SMS marketing campaigns may seem outdated to some, but they are an invaluable marketing tool for others. Last year, on average 456,000 tweets were sent every minute of the day. A pretty impressive number, no?
But it’s a measly looking figure next to the 15.2 million text messages that were sent every minute. And that doesn’t include app to app messaging!
Though online chat options are undoubtedly affecting this figure, SMS remains an extremely popular way for people around the world to communicate. For marketers, the medium of SMS is quite limited in terms of what can be sent to customers. But these limits make it a walk in the park to put together SMS marketing campaigns and it’s more than worth the effort.
SMS is the most effective direct marketing channel. It has the best engagement rates – and is a lot less annoying than a cold call. The open rate of SMS messages is as high as 99%, according to some reports. This is much higher than email marketing, which has an average open rate of 32%, according to HubSpot. Thank’s to a lack of spam filter and the fact that people check their phone more obsessively than their email inbox, companies can yield a great return using SMS marketing campaigns.
And now that most people use smartphones, it is also a great medium for driving people to your website and should be to the fore of digital marketer’s minds.
So without further ado, here are some tips that will help you make the most of your SMS marketing campaigns:
Target your text messages
As most companies don’t send SMS messages to customers as often as they might send emails, it’s important to make your SMS count.
One of the best ways to do this is to make sure you segment your audience so you can send them targeted messages. This way your texts are more likely to be welcomed by your customer and lead to a conversion.
It’s a good idea to integrate your CRM system with the messaging platform that you’re using. This way, depending on the information you’ve got stored, you can send out messages based on demographics, purchase history or even location.
SMS marketing campaigns by well-known brands like Pizza Hut and Kiehls have had huge success targeting customers based on location. Pizza Hut in the UK set up SMS geofencing to target customers who were within a half-mile radius of one of their locations. According to text message marketing tool, Tatango, this campaign proved more effective in generating sales than the company’s online advertising.
Similarly, cosmetics brand Kiehl’s encouraged customers to sign up to their SMS campaign and sent them offers based on location. 73% of the people who signed up bought something as a result of the messages.
— Kiehl's Michigan Ave (@KiehlsMagMile) June 30, 2012
Set up triggered messages
You can also target your customers based on their actions – or even their inaction. Use triggered messages to continually interact with your customers.
If they buy a particular item on your website, say a laptop, send them a text suggesting they might like a related item, like a laptop cover. Maybe you could even offer them a discount. Because of the immediacy of SMS, you could even send the text before they’ve left your website.
Triggered messages can be handy for marketing to customers after they make all sorts of actions.
For example, when I initially joined my local gym, I got this friendly welcome text:
Not long after, I got another text encouraging me to actually attend the gym:
And even more recently, after letting my membership lapse, they’ve started sending me special offers to join once again:
Try as they might, even the engaging medium of SMS couldn’t get me to go to the gym. But I did read all the messages and it was a special offer that I received via SMS that initially convinced me to join.
Timing is everything
When my phone buzzes with the arrival of an SMS message, I get around to opening it with much more urgency than say when an email notification pops up on my screen. So while timing isn’t the biggest consideration when sending out emails, it is definitely something to consider carefully for your SMS marketing campaigns. If someone gets a text in the middle of the night, they might actually get up to check it – so make sure to pick a better time for customers!
Toward the end of 2017 Text Marketer, an SMS service provider in the UK, released data showing the most popular time for its retail clients to send out bulk SMS messages. It found that unlike email, the end of the working week proves to be the most popular time to send out messages, with an increase of 44% in the number of campaigns going out on a Friday when compared to the next most popular day. Unlike email, lots of retailers also send out messages at the weekend, particularly in the mornings.
Keeping in mind the immediacy that comes with SMS marketing, it is also a good idea to include offers or deals that are time sensitive. This will encourage people to take action, instead of putting it on the long finger.
Keep it short and to the point
With SMS, it’s important that you get to the point fast. Most messaging services will break your text into chunks if you go beyond 160 characters. Though most modern phones will join the messages together into one coherent message up to 918 characters, you’re better off to keep it brief. People don’t want to receive long, spammy-looking messages and you’ll likely be charged for each chunk too.
Include a Call To Action
Like every other piece of marketing material, it’s important to include a strong Call To Action in your SMS messages. Tell them about a great new offer and them ask the reader to ‘Click here’ or ‘Buy now’.
For example, a short message like: “Get 30% off your next order until Sunday. Buy now: Nike.Sneakers/Sale” would be effective.
Use branded links for SMS marketing campaigns
Most CTAs will include a link to your website, but you won’t want to use a long, ugly link full of UTM parameters, especially when you’re limited to 160 characters. Though it may be tempting to shorten your links, using a generic URL shortener, it’s much better to create a custom short link with your brand’s name on it.
By using a vanity URL in your SMS marketing campaigns, you not only increase your brand visibility and create a tidier text message, but you could see a boost in your click-through rates of up to 39% too.
Branded links get more clicks because they are more trusted than a generic short URL. This is particularly important for SMS marketing campaigns, as people know a text to their phone could be coming from anyone. But once people see that your brand’s name is associated with the link, they’ll feel better about clicking on it, knowing your company wouldn’t be associated with spam or phishing sites.
If you aren’t using branded links in your SMS communications, it really is a missed opportunity for building brand visibility and awareness.
Use URL destination redirects
Rebrandly links have lots of other added benefits. One of the handiest features for SMS marketing campaigns is that you can change the destination URL of your links. So if someone on your marketing team makes a slip and links to the wrong place in your message, it’s easily fixed.
And if the special offer you sent to your customers has expired, you can also redirect that link to the latest offer. So if anyone shows interest too late, you’ll still have the chance to market to them with a current offer.
Send texts from your brand’s name
When you’re sending out messages to your customers, you don’t want it to come from an anonymous number if you can avoid it. You want people to see your brand’s name. Again, this is about improving brand visibility, as well as securing trust in your SMS message.
Many bulk messaging services will allow you to choose your sender ID, without any additional charges. Though some countries have a pre-registration requirement for setting up sender IDs – you can check out this list from Twilio for more information on this.
Personalize your messages
Personalized experiences can make customers feel valued, appreciated and generally warmer toward your brand. With this comes the increased possibility of a conversion!
There are a number of ways you can personalize your SMS marketing campaigns. The most simple is, as you probably guessed, simply addressing your customers by their name in the text. Like with email, it’s possible to do a mail-merge, so that each contact is greeted by their first name.
If you want to take this to the next level, it is also possible to build customer relationships with two-way SMS, where a direct message is sent specifically to one customer and then a real person or a high-end bot can have a unique conversation with them.
It is also possible to personalize your SMS links. For example, you could follow up a phone call, or any other interaction, by sending someone a personalized quote for your services via a link in SMS.
Track and monitor your results
By using short URLs with UTM parameters built in, you can track which SMS marketing campaigns are getting the most clicks and engagement. This will let you see exactly what’s working for your audience and what isn’t, so you can optimize future campaigns.
You can experiment with different offers, CTAs, sending times and personalizations. You’ll also be able to see exactly what effect your SMS marketing campaigns are having on your ROI.
Many brands are using SMS campaigns for much more than just marketing. Some use it for customer service, like sending password resets, appointment reminders and delivery confirmation. Others use SMS to encourage feedback and the completion of online surveys. When it comes to marketing, these other uses will just make your customers even more receptive to your message.
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This Article is About:
- SMS marketing campaigns
- SMS marketing
- Bulk SMS for marketing
- Bulk texts for marketers
- Branded links for SMS
- Bulk link creation for SMS
- Custom short links for SMS
- VAnity URLs for SMS