What Is SMS Marketing?

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 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 2021.

 

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.

What Are The Benefits Of SMS Marketing?

With 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. 

The benefits of SMS marketing include:

  • High Engagement Rates (CTR & Open-Rates)

In today’s society, everybody owns a mobile phone. In fact, by 2023, it is predicted that 8.2 billion people world-wide 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 amongst many other forms of marketing communication.

  • Timeliness & Immediacy (Instant 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 see it. Social media ads can be skipped, Emails and phone calls can be easily ignored, but SMS messages will almost always be noticed and read.

  • Two-Way Communication (Ability To Send & Receive)

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.

  • Leverage Interactions & Behaviours Through CTAs (Including Competitions)

SMS marketing can help to compliment other marketing efforts such as leveraging contests, buying behaviours and other interactions through SMS reminders and clever Call-To-Actions and links to other channels. 

  • Personalization & Customized Messaging

Sending a message directly to the audience’s mobile phone means marketers can personalize the message with specific information for that customer. Using the customers 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.

  • Trackability & Monitoring 

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 in 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 what SMS marketing is, why it is important, and how it can benefit businesses in any industry, view our article.

 

SMS Marketing Guide

 

top-6-benefits-sms-marketing-listed-and-explained

Starting SMS Marketing Campaigns: Getting Customers To Opt-In

So, convinced that you need to leverage the success for 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:

  1. People can text in keywords or short codes to sign up
  2. Pop ups on mobile to encourage sign ups (links to keywords)
  3. Click to text buttons on websites
  4. Web or printed forms 
  5. Sign up buttons through other channels e.g. emails and social media ads

Best SMS Marketing Strategies & Campaigns To Utilize

Once you’ve got your list of contact phone numbers, there are so many ways you can utilise SMS marketing run campaigns and improve your business. Some of our favorite strategies are listed below.

  • Send Discounts, Coupons & Exclusive Deals

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.

Photo Of Mobile Advertising With Jack In A Box Campaign

  • Collect Reviews & Feedback On Experiences 

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.

  • Take Advantage Of Drip Campaigns To Automated Messages

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 these in a transactional way for ecommercse 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’ reply 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.

SMS Marketing_Drip Campaign

  • Conduct Polls With Customers (Assist With New Ideas & Engage Customers To Feel More Involved)

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.

SMS Marketing-poll-on-mobile

  • Run Sweepstakes & Contests

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.

  • Utilize MMS (Send Photos & Videos)

Not only can you use text messaging to send worded messaged, 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.

SMS Marketing Deals Shown On Mobile Phone

Types Of Phone Numbers For Businesses To Use

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:

  • Toll-Free Numbers

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.

  • Short Codes

Short code phone numbers are used for those sweepstakes and contests discussed earlier. These are often 5 to 6 digit number which is easy to remember to encourage audiences to enter in your competitions. For example, “Text ‘WIN’ to 888 444 and be in the draw to win!” SMS marketing companies will usually offer dedicated short codes for an additional price.

  • Local Phone Numbers

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 business who want to conduct SMS marketing with a smaller amount of niche customers, rather than hundreds of audiences at any one time.

The Do’s & Don’ts Of SMS Marketing

Do’s:

Gain consent – as discussed, gaining permission from the user to receive your marketing messages is critical to avoid breaching the privacy of your audiences.

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.

6 listed do's for SMS marketing

Don’ts

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.

3 listed don'ts of SMS marketing

Top 8 SMS Marketing Providers 2021 USA

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 2021 are listed below, however if you’re looking to dive deeper into each one, explore our SMS provider comparison.

  • ClickSend – Best SMS Gateway
  • BulkSMS – Cheap SMS Prices
  • Wholesale SMS – Email To SMS Provider
  • MessageBird – Worldwide SMS Messaging
  • MessageMedia – Top Business SMS Plans
  • SMS Global – Bulk SMS Volumes
  • Twilio – SMS For Large Enterprises
  • Clickatell – Top Premium SMS Provider

sms-marketing-providers-usa-2021

SMS Provider Reviewed

Features ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
Overall rating
9.5
9
8
8.0
8.0
Price (out of 5) 4.5 3 3 4 2.5
Tools (out of 5) 5 5 4.5 4 4.5
Trust (out of 5) 5 5 3 3 4.5
Customer service (out of 5) 5 4.5 3.5 3 4.5
Years founded 2006 2000 2014 2011 2007
Listed or Private company Private Private Private Private Private
Head Office Perth, Australia South Africa Melbourne, Australia Amsterdam, Netherlands Melbourne, Australia

Pricing

Price per sms ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
  • >250K+
  • >100K+
  • >10K+
  • >2000
  • $0.005 per SMS

 

 

 

 

Payment mode Prepaid & Invoice Pay-as-you-go, Pre-Pay Prepaid & Invoice Prepay, Postpay, Pay-as-you-go Prepay, Pay-as-you-go
Price match
Set up fees
Monthly fees
Feature ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
Payment methods Credit Card or Direct Debit Pay-as-you-go, Pre-Pay Credit Card or Direct Debit Credit card, Paypal Credit card, EFTPOS, Pay Pal
Payment mode Prepaid & Invoice Credit card or direct debit Prepaid & invoice Prepay, Postpay, Pay-as-you-go Prepay, Pay-as-you-go
Price match
Set up fees
Monthly fees
N/A

SMS Functions

Feature ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
API for Developers
Software needed
SMS Gateway API API API API API
2-Way SMS
WebSMS
Email to SMS
Carriers American & Overseas Global Australian American & Overseas American & Overseas
Dedicated number
N/A
Inbound SMS Free
Free
Money back guarantee
N/A

Reliability

Feature ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
Global coverage
Gateway uptime 100% N/A 100% 99.99% 99.99%
SLA guarantee
Spam compliant
Security and Privacy policy

Customer care service

Feature ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
Free trial
50 Free SMS
25 Free SMS
Phone support
Yes
Email support
Support hours 24/7 24/7 Business hours 24/7 24/7
Reviews Trustpilot = 4.4/5 - 876 reviews 4/5 - ‎1,300+ Reviews No Reviews Trustpilot = 2.0/5 - 45 reviews Trustpilot = 4.0/5 - 145 reviews

Overall

Features ClickSend BulkSMS Wholesale SMS MessageBird SMS Global
Overall rating 9.5 9 8 8.0 8.0
Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site

The Wrap Up

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 2021 statistics article and learn why more businesses are succeeding with the power of text messaging!

 

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