SMS Marketing for First-Time Marketers: A Comprehensive Guide
SMS marketing is sending promotions to customers via text messages that are up to 160 characters, comprising plain texts, numbers, and emojis that businesses use. Like email, SMS has become a way for brands to connect with consumers in a personalized and quantifiable way.
Marketers can leverage SMS marketing at every step of the customer lifecycle turning browsers into buyers and engaging them through conversations. Connecting to customers one-on-one with personalized two-way messaging makes SMS a game-changing performance marketing channel for brands of all sizes.
With SMS, ecommerce marketers can drive revenue, deliver personalized experiences, and build long-term loyalty. If you’re a first-time marketer, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you learn more about SMS marketing:
Types Of SMS Marketing Campaigns
There are various types of SMS marketing campaigns, from simple to complex. Some of the most effective ones that this blog will focus on include the following:
1. Promotional Campaigns
The purpose of promotional campaigns is to generate audience interest in a product or service. As a first-time marketer, there are certain strategies that you can use to arouse potential customer interest in your products. These include the following:
- Offering first order discounts
- Advertising special offers
- Providing coupons
When promoting your products, don’t forget to mention these strategies after your call to action if you want to attract more people to your website or store.
2. Transactional Campaigns
Transactional SMS campaigns are those automated messages your customers receive as they interact with your brand through a website or an app. These text messages offer relevant and time-sensitive information to customers like the following:
- Shipping notifications
- Appointment reminders
- Password resets
Since most customers find these messages relevant, there is a high likelihood that they’ll immediately open them. This increases the chances of prospective clients becoming regular customers.
Uses Of SMS Marketing Strategies
There are several reasons why marketers use SMS marketing. They include the following:
- To send welcome messages to new customers or subscribers.
- To announce new product releases and promotions.
- To inform the stock availability of products that were exhausted.
- To ask for customer feedback.
- To promote in-person and online events.
- To request customer reviews, products, or services on your website.
- To provide customer service (text-based).
- To remind customers of an appointment or event.
The goal of sending text messages is to encourage your customers to interact with your brand.
Advantages Of SMS Marketing
Statistics show that the current number of mobile phone users globally is approximately 7.33 billion. The percentage of customers comfortable receiving SMS from different businesses they’ve opted in is 75%.
Based on these statistics, you can tell that most customers are more than willing to receive messages from the brands they love. Hence as a marketer, it’s essential to seize this opportunity. Some of the advantages of SMS marketing include the following:
1. It’s Fast And Efficient
If you have an urgent time-sensitive message that you’d like to reach your customers, sending an SMS is a viable option. Customers tend to open text messages within three minutes after receiving them. Hence, using this marketing technique, especially with the emergence of power dialer technology, helps you send bulk messages quickly and efficiently to reach customers.
2. High Response Rates
By sending information to your customers through SMS, you can reach them directly through their mobile phones. Because of this, there’s a high chance you’ll receive more responses than other channels.
These responses help you to connect more with your customers and keep them engaged.
3. Enhances Customer Loyalty
Sending personalized messages to your customers makes them trust you and feel valued. This increases their chances of returning to your business, and in the long run, they become loyal customers.
4. Complements Other Marketing Channels
SMS marketing is a solid marketing technique and, as a first-time marketer, it would be wise to consider using it to complement other marketing channels. For instance, you can promote a sale or offer mentioned on social media through SMS. In this case, you’re promoting social media marketing as well.
5. Boosts Your Revenue
When sending an SMS, you can paste a link to your website and include a call to action for your customers to visit and check out your services. This helps build traffic to your site, hence enhancing profits. SMS marketing also enables you to promote offers and sales.
Steps To Launch An SMS Marketing Campaign For First-Time Marketers
1. Choose The Right Text Messaging Software
As a first-time marketer, it’s crucial to carefully select SMS marketing software since it may not always meet your expectations. To choose the right SMS marketing software, such as Drop Cowboy Ringless Voicemail, consider the following factors:
- Cost: Various text messaging software options offer different per-message sent prices, influenced by the number of customers the software allows to opt-in. For example, one software may accommodate 40 million customers, while others may allow more or fewer people. Each text messaging software has unique per-message sent prices. Therefore, choose a software with a per-message sent price that fits your budget.
- Integration: Evaluate whether the text messaging software can integrate with other digital marketing channels, such as social media and emails.
- Templates: Ensure the chosen software provides templates relevant to your business. If not, it should include a personalization feature for creating brand-related text messages.
- Usability: Opt for user-friendly software and avoid those with complicated interfaces.
Additionally, consider selecting software that allows you to mass-text different customers simultaneously. Ideally, choosing marketing software that suits your marketing and business needs would be best.
2. Test The Software
After choosing the software of your choice is testing it by sending test text messages that resemble those, you’d use on your marketing campaign to your closest friends, family members, and/or colleagues.
Once you’ve done that, they’ll give you feedback on their thoughts. This process helps you know how your SMS will look when it reaches your prospective client’s inbox. Also, it’ll enable you to confirm whether the software is working appropriately.
The feedback that you get can also help you make necessary changes and create better and more engaging text messages for your customers.
3. Collect And Add Phone Numbers Of Customers Or Potential Clients To The Contact List
Once you’ve completed the text messages testing and made the necessary changes, you can now take your customers’ phone numbers. You can also get those of the potential customers and add them to your business contact list.
When requesting your customers’ phone numbers, ensure you show the highest courtesy and respect to avoid staining your reputation. By doing so, you can almost be sure that they’ll hold you in high regard and will be more than willing to engage with you via SMS.
Other ways to encourage your customers to give you their phone numbers include the following:
- Offering incentives in exchange for the phone number
- Creating a sign-up form on your WordPress website where customers can opt-in
- Have a landing page on any digital platform like Facebook or email and add sign-up forms where customers can fill in their details.
After collecting a sufficient number of phone numbers, you can then proceed to the next step.
4. Research And Understand Your Customers’ Needs
Now that you know what messages on your software look like and have added the numbers to your contact list, it would be wise to understand what your customers need. Ensure that you send straightforward messages that are engaging and relevant to them.
In this case, you can craft a personalized message using your software that appears tailored to a specific client or customer. This will give them a sense of belonging and feel valued.
You can also look at your customer’s purchase behavior by checking out the product or service they mostly search for on your website. Once you’ve done that, you can send them messages offering incentives for those common products they like purchasing.
5. Consider Timing When Sending Text Messages
Apart from knowing your customer’s needs, it’s essential to ascertain the most appropriate time to text them. You must identify your target audience and when most of them look at their phones. For instance, most people check their phones in the morning because, according to statistics, approximately 69% of individuals check their devices five minutes after waking up.
Moreover, it’s also crucial to know that text messaging is most effective during business hours – 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Other tips to consider are:
- Most people don’t like Mondays; hence chances are high that you’ll receive fewer responses on this particular day.
- Avoid texting customers during morning and evening rush hours.
- Don’t text too late in the evening or too early in the morning to avoid coming out as disrespectful.
- Always remember time zones when texting your audience.
- Send reminders at least 24 hours earlier.
The objective is to send text messages to your customers at the most convenient time to help increase the response rate.
6. Include Clickable In-Text Call To Action Links
It’s essential to have a compelling call to action to achieve the desired results, such as:
- Attracting your customers to your business: A well-crafted CTA can pique the interest of your customers and motivate them to explore your business further, ultimately leading to increased engagement and sales.
- Driving more traffic to your website: By including a clear and clickable CTA in your text message, you can direct customers to your website, thereby increasing site traffic and potentially boosting conversions.
- Increasing orders for a product: A persuasive CTA can encourage customers to take action and purchase a specific product, leading to an increase in sales for that item.
- Ensure that the call-to-action links are clickable.
Some call-to-action (CTA) phrases that you can use to lead your customers to your website include the following:
- Download Now: Encourage customers to download a digital product, app, or resource from your website.
- Buy Now: Prompt customers to make a purchase immediately, taking advantage of a special offer or limited-time promotion.
- Subscribe: Invite customers to sign up for your newsletter, email list, or subscription service to receive regular updates and exclusive content.
- Click Here: Direct customers to a specific webpage, product, or offer on your website.
Apart from ensuring the phrases are clickable, you can make the words stand out (using capital letters) than the surrounding text to enhance their visibility.
Another way to achieve this is by using a different color or underlining the CTA to distinguish it from the rest of the text.
7. Follow Up
As a first-time marketer, you would want to retain your customers. Unfortunately, you may have initially taken all the proper steps and still lose your customers. However, there’s one way to ensure you don’t lose them; through follow-ups.
You can activate automatic follow-ups on your website and send personalized follow-ups to your customers. For instance, if a customer left their cart, you need to send a message explicitly addressing this issue. This approach is more likely to catch their attention.
You can also create messages to retarget potential customers who’ve clicked on the links in your SMS once and welcome them to shop with you or subscribe to your services once again. This is a great way to convert them into actual customers.
Note: Ensure you take time before following up on a customer, especially regarding matters like abandoning the cart. Texting them immediately after they’ve left your page may be perceived as impolite. They may get offended and never return to your business site. Try and space things out and send an SMS after a few days or weeks because some may have genuinely forgotten.
If you aren’t using SMS marketing for your e-commerce store, you should definitely start now. Not only does SMS marketing carry higher revenue per subscriber, but it’s reasonably inexpensive as you only pay for what you send. Moreover, you can also build lasting connections by having direct conversations via WhatsApp with your customers.
When using SMS marketing, ensure you keep messages short and to the point as well as send text messages to customers that have opted in. You also need to make sure that the customers are allowed to opt-out if they no longer want to receive the notifications. Inform them that they can reply with ‘stop’ or ‘unsubscribe’ if they’re no longer interested in receiving messages. Keep in mind, always prioritize your customers!