In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital marketing, businesses strive to engage customers across multiple channels seamlessly. One such powerful tool that has stood the test of time is Short Message Service (SMS). With its ubiquity and high open rates, SMS plays a pivotal role in omnichannel marketing strategies. However, to leverage SMS marketing effectively, businesses must adopt best practices that align with customer expectations, legal regulations, and industry standards. In this blog post, we will delve into the smart and insightful best practices for using SMS in omnichannel marketing.
What’s SMS Marketing?
Imagine having a direct line of communication to your customers’ pockets, where your messages are instantly received and read. It’s no wonder that SMS marketing has become a go-to strategy for businesses seeking to cut through the noise and forge meaningful connections. But what exactly is SMS marketing, and how can you master it to propel your business to new heights?
At its core, SMS marketing utilises SMS messages to deliver promotional messages and communications directly to customers’ mobile devices.
SMS messages, or text messages, are concise and typically limited to 160 characters, making them an ideal medium for delivering quick and impactful content. Businesses leverage A2P SMS marketing to send various communications, including special offers, promotions, event updates, transactional notifications, appointment reminders, and more.
This direct and personalised approach allows businesses to engage with their audience in a highly targeted and immediate manner, fostering customer loyalty, driving conversions, and ultimately boosting both reach and revenue.
Why is SMS important in marketing?
The first advantage of SMS marketing lies in its unmatched open rates. According to recent research, SMS messages boast an impressive open rate of over 98%, ensuring that your carefully crafted content reaches your audience’s eyes promptly. Compare this to other marketing channels, such as email marketing, where average open rates struggle to exceed 20%, and the power of SMS marketing becomes apparent.
Furthermore, with SMS marketing, you can rest assured that your messages will be swiftly delivered, thanks to its instant delivery mechanism. You no longer need to worry about emails languishing in overcrowded inboxes or social media posts getting buried amidst the endless scroll. With SMS marketing, your messages land directly in the hands of your customers, demanding their attention in real time.
Lastly, SMS marketing enables you to reach a wide audience effortlessly. With most individuals owning mobile phones, SMS messages transcend demographic boundaries and connect with people from all walks of life. Whether you’re targeting tech-savvy millennials or older generations less immersed in digital platforms, SMS marketing ensures your message cuts through the clutter and reaches your intended recipients.
Now that we’ve highlighted the immense potential of SMS marketing, it’s time to delve deeper into the strategies and techniques that will empower you to master this dynamic channel. Prepare to unlock the secrets to boosting your business’s reach and revenue through the art of SMS marketing.
SMS marketing offers numerous possibilities to engage and connect with your customers. By employing various tactics and campaign types, you can build strong relationships and drive meaningful interactions.
SMS Marketing Use Cases to Boost Engagement
Promotional SMS Marketing Campaigns
Promotional SMS marketing campaigns serve as the cornerstone of SMS marketing, allowing you to deliver personalised and enticing messages to your customers, encouraging them to take action. Consider the following types of promotional campaigns:
- Welcome/Onboarding Campaigns: Extend a warm welcome to new subscribers while collecting valuable user data to understand their preferences and interests better. Use this information to build audience segments and tailor future messages accordingly.
- Promotional Discounts and Offers: Boost sales by delivering personalised messages that resonate with individual customers. Offer incentives such as free shipping, customised coupons, or complimentary gifts with purchases to entice them to make a purchase.
- Reengagement Campaigns: Keep your brand top of mind by sending SMS messages about price drops, abandoned carts, product recommendations based on previous behaviour, or exclusive promotions to reengage customers who may have become inactive.
- Loyalty Programs: Retain customers and increase their spending by offering perks through loyalty programs—Utilise SMS messages to provide exclusive sale access, sneak previews, status rewards, and event invitations.
- Ongoing/Seasonal Campaigns: Drive customers towards conversions by delivering offers and promotions related to holidays, seasonal events, or special occasions such as Black Friday or back-to-school events.
Transactional SMS Marketing Messages
In addition to promotional campaigns, transactional SMS messages play a crucial role in enhancing customer experience and providing important updates. Incorporate the following transactional messages to keep your customers informed and engaged:
- Welcome Messages: Extend warm welcome messages to new subscribers while providing essential information about your business or services.
- Account Alerts: Keep customers informed about account updates, changes in terms or conditions, or important security notifications.
- Order Confirmations and Shipping Notifications: Provide timely updates on order confirmations, shipment tracking numbers, and estimated delivery dates to keep customers informed about their purchases.
- Booking and Appointment Reminders: Send SMS reminders for appointments, reservations, or bookings to reduce no-shows and keep customers engaged.
- One-Time Passwords: Utilise SMS messages to deliver one-time passwords (OTPs) for secure authentication or account verification purposes.
Leveraging SMS Marketing for Business Growth
SMS marketing extends beyond promotions and transactional messages; it can also be leveraged to drive business growth and improve customer satisfaction. Consider the following additional applications:
- Upsell/Cross-sell: Encourage customers to make additional purchases based on their previous behavior. For example, send targeted marketing messages to customers who have spent a certain amount but haven’t visited your site recently.
- Announcements: Use SMS announcements to inform customers about important updates, such as store relocations, changes in store hours, or upcoming events.
- Events: Promote upcoming local events, webinars, or conferences through SMS, boosting sign-ups and attendance.
- Product Launch: Generate excitement around new products by notifying customers via SMS, increasing awareness, and driving early sales.
- Services: Provide product support or customer assistance through text messages, offering a convenient and efficient channel for resolving queries or issues.
SMS Marketing Best Practices
Obtain Proper Consent
Before initiating any SMS marketing campaign, it is crucial to obtain explicit consent from your customers. This consent should be obtained through a clear opt-in process that includes disclosing the frequency, type of content, and potential charges associated with the messages. Respecting customers’ privacy and preferences builds trust and ensures compliance with various data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Personalise and Segment Your Messages
To make your SMS campaigns more effective, it’s essential to personalise your messages based on customer preferences and segmentation. Segment your audience based on demographics, purchase history, or other relevant factors. By tailoring your messages to specific customer segments, you can increase relevance and engagement. Personalisation extends beyond using the recipient’s name; it should reflect their interests, behaviours, and past interactions with your brand.
Craft Clear and Compelling Messages
SMS is a concise and direct communication medium. Therefore, crafting clear and compelling messages is crucial to convey your brand message effectively. Keep your SMS content concise, ensuring that it fits within the character limit (typically 160 characters). Focus on delivering value, whether it’s exclusive offers, time-sensitive promotions, or relevant updates. Use strong call-to-action (CTA) phrases to encourage customers to take the desired action, such as making a purchase or visiting your website.
Timing and Frequency
Respectful timing and appropriate frequency are key considerations for SMS marketing. Bombarding customers with frequent messages can be perceived as intrusive and may lead to opt-outs. Timing plays a vital role as well—send messages during appropriate hours to avoid disturbing customers. Analyze your customer data and engage in A/B testing to determine the optimal frequency and time slots for your SMS campaigns.
Integrate SMS with Other Channels
The true power of omnichannel marketing lies in the seamless integration of various communication channels. Integrate SMS with other channels like email, social media, and mobile apps to provide a cohesive and consistent customer experience. For example, use SMS to send reminders or follow-ups after an email campaign, directing customers to a personalised landing page. Cross-channel integration enhances engagement and reinforces your brand message across multiple touchpoints.
Provide Opt-Out Options
While you aim to keep customers engaged, it is equally important to provide opt-out options for those who wish to discontinue receiving SMS messages. Include clear instructions on how to unsubscribe in each message and ensure that the process is simple and hassle-free. Respect customers’ choices and promptly honor opt-out requests to maintain a positive brand image.
Monitor, Measure, and Adapt
As with any marketing strategy, monitoring and measuring the performance of your SMS campaigns are essential. Track key metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to evaluate the effectiveness of your messages. Leverage analytics tools to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns. Use the data to refine your SMS campaigns and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.
How do I create an SMS marketing strategy?
Taking the first steps to start sending SMS marketing messages is easier than you might think. Here’s what you need to do:
Choosing an SMS Messaging Solution
Before you send SMS marketing messages, you’ll need to choose an SMS messaging solution that aligns with your business needs. Consider factors such as team resources, scalability requirements, budget, and desired features. You have two options:
- Build an In-House Solution: If you have the technical expertise and resources, you can develop an in-house SMS messaging system. This allows for greater customisation and control but requires significant investment in development and ongoing maintenance.
- Buying an SMS Provider: Alternatively, you can partner with an established SMS marketing provider that offers a reliable and scalable messaging platform. Look for providers that align with your specific requirements, such as pricing plans, delivery rates, features (e.g., two-way messaging, automation), and customer support.
Getting Started with Your SMS Provider
Once you’ve chosen an SMS provider, it’s time to start sending SMS marketing messages. Follow these steps:
- Account Setup: Create an account with your chosen SMS provider. Provide the necessary information, such as company details, contact information, and billing preferences.
- Phone Number Acquisition: Depending on your SMS provider, you may need to acquire phone numbers for sending messages. Some providers offer phone number provisioning as part of their service, while others may require you to obtain phone numbers separately.
- Compliance and Consent: Familiarise yourself with SMS marketing regulations and ensure compliance with applicable laws, such as obtaining proper consent from subscribers and providing opt-out mechanisms. Your SMS provider should offer guidance and tools to help you meet regulatory requirements.
- Message Creation: Craft compelling and concise SMS marketing messages that align with your campaign goals and resonate with your target audience. Remember the character limit (typically 160 characters) and the importance of a strong call-to-action (CTA).
- Audience Segmentation: Utilise the segmentation capabilities of your SMS provider to target specific audience segments with relevant messages. Leverage customer data and preferences to personalise your messages and increase engagement.
- Scheduling and Sending: Determine the optimal timing for your SMS campaigns and schedule messages accordingly. Consider factors such as time zones, customer preferences, and campaign objectives. Use your SMS provider’s platform to schedule and send messages to your targeted audience.
- Monitoring and Iteration: After sending your SMS marketing messages, it’s crucial to monitor their performance and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement. Leverage the analytics and reporting features provided by your SMS provider to track key metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. Analyse the data to identify trends, patterns, and areas for optimisation. Use this information to refine your future campaigns and messaging strategies.
Start Sending SMS with Soprano
At Soprano, we pride ourselves on being a leading SMS provider that empowers businesses to deliver exceptional SMS marketing experiences.
Our robust SMS infrastructure ensures reliable message delivery, reaching your customers promptly and securely. From seamless integration options to advanced automation and personalisation features, our platform enables you to create highly targeted and engaging SMS campaigns. With a dedicated customer support team ready to assist you every step of the way, we ensure a smooth and successful SMS marketing journey.
Fill out the form to learn more about Soprano’s SMS platform and unlock the true potential of SMS marketing for your business.