“Sending text messages to your customers? That sounds invasive…”
I was a skeptic at first when the idea was mentioned to me. But when I started to look at SMS marketing, I realized that with the right frequency and messaging, it can be a highly effective method of communication.
SMS open rates are far higher than other types of messaging, and they reach people on a more personal level. And companies are learning how to take advantage of it. SMS marketing in all its forms is making inroads into all different types of companies, including my own. It might seem invasive, but in my experience, you can turn “invasive” into “personal” — with the right strategy.
According to one Intis Telecom report, application-to-person (A2P) messaging has an expected growth rate of 6.99% right now. Furthermore, that’s expected to continue through 2023. So it makes sense this is an area many businesses are trying to optimize.
The same goes for my team. We’re working on integrating message marketing at my company Sourcify, and through that process, I’ve found out some things about this type of marketing that make it a must for just about every business.
Here’s why you should make bulk message marketing part of your strategy.
1) Messages almost always get opened
You’re probably running email marketing — just about everyone is. What’s your best open rate? Maybe 10%? 20%? 30% if you’re doing well? Mailchimp puts the average across all industries at just over 21%.
SMS open rates are as high as 98%. That blows email out of the water.
Be aware though — legally, you have to get permission from the customer to send them text messages. You also have to provide a disclaimer and opt-out.
However, the opt-out is far from being a bad thing for your messaging. It can actually be a great way to build trust with your customers, as it’s far more visible than the option on an email and makes them feel more in control of the messages they receive.
An email may get sorted into a folder that doesn’t get touched, particularly with the high number of people that use Gmail with its automatically sorted inbox. Microsoft Outlook now also has some of the same functionality with its “Focused” inbox.
Text messages are a fantastic addition to other parts of your marketing mix. They’re almost always read, and if you use the right copy they can drive response in a way that other media can only dream of.
2) Messages are (super) easy to automate
You already know that text messages get a high open-rate. But if you combine that with the ease of automation that application-based messaging can bring, you can drive traffic in a big way.
There is a wide range of applications that will help businesses of any size manage their SMS marketing. These applications manage sending, receiving, KPIs, and other important tasks and dashboards.
Choosing the right SMS application depends on the size of the business you’re running, the industry you’re in, and what sort of functionality is most important to you.
There’s no easy one-size-fits-all option. But all the major contenders can help you automate marketing to a full list of phone numbers. SMS marketing applications make it possible to extend your reach far beyond what an individual could do.
3) Messages are ideal for time-sensitive offers
Text messages are opened on average only two minutes after they’ve been received. That makes them a fantastic choice for any offers that have a time element.
You can introduce a level of urgency to your marketing by using SMS messages to send out reminders, special offers, or notifications. One of the best ways to use text messages is to push flash sales and other very short-term special offers.
SMS marketing is a time-sensitive medium by its very nature. Everyone keeps their smartphone nearby if not on them all the time, and a time-sensitive offer (especially for a local business) can be the way to go. The sky-high open rates for SMS, as opposed to an email combined with that two-minute window, make these messages the ideal vehicle for quick promotions.
If you write good copy in that 160-character space, you can see a significant bump in response. That short copy with a link at the end is ideal for grabbing people’s attention quickly, and it causes an immediate response.
A time-sensitive offer is best when it can reach people immediately. Any SMS application will let you push out an offer quickly and get people in the door fast.
If you run any business that revolves around a local clientele, it’s a great way to get people to come to visit a location. And for larger companies that might lean on e-commerce, it can get people to log in and spend money on your website.
Final thoughts: With great power comes great responsibility
My own company is using text messages for a variety of purposes, but one of them is keeping people up to date with the latest things that are happening in our business.
We have a text messaging number that’s designed to reply to people when they want updates for our business, and much of it is automated. We also have direct communications from people directly to our customer base.
Message frequency is important; you don’t want to annoy your customers.
Oracle’s recommendation is one message per week as a general rule, but it depends on your company, your market segment, and your customer base. We try to hit around that mark, but as time goes on we may have to adjust our frequency as SMS marketing gets more saturated
Text messages aren’t just useful for marketing messages. They are a great way to get out immediate updates about the state of the business to your customers. If you have an outage, a new innovation, or any sort of news about your business, SMS messaging can get it out fast to your whole customer base.
It’s best understood not as a standalone strategy, but a small part of a larger marketing strategy. Use it for unique promotions, quick updates, and things you want people to take action on immediately.
You can even combine it with your Facebook ads for an easy marketing funnel. My recommendation is for you to start using SMS today as part of your marketing mix and find out why more and more marketers are embracing it.
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