With 98% open rates, SMS is a powerful channel – but it’s not all fun, games and conversions. Read on to learn how to unlock the best results from your SMS marketing campaigns.
Why Outbound SMS?
On average, consumers check their phones around 150 times per day.
No wonder, then, that SMS marketing has such a high conversion rate – people are seriously attentive to their phones. According to LinkMobility the open rate for SMS campaigns is 98%. A survey found that 85% of consumers want to receive SMS marketing from brands they care about, and brands that can keep their customers subscribed on SMS leverage conversion rates of 45%.
But it’s not all fun, games and conversions. The strengths of SMS marketing – it is intimate, immediate, disruptive, attention grabbing and unusual – can also become weaknesses if not managed properly. Crucially, SMS is the perfect channel for some messages – like time-sensitive promotions, event reminders and shipping information – but bad for others, such as inspiration content. SMS is highly effective for pushing sales and prompting conversion. In this article, we will discuss when to use SMS marketing, how to get started on the right track, and how to execute optimal SMS marketing campaigns.
Before you start sending SMS, there are a few rules to be aware of. Legally, you must have permissions to send SMS to your customers. Obtain this by requesting phone numbers from newsletter sign-ups, and include SMS permissions in your terms and conditions. Advertise your SMS marketing campaigns across your other channels, especially email, social media and your website.
When you send your first SMS, you must also include disclaimers so that customers know which prices may be incurred. This message should also include instructions for how to opt-out of your SMS messages. Make this option as easy as possible, and send reminders – some companies even include opt-out information in every SMS.
How to unlock the best of SMS marketing
Once you’ve dealt with the compliance concerns, how can you send effective, engaging text messages to keep your customers loyal?
It goes without saying that your communications should add value, but with SMS this is especially key. Such a disruptive and personal format requires that your message is worth recipients’ attention. When drafting your communication, ask how your message will add value to the customer – otherwise, they will view it as an unwelcome interruption and unsubscribe.
SMS should not be a standalone channel; it works best in tandem with other channels, such as email, web and offline channels. Use these channels to lay the groundwork – through introductions, inspiration, thought-leadership, etc. – and let SMS pick up where your other channels leave off, nudging customers towards conversion with timely and personal messages. Some ideas for content types to be sent via SMS include:
- Welcome offers
- Birthday and holiday discounts
- Shipping updates
- Time-limited discounts
- Reminders of expiring vouchers
- Notifications of donation allocation
Exclusivity is a clear way to add value; offer something unique to SMS subscribers, such as special discounts, priority notification of flash sales, or early access to new content.
Frequency and timing
Due to its instantaneous nature, SMS marketing is best for time-sensitive messages, so be sure to send them when they are most relevant. In terms of frequency, less is more – best practice is two to four texts per month, depending on your business. It should supplement your other channels, not replace them. Time wise, be sure to send them at the relevant point in time, preferably within business hours. Keep time differences in mind if you have clients across time-zones – no one wants to be woken up by a marketing SMS! Finally, reply quickly to any inbound responses you receive. To read more about Agillic’s inbound SMS offering, click the button below:
Keep the language simple, clear, and within the character limit to prevent having your messages broken into two separate messages. Though it is tempting to use slang to shorten your character count, this will appear unprofessional and may confuse certain users. Instead, use the same tone of voice across your channels to maintain brand consistency.
Go beyond simply inserting customers’ names and show them you care about what they care about. Sending birthday discounts, abandoned cart reminders or upselling products they’ve expressed interest in will show your recipients you’re paying attention and creating a streamlined experience across channels.
Always include a CTA
Do not leave your subscribers without a clear action. Include links so they know where to go and how to interact further with your brand. Long links will eat up your character count, so you may wish to use a link shortener such as bitly. However, it is best to simply create a short link on your own domain, as this will allow you to track clients’ engagements.
Use a marketing automation tool!
Marketing automation tools facilitate maximum personalisation by enabling recipient segmentation and data collection. They also enable triggered send-outs, so recipients receive them at exactly the right time without requiring manual marketing work. Finally, they allow you to coordinate send-outs across channels for a continuous, omnichannel customer experience.