SMS stands for Short Message Service and is a useful but underrated marketing tool for businesses. Almost all adults own a cellphone and when they receive a text message, most will open it within three minutes. Compared to email open rates of 20-30%, the case for SMS messaging is strong. It is true that there are lots of regulations surrounding SMS marketing, but with the right strategy, it can prove to be a great way to boost engagement, get feedback, and reach customers more directly.
If you are new to SMS marketing, this guide will help you decide if it is the right tactic for you and possibly help to kickstart your strategy.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing involves sending SMS in bulk, including promotional offers, events, information, or to request feedback. To be able to send these messages, you need to obtain explicit consent from the consumers, either via an “opt in” process or by completing an online consent form. Many businesses use a third-party provider to send the messages using a particular keyword.
You may also come across the following terms:
- Short Messaging Peer to Peer or SMPP messaging is widely used by most people on a day-to-day basis, i.e. texting a message from one mobile number directly to another mobile number.
- SMTP or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol involves sending a text message to a mobile phone number via the gateway of an email address.
- MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service is just sending like SMS messages, but it also includes images or other media.
What are the benefits of SMS marketing?
This article could go on about the potential benefits of SMS marketing for pages, but as it is just an overview, here is a summary of the key benefits.
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- SMS marketing requires permission from the recipient, and when you are sending marketing promotions to customers who have already agreed to receiving them, your conversion rates are likely to be much higher.
- SMS marketing is incredibly efficient as you are sending messages which are usually less than 160 characters. This makes the information easy to digest for the customer and is ideal for offers, updates, or quick teasers for upcoming events or promotions. This also makes SMS messages much quicker to complete than emails or newsletters.
- SMS messages are easy to adapt for the audience as you can send the same message to all or segment the recipient list and send different campaigns to different customers.
- SMS messages can be personalized with the recipient’s name, location, and demographic.
- SMS messages are cost-effective as you can send messages in volume at a low-cost, often with a high return on investment thanks to the excellent open rates.
- More people use cellphones than desktop computers and it looks likely that this ratio will continue for many years to come. SMS is often the most convenient way for customers to be contacted.
How to get started with SMS marketing
Before you jump straight into SMS marketing, you need to consider what it is that you want to achieve. Any SMS campaign needs to align with your wider marketing strategy. It is not wise to send the same message to all your customers, so be sure to use segmentation to get the right messages to the right people. SMS messages should always include a call-to-action and add value to the recipient.
Finally, as with any marketing campaign, you need to track and analyze its performance. You will be looking for success in the form of new people joining your marketing list, the number of people opting out, the number of conversions, and how much each conversion costs you.