Smartphones are all the rage nowadays and people want lightning-fast apps—but the reality remains that smartphone penetration is only at around 65% in the United States. However, there’s hope—nearly 100% of all mobile phones have SMS, which makes it the most effective way to market to consumers. Although it’s rather basic, you might still need to brush up on your SMS marketing skills.
SMS = Simple Marketing Solution
98% of all texts are read—compared to only 29% of all tweets, 20% of emails, and 12% of Facebook posts. That means you can reach customers faster via SMS than any other method. You won’t reach someone with, let’s say, 1,000 Facebook friends or 1,000 Twitter followers as easily as you would via text because of the news feed clutter—it goes directly to them and them alone. In addition, texting is the most convenient to the customer—emails may end up in the junk folder and Facebook and Twitter posts may be lost in the rapidly moving news feed (unless you pay more to promote your posts).
Make An Offer They Can’t Refuse
You’ll need to give your customers an incentive to opt in. One of the most common ways of doing this is text (word) to (number) to enter for a chance to win (insert reward here). The reward can be anything, but one of the most common promotions is something like (amount) off products and services when they buy at least (another amount) worth of products and services. This increases sales and gives people the incentive to save.
I’m In VIP
Why should the good times stop for your customers? You can continue to reward your loyal customers. You should also give them another incentive to opt in, such as a mobile-specific VIP program—giving special discounts or coupons to those who choose to opt into the program on a regular basis. You should also give more incentives to those who refer others into the program—customers tend to talk to each other and word of mouth is still extremely strong when it comes to marketing products and services, even via SMS.
Ask Permission (Really)
You need to ask for permission from your customers. They can do this one of two ways: texting a keyword to a shortcode, for example: text (keyword) to (shortcode), or by using a web form. This means that the customer has consented to receiving marketing materials from you. Going through old customer records and adding mobile numbers and messaging customers without their permission has legal ramifications—such as Jiffy Lube being sued for $40 million.
The Legal Eagles
As with all things, these are regulated by laws—in particular the Telephone Consumer Protections Act, the Mobile Marketing Association, and the Federal Communications Commission all are watching what SMS marketers are doing. You need to include the following terms in your SMS marketing materials: “By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an automatic dialing system” to account for prior written express consent, “Consent to these terms is not a condition of purchase” to account for condition of purchase consent, and to stay in line with FCC regulations, you need to include STOP and HELP instructions, frequency, terms and conditions, business entity, and disclosure of additional carrier charges.
When done correctly (and legally, of course), SMS marketing can serve as a powerful tool to gain conversions and get people to know your brand. It is essential that you leverage SMS because of its universal availability, the high likeliness that your message will be read, and quick lead to conversion time.