The emergence of mobile phones has revolutionized communication by making it easy to reach people anytime, anywhere. In the business world, the short message service (SMS) feature in mobile phones provides a great marketing platform, hence the rise of SMS marketing. Businesses are increasingly adding this form of marketing into their strategies to promote their offerings.
Since text messages are delivered directly to the target audience’s phone and have a high open rate, they’re incredibly effective marketing tools. Compared to other marketing strategies, the cost of running SMS marketing campaigns is far much less. SMS messages only take 160 characters maximum, which allows recipients to read them very fast.
SMS marketing is also referred to as text marketing. It involves sending an SMS text blast to your target audience. Often, the text messages would include offers, product information, and opt-ins among others. Like email marketing, SMS marketing requires businesses to segment their audience, schedule texts in advance, and apply conditional logic in the messages to trigger interest. These marketing messages are then delivered to the target audience via SMS.
How To Incorporate Messages In Marketing Strategies
If you’re looking to leverage SMS in your business, here are 8 ways to incorporate them in your marketing strategy:
- Understand Your Target Audience
To incorporate SMS in your marketing strategy, you need to have a good understanding of your target audience. You need to be clear on who you’re marketing to and what you want to offer them in order to provide them value. Depending on the type of business you’re in, the value you offer your customers will vary.
However, the main aim of integrating SMS in your marketing strategy should be to make the lives of your subscribers better. The only way to do this is to give them offers or information that they find valuable in the text messages you send them. This could be in the form of offers like invitations to participate in contests, discounts, or free takeaways. Most importantly, each text message should have a clear call to action in order to drive sales for the business.
- Generate A Mobile Phone List
In order to send your audience text messages, you need to have a database of their contacts. Just like emails, you need to request your audience to provide you with their phone numbers. Though this may appear obvious and simple, it’s extremely important to allow your target audience the freedom to choose whether they want to receive your messages or not.
This means allowing them to opt-in or subscribe to receive text messages from you. There are several opportunities that businesses can create for their target audiences to subscribe to their SMS messages. These include providing spaces for them to provide their phone numbers on the business website, asking them to send a text to a short code number, or asking them to enter their phone numbers when checking out of a website page. As your targets opt-in to your SMS messaging program, create a list.
To increase the number of prospects who subscribe to receive your text messages, consider offering free gifts like product discounts or reports. If you’re offering downloadable content, deliver them as links via text messages. As you build a phone list, consider asking your target audience their preferred time for receiving text messages. Ensure that you know the time zones they’re in so as to schedule your campaign accordingly. An SMS marketing service like Drop Cowboy offers various ways to streamline your campaigns.
- Keep Your Target Audience Engaged
People receive numerous texts on a daily basis, some of which are paid for. As such, businesses that use SMS marketing should only send texts to prospects who express interest in receiving them by opting in. But beyond subscribing for texts, most people respond to messages that they find engaging, as opposed to those that feel spammy.
Sending product or service materials to your target audience is not likely to elicit the kind of response that text messages elicit. Even so, your prospects will be happy to get promotional codes that allow them to access product discounts. The other strategy that companies can use to engage their targets is by setting SMS systems to send texts to their audience anytime they’re within a given distance from the business location. This strategy works extremely well for businesses that run retail operations and are looking to drive more traffic to the store.
Alternatively, companies can offer their target audience free gifts for every testimonial they share about their experience with your products or referral they make to your company. When you use SMS messages this way, you nurture your business’s relationship with customers and increase customer loyalty.
- Integrate SMS With Other Advertising Methods
In marketing, no single advertising method is self-sufficient. In fact, the best methods are those that integrate varying forms of media. SMS marketing is one of these advertising methods. Due to the short nature of SMS messages, companies are able to repurpose content from digital ads, printed ads and even social media sites easily and send it to their target audience with ease. Further, marketers can drive traffic to new articles, videos and other forms of content they publish by disseminating links via SMS platforms. These efforts combine to build the credibility of the company in the eyes of prospects and strengthen customer loyalty.
- Send Texts At The Most Appropriate Time
In marketing, the time that messages are delivered to target audiences matters—it actually determines how successful a campaign will be. Like email marketing, SMS open rates vary depending on when the text messages are sent. To determine the best time to send texts to your audience, you’ll need to understand their behavior. This means identifying the time that they’re free to check and act on your messages.
Often, this is early in the morning before they start work engagement, during the day at lunch time, and in the evening after they’re done with work. To know which of these times will work best for you, consider testing your market before you decide to run a full SMS campaign. But, as a general rule, avoid sending marketing texts to your target audience after nine o’clock at night.
- Communicate Exclusive Offers Via Text
Naturally, people want to feel special. Businesses can make their audiences feel special by promoting exclusive offers that are not available on other marketing channels on SMS messages. When you do this, you offer value through a text that contains important information on offers that they’d be interested in taking advantage of.
- Strengthen Customer Relationships
To build good relationships with customers, businesses should not just focus on the pre-sale phase. Keeping customers engaged after a sale is equally important. As a matter of fact, it’s the after-sale engagements that builds loyalty in customers because it gives them positive experiences that may lead to repeat purchases and referral purchases.
SMS marketing can provide a great channel for communicating post-sale messages. One way of using text messages for post-sale follow-ups is alerting buyers once their order had been shipped, sending them the tracking number and even notifying them once the order had been delivered. To use this strategy, businesses in the e-commerce space should include an SMS subscription option in their shopping cart checkout so customers can leave their contacts.
- Compliment Email Campaigns With SMS Messages
Unlike emails that people only check after several hours, people have their phones with them everywhere they go. As such, they receive text messages immediately after you send them. A great way to incorporate SMS in your marketing strategy is to support email campaigns by sending texts to email subscribers notifying them of an email that has been delivered to their inbox. This is particularly important when the email contains information like test results, changes in event schedules, or contests that your audience would appreciate receiving as soon as possible.
Sending your audience a text message soon after you’ve sent them an email helps in increasing email opening and response rates as your audience receives the two messages on their mobile devices. Since the two communication channels support two-way communication, businesses can engage their audiences in conversations that they’d otherwise not be able to engage in with other channels of communication.
- Boost Your Business’s Reach To Younger Consumers
With a large part of the global consumer population being tech savvy, using SMS marketing enables businesses to reach a younger demographic that would otherwise not be reached through conventional marketing tools like TV or newspaper ads. Unlike the older generations, consumers who belong to generation X and Y are big SMS users since they grew up in the mobile phone era. As such, the use of SMS marketing makes it easy to reach these generations with marketing messages.
What Are The Benefits Of Using SMS Messages In Marketing?
Here are some of the unique benefits that text messages offer businesses:
- No Design Work Required
The creation of SMS messages is easy and fast. Like other campaigns that take time to roll out due to design and printing work, SMS messages require none of that. If you decide to run an SMS campaign, all you need to figure out is the message. Delivery is also immediate. Sending bulk texts out takes as little time as sending an SMS from your phone. This frees you plenty of time to do other things.
- Mobile-Friendly And Direct
Mobile phones are now an integral part of people’s life. Text messages are highly compatible with every mobile phone. This means when you choose to use SMS marketing, you need not worry that some users will not be reached. You also need not be concerned about onboarding customers to a new platform in case a new technology emerges.
At the same time, SMS messages are delivered directly to your target audience’s phone. Since most people rarely leave their mobile phones unattended, there’s always a guarantee that your text messages will be delivered and read by the right target.
- Short And Simple
Through texts, businesses are able to send small, but simple bits of messages to their audiences instantly. In a fast-paced world where people are used to convenience and instant gratification, information is passed to recipients within seconds. Unlike emails, leaflets and adverts that are loaded with information and often go unread, the simple and short nature of text messages makes them extremely convenient for recipients.
- Lead Generation
SMS messages provide a simple, but effective avenue for businesses to generate leads through short codes. The process of setting up SMS short codes is pretty simple. Businesses have the option of using memorable words or digits as short codes. Once set up, the codes can be advertised on different spaces so customers can opt-in. The contacts that subscribe to receive text messages become instant leads for the business.
- Easy To Personalize
Text messages are only sent to customers who opt-in to receive updates from businesses that they choose to interact with. As such, businesses are assured their messages are delivered to the right target. To increase engagement with customers, SMS messages can be personalized with ease, without taking additional time.
Compared to other marketing strategies, running an SMS campaign is far less costly. Better still, the return on investment is considerably lower. With each message costing so little, you can run an SMS campaign successfully without emptying your bank account.
With increased mobile phone penetration, SMS marketing has gained traction across the world. Businesses that use this marketing channel are guaranteed that their message gets to the right target fast. The short nature of text messages ensures that marketers communicate their message with precision.
SMS marketing can be used to complement other forms of marketing in various ways. For instance, if you’ve been running email marketing, you can send text messages to your target audience to notify them that a new email has been sent to their inbox. Use the nine tips discussed above to integrate SMS in your marketing strategy.