Image – Shutterstock.com
Before web-based and mobile messaging apps took center stage in digital communication, short message service (SMS) was the most convenient way to send messages.
Texting has maintained its relevance among over 4 billion people worldwide registers a 45 percent response rate with smartphone users checking and responding to most of the text messages that pop into their inbox. Further, 75% of consumers like to have offers sent to them via text.
With these in mind, SMS is definitely a powerful tool that your business can use to promote your products and services to customers.
SMS Marketing 101
SMS marketing is a type of marketing that uses text as a channel to share promotional content to existing and prospective customers. It involves using a web-based software that lets you schedule and send text blasts to those who have subscribed to your text messaging campaign.
Your Guide to SMS Marketing Campaign
If you’re looking to venture into SMS marketing, it’s important to draw a concrete plan to help you give direction to your initiatives. Your SMS marketing plan, which should identify your goals, as well as the tools and resources you need can help you come up with an SMS strategy that has a good chance of working for your business.
Here’s a guide you can use to implement SMS marketing for your business:
1. Goal Setting
All marketing tactics are developed toward a goal, whether it’s to improve branding, increase sales numbers, drive website traffic, or keep customers engaged, among others. Within these goals, however, there are several specific objectives you want your teams to achieve to come up with a unified marketing approach.
Suppose you want to build customer loyalty. It’s a very general goal, so you try to break it down into more specific ones. You could then list those goals as follows:
- Increase the rate of returning customers by 25 percent through free shipping on bulk orders for the next two months
- Send order confirmation via text no more than three minutes after the customer places an order
Remember, whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve with your SMS campaign, you need to have clearly defined goals and measure them using key benchmarks.
2. Opting In Your Subscribers
Obviously, the success of your campaign will largely depend on the number of customers who choose to subscribe to your SMS marketing services.
However, an equally important consideration here is to ask permission from your customers to receive marketing text messages from you. Breaking this rule is not a good practice that can put your business in a bad light among customers.
You could choose how to encourage your customers to opt in to your text message alerts. You could send them an opt-in code on their phone or have them sign up a form on your website.
Whenever you push out marketing content on social, email, and the rest of your marketing channels, there should be an opt-in box for customers. Be sure to highlight what’s in store for them when they opt in to your SMS notifications such as exclusive deals or huge discounts on purchases.
If your customers want to opt out, you should provide some means for this as well, and give clear instructions about it.This way, your customers will appreciate the fact that you’re not tying them down to a service they no longer need.
3. Using SMS Marketing Software
You’ll need an SMS marketing software to send text messages about your business and special promotions. Providers of this service use a special program designed to accomplish everything that your SMS marketing campaign is aiming for—build your subscriber list, choose designated numbers, schedule a text blast, and send out all your messages, reminders, and promotional coupons via text.
Depending on the SMS marketing company you choose, you have the option to integrate your provider’s SMS API (application program interface) into your marketing system to help run your campaigns efficiently.
Software programs in SMS marketing also offer other helpful features like automation, customer polls, and sweepstakes contests to help you engage with your customers. These programs can provide insightful data such as customer demographics, as well as opt in and opt out rates so that you could see which campaigns are working well and which ones you need to improve.
Along with the features that will work best for you, you might want to factor in the cost of the service or package that you’re getting from your vendor. Some companies offer free trials, which you can later upgrade to a premium account to get all the features you need.
4. Developing Your Marketing Strategy Through SMS
One of the most important things you need to consider is how you can include SMS marketing into your overall mobile strategy. Some common uses of SMS marketing are listed below:
- Text for info – Customers interested in your monthly events, for example, can request for more information using a keyword (example: “DECEMBER”) that they can send to a shortcode (the number you assign to receive the text) so that they don’t miss out on any promotions available in a particular event.
- Follow-through messages – When customers purchase an item, send them a series of texts to thank them, give them pointers about proper usage, issue warranty reminders, and offer after-sales services.
- Appointment reminders – If you have a business that allows customers to make appointments, you could use SMS to send schedule reminders on your customers’ mobile, which is one way of preventing cancellations or missed appointments.
SMS marketing has great potentials that would bring you and your business closer to your customers. But before you can reap the full benefits of SMS marketing, make sure to know how it will fit into your overall marketing strategy to make your business grow fast and easy.