In this article, we will learn how to use SMS marketing to grow your sales.
Text message marketing is an excellent option for small businesses looking to attract and retain customers. With this strategy you can create a direct line between your brand and the consumer.
Did you know that 15.2 million text messages are sent every minute worldwide?
Today, almost everyone has access to a mobile phone. People pick up their phone on average 55 times a day. Americans are leading these statistics checking their phones 96 times a day.
People is conditioned naturally to respond to notifications and alerts, and with text messages you don’t have to wait until they are in front of a PC to take action.
Text messages are short and easy to consume, with short sentences and immediate delivery.
That’s why SMS marketing provides a valuable channel to reach your customer.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is a strategy that uses text messages to engage customers and increase sales.
SMS stands for “short message service” and is a communication protocol to send and receive text messages over cellular networks.
The first SMS was sent back in 1992.. The term SMS also refers to MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) , which are multimedia SMS with the capability to send audio, video, files and phone contacts. MMS have a maximum length of 1600 characters, versus 160 characters of SMS.
How SMS marketing can help businesses?
SMS marketing can engage and acquire new customers for your business. Since text messages create a direct path between you and your customer, it’s easy to create brand awareness and forge a stable relationship to generate sales.
There are plenty of reasons to send text messages. For example:
1-To send updates and notifications about products.
2-To collect customer feedback.
3-To promote sales.
4-To offer coupons and special discounts.
5-To follow-up email campaigns.
6-To send updates about order status and shipping.
SMS marketing can help small businesses, restaurants, real estate agents, contractors, ecommerce platforms, financial services, gyms, retail, non-profits, schools, hotels, retail, and almost every business.
As usual, the key is to add value to the customer. This is the main point to consider when you start any marketing effort, and SMS marketing must follow the same idea.
Is SMS marketing effective?
In order to answer this question, just consider::
1-SMS has 98% open rates compared to 20% open rates of email.
This is because notification remains on until the message is read and is likely to be opened by the customer. People always have cell phones with them, and this is an advantage that contributes to the high open rates.
2-SMS is fast, inexpensive and more than 90% of messages are read in the first 3 minutes.
3-SMS is a low-cost method to reach your customer, specially for small business.
4-SMS has high engagement rate, and 70% of customers say that SMS grabs their attention.
5-SMS don’t need of internet connection to work, and this is a great advantage over other messaging apps and email.
6-More than 50% of consumers prefer text messaging over phone call for consumer support.
7-Almost 50% of millennials favor SMS texts over emails.
8-Consumers prefer SMS because they don’t have to download a brand’s app.
How to start with SMS marketing?
To start a SMS marketing campaign, follow these steps:
1-Use a SMS marketing platform. There are plenty of platforms and we’ve listed the best below.
2-You need explicit permission from you customer to send SMS. This is especially important to comply with federal regulations.
3-Always add value to your customer. This is an immutable law of marketing applicable to any action.
4-Keep your messages short and do not send lots of messages. Only send important texts so the consumers know that when they get a text from you it is worthwhile to read.
5-Personalize your campaign. This will lead to higher engagement.
6-Only send messages during business hours. Avoid annoying customers any hour and consider time zones where your customer is located in.
Is text message marketing legal?
Many countries have specific rules about SMS, and you should know them before starting an SMS marketing campaign.
The main word about email and SMS marketing campaigns is “consent”. In U.S FCC rules say that consent for commercial text messaging must be written.
A proof of consent may be collected from your contacts through email, website forms, text message and many more options.
Primary regulations of the TCPA(Telephone Consumer Protection Act) from 1991 are:
Prior Express Written Consent – A consumer’s written* consent is required prior to sending any text messages for commercial or marketing purposes and must sufficiently show that the consumer (1) received “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of what messages they’ll be receiving; and (2) agrees unambiguously to receive such calls at the phone number given.*Consent obtained in compliance with the E-SIGN Act, such as permission obtained via an email, website form, text message, telephone keypress, voice recording, etc., satisfies this requirement. **Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are not required to comply with the do-not-call provisions of the TCPA
Auto Opt-Out Mechanism – Recipients must be able to opt-out by replying directly to the text message.
Text Message Content – According to the TCPA, text messages must include (1) the identity of the entity sending the text and (2) opt-out instructions (the CTIA clarifies that messages must include opt-out instructions at least monthly).
Appropriate Texting Times – Text messages for marketing purposes can only be sent between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm (local time of the receiver). In short, the TCPA prohibits text messages sent to a mobile phone from an auto-dialer (including text message marketing) unless (1) you previously gave consent to receive the message or (2) the message is sent for emergency purposes.
References for the FCC Regulations discussed above, and for additional regulations not mentioned above, include:
1-A description of the program.
2-The short code or phone number you will be sending from.
3-The phrase “Msg & Data rates apply.”
4-A number of messages participants will receive.
5-Instructions to opt-out.
7-Contact and support information.
SMS marketing vs Email marketing:
Email is a popular channel for marketers and the preferred digital channel for marketing campaigns.
That’s why 300 billion email are sent per day worldwide, although nearly 50% of these are spam.
Inboxes are getting thousands of unsolicited emails, and people deletes many mails without reading them.
But consumer’s behavior about text messaging is different. When someone receives a message the phone alert grabs their attention, and the notification gets on until the user reads the message. So, chances to open text messages are remarkably high.
SMS is best for:
B2C (Business to consumer) marketing.
Deals and coupons.
Quick information delivery.
To inform customer that don’t access websites.
Email marketing is best for:
In depth information.
Service and product promotions.
Building and establishing a community.
Meaningful and detailed content.
B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing.
Deals and coupons.
Don’t think as email marketing excluding SMS marketing or vice-versa.
When you combine email marketing and SMS marketing you can increase engagement and retention of your customers.
Both mediums are good, but always think what your audience needs and how you can provide it. You need to ask your customers, get feedback, and learn what they expect from you.
Segmentation is particularly important. Text messages don’t have the same usage in every country, and you should consider this when you start a campaign. Also, younger generations are more likely to use text messages than adults, and this also depends on your product or service.
What is an SMS marketing platform?
To send SMS, you need to subscribe to a SMS platform.
This is a tool to create and send text messages to a specific list of phone numbers. Some platforms allow to send SMS worldwide and others focus on specific countries or zones.
Most of these platforms allow to send automatic text messages that are triggered based on an user’s action, such as signing up for alerts or requesting more information about a product or service.
Which is the best text message marketing service?
There are plenty of text marketing solutions out there. Some of the best text message marketing platforms are:
ClickSend is a cloud-based gateway service for your business that lets you send bulk SMS, email, fax & letters worldwide
Features: No monthly fees, dedicated number option, lots of integrations, global coverage.
Pricing: Starting at 6 cents per message
A full platform for sending mails and SMS, only US numbers.
Features: automatic consent management, email and SMS signup forms, advanced segmentation, MMS at no additional cost. Focused on Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce,
Pricing: First 50 messages for free, then two cents per message.
A solid player in the business from 2001. Send notifications, alerts, reminders, confirmations and -sms marketing campaigns.
Various free interesting tools available.
Features: Send texts, email to SMS, reporting and analytics, two-way SMS chat, iOS & Android apps, integrations.
Pricing: starting at 4 cents, only pay for texts you send. Free full-featured 14-day trial without credit card.
With more than 16 years in the SMS market, EZTexting is a known and solid player with flexible pricing plans.
Features: Automated event notifications, mobile keywords, lead generation, safe opt-out compliance, group messaging, toll-free numbers, MMS messaging, text to landline messages, contacts segmentation, analytics, reporting and more.
Pricing: Starting at $39/moth per 1000 credits. Free-trial available.
Textedly is one of the best text message marketing software for small businesses.
Features: custom keywords and free incoming text messages, two-way SMS, text to landline, text keyword, built-in link shortening, drip campaigns, voice services, email capture, Zapier integration and more.
Pricing: Starting at $29/month with 1200 messages included. Free 14-day trial.
SimpleTexting has multiple plans to choose from and great variety of tools.
Features: 2-way messaging, scheduled texts, multi-number, link tracking, MMS messaging, automation tools, message templates, Mailchimp and Zapier integrations.
Pricing: Plans start at $25 per month for 500 credits to send 500 messages. Free 14-day trial.
What to look for in a text marketing platform?
Text message marketing services are full-scale marketing solutions that help you engage with your audience, track results, and improve your customer service. All these services offer many options and features. We suggest you look for:
Scheduling: Useful to schedule text messages in advance to go out at any date or time.
Analytics, tracking and reports: You will need helpful reports on your campaigns, contacts, and keywords that you can use to improve future campaigns.
Automation: Automation tools to send out the same text message on a regular basis, such as recurring reminders.
Contact management: Accurate, up-to-date contact lists are vital to successful text message marketing campaigns. Since consumers often change their numbers, it is important to check that your contact list is up to date. Otherwise your customers won’t receive your messages and your campaigns will fail. The best text message marketing solutions make it easy to add contacts, import existing lists and crawl lists to ensure only active numbers are on it.
Customization: The best text message campaigns are personalized. Some solutions capture customer data, such as the person’s full name, and personal data.
Free incoming text messages: Most text message marketing companies don’t charge you for the texts you receive from customers.
Drip campaigns: With this feature, you can set up actions triggered based on conditions you set. For example, a welcome text goes out when a customer subscribes. Then they can get a thank-you message when they make their first purchase, with other triggered texts to follow.
Integrations: Some text message companies integrate with other platforms, such as email marketing tools like Mailchimp and SendinBlue.
Message templates: If you send the same text message frequently, look for a solution that lets you create and save templates so you can send messages faster.
Multimedia messaging: Almost any service allow you to send pictures, videos and audio clips. These are also known as MMS messages.
Mobile keywords: Several SMS platforms allow you to choose custom keywords and track the use of these keywords in your campaign.
Text-to-landline: This feature lets you send and receive text messages through your business landline phone number with no changes to your voice service.
Demographics: Important to check if the SMS platform can deliver messages to the countries you want to target.
What to expect for SMS marketing next years?
In 2023 3.5 trillion SMS business messages will be sent, from 2.5 trillion in 2019 ( Hurekatek)
By 2021 Rich Communication Services (RCS) will combine SMS with other chat apps to reach a projected $75 billion market. ( ClickSend)
Chatbot platforms will go on reaching customers via SMS, increasing the business size. Also read: Why you should boost your marketing with chatbots
Demand for personalized SMS will rise (Textedly)
SMS is one of the best mediums to engage with your customers in a personalized way, but it is important to use it according to the customer’s needs. Every SMS you send must have a purpose and a goal and must add value to your subscribers.
If you are using email marketing, adding SMS marketing is for sure a good idea. The overall cost is low and considering its amazing open rates, you will straighten your sales in the short term.
Many SMS marketing platforms offer a free-trial, and this is another reason to try this marketing strategy.