In today’s internet-savvy world, there’s no dearth of ways to stay connected with your target audience. The options are aplenty, from social media platforms and instant messaging apps to email and push notifications.
But here’s the thing—small businesses often lack the resources to stand out from well-known brands on channels like social media and search engines.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to cut through the clutter? That’s precisely where SMS marketing steps into the picture.
But text message marketing isn’t the same as sending bulk SMS campaigns to people who don’t know about your brand. This article outlines a few clever ways to use this technique to grow your business.
SMS marketing: A quick overview
Also known as text message marketing, SMS marketing helps you nurture active leads with personalized messages, collect feedback from new customers, or re-engage inactive customers, among other things.
The initialism stands is short for using Short Message Service (SMS) messages to market your business. You can send SMS text messages to inform prospects and customers about your brand, products, promotional offers, company news, and other updates.
The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Associations (CTIA) guidelines require businesses of all sizes to obtain consumer consent before sending commercial SMS messages. Once a consumer opts in, you can send them a wide array of messages, from low-stock alerts to order updates.
But in a world where consumers have many communication options, is text message marketing even effective?
Here’s an eye-opening stat for you—77 percent of consumers reply to SMS messages within ten minutes of receiving them versus only 28 percent who do so for emails. This shows you how engaging and impactful SMS marketing can be for your brand.
SMS marketing benefits: A closer look
As a communication channel, text messaging is popular across all age groups. On average, 46 percent of consumers in the US prefer receiving branded messages and promotions via SMS.
Other platforms, such as social media or email, don’t enjoy the same popularity across different age groups. For instance, social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok are better for connecting with Gen Z and millennials. On the other hand, email or TV ads are the preferred communication channels for reaching boomers.
Moreover, SMS marketing for businesses doesn’t rely on internet connectivity. That makes it suitable for reaching consumers in remote locations.
What does that mean for small business owners?
With SMS marketing for your business, you can cater to a broader audience, regardless of their age and location. That makes it more cost-effective and boosts your reach.
Text message marketing also offers the following benefits:
- It lets you harness the growing popularity of mobile devices among consumers. Case in point—mobile commerce is projected to account for more than 44 percent of retail e-commerce sales by 2025.
- Sending SMS messages to a consumer fosters a personal connection and long-lasting customer relationships.
- Unlike social media platforms or search engines, SMS marketing for small businesses doesn’t require you to compete with other brands for the audience’s attention.
- It can open up a two-way communication channel and drive customer engagement.
- SMS campaigns drive more urgency among consumers than email or DMs on social media platforms.
- It comes in handy at every step of the sales funnel, whether you want to close a sale or onboard new customers, ultimately improving customer experience.
SMS marketing tips for small businesses
By 2025, 80 percent of customer service organizations will switch from native mobile apps to text messaging for improved customer experience. The unique benefits of text message marketing make it an excellent fit for small businesses.
Here are a few SMS marketing strategies to help you get started and harness these benefits:
Focus on the copy
The “text” in your messages decides the fate of your SMS marketing campaigns. You must ensure it grabs the recipient’s attention when they open a message. And you have to do that within a limited number of characters.
The best way to do it is to use clear and crisp copy that quickly gets to the point. Mentioning your brand name in the first sentence is a good idea, as it helps connect with the recipient and retain their attention.
While you can play with colloquial words, slang, and emojis, use them with discretion. Make sure the language and tone align with your brand persona on other platforms.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to add a snappy call-to-action (CTA) to the message. It could be as simple as “SHOP NOW” with a link to your online store. Or you could ask them to reply to the message with a specific keyword.
Use discounts with caution
SMS marketing campaigns usually include incentives like free gifts and pricing discount coupons. This creates a sense of urgency and compels the recipient to take the desired action. It can be a clever way to boost conversions.
However, overusing offers can affect your product’s perceived value. For instance, a discount on a new product can diminish its novelty. In such cases, giving recipients early access to the product may be wiser than offering a discount.
Don’t forget to personalize
Cookie-cutter marketing campaigns don’t appeal to shoppers. Consumers demand personalization at every step, from consideration to post-purchase.
According to a McKinsey report, 78 percent of consumers will likely make repeat purchases from a brand that prioritizes personalization. The same percentage of consumers are also likely to refer the brand to friends and family.
So, how do you personalize your SMS campaigns? Simple touches, such as addressing the recipient by their first name, or acknowledging birthdays and anniversaries can impress.
You can take things up a notch by segmenting your contacts into different groups based on their purchase history, SMS activity, demographics, and other factors. Then, target each segment with automated messages with tailored promotions and product recommendations. This approach can be instrumental in helping your text messages stand out.
Most SMS marketing platforms offer segmentation and personalization features. But using an SMS marketing service that integrates with a CRM is wiser. A platform like SMS4Act!, powered by Message Media, lets you use CRM data to segment contact lists and personalize SMS campaigns. With Act!’s marketing automation capabilities, it’s also easier to integrate SMS marketing with other channels.
Monitor and improve
As with any marketing strategy, you must monitor the performance of your text marketing campaigns. Use an SMS marketing platform to track metrics like open rates and click-through rates. Also, watch the most-used keywords for a deeper understanding of consumer behavior.
Measuring campaign results can provide you with detailed insights to improve performance. You can even run A/B tests and assess the results to decide on the right CTAs, keywords, timing, and frequency.
Build lasting customer relationships with SMS marketing
SMS marketing can be the biggest ally for small businesses looking to attract and retain customers. It helps drive sales, customer retention, and customer loyalty at a fraction of the cost of other techniques, like pay-per-click advertising and email marketing. The best part is that you reach your audience on their smartphones, where they spend a significant part of their daily lives.
Combining SMS marketing with a CRM and marketing automation platform like Act! can help you personalize your campaigns and implement an omnichannel strategy. Click here to try Act! for free and see how its SMS marketing features can help your business grow.