These days, mobile phones are the equivalent of the Swiss army knives used throughout the decades as an all-in-one solution to every problem. You can use your phone (or an app on the phone) to turn on the heat, set an alarm, shop, read a book, watch a movie, play some music or a game, and so on. Phones never leave their owners’ sides and are likely the first thing they reach for in the morning. A mobile phone is a person’s best friend – no doubt about it. The ubiquitousness of mobile devices raises the question about whether your business should take advantage of this by implementing text message marketing?
Just the fact that people almost never let their phones leave their side should be a good enough reason to convince you that text message marketing is valuable, but the list goes further. Today, we’ll discuss other factors supporting your decision to use text message marketing. Then, we’ll offer suggestions for implementing this tactic into your exiting marketing strategies.
Benefits of text message marketing for customers
People find text messaging quick and simple. They are convenient as well. Your customers can read your message through the notification bar without even opening it. It is almost instant, so they no longer have to open an app for their emails and go through their junk folders. They can forget about logging on to social media and checking your page for updates since text messages keep them informed.
Text messaging is also much less invasive than a phone call and even less annoying than email marketing since all it takes is a swipe to dismiss the text.
The trick in creating consumer benefits from SMS is to provide value in your messaging. Offering discounts and reminders (for instance, my vet reminds me that it’s time to pick up my dog from his drop-off appointment) creates value in a form that interrupts uses as little as possible. Overuse messaging that involves self-promotion, and you’ll find users block your messages. Hence, text message marketing shares many of the same issues as all other types of marketing — provide value and don’t over-promote.
Benefits for businesses
SMS marketing offers a variety of benefits to businesses.
Again, people keep their mobile phones nearby all the time, whether they are preparing a family meal or spending some quality time walking on the beach and just about every activity in between. In fact, the average user spends nearly 3 hours on their smartphone per day, a number that increases every year [source]. Users constantly check their mobile devices because they never know who might hit them with an emergency call or an interesting text, so they set up notifications (for messages, emails, news sites, and social media) and synch their smartphones with smartwatches so even if the device isn’t in their hand, they learn about what’s going on in the outside world immediately, afraid to miss the most inane event.
For this reason, SMS text marketing makes an excellent option for reaching people.
Still not sure why you should use text message marketing?
Apart from making it easy for businesses to reach their customers in a way that’s simple and easy for consumers, businesses enjoy a few other benefits they should never overlook.
Among the benefits of text message marketing for businesses are:
- Reach — you can message hundreds or thousands of people at once with one click
- Analytics — you see who decides to unsubscribe from your list, but you are also able to track who clicks your links and what they do
- SMS text marketing is very inexpensive
- Very high open rates when compared with alternatives like email. According to the experts at JookSMS, 98% of all texts get read. Texts are not like emails. They are more personal. Lots of emails go into the junk folder – no such thing for text messages. To read an email, you have to open it – most people ignore automated or company emails and delete them without even opening them. With text messages, they can read your words without even opening the actual message – just through the lock screen or the notification bar.
- High conversion rates [source]
- Instant delivery
Simply put, text messages take marketing to the next level. Most people associate emails and applications with companies, but never text messages. Sliding into their texts gives you a more personal approach to connect with consumers.
To succeed, ensure you know the difference between promoting something useful and spamming – there is a very fine line between keeping customers happy and having them unsubscribe.
Implementing text message marketing
Text message marketing involves both technical considerations and marketing skills. We won’t go into the technical considerations, here, but you’ll need familiarity with these concerns before you move forward with this tactic.
In terms of marketing, implementing SMS fits with some other marketing strategies, especially email marketing, with several wrinkles unique to SMS.
In common with other marketing strategies, you’ll need a strategic plan or action plan specific to your SMS marketing. The plan must include a deep understanding of your target audience, their expectations, and what motivates them. You’ll need messaging that resonates and motivates that target audience; in other words, messaging that fits, as well as provides value to those on your SMS list. You also need a measurement platform to constantly assess your performance across KPIs (key performance indicators) such as opt-out and conversion. In common with email marketing, you’ll need prominent calls to action (CTAs). Also, consider frequency as sending too many messages increases your opt-out rate and may generate negative attitudes toward your brand.
Some aspects required for effective implementation of text message marketing are unique to the context. For instance, SMS messages are commonly accessed immediately or not at all. This factor puts a high priority on timing when sending text messages. Ensure your messages arrive when your audience isn’t distracted by other responsibilities, such as in the evening after kids are put down for the night and your audience doesn’t have work and dinner preparations demanding their immediate attention.
Promote opt-ins across media and by collecting numbers in as many outlets as possible, including your stores and events. Personally, having done marketing for a number of years, I’d be wary of buying phone lists as part of your SMS marketing strategy for 2 reasons. First, your list may contain a large number of folks who don’t fit your target market, and sending them SMS might simply piss them off (it may also damage the brand selling the list if users can easily determine who sold the list). Second, it’s entirely possible that federal or state regulations might make this practice illegal in the future just as they did with email addresses. You then face the task of removing numbers purchased, which might be a pain. Plus, regulations imposed to stop the sale of numbers might include other restrictions that limit the utility of SMS, just as CanSpam in the US and similar regulations in Europe made it more difficult for businesses to do email marketing. My personal philosophy is to keep the government out of my business for as long as possible by not pissing off users to the point that their complaints drive government regulations.
In the end, why use text message marketing? Text messages represent a win-win situation. Customers benefit from them if they have the right information and companies maintain connections with most of their clients within minutes, whether SMS shares a new promotion or an event update.
Text messages are almost instant, convenient, and easy to access, hence the high reading rate. While sometimes overlooked, this technique might open the door to a host of opportunities.
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