Is your business thinking of delving into the world of SMS marketing but don’t know where to begin? SMS marketing may seem difficult to get right, but with this easy, best practice guide, businesses in any industry can reap the benefits of SMS marketing to drive sales, engagement customers, and promote success.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing, or mobile marketing, is a communication strategy conducted by businesses to send promotional and campaign messaging to target audiences’ mobile phones via text messages (SMS). SMS marketing is used to send time-sensitive updates, alerts, reminders, and other transactional messages to consumers.
Does SMS Marketing Work?
With 96% of US adults owning a mobile phone, it is unsurprising that text messaging has become the preferred form of communication for most consumers in 2020. Studies have shown that 98% of text messages are opened, compared to just 20% of emails. Furthermore, the average CTR for a text message is over 9%, compared to Facebook which has a mere 0.9% CTR on average. Text messaging is highly accessible to everyone, and they don’t have to be “online” to receive them. Therefore, due to the high engagement rate, it is clear that SMS marketing is a highly effective marketing tool for modern businesses.
How To Start SMS Marketing?
Luckily, for businesses wishing to start a successful SMS marketing campaign, all they need to do is engage with an SMS marketing provider and the hard work is done. The business must simply choose a platform (such as a computer, email, web application), provide a contact list of mobile phone numbers, the SMS campaign message for the text marketing strategy, and the SMS provider will take care of the rest.
At SMS Comparison, we compare the leading SMS gateway providers in the US and world wide, providing insights into all the factors a business should consider, including the SMS features, pricing, reliability, reputation, customer service, and more. From an SMS marketing perspective, it is essential that the business chooses a mass text message provider that will meet their specific needs.
After investigating many SMS marketing providers available to American businesses, it was found that the leading providers included:
- ClickSend – Best SMS Gateway Provider
- Wholesale SMS – Top Email To SMS Provider
- BulkSMS – Cheapest SMS Prices
- MessageBird – High Speed Worldwide SMS Messaging
- MessageMedia – Top Business SMS Monthly Plans
For businesses who are unsure about whether SMS marketing is for them, providers such as ClickSend offer a free trial, enabling businesses to try out their text message services for free. This can eliminate any worry and enable businesses to get a gauge on how to start their SMS marketing journey. To learn more about how to start your text message campaign for free, contact ClickSend by visiting their website below.
What Are The Benefits Of SMS Marketing?
When done correctly, SMS marketing has many advantages for small business and large corporations in various industries. Firstly, through clever targeted messaging, businesses can engage new customers through multi-channel campaigns. Businesses utilising channels such as TV, print, radio, outdoor, email marketing, or social media can integrate SMS marketing by promoting consumers to send text messages to the business. These text messages may be a short code to opt-in to the campaign, or send through an answer to an SMS marketing competition. This enables audiences to show interest in the campaign message, and enable businesses to save their information for further text message communication.
This two-way communication is another benefit of conducting mobile marketing. Not only are businesses able to send SMS messages directly to target customers’ mobile phones, but that customer can then respond back to the business. This is a highly effective way for a company to build strong, long-lasting relationships with their customers, especially when used as a means to connect on a personal level, or ask for a review of the customer experience.
Another core advantage of SMS marketing over any other traditional or digital marketing channel, is the ability to personalize text messages to make the customer feel special. This will mean that the customer is much more likely to engage with the campaign and improve overall results for the business. SMS marketing is also a great way to break through the clutter and send things like important reminders, whether this be for upcoming campaigns, or their own appointments, especially in today’s busy lifestyle.
How To Do SMS Marketing Successfully?
Follow SMS Marketing Laws & Regulations
Like any communication platform, in order to gain the benefits of SMS marketing, a business must conduct the text message campaigns correctly. A mobile phone is a highly personal device, and therefore has strict regulations around how mobile marketing should be conducted – an example of these are laws set by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Not following these rules can lead to unwanted consequences for any business. One of the most important rules is to ensure that a business gains permission from the consumer before sending them targeted text messages. Not gaining consent would be a breach of their privacy and therefore highly important. There are many ways a business can encourage their customers to opt-in to their SMS campaigns. Examples include sending an SMS of a short code or keyword to the business to express interest, or through sign up forms, whether this be in person or online. A business must then also enable the consumer to opt-out of the SMS marketing campaign if they no longer want to receive the text messages. The easiest way to do this is to enable a text STOP feature for recipients.
Provide Value & Be Personal
The next aspect to consider is what is actually included within the SMS text message. There must be a purpose to the message being sent, and a business must provide value to the customer to ensure they remain engaged with the SMS campaign. Mobile messaging is highly personal, therefore a business must personalize their messages. This can be conducted through mentioning the customer’s name, to sending follow up messages regarding their recent purchases or store visits. This customization will increase response rates and improve the customer relationship. Many SMS marketing providers enable automated customization through drip campaigns and more SMS marketing software features.
Clear Call To Actions
Along with providing customer value, a business must have a clear call to action within each text message sent. Call to actions include clickable links, or short codes and must provide some form of incentive for the customer. Thus, a business must clearly highlight the benefit of the action, such as cost savings, winning prizes, or being as simple as booking confirmations. Ultimately, a business must be clear about the value they are providing to the customer and not be deceptive in their mass texting behaviours and promotional messages.
Timeliness & Consistent Text Messaging
So when is the best time to send SMS marketing messages? Timeliness and consistency is key to any marketing campaign, especially when it comes to text messaging. A business should understand and identify the best times to send their SMS marketing messages, as this could be the difference between a positive and negative experience for the customer. For example, sending a text message during the day would be far more effective than in the middle of the night. Additionally, it is recommended that SMS appointment reminders or product/event notifications are sent 24 hours beforehand. Many SMS marketing providers offer automated messaging with keyword tracking services, which assists businesses in being consistent with their reminders, and ensuring text messages are sent at appropriate times without being overly spammy.
Finally, businesses must measure the success of their SMS marketing campaigns. SMS gateway providers enable the ability to measure CTR, open rates, and response times through real-time reporting. This will ensure that a business is spending their money wisely, and gaining a return on investment.
Who Uses SMS Marketing?
There are many businesses in different types of industries that use SMS marketing to their advantage. These industries are outlined below.
The retail industry is one of the most popular industries to utilize SMS marketing. Retailers can send text messages about upcoming sales or promotions, or even discount codes or coupons to members who have opted-in to loyalty programs. Additionally, businesses should re-market specific products or services based on the customer’s buying behaviours and repeat purchases.
Health & Beauty
It is essential that healthcare businesses communicate with their patients in a quick and efficient manner. Medical clinics such as GP’s, dentists, physiotherapists, optomoetrists and other health and beauty practictioners should utilise mass text message booking and appointment services to send reminders, test results, follow-up bookings, and prescription alerts. This is convenient for the patient, as well as reducing the amount of missed appointments by 30%. According to many studies, missed appointments cost the healthcare system in USA up to $150 billion annually. Thus, highlighting the importance of text message appointment reminders.
Hospitality & Travel
Restaurants, cafes, and hotels of any size should conduct SMS marketing within their business. Hospitality businesses can not only manage bookings through text messaging, but also send recommendations during a hotel stay, or follow-up text messages for reviews and ratings.
Businesses within the travel industry, whether this be airlines or ride share companies, can take advantage of the power of the timeliness of text message communication by sending ETA’s, travel alerts, delays, and more. Such businesses can also target frequent travellers to send discounts and rewards.
Why Is SMS Marketing Important?
Ultimately, bulk SMS marketing is so effective because of its immediacy, the ability to send thousands of mass text messages to targeted consumers, and the pure fact that people always have their mobile phones on them. With today’s saturated and highly cluttered market, it’s important that businesses find clever ways to engage their customers and create long lasting customer relationships.
With the help of SMS marketing providers in the United States and worldwide, American businesses can conduct bulk text message campaigns easily and successfully. If you’re unsure about which SMS provider to engage with, discover our SMS marketing provider comparison to find the best text message marketing service for your business in 2020.