SMS marketing offers many benefits, including some that no other marketing channel can offer.
You can reach clients directly through SMS texts without competing for their attention on social media or via email. That said, if you’re a late starter and are just now finding out about the advantages SMS provides, you might wonder where to begin.
In this helpful guide, we’ll provide a few tips to help you find your stride through SMS marketing. By the end, you should be excited to start your texting journey.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing involves sending text messages to people who sign up to receive alerts and promotional materials from your company. Before you can start texting them, you’ll need to obtain their express consent. Otherwise, you may run afoul of certain laws and regulations.
Obtaining consent is pretty straightforward. You can include a subscriber box on your website, encouraging visitors to sign up. Some companies have options for text alerts when a customer is completing the purchase process, which is ideal since most clients will want status updates on their products.
If you have a physical storefront, you can also use it to promote your SMS texts, especially during the checkout process.
As you build your subscriber base, you’ll find that your SMS marketing pays off. According to Crazy Egg, the average SMS text has a 98% open rate, which pretty much guarantees that your clients will see your texts.
You can use SMS messaging for a variety of purposes. Some of the most obvious include sales promotions and shipping status notifications, but you can get a little more creative, depending on your business type.
For instance, a service provider might use SMS texts for appointment scheduling or event notifications. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to SMS marketing.
A Process for Getting Started with SMS
By following these tips and mastering the step-by-step process, you’ll be well on your way to leveraging the potential of SMS as a highly effective and engaging communication tool:
1. Figure Out Your Objectives
You don’t want to start SMS marketing without first defining your objectives. What are you hoping to achieve through SMS? Do you want more traffic to your website? Are you hoping to improve the customer experience? Do you have a new product you want to promote?
Once you’ve determined your goals, designing an SMS strategy around them becomes much easier. You won’t spend valuable time spinning your wheels whenever you want to send a new text to your subscribers.
As part of your brainstorming process, you should also consider how you plan to promote your subscriber list.
Remember, most customers exercise prudence when it comes to their personal details. They’ll want to know what value they’ll receive if they sign up for your list. If you can’t demonstrate any value, you’ll find it much harder to attract customers.
Some techniques that may work include providing exclusive discounts or early access to sales. If clients know they can only get special promotions via your SMS list, they’ll be more likely to sign up.
2. Segment Your Subscriber List
As you build your list of subscribers, you’ll likely find that customers don’t fit neatly into one particular bucket — they’ll have different traits and characteristics that distinguish them.
Performing segmentation on your subscriber list, just like you would your advertising techniques, ensures that clients only receive texts they’re most likely to benefit from.
Your customer segmentation efforts should divide clients according to their demographics, geographic location, interactions with your company, browsing habits, and other relevant characteristics.
Use all the first-party data you have available to segment your customers. Hopefully, you’re gleaning information about them from various resources, like your website, physical store, social media, and email.
Segmenting your subscribers can improve their engagement with your texts. After all, if what you send resonates with them, they’ll be more likely to take action rather than ignore your content.
3. Find a Reputable SMS Provider
Unfortunately, you can’t simply gather a bunch of client phone numbers and start sending them texts from your business cell phone.
Most telecommunications providers ban companies from sending group text messages, particularly when the recipients can view the phone numbers of other people on the list. These providers also typically limit the number of texts you can send at once.
The solution is to work with an SMS management service that allows you to send direct SMS texts to your subscribers.
You can create messages directly on your computer through the company’s software program and send them to your clients. The software will monitor the delivery, open rates, and further interactions with your texts, helping you evaluate customer engagement.
Your SMS provider will notify you of any undelivered texts. That’s important because non-delivered messages can damage your company’s reputation with cellular service providers. You’ll want to remove those numbers from your subscriber list if it happens more than once or twice.
4. Create Your SMS Messages
Once everything’s in place, you can start sending texts to your customers. However, it’s best not to send texts willy-nilly.
Communicating with clients too often, or sending them messages they don’t want, will likely lead to people unsubscribing from your list. Instead, think about what types of messages will provide the most value to your recipients.
Personalizing your SMS texts often yields better results than intrusive and overly promotional “blast texts.” Something as simple as including their name in your message can go a long way. You’ll get even more leverage from your campaign if you tailor your content based on their prior interactions with your company.
Not every text needs to be promotional or salesy. Instead, try a variety of messages that brighten up your recipient’s day and provide them with helpful information relevant to your brand. For example, you might consider sharing a link to one of your most recent blog posts or a quote for people just starting their workweek.
Over time, people will grow to enjoy your texts and even look forward to them. That’s a great position to be in, and you’ll likely see your subscriber base continue to expand.
5. Integrate Your SMS List with Your Other Marketing Channels
It’s best to integrate your SMS list with any other marketing channels you use, like email and social media, to make the most of your SMS list.
Cross-promoting all three channels with your subscriber base can increase your following on social media and through email. However, you’ll want to make sure your messaging varies between each so clients don’t see the same repetitious content.
Ideally, each channel will serve its own purpose. For instance, you might use your LinkedIn business account to share tips with other company owners, email for new product introductions and news, and SMS for promotions. Find the strategy that best aligns with your objectives.
6. Pay Attention to Your SMS Metrics
Just like you monitor your social media ad performance and website visits, you’ll also want to keep an eye on how your SMS campaigns are doing. After you release a new text, track interactions and engagement with it over the next 24 hours. Setting goals can help you in your evaluations.
Regularly checking your metrics allows you to set benchmarks for future campaigns. For instance, if 10% of your recipients took advantage of a discount code you offered, that’s great. However, if your following discount results in only a 2% conversion rate, it means something’s wrong, and you’ll want to understand what it is before you try again.
Most marketers see the best results from their SMS campaigns when they continually test different aspects. For example, they may experiment with different CTAs, the timing of their messages, or the discounts they provide.
Make sure you benchmark the various metrics for each campaign for comparison purposes. You’ll likely find that it helps you make more informed decisions, potentially increasing conversion rates and leading to better client engagement.
Real-Life Example of a Late Starter Using SMS Messaging to Build Sales
If SMS marketing sounds a little complicated so far, don’t worry. It’s a reasonably straightforward process to implement, especially with the right strategies.
Let’s take an example of a company that recently implemented an SMS strategy. We’ll call the organization “Fashion House,” although that’s not its actual name.
Fashion House was aware of the benefits of SMS texting, but it stuck with its trusty email list and social media accounts to grow its clientele. However, as more companies began using the same channels, it realized that sales stagnated and customers drifted off to competitors.
The minds behind Fashion House decided to try SMS marketing to see if it could help them retain customers and attract new ones. They started by promoting their SMS list through their marketing channels, telling clients they’d receive exclusive benefits if they subscribed, like access to new products and special sales.
As people began to subscribe, Fashion House began segmenting its customer base. It also incorporated a messaging strategy that combined promotional content with informational and engaging materials, using surveys and polls to increase interactions with their texts. It even gave customers fashion tips promoting the products it sold.
While it took some time for Fashion House to build its subscriber list and see success, it remained consistent in its efforts. The company also made it a habit to send text messages at least once weekly, helping instill a strong brand awareness in its clients.
Fashion House continues to rely on SMS texts as a tremendous source of value to its marketing efforts. It also regularly evaluates its SMS marketing campaigns, tweaking them to discover which techniques work best and which aren’t quite as effective.
Being a Late Starter Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Find Success with SMS Marketing
Even if your company is entirely new to SMS texting, that doesn’t mean it won’t be an effective channel for your business.
Use our tips to build a subscriber base and find an SMS platform that supports your business needs. Implement customer segmentation into your efforts and create compelling messages your subscribers look forward to reading. With the right techniques and a little patience, you’ll find SMS messaging to be a winning strategy.
Are you seeking a comprehensive platform to manage your SMS, MMS, and email marketing needs? You’ve found it in Contact Consumers. Our comprehensive features are certain to suit your needs, whether you’re an e-commerce store or a service-oriented business.