Your Guide to SMS Marketing

SMS marketing – or text message marketing – has been around as long as text messages themselves have been. Text message marketing for small businesses has changed a lot in recent years in response to changes in consumer preferences. With all the advancements in marketing software and communication, brands should take an omnichannel approach including email and text message marketing.
Is text message marketing effective? It depends on how you use it. The value of marketing through text messages lies in the format of messages and proximity to customers. Most people keep their phones in arms reach and text messages are generally short and simple to consume. Another reason text message marketing services are valuable is that these messages typically target digital natives. Millennials and Gen-Z grew up using their phones – they won’t object to a little direct marketing on it.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing is the sending of promotional campaigns and marketing messages through text messages/SMS. These messages are generally time-sensitive offers and promotions, updates, and alerts to people who consent to receiving them.
While this sounds similar to email marketing, there are some core differences between email and text message marketing. Text messages are typically shorter and are sent almost immediately. Your message shows up just a few seconds after you send it, complete with a push notification it arrived. People will typically take longer to look at an email notification, but SMS notifications tend to carry more urgency.

What can Text Message Marketing be Used For?

One of the benefits of marketing through text messages is that there are many ways to utilize this marketing method. Anyone who knows how to send marketing text messages can use them for many purposes, including:

Short-Term Promotions

Coupons and other promotional events are a great way to attract people to your website and store. If you plan on running a limited-time promotion then you want as many people to hear about it as you can. The more the merrier, as they say. Text messages are an excellent channel to communicate those offers, especially to customers on the go. Using text message marketing services means that customers never miss out because they didn’t get a message on time.
Customer-specific promotions are also a great use for SMS marketing. For example, sending customers offers on their birthday. Many businesses like to offer their customers a small freebie or discount as a birthday present. Text messages are a great way to  wish customers a happy birthday and offer them a little something to create a better relationship.

Urgent Updates About Orders and Upcoming Events

Planning an event and ensuring it runs smoothly requires a lot of moving parts. Communication is an integral part of planning an event. You need people to know about it, after all. Unfortunately, the more people you have coming to an event, the harder it is to communicate the necessary information to participants.
SMS messages make it easy to communicate changes, cancellations, updates, and other general information with customers. Text messages have better real-time engagement than other communication methods, such as emails and phone calls.
You can also use these messages to alert people to order updates. Have you just sent a shipment? Has someone abandoned their cart on your website? Did a payment fail to process? Use text messages to share that information.

Appointment Reminders

Anyone who runs a tight ship with scheduled appointments knows how frustrating it is to have clients forget appointments and show up late – if at all. It’s a lot of wasted time and effort on your part. Not only does this throw you off schedule, but you might have turned down another appointment because the slot was taken up. A small and simple text alert is a great way to ensure clients know when their appointment is – and stick to it.

Collect Reviews

Reviews matter, especially when 92% of customers read online reviews before buying a service or product. With text messaging, you can simply request reviews from customers you know have completed a purchase. It’s human nature that people prefer ease. When something’s easy, more people do it. With text messages, they can complete the review right on their phone, while it’s still fresh in their mind. This method tends to have higher conversion rates when compared to email.

What are the Rules?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with text message marketing is to ignore the rules and regulations. Most countries have specific rules when it comes to SMS marketing. Outside of needing permission, you also need to protect user and data privacy. It’s important that you understand stick to these regulations.
In the United States – and most other countries – SMS marketers are required to obtain explicit consent from customers before they send marketing communications of any kind. Marketers are also expected to honor requests to opt-out of communications.
While you might be tempted to send messages to people you don’t have permission from, doing so does a lot more harm than good. Spamming isn’t an effective communication technique at the best of times – it’s even worse when you get fined for it. Avoid spamming customers and only send messages to people who consent to them and you should be fine.

Text Message Marketing Services

Tips for Success

Get Permission

As mentioned before, you need to get explicit permission from a customer before engaging them in SMS marketing. You can look at all the text message marketing examples you want, but it’s no good if you don’t have permission. Don’t forget to honor un-subscription requests and avoid sending messages to people you don’t have permission to contact.

Use Text Message Marketing Services and Tools

While text message marketing is one of the best marketing ideas for small business, it’s best to use text message marketing services and tools. These options open a whole new world of marketing. You can automate the messaging process, send several messages at once, and better manage your campaigns. You can also set it up so that messages are sent through email when available to ensure customers always get the message one way or another.

Add Value for Customers

Never send a message to customers without first asking how your message adds value to their lives. If you can’t come up with a good reason, then save the messages for later. You should only send text message marketing messages when you’ve got a good reason. Waiting for the right time means neither you nor your customers gets burned out – you from sending so many messages and them from receiving so many.

Key Takeaways

Text message marketing for small businesses is an incredible tool when used properly. Stick to the best practices, avoid spam, and send messages that make a real impact to get the most out of this marketing method.

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