Various contact points across several digital channels are the norm today. For businesses, having multiple-marketing channels means more opportunities to reach customers. But not all companies have enough time and resources to cover all channels, leaving them with only two options:
- Spread marketing budget to advertise/market on all channels.
- Identify the best channel to reach the most target customers with high returns.
The problem with the first option is that it is very much like the adage, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” So by spreading resources too thin, the results of covering as many channels as possible may be underwhelming. Hence, a better approach is to identify and invest resources into one marketing channel to get the greatest return on investment (ROI).
Now, one customer engagement strategy that has proved to improve customer experience is text message marketing.
So why do many marketers recommend text message marketing as one of the best ways to improve customer service or market/upsell products and services?
According to SimpleTexting, 61.8 percent of consumers have opted to receive texts from at least one business within the last year, with 43 percent receiving messages from one to three brands and 33 percent receiving messages from four to five brands.
On average, 61 percent of consumers want the ability to text a business back, which is why companies should seriously consider using two way SMS marketing platforms for conversational marketing campaigns.
The above figures show why businesses must consider SMS marketing platforms as customer engagement portals.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS or text message marketing is a form of mobile phone marketing in which businesses send text messages to prospects and customers.
An SMS marketing campaign has a much higher open rate than other contact points and channels. According to email marketing experts, for instance, emails average a 20 percent open rate. Meanwhile, an SMS marketing solution has a 98 percent open rate.
Types of Text Marketing Campaigns
Usually, SMS messages are short, making them an excellent way to send clear, concise messages to target customers. Following are some of the most common text marketing campaigns.
- Promotional SMS marketing campaign. These messages aim to inform and generate interest in a product or service. Often, companies would throw in coupon codes, discounts, or special offers.
- Transactional SMS marketing campaign. A company sends transactional messages to customers in response to an action or event. Usually, these messages are time-sensitive. Some examples are shipping notifications, password resets, order confirmations and appointment reminders.
Apart from promotional and transactional text marketing campaigns, there are plenty of other ways to improve customer service. One is using text to run a survey to determine customer satisfaction scores. Another is a technique often used by an online reputation management agency in review generation and review response.
Why Use SMS Marketing
According to MarketingProfs, three-quarters of consumers are comfortable receiving text messages from businesses as long as they opt into the service. So clearly, it is an effective way to reach out and provide customers with promotional updates.
Following are how an SMS marketing solution helps businesses.
1. Quick Response Time
Response time is critical, especially when messages are time-sensitive. For example, email marketing averages 90 minutes (CTIA). On the other hand, consumers open 90 percent of text messages within three minutes of receiving them.
On an average day, according to SimpleTexting, consumers check SMS messages more than other apps. Also, 77 percent said they are more engaged with checking, sending and replying to text messages than checking social media, consuming news/entertainment, or listening to music/podcasts.
Users’ propensity to check their text messages and quick response time makes SMS ideal for conversational marketing or two way SMS marketing. A high response rate, in essence, keeps customers engaged and more open to offers.
2. High Conversion Rates
Email marketing experts say the average email conversion rate is 3 to 4 percent. In this regard, SMS marketing platforms can do better, usually two to three times higher. A survey by Omnisend, for instance, shows the average engagement rate of SMS marketing at 29 percent. Among these consumers, 47 percent made a purchase.
3. Increased Customer Loyalty
One great thing about SMS marketing is the ability to send personalized messages. So regardless if they are transactional or promotional texts, customers are more likely to feel valued. Furthermore, making them feel appreciated makes them more likely to make repeat purchases.
4. Increased Revenues
The benefits of SMS marketing, such as connecting with consumers and higher conversion rates, lead to higher sales. In addition, engaging with them, such as in conversational marketing or two-way SMS marketing, helps increase customer retention and loyalty.
As a customer engagement strategy, SMS marketing is one of the best ways to increase customer lifetime value (CLV), providing businesses with a stable source of income.
5. Non-Intrusive Marketing
One of the best practices of SMS marketing is that it should be permission-based. In other words, the recipients must opt-in to receive text messages. Compared to phone calls, for instance, text messaging helps improve customer experience by being less intrusive.
6. Almost Not Filtered for Spam
Most businesses use email marketing for its effectiveness, but one of its downsides is spam filters. Email can still be caught in spam boxes even when following best practices. Meanwhile, text marketing is less susceptible as spam filtering is not as strict as emails. So promotional and transactional messages often go through to recipients’ inboxes.
When To Use SMS Marketing
Following are some scenarios where text marketing is the ideal contact point.
- Time-sensitive promotions. Usually, these messages include incentives such as coupon codes or special offers that customers can take advantage of if they take action within a specified time. The goal is to create a sense of urgency and fear of missing out on a great deal. This customer engagement strategy is very effective at increasing conversion rates and sales.
- Updates. Companies can reach their customers with essential updates, usually about a product or service. Updating customers is one of the best ways to improve customer service as it reduces customer issues.
- Reminders. Sending a reminder is a great way to keep customers in the sales funnel. For instance, reminding them to check items they placed in their shopping cart or appointment schedule. Reminding customers, even on small tasks, helps ease buyer journeys, which also helps improve customer experience.
- Internal communications. Usually, companies can send group messages using a messaging app or two-way SMS. However, there is a chance that a critical employee misses out because of poor connectivity. Text messaging, in this case, helps facilitate effective communication.
SMS Marketing Best Practices
Following are the recommended best practices to help increase the effectiveness of SMS marketing campaigns.
1. Let Customers Opt In
Text messaging is non-intrusive if the recipient consents to receive them in the first place. But if a company sends messages out of the blue, it is not only intrusive but also unprofessional. Instead of forging a better relationship, customers who feel annoyed may block spam messages. Even worse, some may decide not to transact with the brand anymore.
2. Control Frequency and Length of Text Messages
Avoid being too eager and sending more messages than is necessary for the SMS marketing campaign. While most customers do not mind occasional promotional messages, too much is irritating.
Another thing to consider is the length of the message. Sometimes, a long message (broken down into two to three messages) is unavoidable. But generally, short, concise messages work best and produce the best results.
3. Identify Brand Early
The inbox will display the sender’s phone number when customers receive text messages. So it is important to identify the brand name early as the first few words would appear beneath the phone number. Upon recognizing the sender, the recipients are less likely to ignore or delete the message. This way, the open rates would be higher.
4. Consider Timing
The beauty of text messages is that recipients receive them within a second or two. So it is important to think about the best time to send them. Usually, most businesses send out targeted SMS marketing messages between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
5. Create a Sense of Urgency and CTA
Businesses can increase the effectiveness of text marketing campaigns by adding two elements.
- Sense of urgency. The goal is to urge recipients to take action as soon as possible or else. Some examples are time-sensitive coupon codes, discounts and special offers.
- Call to action (CTA). One way to increase conversion rates is by prompting recipients by adding a call to action.
6. Add Opt-Out Method
Much like with emails, recipients must have the option to opt out of receiving text messages. Usually, the instruction would appear at the end of the message and can be as simple as replying “Unsubscribe” or “Stop.”
7. Avoid Being Pushy
Text messages must be informative and relevant to the recipients. Even better, they must be entertaining or engaging. Some examples include creating interactive polls, games and competitions for prizes. Avoid being salesy, as this might turn away many customers.
8. Track SMS Marketing Messages
One of the most important tasks in marketing is measuring the performance of every customer engagement portal. For instance, tracking open and click rates to analyze the effectiveness of the content and time sent provides insights that might be useful for optimizing succeeding campaigns to provide better results.
9. Implement the Suggested SMS Structure
Here is a recommended text message format to keep it concise:
- Brand name
- Recipient name
- Message (information, promotion, etc.)
- Applicable conditions
- Opt-Out method
Integrate SMS Marketing Into Omnichannel Strategies
Text messaging has the highest conversion rates among the different channels to reach customers. It can even be better with two way SMS to provide more information, answer questions, promote better customer relationships and project a positive brand image.
Do you want to know more about how text marketing can help increase your sales? Contact our reputation management specialists. We can provide a free consultation that includes building brand reputation and awareness strategies such as review generation and SMS marketing.