Why Use SMS Marketing? The Complete Guide
Marketing, in general, has existed since long before it had a name. It’s more intuitive than most people may realize. The concept of marketing in modern times developed in the 1950s as a type of management hybrid. Since then, marketing has evolved drastically.
For a while, marketing centered mainly around a company’s logo. Then, marketing grew to incorporate studying the effects of microeconomics, statistics, and psychology. Basically, if you understand your customer, you do a better job of selling to them.
In recent years, marketing evolved again to incorporate a company’s brand identity. This goes beyond a logo to more of a company’s personality, moral compass, and the feelings a company produces in customers.
Through it all, marketing has been the activities and steps a company takes to promote selling their products or services and communicate to their customers. Along its journey, marketing has moved along with technology advancements like television, the internet, email, cell phones, and social media.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is one of the ways marketing grew with technology. But, what is it? SMS marketing is the activity of promoting your business through SMS messages.
SMS messages are short message service messages. And are more commonly known as text messages.
In the three decades since the first text message was sent, cell phone and text message use has grown exponentially. Cell phones are used by nearly 70% of the world’s population, and virtually every mobile device is capable of receiving SMS messages.
Texting is no longer just between family and friends, and there is not a demographic that doesn’t participate in sending and receiving text messages on some level. Because people are more receptive to text messages, businesses have found a way to use text messages to grow their businesses.
SMS marketing is the use of SMS messages to market and promote your business’s goods and services to your customers. Is SMS marketing right for your business?
Why use SMS marketing?
Marketers consider SMS marketing for different reasons to accomplish different goals. Some of the reasons to implement SMS marketing:
- Broad reach. Since about 5 billion people have a mobile device capable of receiving text messages, it is increasingly easy to reach your customers and engage with your audience through SMS marketing. Grow your database and get creative with your approach, and SMS marketing can reach farther than you thought possible.
- Impressive open rate. SMS marketing is an effective way to increase the level of interaction with customers. According to Asurion, people check their phones almost 100 times each day, and the majority of text messages are opened within 15 minutes of being received.
- Multiple applications for use. Companies use text message marketing for advertising, loyalty/rewards programs, alerts, confirmations, reminders, news and updates, new product promotion, event information, answering customer FAQs, etc.
- Appropriate for all businesses of any size. There’s not a business or market that can’t use SMS marketing. Companies scale their approach to fit their size and the size of their audience.
- Instant delivery. Text messages arrive almost immediately after they are sent.
- Instant and remote access to your customer’s attention. With immediate delivery, a high open rate, and how consistently people keep their phones with them, when you send a marketing text message you have almost instant access no matter where they are to your customer’s attention.
- Supports other marketing channels. SMS marketing works with other marketing channels like email, websites, social media, video, etc. to compliment their efforts and support conversion efforts.
- Easy to perform. Thankfully, with the right assistance, you can begin a text campaign quickly and easily.
What about the cost of SMS marketing?
Like the pricing of most products, SMS marketing costs vary from provider to provider. There are two main influences of pricing in SMS marketing costs:
- Type of number. Prices fluctuate depending on whether you’re sending text messages from a short code (5-6 digit number) or a long code (10 digit number).
- Frequency. How often you want to send your text marketing messages impacts your cost. Like your own texting plan on your mobile device, the more you send messages increases your cost, but drives down cost per text.
How do you use SMS messages in marketing?
Once you’ve evaluated the benefits and the costs of SMS marketing, you need to know how to implement SMS marketing to make it work for your business. In order to be successful, here is how to do it.
Step 1: Create an SMS campaign
Identify marketing goals you want to tackle with SMS messaging. Formulate your messages to meet your needs. Once you know what your campaign needs to do, begin working on the wording and planning your timing.
Step 2: Build your database
In order to have a successful SMS marketing campaign, you need recipients to send your messages to. You want to examine your database and consider potential market segmentation. Not every message is meant for every customer.
Texting the right messages to the right audience makes your messages more successful and well-received. One of the components to well-received SMS marketing messages is getting consent upfront from customers. Opt-in customers to your SMS marketing campaigns through text message keywords.
It’s a good idea to use other marketing channels to help promote your SMS campaign by advertising your text message keywords as part of your marketing. Do this on social media posts, webforms, in-store signage, mailed promotions, video promotion, etc.
Step 3: Create a template and write your text
If you’re using TextSanity, there are seven simple steps to creating a template you can use again and again. You’ll want to do this before you begin writing your text.
To set up a text message template in TextSanity:
Log on to your TS account
Navigate to the “More Tools” tab at the top of the page
Select “Templates” from the list
Click “+ New Template”
Fill in the “Name” section for your template (Only you see this. It’s for your reference.)
Fill in the “Message” section (Ensure to add any links or attachments using the “Add Attachment” button below the message box.)
Then, when you want to send a text message, choose “Add Template” in the message set up section.
But what about writing your message? What makes a well-written text? Remember SMS stands for short message service. To prevent your messages from being broken up when you send them, you’ll want to stay under 160 characters.
Some keys to a successful text:
Always announce yourself.
Use line breaks for easier readability.
Use TextSanity’s built-in URL shortener.
Proper grammar and spelling help with understanding.
Keep it short and sweet. Brevity and positivity are always important.
Always preview it as if you were the recipient. Read the text as if you were the customer to be sure you were clear in your approach.
Add value. Customer’s don’t mind getting your texts, but they do want a little something in return. Without added value, what purpose does your text serve?
You can say a lot in 160 characters, so don’t be afraid to be creative.
Step 4: Plan your timing and choose your recipients
When you’re considering sending your message, be sure to choose recipients who actually need to receive the text. Again, you’re trying to add value with every text you send. Not everyone in a given audience finds the same value in your messages. Segment your audience into those who are most likely to be receptive or see the added value in your message.
Timing is also important when you’re planning your SMS campaign. You have almost immediate access to your customer, so you want your message to arrive at the right moment to reach peak effectiveness.
A text too soon can easily be forgotten, and a text too late is, well, too late to do any good. Knowing your audience plays an important role in understanding the best time to send a text. If your audience is mostly high school students, you want to reach them after school. If your audience is full of working adults, you want to approach them after work.
Step 5: Launch your campaign
As they say, “Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.” When you’re done with all of your planning and strategizing, you’re ready to get started. As mentioned above, text message marketing is simple and easy.
Fortunately, SMS marketing has plenty of ways to measure success, and because of its immediate delivery, you can usually evaluate its effectiveness rather quickly. Once you launch your SMS campaign, quickly make adjustments based on results.
It’s exciting to see your marketing ideas implemented so quickly. As you learn from your experience, you’ll be more comfortable with launching more campaigns in the future to achieve different marketing goals for your business.
Once you understand marketing and what SMS marketing is, you initiate an SMS marketing campaign for your business to give you a competitive advantage in your industry. There are many uses for SMS marketing, and regardless of your business and its size, there’s a need that SMS marketing can meet.
As a cost-effective marketing channel, SMS marketing works to support your other channels and engage your audience to achieve your goals. When you examine its benefits and how easy it is to use, you’ll understand why you should use SMS marketing.