How to Leverage SMS Campaigns in Conversion Marketing
What is SMS marketing?
SMS stands for short message service. Most people know this more simply as texting, so SMS marketing is also known as text message marketing. SMS marketing is when businesses, brands, and organizations use text messaging to market to consumers in a highly targeted way to communicate promotions, coupons, alerts, updates, events, and more.
It is no exaggeration to say that cell phones are everywhere. Worldwide cell phone use is upwards of 3 billion users as of 2020. The majority of that number can receive text messages. SMS marketing effectiveness even transcends demographics.
Ideally, these marketing messages are limited to a max of 160 characters. This technique is also permission-based marketing.
Permission-based marketing is a type of marketing where consumers have given expressed and explicit permission to a company or brand to market to them directly. Customers consent through opt-in forms, keyword texts, and volunteer entries for things like contests.
Oversaturation of ads
Oversaturation of any market leads to no new demands for a product or service. Ads are no exception. Consumers have learned to block and ignore the ads they’ve grown accustomed to seeing. So, what’s a company that needs to market and advertise to do? How do you break through the wall consumers have erected around themselves?
Fortunately, there’s good news. Permission-based marketing has proven effective because it doesn’t approach consumers that haven’t expressed specific interest in receiving certain messaging. We first saw this with email campaigns which surprisingly still offer a substantial ROI.
Text message marketing is no exception to the permission-based marketing effectiveness. In fact, SMS marketing is even more powerful. Why is that?
Why does SMS marketing work so well?
Think through your own experience as a consumer. Have you ever been working on a Friday afternoon thinking about starting your weekend and what to grab for dinner, when suddenly you get a text from your favorite pizza place with a coupon?
If you have, guess what? You’ve been a consumer in an effective SMS marketing campaign. It’s your favorite pizza place. You gave them your contact information, and you didn’t mind hearing from them, right? You had a need, they had a product, and SMS marketing facilitated the exchange. That’s how easily permission-based marketing works.
SMS marketing enjoys the effectiveness of permission-based marketing, but it has even more going for it.
- Mass Communication: Try to think of someone you know who doesn’t own a cell phone. Virtually everyone has a cell phone now. Regardless of demographics, reaching a multitude of people through text is increasingly easier.
- Instantaneous: Text messaging is essentially instant. It only takes literal seconds to send or receive them. People in the same room will text each other because it’s as effective and quick as talking to each other. Now think about how powerful instantaneous marketing can be through that same delivery system. SMS marketing allows companies to control the exact day and time that a consumer receives promotional marketing messages.
- Data Analysis: The digital aspects of text message marketing and the quickness of their delivery to interaction turnaround time makes them an amazing, measurable marketing strategy.
You can quickly analyze the data to find out which messages are effective and which ones are not. This allows you to adjust your approach more quickly than other campaigns, so you don’t waste a lot of time and resources on things that aren’t working.
There’s simply no denying the power of this new marketing channel. Text message marketing has a read rate of 97% within 15 minutes of delivery. It also offers a consistent ROI with minimal costs
Additional benefits of SMS marketing
SMS marketing already sounds pretty great, but it offers additional benefits. Some things to consider if you’re weighing adding an SMS campaign to your marketing strategy:
- Increasing overall website traffic
- Expanding your target audience
- Increasing actual sales
- Generating customer loyalty through rewards
- Improving brand imaging
- Building stronger customer connections
- Creating instant communication with customers
- Increased word of mouth marketing from forwarded texts
SMS marketing conversions
With all these benefits, how does SMS marketing apply to conversion?
Well, first, what is conversion? As it pertains to marketing, conversion is the point at which a consumer takes a desired action. Or, more simply put, the customer did what you were prompting them to do.
Examples Of Conversions
- Visiting the company’s website
- Making an initial purchase
- Filling out a contact form
- Making a repeat purchase
- Signing up for email
- Starting a free trial
- Acquiring a subscription
The conversions you want for your company will depend on your marketing goals, and SMS marketing can help you achieve those conversions.
Think back to that Friday afternoon pizza coupon text. As the consumer in that scenario, through you, the company experienced several conversions. Did you notice them?
Recognizing conversion events
The most obvious conversion from the pizza example is the sale. However, SMS marketing in an example like that does a bit more.
First, the fact that the text was received means conversion occurred when the consumer opted into receiving the text in the first place. Next, most users will click through straight from the text to the company’s website, which increases their website traffic. This occurs with or without the sale.
You don’t have to have even made an initial sale for a consumer to opt-in to an SMS campaign. Inadvertently, the company can have already expanded their audience at low-cost to themselves. Not to mention the potential leads when the consumer forwards the text to their friend who needed dinner ideas.
This also means that it’s already possible that the consumer on the website could be an initial sale or a repeat sale. With one text, a company can get 4-5 conversions before the sale is even made.
Lastly, if the customer uses the provided coupon and completes the sale, the consumer has their needs met and feels a sense of appreciation from the company. The company has a measurable marketing metric that helps them quickly analyze the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
As you can see, SMS marketing can do some pretty amazing things for your business through a simple text of around 150 characters. Talk about a ripple effect.
Creating leverage through SMS
- SMS campaigns deliver concise, relevant, and personalized messages to your target audience. Speaking directly to consumers about what matters to them without taking a lot of their time is a great way to establish a connection. With the emphasis on branding today, connecting with consumers makes you stand out in a crowd of competitors.
- Text messaging campaigns can offer direct links to your company websites. Website traffic is an important marketing metric. Getting consumers to your website is becoming a lot like getting consumers through the doors of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. You can see what’s working.
- SMS provides instant access to your customers’ attention. That alone is appealing, but that instant access also means that messages can be increasingly well-timed. Planning when to target your consumers to drive sales or online traffic can give a company some serious control on effective influence.
- SMS can complement other marketing channels. Most companies now employ a multi-channel marketing campaign approach. SMS marketing can improve the effectiveness of an email to turn it into a real sale.
- Using SMS in your marketing campaign allows you to send surveys that provide valuable feedback when expanding your reach to the right audience.
Before implementing your SMS campaign
If you’re planning to begin an SMS campaign for your business, there are a few things you want to remember to ensure even more success when it comes to conversions. Below are five things to keep in mind:
- Reply Quickly: You don’t want to lose your audience because you’re slow on the draw.
- Diversify your messages – You can avoid being viewed as spam if you put variety into your messages.
- Keep it short: Use URL shorteners, and remember to stay under that 160 character limit.
- Keep it readable: Test the text on yourself. Make sure it looks right to you, so it looks right to your consumers.
- Get to the point: Part of text messaging’s appeal is how concisely you can make a point.
SMS marketing may sound new to you, but chances are you’ve already experienced text message marketing as a consumer. With the prevalence of cell phones and text messaging in society, no industry couldn’t use some form of an SMS campaign to create more conversions for their business or organization.
Your marketing goals depend entirely on your marketing strategy. Still, it’s hard to imagine that SMS marketing cannot help you achieve those goals through a multi-channel or omnichannel marketing plan.