Currently, there is no marketing channel that can compete with SMS when it comes to the percentage of target audience reached. When you send a text message to a database of customers who’ve opted in, approximately 98% will open that message–most within just a minute or two. Email open rates are about 20% and who knows how many print mailers go straight to the trash can unopened?
But some marketing experts believe that open rates for promotional text messages are going to begin dropping. The same thing happened to email when consumers started getting too much junk in their inbox. The truth is, each year more and more businesses are sending texts to customers and as a result, businesses are going to have to do more to stand out.
The beauty of SMS is that messages are short and direct. The channel is designed for this but so many businesses try to do too much with the texts they send. Every text message needs to have a clear aim behind it and the message should be worded such that the absolute fewest number of words needed to convey that message are used. Smartphone users have a very short attention span when it comes to how they use their phone. If a text looks like too big a chunk of text, there’s a much higher chance it goes unread.
Going along with this idea of conciseness, a well-crafted text message will be very direct about telling people exactly what it is they need to do. Calls to action like “click on this link” or “like our Facebook page to…” are great because they don’t leave it up to the customer to figure out what they’re supposed to do. You’ll see better click-through rates on links and redemption rates on mobile coupons if you’re directly telling customers what they should do.
A customer giving you permission to reach them directly on their personal cell phone number via text is a big deal. They won’t do that for just any business. In return, the special offers, news, or other content you send them shouldn’t be out there for everybody either. Customers like to feel special, they like knowing that by subscribing to receive your texts, they’re getting something non-subscribers aren’t. If you make the same deals available to anyone, people will opt-out as they realize that receiving your texts doesn’t offer them any additional value they can’t already get elsewhere.
Some bulk SMS marketing solutions will allow you to auto-fill the customer’s first name at the beginning of text messages to make the message more personal. Depending on the nature of your business and the products and/or services it offers, you may also want to create various subcategories within your phone number database so that you’re only sending relevant messages to the people who’ve opted-in. If you can get customers to reveal certain information about themselves through surveys or other means, you can use this info to sort customers into these subcategories.
Most important of all, a good SMS campaign is interactive. All of the communication shouldn’t be one way. Advances in artificial intelligence have allowed business to develop chatbots which customers can ask questions of. Deploying a chatbot for SMS is a great way to add some interactivity since customers can now text back and forth with your business. Another great way to add interactivity is through included hyperlinks, contests and sweepstakes, and customer feedback surveys.
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