While it may seem that with new privacy laws and initiatives, the number of effective marketing channels has diminished significantly. After watching the news in the morning, reading an article in the afternoon, and getting 4 different e-newsletters telling you all the different rules around text message marketing, it is easy to get discouraged.
But don’t let the fear kick in –
Over the past year, SMS promotional campaign sends increased 75% and automated campaigns increased 258%.
Additionally, conversion rates rose 20% year over year for automated text campaigns. The medium still works, maybe even better than before.
With a combination of creative writing, technical prowess, and a clear understanding of regulations – SMS Marketing could be one of the most powerful tools available for your marketing arsenal. Here’s some background for you to get started, optimized, and send!
What is SMS Marketing?
Text message marketing is leveraging SMS (short message service) to communicate news, sales, promotions, offers, and updates to customers or prospects on their mobile devices. Of the different marketing mediums, it is by and large the most unique method of communication.
Because it is sent to a user’s personal mobile device and is sent to a channel that is generally used for personal conversation, the expectation is whatever is delivered to a user’s SMS inbox is for them and they consented to it.
There are numerous approaches to SMS marketing – from bulk sends, behavior automation, and segmented messages, to one-offs, 1-1 customer support, or auto-responders. The personalization of this allows you to cut through the noise of the digital advertising landscape and get your message straight to the people you want to read it.
What are the Benefits of SMS Marketing?
While email marketing has been the traditional medium for most businesses since the 90s – it has one key pitfall in comparison to SMS. Most people only have one phone number and many email addresses.
Our phones are essential parts of everyday life. We use them for communication, shopping, social networking, fitness tracking and more. The messages that do make it through to a phone usually are opted-in to and easy to opt-out of as well. While a regulatory barrier – this does also serve to keep engagement rates high.
For performance marketers and sales teams, SMS campaigns are one of the most data-driven platforms. They are uniquely poised to provide in-depth analytics, run A/B tests, and measure conversion rates. Pro Tip: Those who lean in to the analytics and adjust their tactics generally see higher CTRs and ROIs on their messages.
Effective SMS Strategies can accomplish so much for your business – regardless of sector:
- Memberships/Clubs: Drive member retention, collect fees easily, provide updates, and send event reminders.
- E-commerce: Improve conversion rates by sending relevant messages like cart abandonment, time-sensitive promotions, and discount codes.
- Property Management: Engaged residents are residents that renew! Keep your residents informed of important info about your community, rent due dates, and events with SMS messages with a 90% open rate.
- Home Services (Landscaping, window treatment, etc…): Send appointment reminders, answer pre-appointment questions, and send payment reminders.
SMS Campaign Must-Haves
In order to comply with SMS marketing laws and policies like TCPA, CTIA, and ADA, be sure to follow these guidelines. The most important step is to ensure your audience list consented, or opted-in, to receive text messages from you. Some common ways to receive an opt-in include pop-up sign up forms on your website. For instance, you could be running a flash sale on the site and in order to receive the code, users have to input their cell number and opt-in to SMS to receive a text with the discount code. Another option is to provide an opt-in email message with their receipts for updates on their order. For property managers, this can be done upon signing the lease. You receive consent as you add them to your property management software to send them SMS updates regarding the community. This tactic is common among event managers as well. The signup form will include a checkmark at the end, allowing the user to opt into receiving text messages.
Another crucial element is opt-outs. Including opt-out instructions periodically keeps you in legal compliance and also helps keep your lists updated. A confirmation text message should send after a user completes the steps defined for opt-out. Pro tip: Segment your opt-outs! Provide options for the types of messages your contacts can opt out from. This way, you are more likely to still be able to send a specific type of message. For example, membership organizations, like gyms, may have contacts who do not want to hear about events but do want to hear about new equipment, closures, and classes.
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State your company name every single time you send a message. While it is easy to assume that your recipients have your number saved or recognize the number, it is likely they do not and will opt out of the messages. Pro-tip: In your opt-in confirmation, stating how a user opted in is likely to decrease unsubscribe rates as well!
In customer service chats, the company name only needs to be mentioned at the start and end of the support text chain. General automation campaigns, reminder texts, and promotional campaigns should include the name of your organization in each message.
Calls to Action (CTAs)
What do you want your audience to do? Make another purchase? Leave a review? Attend an event? Be clear in your text message copy. A clear, concise call to action improves conversion rates.
Including a link or asking for a response can provide useful analytics for your team to measure success. For example, a university housing manager would likely be able to quantify the success of a campaign meant to elicit attendance at a dorm mixer if they sent out a link to sign up rather than just sending the event information.
Timing is imperative for both legal reasons and campaign results. SMS marketing legally must be sent at reasonable times. Keeping track of your recipients’ local time zone can help you schedule sends appropriately. Avoid sending texts too late, too early, or too frequently.
Analytics tools often can help provide suggested times to send to your audience segments for the best results.
Personalized communication drives higher engagement and lowers unsubscribe rates and in this day and age, with every platform including customized experiences for their users, is an expectation. Text message marketing, as we mentioned previously, is a highly personal medium. Because you are reaching out to someone on their private line, the message should feel like it is meant for them.
Sending dynamic placeholders like first name assists with this. Segmented campaigns let you link large groups together and send more personalized copy. For instance, you can send leads a more sales-focused message and current customers a more service-focused message.
Examples of SMS Campaigns
Perfect for: Service Sign Ups, Membership Organizations, Subscriptions
What to Include: Benefits of your service, next steps, and info of how to opt out of text messages
Perfect for: E-commerce, retail
What to Include: Promotion details, time frame, how to redeem discounts
Perfect for: property managers, service businesses
What to include: company name, date of the update, link to learn more
Perfect for: E-commerce, property managers, service business
What to include: Name of the customer service agent, links to further support documentation, a link to leave a review after the issue is resolved
Get started adding SMS marketing into your marketing ecosystem with the help of Notifii Connect – SMS and Email marketing tool. Automate your messages, review analytics, and set up 1-on-1 customer service chats all in one place! Book a demo to see how it works or start your 14-day free trial today.