Everything you need to know about SMS marketing
What do you do when you receive a notification on your cell phone? Run to see the content of the message, right? This need to check your smartphone makes SMS marketing one of the most efficient strategies for companies to communicate with their consumers and therefore provide unforgettable experiences.
Using mobile text messages is a great way to interact with customers in a direct and personal way. In addition to encouraging purchases, nurturing relationships and loyalty, the tool can be used to promote other channels in cross channel actions.
Want to understand more about SMS marketing and how to use it in business? Keep reading!
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is a strategy that uses mobile text messages to communicate business with customers and prospects. Since this is an instant and extremely personal way to interact, using it for marketing is an opportunity to sell and strengthen relationships.
SMS Marketing vs. Corporate SMS
SMS marketing has a more commercial application. The strategy here is to send promotional content focused on conversion and customer loyalty. In this category are messages that tell you about:
- Lightning promotions;
- Discount coupons;
- Invitations to launch products;
- Exclusive offers on holidays.
On the other hand, corporate SMS is not meant to sell anything. The purpose is fast communication with customers, suppliers or collaborators. Messages of this type are generally related to:
- Transactional notifications, such as order validation, delivery updates, and more;
- Medical appointment reminders;
- Schedules and confirmations of technical visits;
- Internal notices: notices of meetings, confirmation of attendance at events, etc.
What are the benefits of SMS marketing?
The power of SMS marketing is still underestimated by many businesses. Big mistake! This is a modern tool that promotes interaction between companies and consumers. Here are the key benefits of using this tool:
High opening rate
About 98% of people who receive SMS messages open and read them. This percentage is well above the open rate for email marketing, which stands at 22%.
According to an article published in Convince & Convert, more than 90% of SMS messages are read in up to 3 minutes. And there is a reason for this: consumers don’t detach from their cell phones, and even if they’re offline from other media, they can read SMS messages. According to a US study, an average user touches their cell phone about 2,617 times a day. Use this immediacy in your favor!
The expenses involved in an SMS marketing campaign are relatively low. After all, you do not need to create complex graphics involving images, video and audio production, printed material, or anything like that. The content is a well-made text message. There are interactive materials that have technology involved and raise the cost of SMS. Even so, the value still does not compare to that of direct mail, for example.
SMS campaign indicators are easy to set up and track. In addition, a good messaging system provides these results. The main metrics are:
- Delivery rate: percentage of messages delivered to recipients;
- Open rate: percentage of messages read;
- Exit rate: percentage of consumers who have decided not to receive messages from your company;
- Conversion rate: percentage of consumers who performed the action proposed by the message;
- Response rate: percentage of consumers who interacted with the message, particularly when the content proposed a question.
In addition, it is possible to track customer movements individually. So, you know who opened your message, who ignored it, who clicked on the links, and so on.
Plenty of advantages, right? But all this ease is like a double-edged sword: it attracts consumers and also drives them away. This is because some customers like invasive and inconvenient communication. For this reason, you need to take some precautions to maintain campaign effectiveness. One of these precautions involves being compliant with the law.
How to do SMS marketing in practice?
Once you understand SMS marketing and know its benefits it’s time to get started. However, it’s more complex than just using your cell phone to start sending messages to your entire contact base. Effective campaign management needs to start with good planning. After all, it is at this point that you will study your client’s behavior and understand his journey in order to deliver appropriate messages. In addition, there are a number of good practices for promoting SMS marketing actions. Follow the tips below.
Set your goals
How can you succeed in a campaign if you don’t even know what goal you want to reach? For this reason, it is essential to define an objective. It could be to increase sales, recover inactive customers, advertise new products, stimulate up-selling and cross-selling, or nurture relationships to ensure brand loyalty. Depending on their purpose, actions can take a totally different course.
Draw a strategy
When you know where you want to go, it is easier to define how you’ll reach the destination. After setting a goal, you need to think about how to impact your customers. To create loyalty, for example, you can send rebate coupons on the customer’s anniversary day or give priority to the purchase of new releases.
Choose the best SMS marketing software
There are many legitimate companies that can help you send SMS messages in bulk. However, there are also many companies that offer pirated service, which violates the privacy of consumers and may not deliver all the promised messages. Although it is a much cheaper alternative, opting for this service can jeopardize the effectiveness of an entire campaign.
Be very careful when choosing software for sending the messages. Ideally, you should conduct thorough reputation research and choose easy-to-use tools that allow customization and detailed performance reporting.
Invest in a marketing automation system
SMS marketing automation programs allow you to scale interactions with consumers, but without losing personalization. This is because specialized software can identify customers and accompany them throughout the shopping journey. In this way, it is possible to make submissions based on behavioral triggers and increase the efficiency of actions.
Imagine that you sent a promotional coupon to the consumer. If he opened the link and made the purchase, for example, it does not make sense to send the same content. After all, he is no longer in the same stage of the sales funnel. At the moment, it is recommended to use SMS to do after sales and satisfaction surveys.
On the other hand, if he showed an interest in the offer by clicking on the link, but did not make a purchase, it is possible to send a new set of messages to encourage the conclusion of the purchase.
It is consumer behavior that determines the timing and type of content that customers will receive. Automation software does this analysis automatically and delivers the right messages to the right people.
There are still platforms that make campaigns that integrate e-mail and SMS. With this strategy, you avoid repetitive content and maintain consistency across the communication.
Do not buy contact lists
Ready-made lists are filled with customers who have not chosen to receive messages from your company and often do not even fit your target audience. Creating a list of your own is a bit of work, but the result is more effective. That is because you will have the ideal mix of people—those more likely to do business with your company. Therefore, you do not waste any effort or resources on a consumer who has no interest in your products or services.
Collect cell numbers
Cell phones are considered extremely personal. That is why many consumers are afraid to provide the number to businesses in fear of being harassed at all times. But there is no other way: to do SMS marketing, you need that contact information. Many brands include the cell phone field when initially getting the customer’s personal information. However, don’t forget that the customer needs to consent to communicate via mobile phone. Often, this authorization is implicit in that mandatory billing box: “I have read and accepted all the terms of the agreement.” The idea is to create a specific box for sending SMS. For example: “I want to receive news by SMS.” Therefore, the consumer does not feel invaded because the authorization of the messages was clear.
Another way to get cell phone numbers is through landing pages. Include the phone as a mandatory field for the client to sign up for subscriptions on webinars, and download e-books and infographics, among other materials.
Developing promotional actions with the objective of capturing this data is also legal. You can do so by encouraging the customer to register to receive SMS and in exchange, draw a prize among the participants. In addition, there is still the option to leave the company number visible in your other communication channels.
Therefore, the consumer can send a message voluntarily and sign up to receive brand communications. Lead generation is a process for capturing important records about users who have the potential to become customers of your company. Through SMS campaigns, it is possible to do this data collection. You can create forms on landing pages and send the URL to the contact numbers that you have offering something in return for filling in their information.
Customers can be given educational materials, coupons, etc. But beware of asking for too much information. Ideally, the form should be short and the page responsive.
Create a database
Having the consumer’s phone number is, in fact, important. But there is other strategic information needed to customize the actions that trigger a text message and the appropriate content that matches the habits of each consumer. For this reason, it is important to maintain a database for storing and managing those records.
Use the data in your favor
Thinking about consumer preferences and their entire interaction history with your brand is essential to creating a unique and memorable experience. So it is not enough to have data in hand. It is essential to interpret this information and turn it into strategic knowledge. Thus, you do not risk sending offers to take an MBA course, for example, to someone who has not even graduated with their bachelor’s.
Go straight to the point
You only have 160 characters to communicate with your client. Therefore, the message needs to be short and very objective. There is the possibility of inserting links in content for your website, blog, social networks, among others. In this way, the consumer can obtain additional information before completing the action.
Review the message before sending
Never underestimate the impact of a word written in the wrong way. Spelling and grammar errors can ruin an entire campaign and hurt your brand’s reputation. Although companies use SMS to create business opportunities, criminals can take advantage of customers as well, making the general public wary of these communications. Be careful otherwise, the consumer will not take the content seriously and will delete the message immediately.
Identify your brand at the end of the message
It sounds like a silly tip, but many companies fail to do this. If the consumer does not know who the sender is, how will he trust the message? And if you have a link then no one will click! So, identify yourself when you complete the message. This helps to ensure that the consumer feels safe.
Understand your audience schedule
The ideal delivery time depends on the customers’ habits and your industry. For example, a delivery application can send SMS at 10 pm with a lightning-flash promotion because it makes sense for your niche. In general, it’s recommended that you avoid inconvenient hours, such as dawn or very early in the morning. If the customer is woken up with advertising content, he or she will be angry with your business. And that’s not what you want, right?
Do not forget the opt-out
All SMS marketing campaigns need to display an exit option at the end of the message. For example: “Answer ‘STOP’ to unsubscribe.” It’s good to respect that decision. If you insist, you risk not just having a dissatisfied customer but someone who will speak negatively about your brand. Therefore, do not see the opt out as a painful loss. Often, unsubscription acts as a filter that allows you to invest in communication with those who are most engaged in your strategy.
Beware of frequency
SMS should be used to communicate truly unique offers. If you send notifications every day, the sense of unmissable opportunity is deflated. In addition, frequent communications are annoying to consumers. On the other hand, it is important to send messages periodically so your brand stays on people’s minds. Ideally, you should limit yourself to a maximum of two messages per month.
In email marketing, providers have a number of rules to classify content as legitimate or spam. When it is considered junk mail, the message automatically falls into a separate folder that is usually left unchecked.
In SMS marketing, there is no such classification. For this reason, all messages appear on the same screen, but that does not mean that there is no spam. Intrusive, excessive communication sent without the consent of the consumer at inappropriate times that do not add value to the client is considered spam in the universe of SMS.
Numbers that send the content of this type are often blocked by customers. If this happens to your business, you will hardly be able to reestablish communication through that channel. So no spam!
Offer discount coupons
Everyone loves the feeling of receiving and using a discount. This is a good strategy for sales and loyalty. Sending unique promotional codes to celebrate anniversaries, new customers, or loyal consumers is effective in encouraging purchases. There are still coupons that guarantee gifts, free shipping, points in loyalty clubs, etc. It is worth sending these types of messages too!
Create a sense of urgency
Actions that can be carried out for an indefinite period are invitations to procrastinate. If the client knows he will have the same opportunity tomorrow or later, he will postpone the decision as much as he can.
It is therefore important to create a sense of urgency in the messages and to establish a short period of validity for the offers sent. If you run a campaign with free shipping, for example, use phrases like “today only” or “limited offer.” This increases campaign conversions.
Encourage interaction in social media
Do not stick to a single strategy and just one channel. What is interesting is that the company’s various channels (social media, blogs, chats, email and SMS) go hand in hand to engage consumers and increase the reach of all marketing efforts. In this way, one channel complements and promotes the other in cross channel dynamics, improving the customer experience.
With social media, U.S. users have extremely high engagement. In an SMS campaign, for example, you can encourage your customers to follow company pages and profiles on networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and enjoy photos, share posts and leave comments.
“Refer a friend and get a discount” actions are great strategies to retain customers and increase your customer base. Best of all is that these referred customers are generally qualified and are closer to the purchase because they have already been persuaded by other consumers. Create sign up programs and use SMS to put them into practice.
The ease in measuring results is one of the benefits of this tool. Use this to your advantage by consistently tracking campaign performance.
By Felipe Arruda