Why small businesses should embrace SMS marketing
You might think of digital marketing as a difficult pursuit involving learning to use complex tools like Google Adwords, marketing automation software, and social media marketing platforms.
In most cases, you would be right. Proficiency in this technology will undoubtedly improve the performance of your digital marketing strategy.
However, it doesn’t mean that more straightforward techniques are obsolete. Some of them are facing a resurgence in popularity.
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SMS marketing doesn’t sound like much compared to swanky new terms like search engine optimization and pay-per-click ads. But customers are increasingly going mobile – so much so that SMS marketing is once again one of the most effective strategies for small businesses to employ.
This article will introduce you to SMS marketing, its advantages, and how your business can use SMS marketing strategies to communicate more effectively with your customer base.
What is SMS marketing?
As modern marketers, we’ve grown accustomed to caring only about the industry standards of digital marketing.
Lead generation tools like email newsletters, Google Ads, content marketing, among many others, are cutting-edge techniques that can give you a solid return on investment if you implement them correctly.
But advancements in technology come with new challenges. Amidst these technological advances, consumers are increasingly hungry for genuine, personalized interaction that isn’t powered by an algorithm.
Additionally, quick advancements in mobile phones mean that people spend more and more time on their phones every day.
Due to this, business owners who want to tap into this vast market must know how to speak their language – that is, through SMS (short message service) messages.
In a nutshell, SMS marketing is simply advertising your products and generating leads through the native messaging platform of a mobile device. This method has a broad reach and doesn’t need an internet connection to operate.
According to Statista, people spend an average of 4 hours browsing their phones every day, excluding talking on their phones. This number is projected to rise as much as 4 hours and 35 minutes in 2023.
Not to mention, people open more SMS messages than emails. SMS messages have an exceedingly high number of 98% open rates, compared to only around 20-30% of email open rates.
With these figures, you can begin to see how SMS marketing efforts can benefit your business. In the next section, we’ll talk about the benefits of SMS marketing in increasing customer engagement, improving brand loyalty, and more.
What are the benefits of SMS marketing?
As the world becomes more mobile, SMS marketing makes more sense. But does it have any other benefits, more than just the simple fact that there are more phones around?
The short answer: yes. Even with the rise of the internet and online messaging platforms, SMS marketing and push notifications are becoming extremely reliable marketing techniques in their own right.
Here are just a few benefits of SMS marketing.
Widespread mobile use
As mentioned, the use of mobile devices is steadily increasing and showing no signs of slowing down. According to the Pew Research Center, mobile phone ownership increased to 85% in 2020 from just 35% in their first survey back in 2011.
Additionally, according to figures started by The Telegraph, about 20 billion text messages are being sent every day.
With the previously-mentioned statistic of over 98% open rate of SMS compared to emails, there’s a big chance that your SMS marketing messages will be read by your target audience, compared to emails that most people don’t even open.
Excellent conversion rate
Aside from the simple fact that many more people can read your messages, SMS also facilitates a great conversion rate, even when compared to other forms of customer messaging.
Utilized right, sending promotions via SMS makes recipients more likely to click on included links. After all, SMS is highly accessible and is more frequently opened and read. So, if you link to a convertible page with the end goal in mind, you will increase conversion rates significantly.
For example, Julep, an online cosmetics company, skyrocketed the redemption rate of their promotions by 10.7% because of the special offers included in their SMS marketing messages.
SMS is incredibly cost-effective and can net you massive results as a marketing tool. These types of promotions are cost-effective to make, don’t take a long time, and can be broadcast to many people at once.
One example of this is Silverstone, a motor racing circuit company, which sent an SMS broadcast to about 45,000 individuals on their database and enjoyed a staggeringly high 680% ROI.
Improves retention rate
After the previously mentioned Julep sent their SMS promotion that increased their conversion rate, they maintained a 99% retention rate for their mobile subscribers.
This means that for every 100 people that they sent the mobile marketing promotion to, only one opted out of the SMS network after receiving the message.
As you can see, SMS marketing is highly effective. Since you can scan SMS messages quickly and you don’t have to download a different app just to read them, SMS promotions aren’t considered bothersome by customers.
People are often more welcoming of SMS promotions, therefore improving retention rates.
Why is SMS marketing effective?
There are several reasons why you can use SMS marketing to produce great results. The most notable of them include:
- They’re intimate. People have a very personal relationship with their phones. While we’re likely to share our emails and work numbers with various people, only a handful have our cell phone numbers. There’s a more intimate aspect to receiving SMS messages, facilitating a closer relationship between marketer and client.
- They’re simple. SMS campaigns are straightforward to implement, unlike other forms of lead generation. Even someone who has never done a campaign before will find it easy to pull off an SMS campaign.
- They’re customizable. Despite the simple nature of SMS marketing, there are plenty of creative ways you can go about it, such as:
- Use of shortcode
- Promotional codes
- Opt-in surveys
- Follow-up messages
- They’re targeted. Since SMS numbers are inherently tied to people’s phones, they offer a more targeted way to connect businesses and customers. This way, you can better write personalized and relevant promotions that can meet the real-time demands of your target audience.
- They’re convenient. SMS marketing is easy to implement, monitor, and maintain. This is due to the permission-based nature of the medium, which makes it much easier to track who you’re sending text messages to. Consequently, it’s also much easier to measure its performance.
SMS marketing best practices
Now that you know exactly what benefits you can gain from SMS marketing and its
effectiveness, you need a good set of SMS marketing best practices to round up your knowledge of the topic.
Here are five of the best practices for your text message marketing.
Always ask for permission.
Compared to other communication channels like email marketing, people view their home cell phone numbers as very personal.
Using their phone numbers without their consent will reduce your SMS subscriptions and hurt your brand.
Therefore, explicitly ask your customer’s permission whenever you decide to use their phone numbers for your marketing campaign.
Be creative in your promotions.
When crafting your promotional SMS campaign, don’t just stick to the old formula of pushing an offer. Instead, let your creativity shine.
Craft brief, engaging messages designed to make your client’s day brighter. Include jokes, quotes, trivia, etc., to create value beyond what you’re offering.
Create relevant messages
Please take advantage of the targeted nature of SMS messaging and create relevant offers for your recipients according to their demographics.
Try to make the offers as personalized as possible, striking a balance between that and practicality. You should also aim to improve customer experience with text messaging as the medium.
No matter how great your SMS promotions might turn out to be, they still wouldn’t do well without sufficient follow-up.
One of the main advantages of using SMS is that it’s easier to reach your user base because it goes directly to their inbox, and it doesn’t need internet access to work.
Therefore, it will be easier for you to respond to any queries and concerns by engaging them in SMS. Provide an easily accessible avenue for them to contact you and take care of them as much as possible.
Track your metrics
It’s not just your online ad efforts that can be tracked. Savvy marketers know how to measure the ROI of their various SMS marketing campaigns for small businesses.
SMS messages provide a direct and measurable channel for measuring every aspect of your campaign, allowing you to easily track key metrics. Key metrics are specific aspects of your campaign that can give you a deeper insight into performing.
Some important key metrics that you should track include:
- List growth rate. Measures how quickly your list of willing SMS subscribers grows over a specific period.
- List size. A static comparison between the current number of subscribers and the list size in a point in the past.
- Attrition rate. The rate at which your subscribers are unsubscribing from your SMS messaging service.
- Response rate. This measures how many of your subscribers have taken action after receiving your promotional SMS marketing.
- Acquisition cost per subscriber. This is a deeper level of the response rate metric: it measures the cost of acquiring a subscriber, especially when compared to the ROI.
- Click-through rate. This metric shows how many people followed your call to action. This is expressed in total or unique clicks to the link you included in your SMS.
Improve your marketing with Broadly
SMS is a largely untapped marketing channel with a proven track record.
If you want to grow your business with text messaging, one of the best ways to implement SMS marketing is Broadly.
Broadly is a reputation management service that implements solutions for improving your brand presence online. It uses SMS marketing services, integration with other communication apps, and more.
See what Broadly can do for your business in just 30 days