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Today, many people use smartphones, which have already become an extension of their bodies. Also, they’re becoming more comfortable communicating with businesses via mobile devices.
So, you better start SMS marketing now, or you’ll miss many opportunities to make sales. It can be a great way to improve your social marketing, allowing you to reach potential and existing customers in real time via targeted messaging. But first, what’s SMS marketing?
SMS marketing refers to how marketers deliver marketing messages via text message. It’s an opt-in campaign requiring people to subscribe to receive notifications. Common types include the following:
- Personalized promotions
- Exclusive deals and discounts
SMS marketing also has higher open rates than other forms of marketing, particularly email marketing. The average open rate of the latter is around 15-30%, while SMS exceeds 90%. And you can even reach up to 100% with the help of tools such as Unlimited Ringless voicemail.
So, where should you start? This post will show you a step-by-step process to guide you in implementing a successful SMS marketing campaign. Read on to learn more!
- Pick The Right SMS Platform
The first step is all about deciding which SMS engine is best suited for executing marketing campaigns. There are plenty of solutions out there in the market. However, not all of them are created the same.
Worse, some solutions may cost you more in the long run without delivering the desired ROI. And how do you distinguish real gold from fake ones? Consider the following when choosing an SMS provider:
- Message Delivery: A message should be sent at the right time—not too late, especially when there’s time-sensitive information involved. Also, it should be accurate, meaning there’s little to no chance of sending a message to incorrect phone numbers.
- Ease Of Use: Do you find it easy to create custom messages? Can you schedule messages and attach files easily? If you agree to these questions, you might’ve found the SMS engine your business needs.
- Integration: You might have a few business tools in place, and one of them is probably a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Ensure your SMS engine can integrate with your CRM so that you can access it while on the go.
- A Test Drive: Never go for a solution that remains undiscovered. Make sure you can try it out for free to see if it’s worth your time and money and how the system works under the hood.
- Good Reputation: Last but certainly not least, check the SMS provider’s reputation. Visit their website, read some testimonials, or dig into the conversation through their social media accounts. This is to find out whether they’re dedicated or not.
You may also consider using additional supporting tools like an auto dialer. It aims to turn your existing system into a powerful business dialing platform.
Getting a dedicated SMS marketing number sets you up for success. SMS providers often require businesses to invest in a virtual number to prevent multiple brands from using the same number.
Here are your options:
- Toll-Free Numbers: These are standard numbers for most brands for convenience and deliverability. They’re easy to activate and promote mass texting.
- 10-Digit Long Codes (10DLCs): 10DLCs are a new option for businesses. They’re ideal for non-time-sensitive messaging and low-volume texting.
- Short Codes: These numbers are a consumer favorite because they’re easy to remember. However, they’re expensive and have a lengthy approval process.
- Set Up Your SMS Subscriber List
Without a solid and targeted SMS subscriber list, all your marketing efforts will likely go down the drain—something you wouldn’t want to happen.
Encouraging potential and existing customers to opt in can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly. Even without an SMS program, collecting opt-ins is a great jumpstart for any brand that needs to do it.
Here are a few tips to encourage customers to join your subscriber list:
- Create an offer that’s exclusively available to subscribers.
- Give subscribers a time-sensitive promotion (e.g., Buy One, Get One).
- Deliver information essential to customers.
- Introduce new items to grab the attention of potential and existing customers.
However, setting up an SMS subscriber list isn’t easy. Unlike other forms of marketing, particularly social media, SMS requires consent. What does this mean? You have to ask customers and prospects for permission before adding them to your list and sending them marketing messages.
In the U.S., SMS marketing is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. This enforces laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, which protects consumers from intrusive and abusive telemarketing practices.
- Create An Automated SMS Welcome Message
Do you believe in the saying ‘first impression lasts’? You should be! That’s why building an automated welcome message is crucial. This way, you’re ready when customers and prospects start opting in.
A good welcome message educates new subscribers about your products and services, familiarizes them with your content, and encourages them to make their first purchase. Out of all automated tools, the welcome message often generates the most revenue for many brands.
Here are some tips to follow when creating an SMS welcome message:
- Set it up and make sure it sends a welcome message as soon as someone subscribes to your list.
- Don’t forget to include the name of your company. This is a way of introducing yourself to your customers and prospects.
- Make sure your messages are personalized and cater to your customers’ specific needs. Address them using their first name for a personalized touch.
- Thank subscribers when they join your list.
Aside from these tips, ensure your SMS welcome message has a clear call to action (CTA). CTAs are words or phrases that encourage audiences to take the action you want them to do (e.g., ‘Subscribe now and get a 15% discount on your first purchase!’).
- Expand Your SMS Subscriber List
Once you have a solid SMS subscriber list, you’ll need a strategy to grow and expand it. Always look for opportunities to encourage customers and prospects to opt in without compromising their experience. Here are some tips that may help you accomplish that:
- Leverage The Check-Out Experience: Including the check-out step in your SMS consent collection allows customers to receive SMS campaigns while processing their orders. This is a non-intrusive way to motivate customers to subscribe to your list.
- Incentivize Website Visitors: When creating an SMS sign-up form for your site, ensure you target those already part of your email list, provided you have one. Then, include eye-catching discounts or freebies to encourage them to subscribe.
Follow these two simple tips to motivate your audience to subscribe to your SMS list without sounding intrusive.
- Measure Initial Performance Rates
Do you want to find out which strategy works best for your business? If you do, you need to measure your initial performance rates on a regular basis.
You need to set your eyes on the following key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Delivery Rate: This refers to the percentage of SMS messages delivered successfully to your contacts. Also, this is one of the most crucial KPIs SMS marketers have to monitor. The average delivery rate for SMS marketing is 98%.
- Click Through Rate (CTR): CTR is the foundation of your campaign’s success. It refers to the percentage of link clicks to the SMS messages you delivered. The average CTR for SMS marketing is 36%.
- Opt-Out Rate: This vital KPI refers to the percentage of subscribed contacts who unsubscribe to your SMS list. It shows that some of your subscribers aren’t interested in your content.
- Conversion Rate: This critical KPI refers to the percentage of subscribers who made a purchase. The average conversion rate for SMS marketing is 29%. It’d be best to aim higher than this to ensure a steady flow of revenue.
If your SMS messages get subpar digits, consider making necessary adjustments through A/B testing. Focus on elements like message type, number of messages, and timing.
Once you’re done collecting subscribers for your SMS list, you may start your first SMS campaign. Make sure you include the following details:
- Company name
- One time-sensitive CTA
- The first name of the subscriber and other details that’d make the message more personalized
- A friendly and conversational tone
Here are some examples you might want to consider for your first SMS campaign:
‘Blue Green Flask: These products are getting retired, which means you can get a 30% discount while supplies last! Start shopping now: www.bluegreenflask.com/clearancesale30. Reply STOP to opt out.’
‘Noun: 30% off on ALL dry shampoos and conditioners! Use the code SHAMCON at check-out to avail of the discount. Excludes custom kits and value. Shop: www.noun.com/shamcom. Reply STOP to opt out.’
‘Borough Linen: We’re grateful to you! And as a way to give you thanks for your recent purchase, we’re giving you USD$50 credit on your next order using the code: GIFT50. Shop now: www.boroughlinen.com/gift50. Reply STOP to opt out.’
What makes these examples effective is that they can show clarity and conciseness while conveying the message they want to deliver.
If you want to improve your messages, add a GIF or image below 600KB. This converts SMS to MMS (multimedia messaging service), which limits you to 1,600 characters. However, remember that MMS costs more than SMS under many plans.
- Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts
Experts believe that over 50% of online shoppers leave their carts unattended. This is an opportunity to recover lost revenue. What’s great is that SMS is one of the most effective ways to motivate customers to complete their orders.
Here are some examples of SMS campaigns for cart abandonment:
‘Hey Jan! I noticed you left some items in your cart. Here’s 20% off to help you complete your checkout now! Check it out here: mycookingfantasy.com/potsandpans.’
‘Hi Mark, you left some great items in your shopping cart. Here’s a free shipping voucher just for you: bit.ly/5Fg4B. This exclusive offer will expire in three days. Reply STOP to opt out.’
- Use SMS To Announce New Products
Keep your subscribers updated by sending them an SMS message whenever you release new collections, products, and services. And to make everything more special, consider offering them early access when new items drop.
Here are some examples of SMS messages announcing new products and services:
‘KITE: Thank you for subscribing! You’ll be among the first to shop for our upcoming product launch! Before anything else, here’s a 25% discount, so shop now!’
‘Banana Floss: New Coco Collection! You’ll surely fall head over heels for our tropically luscious Coco Daiquiri and sunny Beach Copacabana set! Grab some before they’re gone! Shop now: bananafloss.com/cococollection.’
- Engage Customers Using Time-Sensitive Messages
Reaching customers at the right time can take your SMS campaign to the next level. This is where time-sensitive campaigns, such as a price drop or back-in-stock alert, come in.
Price drop alerts are ideal for SMS, as it requires contacts to act as fast as possible. Send these messages to people on your list to make them exclusive to mobile users. Here’s an example of a price drop alert:
‘CookingWare: PRICE DROP ALERT! The 15-pc stainless steel premier set was USD$760—now USD$380! Get yours now before they’re gone: cookingware.com/12Ho11goiT23.’
Back-in-stock alerts inform subscribers that the items previously out of stock are back and ready to ship. Here’s an example of a back-in-stock alert:
‘Hey, Martin, our 15-pc stainless steel premier set is back in stock! Make cooking more fun with nothing but the best. Shop now before they’re gone: cookingware.com/12Ho11goiT23.’
- Use SMS For A Great Post-Purchase Experience
SMS marketing is effective not only for increasing sales but also for improving post-purchase experiences. Including transactional SMS messages, like billing updates, appointment reminders, and shipping delay alerts, may help you reach and exceed customer expectations.
Once you complete the delivery, you may use SMS to send valuable details directly to a customer’s phone instead of their email inbox. These may include the following:
- Share tips and tricks on how to use the product in the best way possible
- Share a link (e.g., how-to guides or tutorial videos)
- Highlight customers who use the product
- Send reminders regarding their loyalty points or VIP status
SMS marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach and interact with potential and existing customers. They also have one of the highest open rates, around 95-98%. This means that for every 100 successfully delivered SMS, almost all are opened.
To ensure the success of your SMS campaigns, follow the best practices discussed above. These include building a subscriber list, creating welcome messages, measuring performance, delivering time-sensitive information, and personalizing messages.