What is SMS Marketing

What Is SMS Marketing and How Can It Increase My ROI?

Modern brands use SMS marketing to communicate with customers on a regular basis, engaging in lively interactions across numerous channels and platforms. The goal, of course, is to gain the attention of a wide audience and steer its behavior. This is easier said than done in our current culture where so many things fight for our attention.In case you’re wondering, “What is SMS marketing anyway?” Know this, it’s no blast from the past. Short message service (SMS) remains one of the major marketing avenues and yet, it is often overlooked as a viable marketing strategy.

In short, SMS facilitates a convenient and quick exchange of messages between customers and businesses, which is where its true power lies. SMS marketing not only suits the busy lifestyles of today, it gives you a chance to extend your marketing reach and boost ROI in one stroke.

What is SMS Marketing and What Can It Do?

SMS marketing is a tried and true strategy that promotes your business with text messages. It’s one of the most direct outbound lines available. The ubiquity of the smartphone has set the stage for its rising popularity among businesses.

SMS campaigns involve two key elements: a keyword and a shortcode. Both must be included in welcome messages. The keyword is simply a phrase that recipients need to text to opt-in. Shortcodes typically include 4-5 digits and are usually used instead of full telephone numbers.

A Wide Spectrum of Possibilities

The basic idea behind SMS marketing is simple: target customers with text messages. Messages can be related to:

  • Product launches
  • Sales
  • Special offers
  • Promotions
  • Delivery updates
  • News
  • Customer service
  • Support
  • Reminders

As you can see, driving sales is not the only objective of SMS marketing. Yes, e-commerce businesses might want to focus there, but, there are other viable goals, such as increasing brand awareness and customer retention.

There are two basic types of SMS messages: campaign and transactional. Campaign messages are typically a “one-to-many” communication delivered to everyone on a message list. Transactional SMS messages are one-to-one contact. They are often event or behavior-triggered, such as order confirmations, cart abandonment notifications, etc.

Effective in More Than One Way

From a business standpoint, SMS marketing is a cost-effective proposition. One can send bulk messages to customers with only a few clicks. And the investment is meager compared to other channels. That’s why so many SMBs utilize SMS marketing.

Large enterprises benefit from SMS, too. Most B2Bs employ robust SMS API or SMS Software. These tools are valuable because they automate the whole process. Companies can set up a time-based system for delivering bulk text messages. Choosing to automate SMS trims ongoing costs even further.

Another business benefit of SMS marketing is its sheer effectiveness. Studies reveal a vast majority of all messages (98%) are read by customers. They also read them quickly, typically within minutes of receiving them. This cannot be said about emails, which have much lower open and click-through rates. A ‘ding’ from SMS also bears more weight than the sounds of other notifications.

Playing it Smart

SMS marketing isn’t the be all and end-all of business promotion. In fact, it works best in combination with other marketing tactics. In other words, it should be used to complement other tools in your martech arsenal. Emails and SMS enhance marketing performance when working in tandem and can be used together strategically in a variety of ways.

Where longer and more detailed form falls short, SMS steps in. And vice versa.

To execute SMS marketing the right way, you must consider timing. There are no hard rules here because each business is unique, but it does require some forethought. For example, it makes sense for a restaurant to send SMS around meal time. Some companies (such as travel agencies) need to provide real-time information. That being said, here are some general guidelines:

  • Don’t send messages too early or too late in the day. Some countries even have laws specifying this.
  • Try not to overwhelm people with a swarm of messages. It’s just a surefire way to turn customers away.

The optimal frequency of transmitting depends on many different factors. As a rule of thumb, most businesses send SMS messages no more than once a week.

Time to Start Writing

Writing text messages is a fine art. There are only so many characters available, so screen space is precious. You cannot afford to waste it. Morever, the room for errors is minimal. This means the content of the message is the focal point. It must bring value to people.

When writing an SMS message, always make it clear who is sending the message and why. Include your company name where appropriate to eliminate confusion.

As for the text or body copy, keep it short and on-point. Mind your tone of voice and use language that the audience understands. Although tone is often a bit more formal in B2B SMS campaigns, it doesn’t have to be.

Finally, ensure SMS messages are aligned with those in other channels. Consistency of messages is integral to a great cross-channel experience.

All Systems Go

In this day and age, a myriad of consumer touch points are available. However, SMS stands out as a fast and reliable communication lane. The bottom line is it’s a cheap way to keep people in the information loop. You can get your brand in front of an audience without breaking the bank.

If your SMS marketing approach has been on snooze, it’s time to wake up. Create a list of contacts and obtain permission. Then, tailor campaigns according to specific business cases and goals. Finally, be sure to provide relevant and timely information.

Contact us to supercharge your martech stack. It’s time to create a well-functioning, cross-channel system geared for success.

David York
david@sureshot.io

David York has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the martech revolution, and is an expert on its past, present and future.