SMS itself has been around since the mid-’90s but due to the explosive rise in mobile technology and mobile usage SMS has become even more relevant to businesses who are looking for a direct one to one marketing channel to help them generate leads and sales, promote events and even to communicate with their internal teams.
With the rise of the online SMS sites the technology was able to shift gears and make mass text messaging possible and now businesses are using SMS services to send thousands or hundreds of thousands of text messages instantly to mobile users.
With 98% open and read rates and 30%+ click-through rate you can why businesses are using this tool especially when you compare it to email which typically receives a 20% open rate and roughly 3-5% click-through.
Very rarely will you find a marketing channel that intrinsically comes packaged with impressive engagement rates like this, when you think about how tough it would be for a veteran marketer to get anywhere near those numbers, especially consistently.
Even so, there are still rules to SMS that can make your SMS campaigns even better.
1. Get your timing right
As with all advertising and sales timing is essential.
For example, a restaurant sending out a lunch special after lunch will bomb in spectacular fashion but if you get people right before they tend to start thinking about lunch then your success will be much higher.
The trick is to find the time during the day, week, month or year where your customer is beginning their buying process so you can intercept them and have an opportunity to win that customer over.
2. Be transparent
The problem with most marketing is that often times important details are left out or written in small print which typically results in customer service headaches and refunds.
Before a person opts into your text messaging list let them know exactly what they going to receive and how the relationship is going to work so there are no surprises that trigger negative feelings towards your brand.
By telling them what to expect beforehand you’ll be getting the highest quality leads opting in.
3. Always include an opt-out
People tend to get a little nervous when they receive a text message from business and there is no way for them to prevent future messages if they no longer want to be part of the program.
Having an opt-out option available inside your SMS messages dramatically increases the trust factor you have between your business and your subscribers.
This also removes any legal headaches that may arise.
4. Keep Your SMS Messages Structured
Your typical SMS message has only 160 characters so you don’t have a lot of room to work with.
In actual fact, this is a major benefit since it forces you to get your message across quickly with zero fluff.
Here are some tips on how to structure your message
- Include your business name –You can do this by using a Sender ID or by mentioning it at the start of the message.
- Personalize – This isn’t a hard rule, but it’s a good idea to include the recipient’s name at the start of the relationship. The truth is, once the relationship has been established there’s little need to include their name, just give them an offer.
- Relevant offer – This is a hard rule. Consumers are incredibly protective of their mobile numbers and are quick to block businesses with irrelevant messages. Make sure that your messages always have something good to offer that is relevant to the recipient’s needs.
- Conditions – Include a link to any special conditions for an offer.
- FOMO – If you’re making an offer give them a deadline which can be time-based or quantity based – we humans tend to be quite lazy so you need to make them aware that they could miss out if they do not act.
- Tell them what to do – We’ve covered a lot of ground so it would be a waste if we didn’t tell them how to get the offer we outlined. Mention your URL (use a link shortener), tell them the location, etc.
- Opt-out – Include an opt-out at the end of the message.
- Segment your list
If you’re a business who sells different solutions this means that you’re going to be serving different types of customers who have different goals.
If you’re a hair salon then a 50% off blow wave might be good for the women on your list but your male subscribers will instantly be wondering why they’re receiving that offer.
For this reason one of the best practice principles to employ is making sure that you are separating these people into their own relevant groups.
By keeping people grouped together in this way it does 3 key things
- Reduces unsubscribes, complaints and being labelling as a spammer because you’re only sending out relevant offers that you know your subscribers will be excited to know about; this in turn..
- Increase conversion rates; and finally…
- Makes it easier for you to come up with tightly focused offers
Marketing is a tough game so you need every advantage you can get an online SMS messaging gives you a lot out of the box especially in terms of super high open, read and click-through rates.
Using online SMS is a fantastic way to generate highly qualified leads for your sales team or generate sales or even recover abandoned carts for an online retail store.
Emails go unopened, phones go unanswered, banner blindness is getting worse, ad costs are skyrocketing but SMS is one of the very few communication channels that is actually come down in price and has arguably the highest open and read rates of any other marketing channel.
This makes online SMS an incredibly powerful promotional tool to help businesses generate leads and sales for pennies per text.