SMS marketing can increase revenue, gain traction, and build customer loyalty through promotional campaigns and SMS marketing competitions. Learn what SMS marketing is and why it works in 2023, the do’s and don’t to easily conduct successful SMS marketing using top mobile marketing providers!
By Simon Mannheimer / Updated: Sunday, February 26th, 2023
SMS marketing (otherwise known as text message marketing or mobile marketing) is still one of the most popular forms of communication of sending promotional material to target recipients’ mobiles via SMS (text messages). SMS, or short message services, can be utilized for campaigns or promotional messages which have transactional value for the business, or as a means to increase customer loyalty by building long-lasting relationships.
SMS marketing campaigns are time-sensitive in nature, and have the objective of sending updates, alerts, or offers to consumers who have opted in to receive such text messages.
With 96% of adults in the US owning a mobile phone, there is so doubt that SMS marketing is becoming as important as ever for businesses in 2023.
Explore More SMS Marketing Statistics
We’re here to prove why SMS marketing will help you break through the marketing clutter and directly target your customers who want to listen.
In a highly cluttered marketing and advertising environment, American businesses need to find exciting, quick, and meaningful ways to engage with customers in today’s fast pace environment. That’s why SMS marketing is such a highly successful marketing channel for small businesses to large enterprises.
In today’s society, everybody owns a mobile phone. In fact, by 2023, it is predicted that 8.2 billion people worldwide will own a mobile phone. No need for fancy devices, applications, or software, people can receive marketing messages within the palm of their hand. With this accessibility, around 95% of all SMS messages are read and responded to within just 3 minutes. When it comes to business text messages, statistics show that SMS marketing has a 19% Click-Through-Rate (CTR), which is much higher than Email marketing (4%) and Facebook marketing (1%). Conversion Rates are also shown to be around 45%, which is the highest among many other forms of marketing communication.
Unlike other advertising and marketing methods, SMS marketing is instant. Businesses are able to send time-sensitive messages in real-time within minutes, if not seconds, and customers are almost guaranteed to view them. Social media ads can be skipped, Emails and phone calls can be easily ignored, but SMS messages will almost always be noticed and read.
Not only can businesses simply bombard customers with constant marketing messages, but recipients are able to respond, providing value for both parties. When done correctly this can help to build long-lasting relationships as customers feel like their opinions matter (e.g. providing feedback on eCommerce websites), or this two-way communication can be used to simply confirm bookings, send appointment reminders, and reduce appointment and monetary losses.
SMS marketing can help to compliment other marketing efforts such as leveraging contests, buying behaviors and other interactions through SMS reminders and clever Call-To-Actions and links to other channels.
Sending a message directly to the audience’s mobile phone means marketers can personalize the message with specific information for that customer. Using the customer’s name, information, or recent behaviors will help to make the recipient to feel special, directly targeted to, and therefore more likely to interact with that message. Highly personalized SMS messages can be sent out at scale if one uses e.g. a SMS API.
All SMS marketing providers offer an array of tracking methods and delivery reports, enabling businesses to see what works and what doesn’t. The ability to track and monitor messages is essential for the success of marketing campaigns as you can use the data to manage SMS marketing messages and see whether or not they convert.
To learn more about what SMS marketing is, why it is important, and how it can benefit businesses in any industry, view our article.
SMS Marketing Guide
So, convinced that you need to leverage the success of SMS marketing for your business? Good. Let’s talk about one of the most important steps in starting your mass text messaging campaign – getting people to opt in.
Gaining this consent from customers will not only ensure that they actually want to receive your marketing messages but also helps you avoid any hefty penalties.
Luckily for you, there are many ways to collect your target audiences phone numbers and encourage them to opt-in to your campaigns. The top 5 ways to get SMS subscribers are listed below:
Once you’ve got your list of contact phone numbers, there are so many ways you can utilize SMS marketing run campaigns and improve your business. Some of our favorite strategies are listed below.
Make your customers feel extra special by sending them exclusive deals that are unique to the individual. This can be as simple as a 10% off code for their next purchase or visit, or even a free product once they take further action, as shown in the Jack In a Box example below. These incentives will promote repeat purchases and remind users of what great products or services you have to offer.
Getting feedback from audiences is essential to make sure you’re evolving and giving customers what they want. Sending them a simple text message immediately after they have engaged with your services or purchased a product is a great time to gain that authentic feedback. SMS marketing can also be linked to trusted review websites such as TrustPilot and Yotpo, encouraging customers to click straight through and make a review.
The great thing about SMS marketing is the ability to automate messages through Drip Campaigns. Many SMS providers offer digital marketing automation services where you can set delivery windows with SMS templates to ensure text messages are sent at the correct times, and follow up messages are sent automatically to keep customers engaged. These are often triggered by actions or behaviors conducted by the consumer and follows down a pattern, depending on their responses. A great way to utilize messages in a transactional way for eCommerce sites is to send the user a text message to their mobile device when they have abandoned cart to push them to purchase.
Drip campaigns can also be set up to send automated responses to recipients’ replies to your text messages. Rungopher is a provider which offers a great example of how these can be used to a business’s advantage for customer engagement, without being spammy.
Polls can be used to assist with new ideas and engage customers to feel more involved. With text messages, polls can be conducted easily by letting customers text their votes directly to you. These results can be collected and graphed to show results over time.
Text messaging is an easy way to get customers to enter in competitions and sweepstakes. This is a simple marketing tactic that can be used across all your campaign channels.
A popular tactic from businesses is to create an advertisement to encourage people to “Text To Win”. Once the user opts in to the contest, the business now has their details to send follow up messages and reminders of other upcoming campaigns.
Not only can you use text messaging to send worded messages, but many providers also enable you to send and receive photos and videos. This helps to grab the attention of the recipient straight away and is shown to improve conversion rates significantly.
The type of cell phone number you share with your customers will depend on what you want to use SMS marketing for. The 3 most popular types of mobile numbers are:
These are 10 digit toll-free phone numbers which are an extremely popular amongst businesses. These numbers are versatile and can be used for two-way communication and text blasts, therefore are popular when wanting to send a large amount of SMS messages.
Shortcode phone numbers are used for those sweepstakes and contests discussed earlier. These are often 5 to 6 digit numbers which is easy to remember to encourage audiences to enter your competitions. For example, “Text ‘WIN’ to 888 444 and be in the draw to win!” SMS marketing companies will usually offer dedicated shortcodes for an additional price.
Finally, local phone numbers are often used when businesses want to keep their existing cell number and conduct 1-to-1 communication. This is more advantageous for businesses who want to conduct SMS marketing with a smaller amount of niche customers, rather than hundreds of audiences at any one time.
Gain consent – as discussed, gaining permission from the user to receive your marketing messages is critical to avoid breaching the privacy of your audience.
Get creative and offer value and incentives – offering value in a creative way is essential to stand out from the marketing clutter and ensure that audiences continue to engage with your services.
Personalization – sending unique messages that are customized to the individual will ensure the customer feels valued and increase the likelihood of further action. Even when sending bulk text messages, SMS marketing software offers the ability to customize messages to include specific names, recent purchase behavior, and more customer segmentation.
Reply and interact (two-way communication) to build relationships – it’s one thing to send the initial text message, but businesses should ensure that they follow up with their audiences, read their replies, and respond when necessary.
Connect to other Apps and marketing tools to automate SMS messages and trigger further actions – use your SMS platform to integrate with services such as Zapier, businesses can connect SMS messages with other applications to send automated messages when other behaviors are conducted (e.g. making an appointment or booking). These can also connect with other apps such as Slack, Mailchimp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Meet for auto-responses.
Choose the right SMS marketing provider for your needs – with a plethora of SMS marketing providers available to businesses in the US, it is essential that you figure out exactly what you want and need from the SMS service provider and choose the provider that will allow you to succeed. Compare the top SMS providers with our comparison.
Don’t send messages too often or at the wrong times – remember to text your audiences when they want to receive them. Choosing the right time and frequency to send your SMS messages will make the difference when it comes to people reacting positively to your texts. For example, it is recommended that SMS messages should be sent outside of business hours and once or twice a week, but then again, be sure you’re not sending text messages at 1am in the morning.
Don’t send to customers who may not want to receive them (provide option to opt-out) – Mobile marketing has rules and regulation such as the CAN-SPAM Act in USA. All campaigns either to prospective or existing customers need to meet these standards. This includes the option to opt-out of future text message marketing campaigns by allowing recipients to text stop.
Don’t be “spammy” in nature and not offer any value – don’t send a text for the sake of it. Make sure you use the correct language for your audience and don’t be too pushy or spammy in nature. This will only deter your customers from taking further action and even see your business in a negative light.
Getting your contact list of phone numbers and SMS marketing strategy planned and ready to go to great, but you will need to choose the right SMS provider to suit your individual needs.
With so many text message providers in the industry, how exactly do you choose the right one to go with?
Some of the best SMS marketing providers available to American businesses in 2023 are listed below, however if you’re looking to dive deeper into each one, explore our SMS provider comparison.
Discover and compare the full list of top SMS marketing providers with our easy comparison below.
SMS Provider List >>
Our findings show that in terms of pricing Podium is on the higher end for smaller contact bases. The starting price is $289 for 1,000 contacts compared to ClickSend which would only cost $35 for 1,000 contacts. To obtain value for money, customers would need a contact base of more than 35,930 to ultimately benefit from the unlimited package offered by Podium, anything smaller customers should approach ClickSend or Bulk SMS.
For a cost-effective provider, Bulksms, Message Bird, and SMS Global are cash flow positive by offering to prepay or pay as you go, allowing the invoice to be solely based on the number of contacts required. With a price match guarantee offered by Podium and ClickSend, along with no monthly or setup fees – these providers offer the best in terms of pricing for SMS Marketing.
Our research finds that in terms of functionality, many providers do well to empower users and customers to make informed business decisions easily. Podium, ClickSend, BulkSMS, MessageBird and SMS Global all offer API access for developers without any need for software installations. But in terms of SMS Gateway, Podium stands out from the crowd. Podium offers native SMS Gateway while all other providers in the list require an API for the same.
While all providers review offer 2-way SMS, WebSMS and Email to SMS – Carrier regions differ. Podium offers USA, UK and Australia, while ClickSend, MessageBird and SMS Global offer American and Overseas, BulkSMS alone offers Global. All providers offer dedicated numbers, and inbound SMS, but only Podium and ClickSend offer a money back guarantee.
At SMS Comparison USA, we try to offer the most transparent view of SMS providers in the market. We report on reliability as one of our key metrics for overall quality and usability. Podium, ClickSend, BulkSMS, MessageBird, and SMS Global all offer global coverage – however, gateway uptime varies slightly. MessageBird and SMS Global uphold 99.99% gateway uptime, while Podium promises 99%. ClickSend alone offers 100% gateway uptime. BulkSMS does not state its gateway uptime.
Beyond that, all providers have SLA guarantees, are SPAM compliant, and offer comprehensive Security and Privacy Policies.
From our research and the reviews from over 1,000 people, all providers offer 24/7 support, via many different formats such as phone, email, and online chat. Podium, however, stands out from other providers by having outstanding reviews regarding their simplistic step-by-step onboarding process that allows customers to breeze through the process of growing their business while having full access to an extensive library of videos and articles to assist.
Ultimately, it is clear that businesses must take advantage of SMS marketing services in order to keep up with the ever-changing marketing landscape and create value for their customers. Whether you’re a local restaurant, large retailer, hotel franchise, or anywhere in between, all types of businesses can benefit from SMS marketing campaigns.
Discover more about what SMS marketing is, exactly how to use it, and why SMS marketing works with our SMS marketing guide. Or learn more about the text messaging statistics in today’s modern society, read our 2023 statistics article, and learn why more businesses are succeeding with the power of text messaging!
Published by Simon Mannheimer
What is the best SMS marketing technique?
The most effective SMS marketing technique will depend on your end goal. May I ask what industry you’re in? Once you have set your goal, it’s easy to choose the right SMS marketing provider and technique that will work for your business.
For example, if you are a retail company, you may consider sending text alerts for upcoming campaigns or sales, or if you’re in the hospitality industry, you may send a follow up text message asking for feedback or a review on how to improve.
These can be easily conducted with the help of the SMS providers mentioned in this review. For the full list of SMS marketing providers.
SMS Providers Reviewed