What Is SMS Marketing, and Why Does Your Business Need It?

by Alexa Lemzy | Last updated 10th June 2020

A man reading text message

SMS marketing has been around for well over a decade and is only growing as a marketing channel. This is because of several unique benefits and uses. Besides promoting your brand, text message marketing can help your customers and improve your internal messaging.

This article will cover what SMS marketing is, how text message marketing works, and why businesses from a wide range of industries are taking advantage of this technology.

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing means using text messaging to send promotions and other messages to customers for marketing.

These can take the form of promotional messages informing customers about upcoming sales, new products and other opportunities, or transactional messages which are sent as part of customer interactions such as purchasing or creating a support ticket.

As a result, text message marketing has a wide range of potential uses, from promoting your sales and new products to improving customer service and generating fresh leads.

Most countries require you to get consent from users before sending any marketing.

How SMS Marketing Works

Firstly, you need to get permission to send SMS marketing messages via an opt-in. There are several ways to do this, from filling out an online form to texting your business SMS number.

After this, you can send SMS promotional messages to their mobile phone as a text message. Because of this, unlike other digital contact methods, text message marketing can still reach offline customers.

With a business texting app such as TextMagic, you can also schedule messages and SMS promotional texts to send to your mailing lists. Besides this, a texting app enables two-way chats with customers and automated customer contacts.

Why Is SMS Marketing so Popular?

people sitting and using mobile phones and laptops

SMS marketing’s growth in popularity is because of several factors:

  • 96% of Americans own a mobile phone. This means your text message marketing can reach almost anyone.
  • SMS marketing has a response rate of 45%, while only 6% of email recipients respond to a marketing email.
  • 19% of SMS marketing recipients will click a link in the text. This is almost 6 times as many clicks as links sent in email marketing messages.
  • 69% of consumers want to contact you via text, and more than half want to receive SMS promotional messages.
  • 22% of smartphone users have their phones with them for 22 hours a day, meaning you can always get a hold of them when you need to. Not only can you contact customers wherever they are, but you can also send marketing messages to customers who don’t check email or have access to a data connection.

For example, Dakota Financial works with many clients in areas with poor data coverage. In these cases, text is a vital tool to get fast replies.

Advantages of Using SMS Marketing

While many people rarely check their emails or avoid social media, everyone uses text. SMS became the most popular way to communicate among adults dating back to 2012.

Given the popularity of texting, it should come as no surprise that SMS promotional messages have several unique benefits.

These are the top 3 advantages of using text message marketing:

1. Fast Delivery and Open Rates

90% of texts are read within 5 seconds, which is a better open rate than any other digital contact method. As a result, this enables marketing tactics that are not possible with other methods.

It also provides a reliable way to send updates or get fast replies.

2. Cost-Effective

Low cost per message combined with high response rates gives SMS promotional messages a high return on investment. In contrast, contacting thousands of customers in a brief time period can be expensive through other methods.

3. Easy to Manage

SMS promotional messages and templates can be created and sent in seconds. As a result, there is no need to create lengthy marketing copy and media content.

With a business texting app, all of your company’s texts can be managed from any device or browser.

Potential Uses for SMS Marketing

reminder

SMS marketing can be used in a wide range of applications besides promoting your company.

It can also upgrade your customer service, make your communications more efficient, and help gather feedback to improve your business.

1. Discounts and Promotions

High open rates make text message marketing a great way to promote flash sales. Fast delivery ensures customers will see your message before it is too late. It can also help keep subscribers engaged with your business through SMS-only offers and giveaway contests.

SMS referral schemes help to grow your brand awareness and reputation through word-of-mouth marketing.

2. Confirmations and Reminders

Using SMS marketing to confirm orders and send delivery updates provides instant assurance to customers, improving the experience of shopping in your store.

Besides orders and deliveries, text message marketing is also a great way to send project updates and service changes to clients.

3. Bookings and Appointments

SMS marketing helps you reduce missed bookings and meetings with automated reminders. It can also let clients rearrange or cancel bookings via text.

4. Lead Follow Up

Text message marketing is a very useful communication channel for following up with fresh leads. Your message won’t be lost in a spam folder or wait days for leads to read them, giving you more control over the timing of your follow up messages.

5. Gathering Feedback

SMS surveys are a great way to collect large amounts of feedback quickly. As a result, they are highly effective at getting customer ratings for specific features and processes, as this approach often results in a higher response rate.

Market researcher Solvero found that SMS marketing was the perfect tool to survey narrow target groups for their projects, thanks to its high response rates and convenience for survey respondents.

6. Customer Support

Customer service is one of the most important factors in buying choices. SMS lets users get in touch in any situation.

It also reduces call wait times and provides customer self-service through automated responses.

SMS Marketing Best Practices

While specific regulations differ from country to country, there are best practices you should always follow. Besides getting the best response to your marketing messages, these are vital to respecting the privacy of your customers.

  • Opt-Ins

    You should always get a user’s consent to send SMS promotional messages, even if you can text them for other reasons already. Every message you send should provide clear opt-out steps.

    In most countries, these are legal rules. Make sure your opt-in process follows all SMS marketing regulations that apply to your business.

  • Personalize Marketing Messages

    Messages focused on your customers’ interests get more responses. Use their buying history and other details to send the right content for each customer.

  • Keep Messages Short and Simple

    Customers expect texts to be brief, so get straight to the point. This isn’t the time for a sales pitch. Instead, focus on getting across the key information, including your company name, the product or service offered and the value of the discount or deal.

  • Call-to-Action

    Include a clear call-to-action in your SMS promotional messages to make it easy to respond. The call-to-action should stand out, so recipients are never left unsure about what to do next.

  • Use SMS Marketing Automation

    Managing your business texts through personal smartphones with separate inboxes is bound to get disorganized.

    A business texting app lets you send and track texts through one platform, so marketing messages don’t get lost. Scheduled texts and automated responses enable you to always contact customers and leads at the right time.

SMS Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

The wrong approach to SMS marketing can limit the number of responses you get to your messages.

These 3 big mistakes could even lead to a negative response from customers:

1. Low-Value Messages

Texting is a more personal contact method, and customers want to keep their inboxes free from spam. Make sure you only send marketing messages that have value to each customer and segment your audience to avoid sending generic messages to everyone on your mailing list.

2. Texting Too Often

Similarly, even if you only send high-value offers, make sure your texting schedule won’t exhaust or overwhelm your audience.

Take complaints about the frequency and value of your SMS promotional campaigns seriously.

3. Jargon and Text Speak

Customers won’t engage with your text if they can’t understand it. Moreover, text speak can exclude buyers or appear lazy.

Stick to using well-known and accepted text abbreviations.

Which Businesses Need SMS Marketing?

shopping online with laptop

Any business can benefit from including text message marketing in their strategy. However, for some industries, the technology can be vital for growing your business and providing a top-tier service:

  • E-commerce

    Text message marketing can add a lot to the customer experience of e-commerce businesses.

    Order updates and confirmations help users track their purchases and avoid missing deliveries, and the speed and ease of use can make your business more convenient.

  • Service and Hospitality

    Expensive missed bookings are a big problem for any business that relies on client appointments, such as real estate. These instances can be reduced with helpful SMS reminders.

    For example, Fylde Property could drastically reduce their wasted time spent attending no-show booking, and could easily confirm times with customers.

  • Travel and Events

    SMS marketing can help travel and events businesses keep clients and staff updated on event schedules, travel times and changes. It can also send tickets and programmes, cutting printing costs and paper usage.

  • Large Teams

    Besides allowing you to manage customer SMS contacts and marketing messages as a team, text message marketing lets you send messages which need a quick reply. This can be useful for getting urgent or emergency messages out to everyone on time.

Summing Up

SMS marketing offers benefits to businesses in any industry.

This is thanks to its speed and reliable delivery, giving SMS a wide range of uses, while low costs per message make it scalable for both growing and already established businesses.

Adopting SMS marketing improves your customer experience and internal communications on top of providing a channel to promote your brand.

Alexa
Alexa Lemzytwitter
Author

Customer support person. Interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology. Passionate about content, reading and travel.