Are you using an SMS marketing strategy to improve your market performance? If not, what are you waiting for? An SMS marketing strategy can improve your market returns more than almost any other marketing strategy, except for email marketing. According to their study, 86% of firms sent one or more text messages in the last year , firms don’t use this strategy or haven’t optimized their efforts, so they’re leaving money on the table. Today, we’ll start by giving you the numbers so you can see how SMS can help you rock your marketing efforts then go into ten ways you can use SMS as part of your marketing strategy.
Although the image above is a little dated, the take-away remains the same — SMS marketing offers a great opportunity and if your business isn’t using this strategy, you’re missing the boat. So, let’s dive right in to why and how you can use an SMS marketing strategy to rock your market returns.
What is SMS?
SMS or short messaging service is the most common form of texting today. With the explosion of smartphones (85% of Americans own one), SMS similarly exploded. According to the Pew Research Center, users send and receive a total of over 41 text messages per day. Unsurprisingly, users between 18 and 24 are the heaviest users of messaging, sending or receiving an average of nearly 110 messages per day. As we’ll see in the data presented below, based on a study of 1400 consumers conducted by SimpleTexting, users love SMS and it offers great ROI for the firms who use this marketing strategy well.
How can an SMS marketing strategy produce ROI?
SMS marketing campaigns can be highly successful when implemented strategically. Here are a few reasons why SMS marketing campaigns have the potential for success [unless otherwise noted, all data come from the SimpleTexting 2023 study]:
High open rates:
SMS messages have significantly higher open rates compared to other forms of marketing communication, such as email. According to industry reports, SMS messages have an open rate of around 98%, making it an effective channel to reach your audience. While open rate isn’t the most important metric for judging the success of a marketing campaign, it’s the first step necessary for success. Unless users open your missive, nothing else matters, so high open rates make the SMS marketing strategy a great option.
Not only does SMS reach high open rates, but notifications sent to users’ smartphones also translate into quick responses, as you can see in the graphic below. Note that over 80% of users check a text notification within 5 minutes, which is blazing fast compared with every other marketing strategy.
SMS messages typically have higher engagement rates compared to other marketing channels. People are more likely to read and respond to text messages promptly, especially when the content is relevant and personalized. When compared with email marketing, 77% of users respond to SMS notifications within 10 minutes versus only 28% for email messages.
Personalization and targeting:
SMS allows you to personalize messages and tailor them to specific segments of your audience. By sending targeted and relevant content, you can increase the chances of engagement and conversion.
Increased customer loyalty:
Regular communication via SMS can foster a sense of loyalty and connection with your brand. Sending exclusive offers, updates, and valuable content to your subscribers can make them feel valued and more likely to continue engaging with your brand.
Higher conversion rates:
SMS marketing has been shown to generate higher conversion rates (up to 45%) than other channels. The direct nature of SMS, combined with the sense of urgency that can be created through limited-time offers, can drive immediate action and increase conversions.
SMS marketing campaigns can be cost-effective, particularly when compared to traditional advertising methods. The cost per SMS sent is relatively low, and the potential returns on investment can be significant if the campaign is well-targeted and executed.
SMS campaigns can be easily tracked and measured, allowing you to analyze the effectiveness of your messages and make data-driven decisions for future campaigns. You can track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to gauge the success of your SMS marketing efforts.
SMS marketing strategy offers a great tool for companies regardless of their needs. Below, we see results from the SimpleTexting study showing why companies started using SMS marketing.
10 ways to use SMS marketing strategy
SMS (Short Message Service) can be a valuable tool for marketing your brand and reaching your target audience. We do see that different industries use SMS for different purposes. For instance, healthcare providers, the largest segment using SMS marketing, use SMS to communicate test results, confirm appointments, and send notices of outstanding bills. Other brands use SMS for promotions and notifications such as shipping updates.
SMS is a permission-based marketing tool. Build a subscriber list by allowing customers to opt-in to receive SMS updates from your brand, which isn’t hard with 71% of consumers subscribing to one or more company’s text messaging service. This ensures that you have permission to message them and increases the likelihood of engagement. Below, you can see the percentage of respondents who subscribe to text messages from companies in the associated industries
SMS allows you to send personalized messages to your subscribers, addressing them by their name or using other relevant details. Personalization creates a sense of connection and enhances the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Be wary, however, of sending information that represents a privacy concern for users, as many have less control over who can view their text messages than they do email or other marketing efforts. For instance, don’t send medical information but a link to view the information on a secure site.
Promotions and offers:
Send exclusive promotions, discounts, and offers directly to your subscribers via SMS is a great way to increase the visibility of these offers. These limited-time deals can create a sense of urgency and drive immediate action.
Product launches and updates:
Notify your subscribers about new product launches, updates, or releases. SMS can be a quick and effective way to generate interest and excitement among your audience. Plus, SMS messages are easily shared with anyone on your contact list.
Use SMS to send event invitations and reminders. This is particularly useful for local events, workshops, or seminars where you want to reach a specific audience.
Often, consumers sign up for an event but fail to enter it on their calendars. When they don’t show up, you lost an opportunity to market to them and may incur significant expenses if the event was a face-to-face event that involved paying for a venue, food, and other elements designed to make it memorable and enjoyable. Plus, if you have a waiting list of folks who want to attend, accurate accounting is critical for reaching as many prospective buyers as possible. Sending a reminder a few times before the event nudges those who promised to attend to ensure they actually show up, barring unforeseen circumstances.
Surveys and feedback:
Conduct surveys or request feedback from your customers through SMS. This allows you to gather valuable insights, so you can improve your products or services, and demonstrates that you value your customers’ opinions.
Provide customer support through SMS by allowing customers to ask questions or seek assistance via text messages. This can improve customer satisfaction and build stronger relationships with your audience.
An interesting finding from the SimpleTexting survey was that most users don’t mind if you use AI to generate responses to their questions, as long as you trained your chatbot effectively. Of course, customer support is only one way you might use AI to support your SMS marketing strategy.
Abandoned cart recovery:
Shopping cart abandonment is a perennial problem for e-commerce businesses. Below, you can see the main reasons why shoppers abandoned their shopping cart.
If you have an e-commerce store, you can leverage SMS to send reminders to customers who have abandoned their carts. This reminder can prompt them to complete their purchase and increase your conversion rate by offering a discount that might help overcome the objections that caused them to abandon their shopping cart in the first place. Abandonment due to wanting to postpone a purchase (which is 24% of the reason for abandonment) is especially amenable to SMS messaging to follow up after the user abandoned their shopping cart. It can also help by streamlining the checkout process or offering a guest checkout option (cumulatively, 25% of abandonment).
If your business relies on appointments, such as medical clinics or salons, you can use SMS to send reminders to customers about their upcoming appointments. This reduces no-shows and improves the overall customer experience, especially in cases where you charge a no-show fee.
Short links and landing pages:
Include short links in your SMS messages that direct recipients to dedicated landing pages or specific offers on your website. Because of limits to the number of characters in each SMS message, use a link shortener to avoid messages delivered in batches (you can send up to six parts to your message but the confusion factor is high when your message requires multiple individual parts as sometimes they aren’t delivered in the right order). This allows you to track engagement and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Remember to adhere to relevant regulations and obtain proper consent from subscribers before sending marketing messages. Additionally, don’t overdo the frequency of your messages to avoid overwhelming your audience and causing them to unsubscribe.
While SMS marketing campaigns have the potential for success, it’s important to consider factors such as audience preferences, message relevance, timing, and compliance with local regulations. By carefully planning and executing your campaigns, you can maximize the effectiveness of SMS as a marketing channel for your brand.
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