that they’re well worth it.

benefits of sms marketing

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of SMS marketing so you can decide if it’s something you’d like to try.

1. Instant Gratification

SMS marketing is fast. It takes about seven seconds to send a text message. Sometimes less. But what happens after you click “send” is what’s really amazing.

SMS has a response rate of 45%. Forty-five percent. Email marketing has about a 6% response rate.

That’s a really big difference.

And, it only takes users 90 seconds for users to respond to those text messages.

If you’re looking for a way to get in front of consumers quickly and want a fast response, SMS marketing is a great way to do it.

2. High Engagement and Open Rates

SMS marketing is not only fast, but it gets a response. SMS messages have a 98% open rate. Email? 20%.

And consumers actually enjoy getting text messages from brands they’re interested in. According to data cited by Digital Marketing Magazine, 75% of consumers prefer to receive promotions from brands via text.

3. Personalized and Brief

The typical length of an SMS marketing message is around 160 characters. Any longer than that and you risk losing your audience.

It may not seem like much, but consider this: Twitter built its platform on messages of 140 characters each.

When you choose your words carefully, you can say a lot with just a few characters.

In addition, text messaging just feels more personal.

Many consumers don’t realize that text messages can be sent out in broadcasts (just like marketing emails), so when they receive a text from a brand that includes “I” and “you” wording, it feels like a real person sent the message just for them.

4. Wide Reach

More than 5 billion people use text messaging worldwide, according to GSMA Intelligence. That’s more than 70% of the entire world’s population.

That’s a whole lot of people of different genders, socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities, and ages to target.

If your target audience doesn’t text, do you even really have an audience?

SMS is a very valuable communication tool.

5. Measurable

With the right SMS marketing tool, you’ll get full analytics on your SMS marketing. As with email marketing service providers, SMS marketing tools will show you who opened (or ignored) your messages, the links that were clicked, and more.

When you have this information, you can not only track the performance of your SMS marketing campaigns, but you can use that information to guide your future SMS marketing efforts.

How to Use SMS Marketing the Right Way

Now that you know the benefits of text message marketing and what it can do for your engagement, let’s talk about how to use SMS marketing to get the best return.

1. Get Permission

You have to get permission before sending SMS marketing messages. It’s not hard to do and it will keep you from getting into trouble.

And it’s easy to do. Just add a phone field on your email list subscription form and you’re good to go.

sms opt-in

Of course, users can opt-out whenever they want, so after you get their permission to text them, you’ll need to keep it.

To do that, start out by setting expectations. You’ll want to let users know what kind of text messages they’ll be getting from you and how often.

From there, it’s a matter of using SMS marketing for only the most important and exciting news. If you use it too much, users are going to opt-out faster than it would seem possible.

And that brings us to this: you have to include a way for customers to opt-out with every message. Many brands simply include something like “reply STOP to opt-out.”

2. Use an SMS Marketing Tool

While you can do SMS marketing using your own text-enabled phone, you probably don’t want to. Instead, we encourage you to use a marketing tool specifically designed for SMS marketing.

Yes, it’s going to cost money, but it’s worth it for everything that an SMS marketing tool can do for you.

  • Automate your SMS marketing messages
  • Add SMS to your email automation workflows
  • Set up triggered texts
  • Segment your text list
  • Reporting and analytics

3. Have a Point (and Stick to It)

What will you say with your 160 characters?

It may seem like such a short message would be easy to just write and send in a few minutes, but don’t do that.

Your test message marketing campaigns need to be planned out, actionable, and relevant to your subscribers. Otherwise, they’re going to opt-out.

Most brands stick with offering four things in their SMS marketing: coupons, special offers, time-limited offers, and exclusive info.

This gives your subscribers a reason to come into your store or shop on your website.

After you’ve decided what you’re going to offer your subscribers, write your message around that.

Incorporate your SMS marketing into your content strategy to ensure that you’re creating the best message possible.

4. Use Visuals

It doesn’t have to be all text, all the time with SMS marketing. In fact, adding a simple emoji can go a long way towards making your text message more engaging and personable.

emoji in sms

But you don’t have to stop there!

You can easily include images in your text message marketing. And, images are a great way to get your message more than a passing glance.

5. Personalize Your SMS Marketing Campaigns

Your SMS marketing campaigns should be both relevant and personalized. You can use your SMS marketing tool to create different segments, just as with email marketing. Then, you just create targeted messaging for that segment!

Since SMS marketing is more personal right off the bat, you can use that to your advantage. Add in details like your subscriber’s name or send offers that are location-based or that play off of their prior purchases.

The more personal you can make your text message marketing, then stronger your relationship with your subscribers will be and the more they’ll trust your brand.

Also, since text messages are immediate, you have to get the timing right. According to SMSGlobal, the best time to send your SMS marketing messages is between 10:31–11:29 a.m. or 2:34–3:27 p.m.

6. Make It Easy to Take Action

What is it that you want your subscribers to do when they receive your text message?

Whatever it is, be clear in asking them to do it with a strong call to action and make it easy for them to do it.

If you want them to visit your site to use the coupon you’re including, make it so they click the link and their coupon is already applied so they just need to choose what they want and check out.

Or, if you’re asking for a response (for a survey or to confirm an appointment, for example), reduce it to being able to reply using numbers, like “1—yes, 2—no,” or something similar.

The easier you make it for people to take action, the more likely they are to do it.

SMS Marketing Ideas You Can Use Right Now

By now, you probably already have all sorts of ideas for SMS marketing campaigns swirling around your head.

In case you don’t, or you just want a few more, here are three great SMS marketing ideas you can use.

Special Offers

Send your SMS marketing subscribers special offers that they can’t get anywhere else. 92% of shoppers use a discount code at least once a year, so why couldn’t it be yours?

You can use wording to let subscribers know that the deals they’re getting are exclusive to text subscribers. This reiterates the value that subscribers get by being part of your text message list.

Recapture Abandoned Carts

Did you know that 70% of carts are abandoned? This means that seven out of every ten shoppers have put something in their cart only to leave the site without completing their purchase.

While abandoned cart email campaigns are the common response to this (and they’re effective at getting results), you can use SMS to recapture abandoned carts, too.

We recommend combining SMS with an email series to combat abandoned carts and recapture those shoppers, but don’t send more than one text message about the abandoned cart.

Learn More About Your Customers

It’s always a good idea to find out more about your customers. The more information you have, the more accurate your customer journey map and buyer personas, and the better your message will be.

Text surveys are a great way to learn more about your customers or ask for feedback.

We recommend sticking to a number scale or Yes/No questions to make it really easy for subscribers to respond.

And keep it short. Nobody wants to answer dozens of questions via text.

Wrapping Up

SMS marketing is a great way to get your message in front of your target audience. A well-planned texting strategy offers a wonderful complement to your other marketing tactics. And getting started is actually pretty easy.

If you’re ready to kick your marketing strategy into overdrive, Digital Marketing Agency is here for you. We offer a broad range of digital marketing services from SEO to content marketing to PPC to web design and development, and just about anything else digital marketing you could possible need. Request a free quote today!

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