SMS Marketing 101: The Ultimate Guide For Marketers In 2021

August 27, 2021
Written by Masrura Tahiat

SMS marketing involves businesses sending permission-based texts to their audience for promoting their brands. It has gradually grown into efficient multi-channel marketing due to its ability to connect audiences on the go.

woman checking SMS in mobile phone
Image from Freepik by pressfoto

Creating a perfect balance of texting at the right moment is essential for guiding your clients towards the sales pipeline. Read on to know all about SMS Marketing and how to get your own SMS marketing campaigns up and running.

Table of Contents

Does SMS Marketing Actually Work?

With an open rate of 98%, there is no doubt that SMS marketing is thriving in the marketing world.

Marketers use text messages for sending promotions, offers, deals, and discounts. This attracts the consumers and helps boost conversion.

One of the rising SMS marketing trends is offering customer service through text. Customers can have answers and solutions to all of their queries through an engaging conversation medium.

Moreover, raffle draws or polls, i.e. text-to-win/text-to-vote can generate excitement among customers. These activities are a popular way to keep customers engaged.

Statistically, more than 6 billion messages are sent every day. Although there's a plethora of messaging apps available, i.e. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, Telegram, texts are still popular communication methods.

Image from Pexels by Michael Burrows

Whereas social media might be the biggest platform to conduct marketing, however, algorithms work differently. Your message might reach only a particular portion of your followers.

Emails are another valuable way of marketing. But email requires a lot of time designing and creating copy that might end up in spam folders.

SMS is a faster, more convenient, and more efficient marketing platform. Most importantly, the majority of the time, they succeed in grabbing the receiver's attention.

5 Benefits of SMS Marketing You Should Consider

A Permission-based Marketing Tactic

Before you conduct any promotional activity through SMS marketing, you need to have your client's consent to send the news, updates, and information.

Customers must first opt in to offer you their mobile numbers for marketing purposes. Furthermore, they must consent to market or promotional contact.

The permission-based marketing approach is more appreciated and accepted by the consumers.

An Efficient Marketing Strategy

Marketing content these days range from Newsletters to comprehensive blog articles, detailed sales letters, and more.

These are essential for the consumers to learn. However, most people are always in a rush and don’t have the time to take a look at long-form content. With SMS, it is possible to wrap your message within 160 words.

Text-message marketing is perfect for brief updates, flash deals, promo alerts, and sharp marketing messaging rather than lengthy content.

A Gateway of Extensive Connection

Consider how swiftly mobile gadgets have spread worldwide. In 2014, the number of worldwide mobile internet users surpassed the number of computer users, marking an era of mobile dominant communication channels.

As a consequence, practically all of your consumers can be reached by cell phone. With an excellent opt-in strategy, you can reach any of them at convenient times with messages they want to receive.

A Cost-effective Approach

Text message marketing is relatively cost-effective than other marketing activities. Given the high open rate and response rate of most messages, the resulting ROI makes it an appealing option compared to many other marketing platforms.

A Flexible Marketing Channel

SMS marketing services offer personalized and specific texts. It also allows you to send the exact text to everyone, except for a few tweaks. You can personalize communications by including subscriber names, increasing the likelihood of opening and reading.

Apart from this, the ability to segment your audiences based on preferences, demographics, and location allows you to reach the right audience just in time with the correct text.

How To Craft SMS Marketing Campaigns That Convert

Contemplate Your Goals

Like any marketing approach, you must begin with the big picture. Before you start, make sure that the goals of your SMS marketing strategies match the ones of your business and sales campaigns.

Categorize Your Audience List

Sending the exact text to every one of your clientele is a fruitless attempt. You will be disappointed if you hope to connect with your audience like that.

Narrowing down your audience will result in better efficiency. Moreover, integrating CRM with your marketing platform will allow you to better target your marketing communications.

Insert Calls-To-Action

If you've spent time identifying your sales targets and segmenting your audience, incorporate a call to action in your communications. It's pointless to understand what you want to accomplish if your customers are not involved.

Add Value to Your Texts

Even a permission-based marketing message creates interruption to your customers. Infuse your offers with appealing benefits for your customers to increase your message's effectiveness.

Analyze the Metrics

Unless you understand the metrics, you can not really understand if your SMS marketing strategies are working.

How to Build Contact Lists for SMS Marketing

You can collect your audience's contact numbers in several ways. Irrespective of which method you are picking, make sure to provide value. For instance, offering a discount or sharing exclusive content is a helpful way to collect contact numbers.

Since people are conscious about sharing their contacts, it is crucial to gain trust and provide value. Gaining consent is not just a law, it is also a smart marketing move to build trust.

Let's take a glance at some of the best practices of list building.

Key phrases

A short phrase or word used to subscribe to a text service is a key phrase or keyword. For example, a beauty brand can encourage customers like this.

"Text BEAUTY to 609033 to get regular skin care updates."

Key phrases can be displayed on banners, social media posts, newspapers, television ads, and radio commercials.

Mobile Subscribe Widget

You can catch the contact numbers of website visitors with this free tool. When a visitor clicks on a widget, their phone's inbox opens with a prefilled keyphrase and phone number.

Click-to-text buttons

Click-to-text buttons are one of the most valuable means of engaging in a one-to-one conversation with customers. While someone is browsing your website through their mobile, the controller will directly guide them to a discussion with you.

Web Forms

Your website already has a subscription form for collecting email addresses. If you add a contact number field with a written consent checkbox, you can build a vast contact list with consent to send promotional texts.

What Number Should be Used For SMS Marketing?

We have talked about many ways of building a contact list for your clients. But what number should you use to send texts? There are a few viable options.

Toll-free Numbers

Toll-free numbers are considered the most popular option. The 10-digit toll-free numbers are unique. You can use them to send text blasts or to have two-way conversations.

Local Numbers

While toll-free numbers are valuable and popular, local numbers help have a one-to-one conversation that generates engagement with your clients.

A number with an area code will feel familiar to people. However, the limitation of local numbers is that it is not possible to test a large number of people at once.

When you need to text more than 200 people simultaneously, toll numbers are a better option.

Short Codes

Presumably, you have come across a lot of texts such as, "Text WIN to 434343 and enter our Jackpot!". This 6 digit number is known as a short code.

Short codes can be personalized or can be shared by several brands.

How to Use Automation tools for SMS Marketing

When you are a business owner, you may have to text more than a thousand people. It might appear time-consuming, but it's not. Automation tools ease this hassle.

Drip Campaign

Campaigns are a terrific way to send out the news; however, new subscribers don't see past campaigns. Drip campaigns can help.

Drip campaigns let you build a series of scheduled texts. The entry of a new subscriber triggers the schedule.

For instance, one welcome text will be sent automatically when they subscribe. After that, the other texts will maintain intervals you set, i.e. weekly or within every two days. In fact, delivery windows will ensure that subscribers do not get any texts during weekends or at night.

In a nutshell, drip campaigns boost engagement with your new subscribers.

Away Messages

Checking replies is an absolute necessity for business owners. Otherwise, it will result in a wrong impression.

However, it is not possible to reply to texts instantly. Some customers might get annoyed by the delay in replies.

Using the Away messages feature will allow you to let your audience know about your office time or how often you check your texts.

6 SMS Marketing Metrics You Should Track

SMS Marketing Metric #1: Return On Investment (ROI)

Reviewing the ROI of SMS marketing campaigns will help you understand your campaigns' success. The higher the revenue is, the more successful your strategies are.

SMS Marketing Metric #2: Acquisition Expense Per Subscriber

This metric allows you to contemplate how much money is spent on acquiring a subscriber. Moreover, you will be able to consider the portion of the budget exhausted before each conversion.

SMS Marketing Metric #3: Response Rate

The response rate of SMS marketing means more than the responder number of your texts. Instead, it is about the number of people clicking on the link you sent or the number of people bought from the text of a deal.

SMS Marketing Metric #4: Attrition Rate

The number of people unsubscribing from your text marketing message is the attrition rate. Losing subscribers is inevitable. However, subscribers leaving in droves is not a good sign for your business.

This might occur due to the lack of creativity in your content. Perhaps sending too many texts or not sending enough texts is the problem.

SMS Marketing Metric #5: Contact List Size

List size tells you the number of active subscribers. It is the opposite of the attrition rate. The steady growth of this number is a good sign for your business.

SMS Marketing Metric #6: Contact List Growth Rate

Measuring the growth of your database is possible as well. List growth rate can be calculated weekly, monthly, or annually.

Dos and Don’ts of SMS Marketing Campaigns

Like every other marketing channel, SMS marketing also has its own sets of strengths and challenges. Let’s take a look at the dos of SMS marketing campaigns first.

DO: Send Discounts

The inbox is usually reserved for family and friends. Therefore, you can offer discounts for subscribing to texts.

sms promotional discounts
Source: cart.guru

DO: Provide Tips

Sharing weekly tips is an excellent way to enhance engagement with your audience.

For example, if your company deals with cosmetics, you can give your audience skincare or hair care tips. If your brand deals with cookware, you can share kitchen hacks or cooking tips.

When the audience sees your knowledge, it creates a positive impression about you and your brand.

DO: Share Your Ideas

Creating content is a matter of time and effort. It requires expertise in designing and writing. Besides, knowledge about search engine optimization, social media platforms, and algorithms is also required.

You can share the link of your website, blog articles, or a recent Facebook/ Instagram post link in your texts. In this way, your content on websites or social media will gain a higher reach.

DO: Collect Feedback

Consumer feedback is the most effective way to enhance conversion rate. One of the most convenient means of gathering feedback is texts.

When customers purchase, send them a link to your website's review page, social media review page, or Google's review page.

As always, there’s another side of the coin. Here are the things to avoid in your SMS marketing campaigns.

DON’T: Be boring

We can all agree that promotional texts are annoying. Hence, to grab the attention of your clients, you have to be creative with your texts. To make the texts interesting, you can consider sending a variety of content.

For instance, if you provide a discount or promo code this week, then consider sending a fun piece or a helpful hack the following week.

You do not have to stick to 160 characters. You can go up to 1600 characters with texts, attach images as well.

DON’T: Send too Often

Texting wisely is crucial when it comes to SMS marketing. While not sending enough text might result in a loss of clients, sending too much or too often can annoy them as well.

The best practice is to let your subscribers know how many texts they will receive when they subscribe.

DON’T: Sound Spammy

Your recipients are human; hence, your text mustn't sound like an automated one. It should contain the intimacy that will make the subscribers click rather than opt out.

Thus, it is recommended that before sending, read them, again and again, to check if the text sounds spammy.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Send Automated Texts?

Automated texts can be sent when a new subscriber enters your CRM. Moreover, when a customer schedules an appointment, you can send them an automated text to remind them about it. Additionally, customers can receive texts when they make a purchase.

What Are The Laws for SMS Marketing?

Governing bodies like the CTIA, the FCC, the Mobile Marketing Association regulate the SMS marketing campaigns. Therefore, before starting out with SMS marketing, you need to have the permission of the recipients to send them texts.

When customers opt-in to your text message service, you need to send them a second text to ensure their participation, along with an opt-out option.

Sending texts to users without their permission or to subscribers who have opted-out might result in financial penalties and a bad reputation for your company.

Want to validate your contact list quickly and accurately? Get started with VerifyBee today and optimize your SMS marketing campaigns!

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