One of the common reasons why businesses conduct strategic marketing is to reach existing and potential customers. A lot of businesses manoeuvre and innovate by changing their usual marketing strategies to more in-demand ones. Until now, SMS marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach specific target markets.
A recent study conducted by Salesforce shows that the use of SMS marketing services by B2B marketers has increased by 197% between 2015-2017. This denotes a strong increase in the use of SMS-based marketing campaigns by businesses.
What is SMS Marketing?
We’ve all probably used multiple texting apps and services to communicate in our day-to-day lives. A lot of these would be platform-specific, having to be downloaded from our device’s specific app store.
However, SMS or Short Message Service is a universal technology that is supported by each and every mobile device and network. For this reason, it is a go-to for businesses when reaching customers in a cost-effective way. Most brands use SMS Marketing and Email Marketing in the same way. Yet, due to massive smartphone ownership, SMS marketing is being maximised as well.
A few benefits achieved by SMS marketing are:
- Fast response times and rates
- Higher engagement rates
- Heightened brand awareness
- Better campaign performance
- Greater sales
How to Get Started
Statistics show that 85% of consumers prefer to receive an SMS over a phone call or email from a business.
Here Are Six Ways to Get Started With SMS Marketing
1. Select a Reliable SMS Provider
SMS marketing is essential to every brand. That is why SMS marketing platforms are emerging in the market. To identify the most reliable one, it is vital to coordinate with providers to ensure an adequate plan for your business.
Ideally, you’ll be looking for a carrier that has a reliable and secure platform which allows you to send messages any time of day with speed, ease and assured successful delivery. You’d be better off selecting an SMS provider that supports integration with your existing CRM and bulk messaging according to the needs of your business.
A great SMS marketing tool can help you in several ways:
- Automate SMS marketing messages
- Send multiple messages at once
- Add SMS to your email automation workflows
- Schedule and target campaigns
- Set auto-reply messages
SMS marketing tools provide metrics so you can check the effectiveness of your campaigns. Based on the results provided, you’ll be able to adjust the campaigns that do not result in the highest ROI.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
As with optimising your digital presence and content writing, keyword research is a must for SMS marketing campaigns. It allows you to select the most relevant keywords to your business. These keywords are unique terms or codes used for generating a specific call to action. When a customer uses the keyword, an assigned message to that code will be sent back to the customer.
3. Set an Auto-reply
Having an auto-reply function is helpful in creating an engaging conversation with customers. With the innovative features of SMS marketing applications, this specific capability is available.
An auto-reply is set to reply to customers when a keyword appears in their text message. For instance, if your business is having a promotion, you can use an auto-reply to provide the promo code. Other purposes of setting an auto-reply are sending:
- Additional info for appointments
- Coupons and special deals or offers
- New product launches
- Exciting company news
4. Collect Phone Numbers and Get Permission
When collecting phone numbers from your customers, it is important to ask permission by providing a full disclosure. Also, you need to show transparency about the types of messages that they will receive from you.
As with email marketing, you need to ensure your customers have a means to opt out of receiving messages from you. This can be done by including a link to unsubscribe or having the option to reply to the text message with the word STOP/QUIT/UNSUBSCRIBE if they do not wish to receive these messages from you.
5. Keep it Short and Add Value to Your Customers
SMS marketing has a limitation in terms of the amount of characters able to be used. Standard SMS allows for 160 characters per message. That’s why your business’ campaign must be direct and to the point.
Also, the business should put value in every message. Otherwise, it will not engage readers. Long messages will not excite readers, will kill their interest in your brand and make them unlikely to read your texts, or worse, completely unsubscribe.
6. Personalise Your SMS Marketing Campaigns
One of the main goals of SMS marketing is to provide value and relevance to your existing and potential customers. For a business to do that, campaigns must be personalised so readers can relate. Campaigns must provide them with helpful insights and tips because customers will always read your campaigns if they provide relevance to their lives.
SMS marketing is a great strategic way of building relationships with existing and potential customers. It promotes open, transparent and instantaneous communication between businesses and their customer bases. And because the use of smartphones is so pervasive in these times, businesses stand to benefit greatly from utilising SMS as an integral part of their marketing strategies.
If ever you’re starting from scratch, asking help from experts is a great option.