business messaging blog
How to get your SMS marketing started
Scott Navratil

SMS marketing is becoming a growing trend and for good reasons. SMS marketing is direct, cost-effective and targeted. You’re thinking of starting to use SMS to market your products, but don’t how to get started? Let us walk you through a beginners guide to launching your first SMS marketing campaign.

Important business SMS marketing statistics

With a 98% open rate and 36% click through rate SMS marketing has some of the highest ROI over other forms of marketing.. Can any other marketing channel–digital, mobile, television, radio, print, you name it–say that 98% of the target audience gets the message? People fast forward through or mute commercials on TV. They switch radio stations when commercials start. Print mailers go straight to the trash unopened. Even emails, once heralded as the fastest and most effective way to communicate with customers, are deleted unread 80% of the time. Furthermore, 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of being sent. It’s the ideal channel for time-sensitive communications like flash sales or shipment notifications. 

Choose a bulk SMS service that meets your needs

As a small business owner you’ll be too busy to manage an ever-changing database of phone numbers and you won’t always be able to stop what you’re doing to send out dozens or hundreds of text messages. That’s where a bulk SMS service comes in. You create the message and set the time you want it to be set, the bulk SMS service takes care of the rest including adding and removing numbers as people opt in and opt out so that you’re staying compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Start collecting customer phone numbers

Since you need consumers’ express permission before texting, you can’t just add all of the phone numbers of repeat customers you do have to your SMS list. What you can do is reach out to them via any channels you’re already using such as email to inform them of your SMS marketing and how to opt in (your bulk SMS service will assign a short code and keyword for easier subscribing). Offer a good promotion (sign up to receive text messages and get 50% off your next order…) and advertise that promotion however you’d like and you’ll start to build your list.

Set SMS marketing goals that are clear

You shouldn’t be investing in SMS just because. Have a clear set of goals in mind. Are you trying to establish a more loyal customer base? Are you trying to get more unique customers? Are you aiming for more online orders or are you hoping to drive foot traffic? Having a clear aim for your SMS marketing campaign will make it that much more likely to succeed.

sms marketing

Narrow your target audience

If you try to tailor your SMS marketing to everyone you won’t win over anyone. It’s better to identify certain qualities that your ideal customer already has and strive to create an SMS campaign that will really speak to those kinds of people. You may want to segment your audience and send different messages to different groups of customers so that the messages you’re sending are more relevant.

Customize your messages

Many SMS campaigns fall short because the messages aren’t carefully thought out. Choose your words carefully and be as concise and clear as possible. Include a direct call to action and take care to always use proper grammar and spelling. Don’t resort to emoticons and slang. Also be mindful of the when you are sending your texts. Don’t text too often or too early or late in the day. Some market research can help you determine when the most effective times for texting will be given your audience and industry.

Monitor performance and make changes

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics that will tell you how well your SMS marketing is working. Pay attention to how open rates, click-through rates, and coupon redemption numbers fluctuate with your various messages and look for patterns to see which kinds of messages are most effective at helping you reach your goals and then fine-tune your strategy appropriately.

Chantel Fullilove

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