SMS Marketing Guide: 8 Steps To Increase Conversions

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Today, we have put together an SMS marketing guide that will help marketing teams be more efficient. Marketers work hard to engage customers, cut costs and reach revenue goals, despite low engagement rates for email campaigns, branded apps getting deleted (if they’re even downloaded), the high cost of PPC and increased difficulty in crafting marketing campaigns. The answer to these struggles doesn’t seem the shiniest or most sophisticated, but it’s the best: SMS marketing campaigns.

While email open rates rarely exceed around 20 percent, SMS marketing campaigns allow brands to talk directly to customers, especially with 82 per cent of mobile users admitting they open every text they receive.

Since the first text message was sent more than 25 years ago, text messaging remains the most important and used feature on mobiles. In short, like the medium, marketing text messages are quick and concise and have the potential to connect personally with customers. We hope the following points in our SMS marketing guide will help you use SMS more wisely.

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is a high-return marketing strategy that involves connecting with customers via text messages, which they receive after opting in. Direct marketing via SMS often returns higher ROI and more user information than other outbound marketing campaigns.

What can SMS marketing do for your business?

people checking phone sms marketing guide

This SMS marketing guide doesn’t need to teach you that conducting business in the modern age means competing for the attention and loyalty of your customers. By embracing SMS messaging as part of your marketing strategy, companies take advantage of its industry-standard read rate of 90 percent within the first 3 minutes compared to a 20.81 per cent email read rate. SMS also boasts an impressive response rate of 45 per cent.

Brands can reach loyal customers without straining their budgets, staffs, or time by leveraging a strategy that includes SMS marketing benefits such as higher open rates, as well as better read rates than Facebook or Twitter posts.

In addition to outstanding read rates and superior open rates compared with Facebook and Twitter, loyalty to SMS messaging has led to

  • a two-year growth of 197% in SMS marketing for B2B marketers, and
  • a 92% growth for B2C marketers in 2017.

As customers continue to embrace texting as one of their preferred contact methods with companies, A2P SMS (application-to-person messaging, such as bank alerts or appointment reminders) has grown in popularity.

What makes SMS messaging services valuable?

Investing in SMS marketing helps you target customers where competition is unlikely. With so many different products and channels to invest in, companies need to spend their money, time, and manpower on strategies that connect them with quality leads.

A strong SMS marketing campaign puts you directly into the pockets of the 5 billion people globally who text —nearly twice that of Facebook—and this number is expected to rise 6.9 billion mobile users by 2020. That’s an impressive number of people spending a substantial amount of time on a device that many companies don’t take advantage of.

SMS marketing services give you front-line access to the customers you care about most through the 16 million texts they send every minute.

9 reasons to connect with customers via SMS marketing campaigns

With the expertise of a top SMS marketing service such as VoiceSage, messaging becomes a tool that lowers overhead, increases your conversion rate with less effort, and creates a more engaged customer base with a longer life span.

  1. It’s personal: Your customers connect with those they value most via texting and reach for their phones first thing in the morning.
  2. It’s unobtrusive: The limited character count and the ability to promote subscriptions with five-digit short codes make SMS marketing quick to automate, set up, and manage.
  3. It’s highly targeted: The deliberate opt-in to your SMS campaign gives you access to superior data on the demographics, behaviours, and purchasing habits of your customers.
  4. It’s high performing: SMS marketing commands greater immediacy and attention than other digital marketing methods and can exponentially improve the performance of other strategies when added to your overall plan.
  5. It’s time- and location-aware: SMS marketing services allow you to tailor message delivery based on local time to connect with customers when they’re most receptive (Tip: Send messages between noon and 3 p.m. local time, ideally).
  6. It builds loyalty: Tailored messages allow you to personalize coupons, offers, and reminders to each customer, creating a better relationship for the future.
  7. It’s easy to deliver: SMS messages don’t face the same delivery barriers as email (spam filters) or digital ads (ad blockers).
  8. It’s collaborative: Texting allows you to collect feedback from customers quickly without dedicated staff for inbound calls and answer top-of-funnel questions automatically, freeing up your team.
  9. It fosters relationships: SMS marketing enables you to set up drip campaigns of automated messages that nurture customer relationships through your conversion funnel.

SMS marketing benefits also include curation of a database of your most loyal, most responsive customers, backed by real-time campaign data.

man responding to sms marketing guide

Across a variety of industries, the following messages are how companies are using SMS to initiate engagement with customers:

  • Delivery updates
  • Appoint reminders
  • Order confirmations
  • Date reminders
  • Personalized discounts
  • Alerts (from school, traffic, transport, etc.)
  • Customer loyalty programmes
  • Status updates (finance application updates)
  • Promotions
  • General news and information alerts

Additionally, users open 90% of SMS messages within 3 minutes of receiving them.

SMS text messaging can also be used to promote new products and updates with customers.

By automating these outbound communications to customers, your team can focus on more productive and necessary client touch points.

How to avoid SMS campaign pitfalls

As with any direct-to-customer communication, businesses must ensure that users don’t feel spammed by the messages.

Senders who fail to deliver relevant, useful text messages will see “STOP” messages, opting customers out of the list.

In the post-GDPR age, businesses should also maintain transparency about information use and honor a strict opt-in policy to avoid enforcement from the regulators

By avoiding these pitfalls, companies won’t continue to overload staff, a practice that leads to ineffective campaigns and wasted overhead on communications that could be automated.

How to collect mobile numbers

As customers rightly view their phones as a highly personal space, companies much do their due diligence when it comes to getting the permissions necessary to collect and send to mobile numbers.

Among the considerations that go into creating a great campaign, brands should take care to keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Opt-in only: companies must get the explicit permission of the customer before sending a text message
  • Unsubscribe: companies must provide a clear, easy to find a way for customers to immediately unsubscribe
  • Moderation: keep in mind that not all customers have unlimited text messaging plans, consider this when deciding how frequently to send messages
  • Privacy: guarantee that you will not sell their information or spam them with valueless texts
  • Don’t buy them: never spend money on a list of mobile numbers, using these numbers in any way without explicit permission is spam

How to ensure SMS marketing and API integration will work for your business

sms marketing guide wheels

Partnering with a quality, experienced company like VoiceSage helps ensure your success with a new SMS marketing strategy. In addition to crafting a strategy built for your company, we offer key features such as analytics, rich media delivery, compliance, API and CRM integrations, personalized codes, and more.

Beyond partnering with an industry expert, in this SMS marketing guide we recommend keeping the following best practices in mind:

  • Keep your message concise and within the 160-character limit.
  • Use SMS to determine which customers are most engaged with your brand.
  • Send tailored offers and coupons to customers, reminding them of your brand and rewarding them for their business.
  • Integrate SMS messaging with your email and ecommerce campaigns to drive subscriptions.
  • Use Rich Media Messaging via SMS to deliver an app-like experience
  • Integrate SMS with payments to shorten the customer journey and boost revenue generation
  • Pair your SMS marketing campaigns with direct-mail efforts, reminding customers of the mailed materials via text after they arrive.
  • Use analytics to discover your influencers and most active customers.
  • Capitalize on your SMS data to make posts on other channels more targeted.
  • Customize, customize, customize by learning the best time to contact customers using resulting-behaviour metrics.
  • Encourage conversation via SMS for questions, comments, and concerns.
  • Plan what will happen after the first message and what channel you want customers to move to.
  • Use text as a follow-up to customer service calls (when the issue is resolved) to collect feedback if the customer indicates they prefer text communications.
  • Use SMS text messaging to promote event attendance, sending event reminders and wrap-ups.
  • Use texts to collect questions and feedback on presentations and demos after they wrap.
  • Share and react to real-time industry news by letting customers know how your company can help.
  • Include your company name in every message.

How to start building your SMS marketing campaign success

If the idea of cutting down overhead and freeing up your team to focus on more productive client interactions while building customer loyalty and personalized contact sounds good, take advantage of all the points we made in this SMS marketing guide.

If you’re ready to take the next step, book your demo today.

Book A Demo

Published on: 13th August 2018

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