SMS Marketing: Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices for Top Results

SMS Marketing is favored by marketers because it allows them to reach receptive audiences at any time on their mobile phones. Most SMS messages are opened and read which makes them more effective than many other forms of marketing. People are conditioned to respond to the “dings” that alert them they have received a message. 

Even small businesses – from hairdressers to restaurants – use SMS marketing to send customers specials, hot deals and coupons. SMS Marketing has many benefits but there are right and wrong tactics to use in a mobile marketing strategy if you want to delight rather than annoy people.

What is SMS Marketing?

Marketers use SMS Marketing or short message service marketing to send text messages to customers. Basically it is a tool to communicate with existing customers who permit businesses to send them such messages. 

These text messages can have many purposes, from sending personalized offers and appointment reminders to announcing new products and generating sales.

Benefits of SMS as a marketing tool 

One of the biggest challenges marketers face today is to expose a target audience to products or services. In a world of information overload, it is difficult to cut through all the noise. This is where SMS marketing can be advantageous. Here are some of the benefits of SMS marketing. 

  • People carry their mobile phones with them wherever they go. For younger adults, their phones are not just a communication device but almost like an extra limb.
  • Gartner found that SMS messages have a 98% average open rate. That is way higher than the open rate for emails. 
  • It takes about 90 seconds for a response to a text and the average response rate is 45%. Response rates are an indication of whether your messages are effective or not. If a message has a low response rate, it can be tweaked and sent again to try for a higher response rate. 
  • SMS marketing is cost-effective if it’s done right because most messages are opened. 
  • SMS messages are designed to be read on mobile screens.
  • Even without Wi-Fi, users are able to receive text messages. Connecting with users while they are on-the-go is very valuable for certain businesses, such as those in the tourism or food industry.
  • Sending and receiving text messages is the most common activity that takes place on a mobile phone. With people of all ages and descriptions texting, SMS marketing provides a way to reach a wide demographic.
  • Many customers prefer receiving texts than communicating in other ways. By communicating with them in the way they find most convenient, this is likely to offer more engagement. 
  • SMS marketing reaches a target audience quickly so it is the perfect tool for time-sensitive offers, such as flash sales or daily deals. For instance, sending messages on Black Friday could maximize sales on that day. 
  • People want to be in-the-know and feel as though they matter. Keeping them informed on a consistent basis about special offers and much more helps to strengthen their engagement and encourage loyalty.

Combining email and SMS marketing

Both email and SMS marketing are permission-based, which means that they enable businesses to interact with those who really want to hear from them. 

As mentioned on a popular MBA essay writing website, growing your email marketing gives you the chance to test and learn what kind of content drives engagement. Over time it is possible to gain many insights into the behavior and interests of your subscribers. What you learn from this can help you to target and personalize your SMS marketing from the very start. 

You can use email to build your relationships with customers and use SMS marketing to help strengthen their commitment with special deals, coupons, discounts and more. 

As the best essay writing service put it, email and SMS marketing integrate well and complement one another. For example, you can prep email subscribers to look out for an important email by sending them a short text message. 

Best practices for top results

If you want to impress your customers with your SMS marketing and achieve the best results, there are certain best practices you must follow. 

Get permission

Spamming people is bad for your brand and it can get you into legal trouble. Just because you have a customer’s cell number does not mean you can use it. You need to ask for permission to send customers SMS messages. It helps if you offer them something in return for opting in, such as a coupon or a discount. 

You can ask customers to opt-in by getting them to text a keyword to a five or six-digit shortcode. Shortcodes are easy to remember and they are typically used for mass mobile communications. For instance, a pizza restaurant may ask customers to text the keyword “pizza” to a shortcode. 

You can also ask them to check an opt-in box on your website when they check out after making a purchase. 

A marketing consultant for the best essay writing help, says that you need to tell customers about your intentions upfront, such as what type of messages they can expect to receive and how often they will receive them. 

Use an SMS marketing tool

Look for tools that can help you to automate your SMS marketing. You need to be able to automatically follow up with customers, schedule messages and much more. Using such a tool means that certain behaviors automatically trigger an appropriate SMS. For example, if a customer makes a purchase, this triggers an SMS showing the delivery date. 

Tracking results is also easier with an SMS marketing tool. You can see who opened or responded to messages and tweak them if necessary. 

 Make sure you offer value

Any text marketing should be brief, engaging and offer value. Provide customers with information that really matters to them or an offer they can’t refuse. 

  • Send a welcome text
    Don’t forget to reinforce the benefits of opting to receive text messages. You could offer a special deal that’s exclusive to your SMS list.
  • Send personalize messages
    This is made possible with the use of sectioned lists and groups created according to demographics and interests. One such message may be a special offer based on location.
  • Send order updates after a sale
    Customer satisfaction often comes from staying informed and updating them on the state of an order and delivery timelines is part of this.
  • Send date triggered messages
    An SMS on a birthday with a special voucher will increase customer loyalty.
  • Send information about an upcoming event
    Customers appreciate being included and feeling like they are part of a community. Informing them about upcoming events can make them feel this way.
  • Send introductions to new products or services
    Customers on your SMS list will be the first to know about new products or services.
  • Send a time-sensitive alert
    Give Information about a flash sale or a special daily deal.
  • Send renewal or replenishment reminders
    Give customers a timely nudge without annoying them and you can achieve repeat conversions. Certain AI-driven tools are able to predict when customers are likely to run out of a product. 

Include a strong call-to-action

A strong call-to-action lets customers know what you expect them to do. It can be as simple as saying: 

  • Complete this survey for a chance to win!
  • Click the link to see what’s on sale!
  • Use this code at checkout for 15% off!

Give customers a way to opt-out 

You don’t want your customers to opt-out of receiving your messages but it is illegal not to give them the option. If you don’t, they could complain to their wireless carrier which could lead to your messages being filtered. 

At the end of each text, you send should be an option to opt-out, especially your very first text. This gives people the opportunity to opt-out if they signed up without realizing what they were signing up for or subscribed accidentally. Reminding users that they can opt-out at any point ensures that your SMS marketing list contains only those interested in receiving your messages. 

Measure what works

You may not hit it out of the park on your first attempt at SMS marketing. However, if you keep measuring performance and tweaking what isn’t working, you will improve. 

Continual testing of messages, days, times and deals allows you to find out what works best for your business. The more you use SMS messaging and analyze the results so you know what changes to make, the more powerful this type of marketing can become. 

Find the right SMS provider

You may need to do some research to find the right SMS provider so you can reach your goals at a price you can afford. The SMS provider should be able to scale with your marketing efforts and be able to send high volumes of text messages in the least amount of time. 

A provider should be able to deliver messages to your audience at the right time and in the right time zone as nobody wants to receive a text in the middle of the night. 

The bottom line

SMS marketing has emerged as an efficient and quick way for both large and small businesses to connect with their audiences. Its use is growing with good reason as when it is done correctly, it offers amazing results. However, it is important to strike the right balance or you run the risk of people opting out and your contact list shrinking. If you manage to hit the right note, your text messages may just get the same attention from your customers as texts received from family and friends.