Is your content marketing strategy struggling? Whether your conversion rates have taken a hit thanks to this new cookieless world or you just want to explore a new avenue, consider adding SMS marketing to your line-up.
In a world where most people have their phones in their hands most of the day, SMS marketing is a direct line to your consumer. After all, the average American checks their phones 344 times a day – once every four minutes!
With SMS marketing, you can put your message right in front of their eyes, without worrying about your email going into the spam folder or social media algorithms muting your content.
What is SMS marketing and how does it work? Let’s get into it.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing sends messages to your audience via text message. Forget sliding into someone’s DMs. Go straight to the source and hit up their text inbox.
It’s extremely effective at getting your message across. During one of those hundreds of times your consumer goes to grab their phone, hit them up with a message regarding your brand or an upcoming sale.
How Does SMS Marketing Work?
People get nervous when they hear the words “SMS marketing” but it’s actually really easy. Once a consumer has signed up to receive messages from you, you can start sending!
This type of marketing is effective for a variety of reasons. First, over 85% of American adults own a smartphone. When you send them a message with a link to your site embedded in it, it couldn’t be easier for them to click on it and explore all you offer. There are no apps to deal with or hoops to jump through. Just one click and they’re there.
Second, SMS marketing is great for time-sensitive notifications, such as sales or back-in-stock notices. Email marketing is still essential for a variety of reasons, but if you want to get a message across quickly, SMS is the way to do it.
Because so many people are constantly on their phones, text messages will get read. In fact, these types of messages have a 98% open rate. Even the best email marketing rates aren’t that high.
Additionally, it helps to reach consumers that are otherwise difficult to reach. Whether it’s another country or a rural part of the United States, some areas don’t have great wi-fi connections. This makes SMS marketing a great option, as it relies on data and not necessarily a wi-fi connection.
Who is SMS Marketing For?
Adding text messages to your content marketing strategy is probably a great idea for most brands, but they work especially well for:
- Service businesses: Sending text message reminders of appointments is an effective way to cut down on no-shows and late appointments. Text messages work better than email notifications in this situation because they go directly to the consumer.
- Ecommerce stores: Running a flash sale? Shoot out a quick text! Is a sought-after item back in stock? Send out a text! You can also use them for shipping notifications, order updates, and abandoned cart messages. Whatever news you have that needs to be communicated quickly is best done through SMS.
- Travel companies: Time is of the essence for travel-based businesses. Use SMS messages to shoot out updates, cancellations, or changes.
- Large companies with hundreds of employees: Text messages are the best way to get your message out to a large number of people in a short amount of time.
In short, this type of marketing works great for businesses and brands that want to get their messages out quickly.
Stats on SMS Marketing Effectiveness
We’ve talked about the impressive 98% open rate, but what happens after they click on your message? Well, many people will either click on your message or respond to it. Check out these stats:
- 45% of people will respond to an SMS marketing message
- 36% will click on a link sent via SMS
- 48% of consumers prefer to receive brand updates via SMS
- 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of delivery
- 90% of customers have said they’ve gained value through SMS loyalty programs
With numbers like that, it’s hard to argue against incorporating this type of messaging into your strategy.
GDPR Rules and Regulations on SMS Marketing
Just like any other promotional communication, there are a few things to be aware of before hitting send.
In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates SMS marketing. The UK GDPR also regulates it in the UK. The Public and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) also has some regulations over promotional communications.
In order to stay in compliance and out of trouble, be sure to follow these rules:
- Only send messages to people who have given you permission
- Send clear opt-in and opt-out options
- Respect your consumer’s opt-out selection
- Professionally manage your consumer data
As long as you continue respecting your audience’s wishes and only sending messages to those who opt-in to receive them, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about falling out of compliance with the GDPR. It is important to keep up to date with any new developments in terms of regulations in the countries where you are utilizing SMS marketing services.
SMS Marketing Best Practices
Besides staying in GDPR compliance, there are also a few best practice suggestions you should follow.
Use a Clear Opt-In
As mentioned above, you must provide a clear opt-in option. Be sure the people you’re messaging actually want to receive your messages. Not only will this keep your messages from being marked as spam, but you’ll have a much higher return on investment when you’re only messaging people who want to hear from you.
Include Opt-Out Instructions
Just as with email marketing, opt-out instructions are important! Always include an easy opt-out, such as “Press 0 to stop receiving these messages.” And if they send that 0, make sure their number comes off of your list.
Identify Yourself Clearly
No one likes messages from people they don’t know. Make sure your message clearly identifies who you are and which brand you represent. Some SMS tools will send your messages through a short code so the number alone won’t identify you. Make sure your name is in the content portion of the message.
Send at the Right Time
Unlike email messages or social media ads, your consumer is going to receive your message right away. Be mindful of when you’re sending them. You might be really excited about your 50% off sale at 2 am on a Tuesday, but your audience probably won’t be. Save that message for a more appropriate time.
Be Aware of the Character Count
Unlike email messages, SMS marketing has a character limit. Be mindful of the space you have. Keep copy short and sweet and use shortened links to direct them to your website.
Most SMS marketing software will also allow you to send videos, pictures, and interactive content. This is great for engagement, but they also take up space in your message. Be sure to check this before hitting send.
Try Drip Campaigns
If you’re going to incorporate SMS marketing into your strategy, consider starting with a drip campaign. They show you care about connecting with your consumer while keeping your brand name in the front of their mind. Today’s consumer is busy. Sometimes all they need is a quick reminder to order that product or schedule that appointment with your company. A drip campaign is a perfect way to give them the gentle push they need.
Use Coupons & Discounts
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Remember this when sending out your SMS messages. A coupon or discount could be all the difference between your reader clicking on your message or deleting it.
Pros & Cons of SMS Marketing
As you can see, SMS marketing has a ton of benefits. It’s a cost-effective way to reach a lot of consumers with less effort. The extremely high open and click rates also probably have you seeing money signs. And consumers love them too – as long as they’ve opted-in.
However, SMS marketing can also get spammy. Keep your messages from being deleted by ensuring they’re on-brand, personalized, and valuable to your consumer. If your consumer unsubscribes, go back to your traditional ways of communicating with them.
Is SMS Marketing the Future of Digital Marketing?
Even though text messaging has been around for a while, using it for digital marketing is growing.
If you’ve been looking for a better way to get in front of your ideal audience with a high ROI and fairly low effort, SMS marketing is the method you’ve been searching for.