SMS marketing (Short Message Service or text message) refers to doing marketing using text messages to generate leads for businesses, directly communicate with your ideal customer, and nurture and build meaningful relationships with them. SMS marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses text messaging to reach customers and promote products, services or promotions. SMS messages are sent to customers who have opted-in to receive them, and typically contain a call to action, such as a discount code or link to a landing page. Text message marketing is seen as a highly effective way of reaching customers because text messages have high open rates and most people carry their mobile devices with them at all times. The goal of SMS marketing is to create a personal connection with customers and drive engagement and conversions.
Businesses can use SMS marketing for:
- Welcoming new subscribers, leads, and customers.
- Sending promotional messages to generate sales.
- Reduce abandoned carts and various shopping carts text message reminders.
- Asking for feedback and testimonials.
- Providing coupon codes to loyal customers to generate more sales.
- Promoting new launches of your latest products.
- Providing updates on order delivery.
- Send out appointment notifications using text messages just before a meeting.
- Providing additional discounts to subscribers on their special days such as marriage anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
- Run SMS surveys, sweepstakes, voting and rating.
There are many more creative ways to use text messages in this modern age to connect with your ideal customers directly.
Just like everything in life, we should always follow some etiquette before we send sending SMS marketing campaigns.
There are some text messaging etiquette you should keep in mind.
- Write clear and to the point CTA (Call To Action)
- Text messages should be short, crystal clear, and direct.
- Make sure you take proper consent before sending any promotional SMS messages.
- Always include UNSUBSCRIBE message at end of SMS
Important items to check before launching your SMS Marketing campaigns:
- Find reliable text message provider with solid SMS platform, good reputation and check if the provider has been in business for a long time.
- Check if the SMS provider provides dedicated toll free numbers (or TFN) and also have ability to host dedicated short codes. When you register your sender number (long code or dedicated short code) you will provide your business’ information. By doing so, the number will be approved by carriers and assigned to your business and campaign flow.
- Create strategy from the very beginning to build your list by using SMS keywords and compliant sign up forms. If you import your contacts, then you will need to send an initial SMS and request your subscribers to text in “YES” in order to confirm subscription. Another way to do is to have written consent from your subscribers that they provide you permission to send them text messages. You MUST keep those records on file, in case your texting campaign gets audited.
- Send no more than 2-3 text messages per month, as only 1 should be direct text message marketing SMS. Do not send more than 1 SMS per 48 hours (it is USA compliance regulations, but also a valid practice in general).
- Send useful and helpful information, such as text reminders, alerts and interesting stuff to read.
- Make sure your UNSUBSCRIBE feature works well, and if a recipient opts out, they MUST never receive SMS from your brand again. Unless they re-subscribe, by texting START or any SMS keyword. (check with your text message provider if they have this feature in place).
- Provide terms page that also contains privacy language and how you are using the mobile data. Most SMS platforms has standard language that is usually added to every account automatically.
- Use segmentation of contacts and text message drip campaigns, to create better and more targeted experience for your customers and leads.
- As any other marketing channel, always create interesting campaign and content to keep engaging your audience.
- Monitor your SMS inbox for incoming 2-way messages and have a team to reply to them and keep up with the texting communication.
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Tip on how to create successful SMS marketing campaign:
- It is very important that all text message campaigns are fully complaint.
- Provide clear instructions for HELP and STOP in each outgoing message. Example: For help text HELP, to stop reply STOP.
- Check with your current SMS provider if the opt out requests (incoming SMS with are handled properly. It is SUPER important when a subscriber opts-out, not to send any more text messages.
- Do not send illegal stuff. Example, messages promoting gambling, adult products, firearms, marijuana, CBD, violence, etc are forbidden and your short code or TFN will be shut down immediately.
- Cannabis related content is not allowed to run on any carrier. As aggregators they have an obligation to protect the carrier networks and end users from consumer harm. This is a standard practice SMS aggregators take with all infractions related to SHAFT, Phishing, cannabis, etc. These sending practices are against CTIA and cross carrier requirements.
Here are some examples of how SMS marketing can be used:
- Promotions and discounts: SMS marketing can be used to send customers special promotions, discounts, or coupon codes.
- Appointment reminders: Businesses can use text message marketing to send appointment reminders to customers to reduce no-shows.
- Event invitations: texting marketing can be used to send event invitations and keep customers informed of upcoming events.
- Order updates: E-commerce businesses can use SMS marketing to send order updates and shipping notifications to customers.
- Surveys and feedback: SMS marketing can be used to send customers surveys and gather feedback about products and services.
- Loyalty programs: SMS or MMS marketing can be used to send customers updates about loyalty programs and rewards.
- Flash sales: SMS marketing can be used to send customers notifications about flash sales and limited-time offers.
These are just a few examples of how SMS marketing can be used. The goal of SMS marketing is to create a personal connection with customers and drive engagement and conversions, so the use cases for SMS marketing are quite flexible.
updated Feb 4, 2023