Want to watch our latest webinar? Click Channeling Success With SMS to watch now, or read our brief recap below.
The Case for SMS
SMS is a truly effective means of communication and a proven channel for delivering marketing results. Moreover, it continues to grow each year as a preferred method of communication in the B2B world. Current research reveals that:
- 97% of American business people are within three feet of their mobile phones at all times
- Text messages have an open rate of 95% and are typically opened within 90 seconds
- 80% of people use SMS for business purposes
SIX TACTICS FOR LEVERAGING SMS IN B2B
Tactic #1: Product Updates
Customers and prospects that have purchased or expressed interest in a specific product can be sent relevant updates for that product, such as:
- Product releases – Send notifications and links to product release info, new products, etc.
- Security patches – Send alerts regarding viruses, breaches, software updates, etc.
- Marketing updates – Send links to newsletters, press releases, etc.
Sending updates via SMS is a great way to bypass the clutter of email inboxes and ensure time-sensitive messages are received.
Use Case: Product Updates
- Sureshot has a customer in the security software industry that regularly uses the timeliness of SMS to ensure their customers are aware of security alerts to their accounts, virus patches, etc. This helps them keep their customers safe regardless of whether or not they are at their desk when a critical message arrives.
- Another Sureshot customer uses SMS to stay on their customer’s radars by sending links to their newsletters.
The SMS Message Test: SMS is an ideal way to deliver messages and communications that are relevant, timely and short. Before sending an SMS, ask yourself if your message meets these criteria. You especially want to pay attention to length, as sending long text messages can feel intrusive. Use your marketer’s intuition and ask yourself how you would feel about receiving the text you want to send from a business — before you send it.
Tactic #2: Special Offers
B2B marketers can take a page from the B2C marketing playbook and send along timely special offers to customers and prospects via SMS, such as:
- Product specials – Alert customers of deals that are only available for a limited time
- Discount codes and coupons – Reward loyalty and generate sales through discounts
- Date-based/ seasonal offers – Keep customers engaged through seasonal offerings
Use Case: Special Offers
- A Sureshot customer in the manufacturing industry uses SMS to boost sales by sending discount codes and coupons to customers and prospects.
Tactic #3: Events
Event marketing is one of the most popular use cases for leveraging SMS for a variety of reasons, including:
- Online event reminders – Once someone registers, don’t let them forget to attend
- Booth updates – Send invites to conference attendees to visit your booth
- Session notifications –Alert event attendees when a session of interest is about to begin
- Parties, giveaways, etc. – Send QR codes, party invites and giveaway reminders
It’s important to remember that people attending an event are away from their computers, but they are likely carrying their phone, so SMS is the best way to get their attention with a timely message.
Use Case: Events
- A Sureshot customer, who does events for C-level executives, added SMS to their marketing mix of emailed event reminders and saw an immediate 5X increase in event attendance.
- Another Sureshot customer uses SMS to ensure their online training modules achieve record attendance levels. Here, SMS has proven a critical tool for them, as the online training modules are a predictive indicator of the adoption and ongoing use of their products.
Tactic #4: Surveys
Capturing meaningful survey responses can be challenging due to flooded inboxes. SMS breaks through that clutter and enables you to query customers regarding:
- Customer satisfaction – Help customers share immediate feedback.
- Post-event feedback – Discover what sessions and topics resonated with customers.
- Links to online surveys – Invite customers to participate in mobile-friendly surveys.
- SMS-based surveys – Use SMS to conduct surveys with automated responses.
Use Case: Surveys
Many Sureshot customers use SMS to send links to both SMS-based and mobile-friendly online surveys. The data gathered is then captured and entered into your marketing automation platform (MAP).
Tactic #5: Critical Customer Communications
When you need to get critical, timely messages to customers, SMS is the perfect channel. Examples of these types of communications include:
- Order notifications
- Product alerts regarding issues
- Mission-critical reminders
- Health-related information
- Employee notices
Use Case: Critical Customer Communications
- Many Sureshot customers have used SMS to send out notifications regarding Covid19.
- A B2B customer in the beverage delivery industry sends reminders to customers to validate and submit orders before their delivery time-frame.
Tactic #6: Content Marketing
SMS and MMS provide a great alternative channel to deliver your most popular content pieces to prospects and customers, including:
- Videos – Send customers a link to a video via SMS or an actual video using MMS.
- Blog posts – Boost subscriber numbers and enhance readership by sending links to blogs.
- Mobile-friendly – Make sure the content is mobile friendly and legible on a mobile screen.
Use Case: Content Marketing
- A Sureshot customer uses SMS to do an automated nurture campaign that uses videos to generate leads. When a customer shows interest in a particular product, they receive links to a series of videos regarding that product.
THREE STEPS TO START SMS MARKETING
Step 1: Commit to SMS as a Channel
In the same way you have committed to email marketing, it’s important to commit to SMS marketing! Get off the fence! Data shows that SMS is a highly effective channel to communicate with your audience, so:
- Make an investment
- Develop an SMS strategy
- Think long-term
Use Case: Call Center Alternative
- A Sureshot customer had call centers that were shut down because of the Covid19 pandemic. They shifted their communication strategy and began using SMS. Previously they used the call centers primarily for calling on delinquent accounts. They found that when they began using SMS they were able to achieve the same results as calling. Moreover, it has proven to be a more scalable method of communication for them.
Step 2: Build Your SMS List
Obtaining permission to send SMS is a critical step in the process. Start gathering mobile numbers and permission today!
- Update web forms – Add an opt-in for SMS.
- Email campaigns – Put together an email campaign that incentivizes people to sign up for SMS.
- Validate existing numbers – Check your current data for mobile numbers and seek permission via emails to send SMS.
Step 3: Identify Quick Wins
Create short-term and long-term strategies for SMS campaigns. Start small and build on your successes.
- Sign-up confirmations – Track effectiveness of sign-ups with offers.
- Event reminders – Build subscriber lists through event reminders.
- Surveys – Maintain ongoing communications through periodic surveys that reward participation.
SURESHOT’S APPROACH TO SMS
Highly Personalized SMS &MMS
Activate SMS allows marketers to send highly personalized, dynamic SMS messages from their MAP. Activate offers:
- Field merges
- Dynamic content
- URL shortening
Because Activate seamlessly integrates with your MAP (Marketo, Oracle Eloqua, etc.), you can:
- Connect SMS to your MAP workflow engine
- Configure dynamic messages
- Activate SMS & MMS campaigns
SMS & MMS Application Features
- Direct integration to MAP workflow/campaign engines
- Dynamic, personalized SMS & MMS messaging
- Unlimited keyword and campaign auto-responses
- Real-time phone validation
- Customer Success Manager for every customer
Our mission is to help you successfully use SMS. We want to partner with you to get your campaigns going, maintain compliance, and choose the SMS platform that works best for your needs (Twilio, Nexmo, BurstSMS).
Q & A
What’s the most common challenge for getting SMS up and running for a B2B?
First, marketers have to get over the stigma that you can’t use SMS in B2B. It’s a powerful communication channel that is only going to gain in strength in the B2B world, so it’s important to get on board. Secondly, as marketers we’ve been asking for email permissions for years and we need to think broader in terms of permission and begin weaving SMS permissions into our marketing campaigns.
Are there additional compliance concerns I should have for SMS?
Because SMS is governed by the telephone industry, there are specific things you need to do to gain permission to send SMS from customers. Our Customer Success Team is well-versed in prepping you to comply with SMS regulations and can walk you through the process.
How long does it take to start sending SMS campaigns?
It typically can be done in about a week for low-volume campaigns. If you are doing high-volume campaigns it may take a little longer since there are short and long codes provisions you’ll need to take care of prior to sending.
Is there a minimum client-base size that you recommend when using SMS in a B2B setting?
No, we have many customers with a small niche-sized customer base, as well as customers who have a broader customer base. We believe there is no reason why any company shouldn’t be using SMS. In fact, it might be a good idea to begin testing SMS on a small subsection of your customers because lower volume messaging requirements will cut down on overall costs and it will be easier to get permission from a smaller group.
Learn More About Activate
If you’ve got questions about Activate, click here to read more, or feel free to email your questions and comments to David directly: firstname.lastname@example.org