sms marketing 101 impdigital

SMS Marketing 101: The Anatomy of a Text Message

How long does it take in the morning before you open your phone?

How many times a day do you think you check your phone?

Your answers to this question will give you a good idea of why SMS marketing is being discussed more than ever.

SMS marketing is one of the most modern ways to bring continual awareness to your brand and get in front of your customers. Email marketing still has its place and can create a strong foundation for your brand, but SMS is making a big entrance and challenging the industry standard in new ways.

People’s inboxes have become oversaturated with daily promotions and offers from stores they’ve shopped at or websites they’ve signed up for. It’s become easier than ever to get lost in the pool of promo emails flooding your customers’ inboxes…and that doesn’t even begin to go into the dreaded spam folder!

Enter SMS marketing!

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS stands for “short message service.” Essentially it’s marketing via text message. With phones becoming more advanced every year, SMS marketing has expanded with it, allowing images and GIFs to be included in their messages. This has created a unique way for companies to engage with their customers in a more personal and fun way.

The texts a company will send out to their list usually consist of promotional offers, special discounts, feedback requests, or customer service options like order tracking and updates.

How Is SMS Marketing Different Than Email or Social Media Marketing?

SMS marketing is a more personable way to connect with your customers. Your marketing efforts on social media target a wide range of people focusing on potential and current customers.

These ads require your audience to take extra steps to see them, such as spending time scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, or sifting through their email inbox.

SMS marketing is directed at current customers, keeping them repeatedly returning by offering unique promos and discounts straight to their phones. It’s created a way for you to get direct access to your existing customer base without any steps in between.

Text marketing is also not as widely used as email or social media marketing. It’s only begun seeing a rise throughout the last few years, leaving your messages with less competition in their messaging app.

How Can A SMS Marketing Campaign Help Your Business?

When you include an SMS campaign in your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to connect with your customers more personally. It allows your company to invite your customers to be part of something more exclusive.

This helps you build a higher level of trust with your customers, and as long as you follow a few golden rules, that will only increase (we’ll get to that next)!

These campaigns are also a great way to offer exclusive promos and discounts to your customers as a thank you for trusting you with their personal phone numbers. It also gives you an easy and effective way to directly highlight the items that matter to them, like a favorite item they’ve purchased before that’s just gone on sale.

Additionally, SMS marketing has some impressive numbers to back it up, with open rates of 98% in 2019! With many companies still not implementing text messages in their marketing strategies, there is a unique opportunity to add it to yours before popularity grows.

SMS Marketing – Dos and Don’ts

With any new marketing strategy, there are a few essential rules to follow to make it successful. Here are the top five you’ll want to watch out for:

DON’T launch an SMS campaign without being completely ready.

SMS campaigns can be effective when done properly, but steps need to be taken before their launch. You want to ensure that all your current touch points with the customer are set up for the new experience they’ll be having with your company. Make sure they can have a flawless interaction with where you’ll be leading them in the text.

DO make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

With SMS getting more traction in marketing, it’s vital to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. How your website appears on a cellphone has never been more important. Mobile visits currently make up 38% of all web traffic in Canada and over half (52%) of all website traffic in the United States.

With SMS marketing on the rise, these numbers will continue to grow, so It’s important to make sure your site is ready to give these users the best experience possible once they follow through to your site!

DON’T start messaging your customers based on numbers you’ve received from previous email campaigns and sales.

While some companies have begun providing ways for customers to opt into SMS messages through their online portals or during sign-ups for promotional items, if you haven’t done so, you cannot start using their numbers for SMS marketing campaigns!

Just because you already have a list of customers and their details does not mean you can use their phone numbers for a new marketing campaign. Your customers need to opt-in just like they have with their emails.

DO make sure you begin with a clear opt-in selection.

Ultimately your customers decide if you have access to their personal phone’s direct inbox. Before any message campaign can begin, it’s essential that you provide them with a way to opt-in for SMS promotions and marketing materials.

Make sure this is clear and easy for every customer to understand what they’re opting into. This is your foundation of trust with them! Without them telling you it’s okay to add their number to your list, then…it’s not, and they won’t be happy if they get texts they didn’t sign up for.

DON’T assume they’ll save your contact information.

When getting text messages from companies, many people won’t think to add that company as a contact on their phone. It’s not a number they’ll be messaging, so it doesn’t need to be saved in their contact list.

DO include who you are in your texts every time.

This will ensure that your customers can easily identify who the message is coming from. Not only will this automatically make it easy for them to read your message and interact with it, but it will also build trust with them because they know you.

DON’T message too often.

This is a big one! There is nothing worse than having a company message you over and over. It’s an automatic deal breaker for many people if they constantly have their phones go off only to open it and see a promotion for your company yet again!

DO message at reliable intervals (and times).

The best practice is to message no more than once a week unless there is a very important reason for you to message them outside of your regular schedule (like for a birthday offer!). Sending messages to your SMS list at predictable times is essential.

They should be able to know when to expect messages from you, so try to make it the same time each week. What time of day you send messages will also significantly impact how your customers interact with them, so make sure you do it at optimal times.

DON’T send messages just to stay relevant.

When people agree to be on your SMS marketing list, they’re doing so with the expectation that every message they see from you will be important to them. Don’t send messages without a purpose.

DO provide value in every message.

As with any type of marketing, you should only be sending messages if you’re adding value to their lives. By only messaging your customers when you have something they want or something they need to know, you will maintain their trust in your brand.

5 Important Steps To Create An Effective SMS Marketing Campaign

Let’s take a look at how to create an effective SMS marketing campaign in 5 steps…

1. Create an opt-in promo

First and foremost, you want to entice your customers to subscribe with a high-value promotional item. The most common ones include BOGO deals, a certain percentage off, or an exclusive gift.

2. Verify they want to subscribe

Once they’ve opted in, send a thank you message with a yes/no request to confirm their opt-in.

For example: “Thank you for subscribing to our text line. Please confirm your subscription by replying Y or N to automatically be removed from our list.”

Also, make sure you clearly define how they can opt-out in the future, for example, “reply STOP to stop receiving messages.” This needs to be included with every text you send.

3. Match your messaging

Curate your messages to align with your current email promotions for a flawless consumer experience.

4. Keep it short and to the point.

You’ll only have 160 characters to work with, so you’ll want to make sure you hit on all the essential points, with the hook as the very top line so it shows up on their text message preview.

5. Have a clear CTA

With every good piece of marketing material, you should have a clear and compelling call to action so your customers know exactly what their next step should be.

How Working With A Digital Marketing Agency Can Help

Keeping up to date with the ever-changing marketing world can be exhausting. With new trends and techniques always coming out, it’s tough to keep on top of it when you’ve got a company to run.

Thankfully, full-service digital marketing companies like IMP Digital can monitor those trends for you and respond accordingly while you focus on what matters most; your company.

If you’re looking for more information on digital marketing or are considering taking your efforts to the next level with updated marketing techniques and a full-service solution, get in touch with our team of experts, or book a discovery call today.

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