When it comes to customer communication, you want to be timely, clear, direct, and concise. That’s what SMS Marketing allows you to do.
Unlike traditional mail or email, SMS forces you to keep your message under the text limit of 160 characters. You have to grab your audience’s attention and make the point quickly. If you can do that effectively, SMS can be a very powerful way to boost engagement and sales.
Messaging for the smartphone age
One of the reasons why SMS is a favored means of communication for marketers is that it works off a device that so many people literally have in hand for just about all their waking hours. The average person spends over four hours a day on the phone screen, according to VoiceSage. Here are the relevant stats from Techjury:
- In 2020, there are 3.5 billion smartphone users around the world
- 77% of Americans have smartphones
- 47% of US smartphone users say they couldn’t live without their devices
- 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase on the device.
As a result of the ubiquitous smartphone, SMS marketing blends seamlessly with consumer habits. That makes it possible for marketers to be in touch in a way that’s less invasive than a call and more immediate and likely to be read than an email by capitalizing on a device already in hand.
Two primary benefits for SMS
- Nothing is more immediate
Text messages has a sense of immediacy, as they often arrive faster than emails. That makes them ideal time-sensitive messages not just for the day of the message but for the hour, enabling an instant notice on a lunch special, early-bird promotion, or even something going up on your other channels. You can use it to let customers know they should be looking for new offerings on your site, a new activity or video on your social media channels, or some more detailed communication to come in an email.
- Better odds for clicks
Very few people can resist checking on their messages regularly, as 90% say they open their messages within 3 minutes, and 82% say they open every message that comes in. The 45% average response rate for SMS also delivers better odds for your message to be read than the 20% open rate associated with emails, according to VoiceSage. Customers are also much more likely to click on links in SMS, which boasts a 19% rate in contrast to the mere 2% of links within emails. In fact, 70% of customers polled by VoiceAge consider SMS a good way for businesses to be in touch with them.
Best practices for SMS marketing
As with everything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way to use SMS is to keep in touch in a way that customers can appreciate some value in it and not so much that they feel spammed. How to achieve that balance? It all comes down to one don’t and four dos..
Don’t let your messages become annoying to your customers
If you want your SMS marketing to have a positive effect, the first thing to remember is be sure your customers don’t feel bombarded by your messaging. What is the right frequency? That depends on your business. Some businesses may be in touch a couple of times a week. But some should only be in touch once a week or maybe even once every two weeks.
The ideal frequency depends on the nature of the purchase cycle for your business. Remarkety’s expertise on what comparable businesses do can give you insight into planning frequency, and it’s automation features can also assure an alignment between when your messages go out and your customers’ schedules even if you and they are operating in different time zones. That will help you avoid sending out a ping that disturbs their sleep or that forces them to pause when they’re in a rush to get to work.
Before you send out an SMS, think: “How will a customer likely respond to this message?” Unless you have grounds for thinking they will respond positively, don’t send it. The way you can be more certain that the message will drive the kind of response you’d like is by sticking with the following dos:
1. Do KISS and tell
KISS stands for Keep It Short and Simple. You don’t build up to a punch line but get right to the point with the words that will grab their attention and get them to read through to what you’re telling them to do, the point of the message, which is your CTA (call to action).
For example, you can say “Exclusive offer available today” and then have some brief description with the link that will take them to the landing page on your eCommerce site that applies that promotion. That works for both special savings, free gift offers, free expedited shipping and any incentive you find effective for your target market.
2. Do keep it all legal and identify yourself clearly in your message
That means you get permission to message them and don’t message those who have not opted in to your messaging. You also have to include a way to opt out and then respect it. Skirting that law may cost you fines, not to mention the good opinion of potential customers.
Even if your contact is within legal limits, people do not appreciate feeling tricked. So don’t try to pretend your message is one sent from a friend or acquaintance. Hiding who you are would backfire because many people consider anything from an unknown sender be spam.. It’s better to identify your business as the sender to establish trust, transparency and credibility. Plus, clarifying your identity contributes to your brand recognition.
3. Do personalize your message and keep them relevant
Part of the appeal of SMS is the one-to-one nature of the communication. Segmenting is key to engagement. The substance should match that and fit the specific profile of the recipient and not come across as a “spray and pray” kind of message intended for a more general audience.
Customers are more likely to respond to personalized content, so be sure your messages show you know who they are and what they’re about. It’s not just a matter of using their name but also of being aware of their location and status and its ramifications.
For example, a customer in New England may be interested in snow equipment, but a customer in Florida would likely not. Also someone with kids may be interested in certain family entertainment packages that would have no relevance to an adult on her own.
If they’ve registered their birthday with you, you can send birthday wishes and a link to a special birthday promotion.Perhaps sending anti-aging cosmetic offers will not be appreciated just at that moment, though.
You can also reference what you know about them from their purchase history and suggest they may want something similar or a replenishment of something that gets used up.
By sending the messages that resonate with your customer and make them feel understood rather than merely marketed to, you are more likely to gain their interest and build loyalty even if you don’t make a sale off that particular message.
4. Do Use SMS Marketing Tools
Keeping up with the all recommended marketing best practices may seem to involve a lot of work, but it doesn’t if you use the right SMS marketing tools. Once you have that inplace, you eliminate the need for a lot of manual checks on who should get which message when.
If you get the tools available from Remarkety, you’ll also gain the benefit of syncing up your SMS marketing with your email automation strategy so that they complement each other. So you can have text follow up to an email or an email follow up to a text in case your customer proves more responsive to one over the other. It can also apply the same level of segmentation and personalized responsiveness used in email automation to allow for finely-tuned targeting.
For example, it can set up text messages to go out following particular customer behaviors like a reminder about cart abandonment, a notification that something they looked at on your site is now on sale, or a notice on when their order has shipped or been delivered.
SMS marketing tools also take the work out of tracking your results. You get access to a dashboard that shows you the relevant numbers: how many people got your message, how many people opened it, how many clicked the link in it, etc. to give you insight into the effectiveness of your content and reach. That is one of the services that Remarkety offers to help you get the most out of your SMS marketing.
With SMS marketing marketing tools, all you need to concentrate on is the message for your campaigns. Then you plan the content to KISS and tell, and you’re set to go and reap the benefits of communication for the smartphone customer.