Are you looking for the quickest way to reach out to your customers while they are on the go? SMS marketing is your answer!
Today, almost 5 billion people use a mobile phone. So, it makes sense to reach them via a medium they use all the time, right?
In business, communication happens in several ways. Some of these include sending emails or even one-on-one phone calls. These different methods vary in effectiveness and have their pros and cons.
A study shows email open rates to be typically 20 percent. Texts messages, on the other hand, get opened 82% of the time. What’s more, at least 90 percent of recipients open text messages in 3 minutes!
This is why we’ve created this guide to help you use SMS marketing to your advantage. Here, we’ll discuss the following:
- What is SMS marketing?
- How to collect phone numbers for SMS marketing
- Why invest in SMS marketing?
- When is SMS marketing most suitable?
- What kind of business is best suited for SMS marketing
- Tips for making SMS marketing a success
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS (Short Message Service) marketing or text message marketing is a form of communication that allows you to send notices, campaigns, promotions, and more to your customers via text messages.
Like email marketing, SMS marketing involves sending out text messages to all customers who have opted into your messaging list. This is to say that it is permission-based.
SMS marketing is the quickest way to get people to see your messages. Plus they are less intrusive, unlike other marketing channels like cold calling.
Many businesses prefer to reach out to their customers using email services, while others prefer to use text messages exclusively. So which is better?
It’s a smart idea to combine email marketing with SMS marketing for various reasons. One of these reasons is that while emails help you pass across your message more comprehensively, text messages have to be short but are hardly ever ignored.
With this potential for quick engagement, SMS marketing is your best option for sending out time-sensitive information without intruding on your customers’ privacy. Because it is permission-based, your recipient has to opt-in to receive messages from you using a simple opt-in form or shortcode.
The two main types of messages that you can send via SMS are:
1. Campaign Texts (Bulk SMS Marketing)
This one is quite self-explanatory. Basically, these are messages you send out in large numbers to people.
2. Transactional Texts
As the name implies, transactional messages are mostly sent out during or after a transaction. They are also automated. Some examples include the confirmation of a shipment or bank notification after a credit or debit.
How to Collect Phone Numbers for SMS Marketing
Using SMS marketing is no different from using basic email marketing. It is not complicated and takes very little time to set up.
Sending out text messages to customers is easier if you use an SMS marketing software like EZ Texting. It would be a nightmare to manually send a text to each person on your contact list, especially if you have a sizable number of them.
To get started, you need to provide your customers with an opt-in option to give you their phone numbers. Some of the most popular opt-in methods are:
1. Opt-in Forms
Using opt-in forms is an easy, yet professional way to capture the phone numbers of your visitors.
By filling in their phone numbers, they agree to receive text messages from your brand. To add an opt-in form to your website, you need to use the right software.
This is where Adoric can help!
Adoric offers you highly responsive opt-in forms to collect your customers’ phone numbers online. The good thing about it is that the phone numbers you harvest get stored right in your Adoric account.
On top of that, Adoric comes with tons of free templates for you to choose from. They come in the form of popup boxes, sidebars, and notification bars, etc.
If you want to tweak them to your liking, Adoric provides you with a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to customize in no time.
You also get access to targeting and trigger features that let you display your form to your online visitors just when the time is right.
2. Physical Paper Forms
If you have a physical store, paper forms are the best way to get your customers’ phone numbers. Simply hand out forms to your offline customers when they come to visit. With this opt-in method, they can write down their phone numbers which you can then upload onto your chosen SMS marketing software.
3. Short Codes
This opt-in method involves directing your customers to send a keyword to a unique shortcode. This method is especially useful for quick subscription to newsletters, running polls, or effectively and quickly collecting information.
Your customers only need to text the designated keyword to the approved number or shortcode, and they automatically get added to your messaging list.
A very good example is, “Text WIN to 12345 to stand a chance to win a ticket to any movie of your choice.”
In this instance, the shortcode is the 5-digit number 12345.
But what is a shortcode?
In SMS marketing, a shortcode is a 5 or 6-digit number. It is unique to each business and so represents the brand.
If you don’t wish to use a shortcode, there are other options that you can use. They are:
- A toll-free number that enables free, open, two-way communication between your business and your customers;
- Alternatively, you could use an autoresponder.
Why Invest in SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing is a very powerful tool that has remained relevant in the world today. However, many still consider it an unnecessary and irrelevant marketing technique, which begs the question, “Is SMS marketing worth investing in?”
Not only is bulk SMS marketing an efficient way of effectively sending out timely information in real-time, but it is also the easiest way to connect to all customers who signed up to receive information. Below are the reasons why you should consider investing in SMS marketing at your company:
1. It Is Non-Intrusive
Like we mentioned earlier, SMS marketing is a permission-based communication method. It requires your recipients to show interest in receiving these notifications. Therefore, unlike other options like phone calls, they are non-intrusive and not annoying.
2. Real-Time Communication
SMS marketing makes it possible to relay urgent messages in real-time. As opposed to emails that your recipients may check only once or twice a day, most people check text messages as soon as they receive them. This way, you can reduce the lag between the receipt and acknowledgment of messages you send.
3. They Are Convenient
Not only does SMS marketing help you reach many customers at once, but they also won’t have to refresh their email inbox repeatedly to keep up with up-to-date information.
4. They Are Hardly Filtered
In email marketing, the messages that you send out can get caught up in spam boxes. That’s bad for your business.
But it isn’t always like that for text messages. While they are also susceptible to spam filtering, most of the time, they go through to your customers’ inboxes.
5. Wider Reach
Because almost everyone has got a phone, SMS marketing provides you with a wider reach than other marketing methods.
Since a text message does not require a working internet connection, you don’t have to worry about limiting your audience to those with email applications or other online messaging platforms.
6. They Are Engaging
SMS marketing is an interactive tool that enables your customers to respond to your message with ease. It is a convenient and extremely easy option as opposed to opening several links to log a response. This is especially useful in gathering data from your customers.
7. Reliable and Trackable
Did you know that you can accurately track the SMS you send out?
You can do this by simply adding short web addresses to every text message you send out as part of your call-to-action. This link should direct them to your website where you can track their activities with web analytic tools like Google Analytics.
With this, you can keep track of which messages your recipients have been interacted with to measure the success rate of each batch of text messages.
When Is SMS Marketing Most Suitable?
One of the major benefits of using SMS marketing is that it gives you the platform to send out time-sensitive messages in real-time. They are most ideal for sending out:
1. Time-sensitive Promotions
Coupons, discounts, and even gifts are the perfect incentives to get your customers talking about your brand. These incentives are even more effective when you offer them for a limited time.
Given the high open rate of text messages, SMS marketing is the most effective way of communicating time-sensitive offers to customers. This way, you make sure your customers do not miss out on getting a sweet deal. You also get to increase your conversion rates.
2. Important Updates
Sometimes, you have to make certain updates to your business on short notice. SMS marketing is the easiest way to communicate urgent information in real-time, getting your message across to everyone at once.
You need to always keep your brand top of mind with your customers. And there’s no tool that is better suited for that job than SMS.
SMS marketing makes it easy to remind your customers about small things like their wishlist right down to important events like appointments.
4. Internal Business Communication
Text messages are not just important for business-customer relationships but can also be a big part of your internal communications.
To keep your business going, you need to communicate frequently. SMS helps to effectively communicate urgent information, critical challenges, and quick updates faster to your employees and partners.
What Kind of Business Is Best Suited for SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing works well with any type of business. While many brands may prefer to stick with email marketing alone, text messages are also effective and in no way make emails obsolete.
Businesses that can best benefit from using SMS marketing services include:
1. eCommerce Stores
Whether you sell fashion items, food, makeup, or pet-care items online, text messages are an important part of your business growth. Not only is it a perfect way to complement your email marketing, but it also helps you ensure that you pass valuable information to your customers quickly.
Some important information that you can send out via text messages for quicker responses are:
- Shipping information
- Order cancellation
- Order receipts
- Delivery confirmation
2. Travel Companies
Travel companies usually have to send out information like flight cancellations or weather alerts. These kinds of information are time-sensitive and may require urgent attention.
So, if you own a travel company, SMS marketing is the most effective way to get your customers’ attention immediately. See an example of a text message sequence from a travel company:
3. For Appointment Bookings
Dental clinics, hospitals, and even hair salons schedule appointments with their customers to make it easier to serve them. It’s also not uncommon for a customer to fail to meet up with appointments simply because they forgot about it. Sometimes, it’s the business owner who wants to change the day and time of the appointment.
With SMS marketing, you can ensure your customers don’t miss appointments by sending them timely reminders. It allows your business’s smooth running, helps you maximize time, and ensures you don’t waste resources.
The text from a honeycomb insurance company illustrated below is a typical example of an appointment reminder.
4. Businesses in Areas with Poor Internet Connectivity
Not everyone owns a phone with an internet connection, especially in areas with poor internet connectivity. Usually, customers in such areas may not always communicate via emails.
The only way to reach these customers is through text messages. As text messages do not use an internet connection, it serves as a direct means of communication.
5. Social Media Platforms
Another type of business that relies on the power of SMS marketing is social media companies. Text messages are important for sending important notifications that have to do with setting up or managing their customers’ social media accounts.
Famous social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram use text messages to inform users of password changes, send out OTPs to secure their accounts, and even alert them when they suspect fraudulent activity.
Here’s an example of such text messages from Facebook:
Tips For Making SMS Marketing A Success
It’s one thing to send out text messages, it’s yet another to do so the right way. When done right, SMS marketing can greatly improve your bottom line.
Below are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you make SMS marketing a success:
1. Get Permission
Don’t randomly text your customers out of the blues. It isn’t just unprofessional but also intrusive. Instead of impressing them and getting the effect that you hope for, you’ll end up irritating them and coming off as untrustworthy instead.
Do encourage your customers to opt into your messaging service through any of the methods mentioned above. Let them know what type of messages to expect from you. Also, add an option to opt-out in every message you send.
2. Text Length and Frequency
Don’t send too many messages to your customers. It can irk them. This frequency can be discouraging and make them assume the messages are spam. Lengthy messages are not effective and do more harm than good.
Do keep the texts coming but not too frequently. Do not send out a text message unless you need to, and when you do, keep it short, concise, and straight to the point.
Don’t send out messages at random times in the hope of getting your customers’ attention.
Do think about what your audience might be doing at that moment. Most businesses stick to the time of 10 a.m to 8 p.m. It is, however, important to consider hours used for commuting, preparing for work, or other personal activities. An easy way to figure out the best time to send out messages is by tracking your messages and checking the hours when you get the most interaction.
4. Track Your Messages
Don’t be lazy with tracking the messages you send out. If you do, you might never know how effective and engaging your messages are.
Do keep track of open and click rates on all messages. It will provide you with parameters for an in-depth analysis of your SMS marketing.
5. Add A CTA and Some Urgency
Don’t forget to add a strong call-to-action to your text messages. Also, don’t let your customers waste time taking action. It’ll slow down your conversions.
Do add a clear call-to-action to your messages to let your customer know what you want them to do. Also, make your SMS content sound urgent. This exploits your customers’ fear of missing out and will make them act fast.
6. Keep It Interactive Not Salesy
Don’t drone on and on. It is not fun. Don’t sound salesy either. No one likes to be sold.
Do keep it fun. Whenever you can, give your customers a chance to respond to your text messages. Keep your messages valuable, informative, and entertaining enough to grab and hold their attention. Create games, competitions, and interactive polls that can help improve your business.
7. Pick the Best SMS Marketing Tool or Service
The promptness and quality of your text message delivery depend on your choice of tools and services. You’ll need lead generation tools like Adoric to get your customers’ numbers.
You’ll also need an SMS marketing service provider to help you automate your SMS marketing. Here are some top ones for you to choose from:
SMS marketing is an often overlooked, yet powerful sales channel. But when put to good use, it can turn the fortunes of your business for good.
In this guide, we’ve discussed SMS marketing and how you can use it to improve your business. Start today by using Adoric to collect the phone numbers of visitors to your website.