SMS marketing is a great way to gain visibility in front of your loyal followers and customers however how do you do it? What’s the best way to take advantage of SMS marketing to grow your business and why SMS marketing over email? Let’s answer these questions and more in this article.
SMS marketing gets in front of people instantly and basically everybody sees it. With email there’s a little bit more of a delay right people don’t check their email in real time. They check their email here and there. Sometimes it can be a week later in some cases plus not everybody opens the email. The open rate on email I mean you’re doing pretty well if 20% or so of people actually even open your email.
With SMS marketing, 97% of people open it within the first 15 minutes so it’s essentially real-time visibility in front of your loyal followers and customers however the question is how do you take advantage of it?
Tip number one with SMS marketing is to determine what type of content you want to send. And so this can vary by business however essentially you want to think of this as like a VIP format of content that you are sending. valuable information not something that you’ll send all the time however it’s something you want to get in front of people when it’s super important to get in front of people and get that visibility that you need.
The easiest thing to do here let’s talk about some examples so for an ecommerce store a good SMS marketing campaign might be something like an instant coupon maybe somebody is on your ecommerce store and they’re on the check-out page and you have a lot of abandoned carts and what not and you want to try to kind of reduce that and so you put a call to action there “Hey opt in to our SMS message campaign right now and get an instant coupon for 25% off.”
This helps them move forward through the buying process. It also opts them into your list so that you have them opted-in to send information later and they get that VIP coupon. You could have an example like a dance studio. A dance studio has classes and scheduling and particularly when the weather might be bad maybe they need to cancel class or move class.
This would be information that would be super important to get in front of people real time and have that full visibility. Email wouldn’t be as effective here right? SMS is much more effective if the class was canceled because of bushfires or bad weather, for example. If you have a business that’s news-related or update-related like that can be super effective.
Even businesses like plumbers – you would think plumbers when would they possibly need SMS marketing right? Yes, well there can be great use cases like asking for reviews. Review platforms often block people if they’re on the same IP so you can’t just give people the same device or anything. You really need them to do it on their device so having them opt-in to leave a review through their own phone could be an effective thing to do. however now think about this now you have this huge list of people in your SMS marketing campaign that you basically never SMS right?
You never text them. however all the sudden it hails in your area. Now instead of going door-to-door with flyers or sending an email that 20% of people might see you send a SMS and all 97 plus percent see it real time. You get that plumbing job before the other roofer right because you had this opted-in list. And so every type of business has a way to use SMS marketing to either better inform their audience or to drive more sales.
A restaurant is another great example. It’s a slow day on Monday for lunches, right? Instead of just sitting there with a slow day and just dealing with it you can send a SMS out to your loyal followers of your restaurant loyal customers of the restaurant that there’s $10 off an entree or $10 off your meal or whatever it might be. If they come in for lunch today now what you’re going to see is everybody in the area that sees that message is going to come and eat there right?
They need to eat lunch anyway, so why not eat lunch at your place that they already like because you are sending them a deal. This is a huge way to get great business.
So what you need to do is fill the seats when an SMS campaign is a great way to do that. Email wouldn’t be as effective because only 20% of people would see it and oftentimes they wouldn’t see it till tomorrow and it’s too late right? SMS is perfect for that. So really think about what type of content you can send to your loyal followers and customers to drive more sales and to add more value so that they’re motivated to stay opted-in to your list and you get more sales.
So at the end of the month when the clock is running down and you’re behind on your sales goal? Boom you can send this SMS out and reach your goal.
Next, you must you understand that you should only send actionable content. To build your subscriber list, the absolute most important thing is to get these actionable messages out in front of people.
With SMS marketing you can’t just put somebody’s phone number into a SMS marketing software and SMS them. That’s against the Australian SPAM Act, and to be honest, is just bad etiquette. The recipients need to actually opt-in to receive your SMS messages and any marketing materials you wish to send. So what you need to do is you need to think about where you are going to get this call to action out in front of people. So here’s some ideas. If you’re a restaurant you’d want an in-store sign right?
Something in the store on the table that people can see that’s motivating them to opt-in. It could say something like “SMS whatever your opt-in number is and keyword is to enter into our list to get a VIP promotion on slow days or coupons on hot events that we’re doing.” Something like that, something that based on the content that you want to send you’ll know what these calls to action need to be.
So now it’s about getting it in front of people right? So here’s what we recommend in-store signs social media posts social media ads asking people to opt-in. Send email blasts out to your followers asking them to opt-in to your SMS list and what they’re going to receive when they do that. Train your people to ask for it whether it’s a front desk person somebody in the field to ask people to opt-in to these lists and what they’re going to receive for doing that.
The thing is if you really thought through step one and there’s tremendous value there people are going to be more than interested to opt-in to your list because you’re providing them information that they need right? If I’m at dance school and I want to get alerts when class is canceled I need to opt into the list.
Why wouldn’t I do that right? Why wouldn’t I do that? I would do that and all of these scenarios everybody else would too. So the question is how do you get in front of people? Because the thing is if you have all these beautiful SMS campaigns built and all these unbelievable deals however nobody’s in the list it’s completely useless. So you need to get people to opt-in to your list.
So think about all the ways you can do that call to actions on your website and everything else to get in front of the eyeballs of your followers and consumers so that they opt-in and start building your lists.
There’s a lot of SMS message marketing tools out there today for small businesses that are easy to use and most are quite affordable. Take a look out there to see what there is available to you.
When you first create your SMS account, it’s going to give you a dedicated phone number and a keyword that you can set up so people can text a keyword like PIZZA to 0491 570 156, to join the subscriber list.
This is what you’re going to want to use within your marketing material. When you set up your account make sure that you set it up so that you can segment your lists into various groups of consumers or customers. Maybe you might want to segment your lists if you’re an ecommerce store by people that like men’s products versus people that like women’s products for example.
You can do these types of things in the SMS tool when people opt-in. So set that up. And also power tip here set up an automated message so when somebody opts-in they instantly get a message right away that adds some value so that they don’t opt-in and then it’s just like wait until something comes at some point.
Give them something right away so as soon as they opt-in even if it’s just to tell them what they’re going to receive and thank them for opting-in “Oh hey thanks for opting-in. Whenever there is bad weather or bushfires, we’ll make sure to send you an alert that class is canceled.” Tell them what they got right? Or if it’s an ecommerce store and somebody opts-in instantly say “Hey thank you for opting-in. As appreciation for doing that here’s a quick 10% off coupon code right now.” Give them that instant gratification for opting-in so they feel good about it.
Now they’re locked and loaded and ready to go in the future. So when you set up your account you can get all these things set up ahead of time so that you’re ready to go. So make sure you do that as part of step three.
Keep SMS marketing succinct
Here are some power SMS marketing tips. Never exceed 140 characters, always make sure that all your messages are 140 characters or less which isn’t a lot. Embrace tools like URL shorteners if you’re going to link them to a product page or your social media accounts, etc. Use a URL shortener you can just google search URL shortener if you don’t know what that is however basically it takes a long URL and it makes it super small so it doesn’t take a lot of characters up.
And also just some things that we’ve noticed that are powerful if you put a YouTube video in an SMS the phones are smart enough to know that that’s a video so it actually pulls the entire video into the SMS so a great piece of content for SMS marketing is actually videos. So if you create short videos of information, those sorts of things people will actually literally see the entire video in their SMS and be able to click and watch it right there. That can be super powerful as well.
So think about these things as you write those messages. Keep them short, keep them sweet use URL shorteners and use videos and you’ll see some better results.
Always focus on making sure that you’re seeing subscriber growth. So you’ve set up your campaigns, you’ve set up your advertising and put these call to actions everywhere to get people to opt-in.
You’re going to have to wait a little bit here and see if there’s growth that’s occurring. If you’re not seeing growth of your subscription lists then you’re not going to see the value of your SMS marketing.
Test your campaigns
Don’t forget to be constantly checking and making sure that your campaigns are actually working. If not you might need to change your call to action your in-store displays your social ads your email blast content.
Tweak it a little bit so that it’s more compelling so that people are actually opting-in and make sure that your team is actually doing their job of asking your customers to opt-in. They can easily forget so stay on top of them for that so that you’re seeing that growth because if you see more growth on your SMS list you’re also going to see more value out of it and more sales to your business. So you need to start there.
Choose send time carefully
Think about the timing of when you send these messages. Timing is really powerful with SMS marketing. The power of SMS marketing is it gets in front of everybody’s eyeballs real time. So you’re going to need to think about this. So if you’re a restaurant and you’re trying to fill your seats at lunch time you don’t want to be sending the SMS too late or too early right? Because people will forget.
They get a lot of messages they get interrupted all day. So what you’re going to want to do is to send them this message right before the typical lunch hour rush. So that right in the decision-making process of literally when they’re thinking where should I go to lunch today? Ding! There’s the message boom you just won the business. And you need to think about this for all your types of content.
So if I’m an ecommerce store I don’t want to send this during the middle of the working day right? People don’t have time to shop and buy. I’m going to want to send this at night when they’re sitting on their couch during the commercials and they get a message like “Oh perfect I’m going to buy this right now because I have all the time in the world.” So you’re going to want to sent these messages at the right time based on your audience.
Always make sure to send only valuable content and never overdo it. Less is more with SMS marketing. If you start sending people too many texts they’re going to have a bad taste in their mouth about your brand and it’s going to hurt you.
Less is more
You’re going to want to send less messages. Less is better than more however powerful valuable information and only send them what you’ve said you’re going to send them. So if you’re call to action is asking them to opt-in to receive a certain type of information or certain type of deal then just send them that right? Don’t overdo it. We’ve all received SMS messages that we shouldn’t have received from companies we never even opted-in for? This is like you want to go to war right?
This is like the worst thing in the world that can happen to you. Don’t be that company right? However we also have SMS messages that we receive that we actually look forward to. It’s like “Oh perfect I was hoping I’d get that $20 off coupon off of my meal tonight because I was wanting to go there and eat anyway right? That’s great value right? Or “I needed to go to the dentist anyway. I’m glad that their seats are empty today so that I can go in and get my teeth cleaned for 50% less. It’s an unbelievable deal right? And they only text me once like every many months right?”
And so think about this for your brand. What’s the most valuable piece of VIP content deals and information that you can send to your consumers at the right time that they’re going to love receiving right? If you do that you’re going to have less opt-outs which means your lists are going to grow.
You’re probably going to get referrals too. People are going to refer their friends to opt-in to your lists. You’re going to see growth there. This is the key to growth with SMS marketing and the key to success. I hope you enjoyed this article about SMS marketing.