The benefits of SMS marketing for businesses are many: high deliverability, increased customer engagement and more revenue, just to name a few. SMS is one of the most convenient channels for communicating with your customers, and one of the most preferred mediums by customers themselves.
SMS marketing works seamlessly with other channels you’re likely already using to talk to customers, like email and social media platforms. Plus, it’s a great tool for marketing automation. If you’re not already using text messaging to reach your audience, launching this channel should be a key priority.
We’ll go into more detail about the benefits of SMS marketing and share some tips to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.
What is SMS marketing?
If you’ve watched those three gray dots as you eagerly awaited a response in the messaging app window, then you’re already familiar with SMS.
SMS stands for short message service. Technically, it’s a text-only message of up to 160 characters (rather than longer or media-rich messages), but today most people use the term ‘SMS’ to describe any type of text message.
In business, SMS marketing is a strategy for engaging customers and generating sales via text messaging. Companies can use SMS marketing to share promotions, communicate time-sensitive information, send reminders, promote new products, ask for feedback and more.
As a marketing channel, SMS is easy to deploy and offers the potential for high ROI. What’s more important, though, is that customers love it. Eighty-three percent of consumers say they’d like to receive text message appointment reminders, for example, while 66% want to receive service notifications via text (but less than a quarter of businesses send notifications this way).
With its convenient nature and simple setup, SMS messaging is hard to beat as a low-cost, low-risk marketing channel.
The benefits of SMS marketing
As the old saying goes, big things come in small packages. SMS marketing offers infinite possibilities in a compact, 160-character container. Here are just a few of the ways businesses can use it:
- Welcome new customers
- Remind customers of upcoming bills and offer an easy way to pay
- Confirm, cancel and reschedule appointments
- Run flash sales
- Offer exclusive discounts to VIP customers
- Send order confirmations and shipping updates
- Provide tech support
- Distribute customer feedback surveys
Once you start brainstorming ideas, the opportunities to engage customers through text message app marketing are endless.
SMS marketing allows you to engage with customers based on their known data points and preferences, like how they prefer to be contacted, what types of communications they want to receive, and even how often you contact them. The more you tailor your communications to customers’ wishes, the more positive their experience with your brand will be.
Privacy is a top concern for consumers, and brands have struggled to adapt to new limitations on data sharing between applications. SMS marketing offers a valuable opportunity to gather zero-party data–that’s data that the customer has directly and intentionally shared with a brand–which you can then use to further personalize their experience.
Despite the near-universal usage of text messaging, the majority of brands still don’t take advantage of SMS as a marketing medium. The space is much less crowded than platforms like email, which makes it easier for you to stand out and means you face less competition for customers’ attention than you do in a place like their inbox.
SMS campaigns are more inexpensive than traditional forms of marketing and advertising. Yet because they’re so versatile and customizable, they have the potential to produce much higher ROI. And because of the data, you can draw from SMS marketing, you’ll have a much more nuanced understanding of each campaign’s performance than something like a TV or streaming ad where there’s no way to know exactly what actions customers took after viewing the ad.
In addition to customer data like communication preferences, SMS marketing allows you to gather a wealth of behavioral data like what types of messages subscribers read and click on. This helps you refine future messaging and continually optimize your performance.
Customers find marketing messages delivered through SMS appealing, especially when those messages are customized to the recipient. It’s a big display of trust when a customer gives you their cell phone number, so using SMS marketing appropriately is a major opportunity to strengthen customer satisfaction and cement their brand loyalty.
SMS marketing tips
Integrate With Other Channels
Use SMS marketing as part of a unified communications strategy by considering how it fits in with your other channels. For example, a transaction that happens on your website might then trigger text message shipping alerts, or a support request that begins on text might move to a call with a live agent. The beauty of SMS is that it accommodates these seamless transitions with ease.
Ensure you’re staying on the right side of the law with your SMS marketing by following all consent and compliance best practices. A few big ones: get customers’ explicit permission before texting them, clearly communicate your terms and conditions, and make it quick and easy to opt-out at any time.
Be Mindful Of Branding
In addition to the promotional message or piece of information you’re delivering via text, don’t neglect the opportunity to use SMS for brand building. Include your company name in your text to keep your brand top of mind and avoid pushy, sales-heavy messaging.
Offer Two-Way Communication
Customers don’t just want to receive texts from brands; they want to be able to text back, too. Yet many brands don’t monitor or respond to incoming text messages. This is a major missed opportunity. Use SMS messaging as a two-way communication platform rather than just acting as the sender.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is SMS in marketing?
SMS is marketing that takes place over text message. It can be used to spread the word about promotions, inform customers of company news, share important or time-sensitive information, provide support and more.
Is SMS marketing illegal?
SMS marketing is not illegal when conducted properly. This means getting express written consent to contact customers via text message for marketing purposes. Your initial message should include clear and simple instructions to opt-out.
Is SMS marketing effective?
Because of its convenient and highly personal nature, SMS marketing is incredibly effective at engaging customers. Most customers respond positively to text message communications from brands once they’ve opted in to receive them.
What are the types of SMS marketing?
There are many types of SMS that brands can use for marketing purposes, including:
- Coupon codes
- Transactional messages
- Status updates
- Service alerts
- Geo-triggered messages