According to Pew Research, 91% of U.S. adults have smartphones. The average adult spends more time on texting than watching TV. In the U.S. alone, people send and receive over seven trillion text messages. In addition, SMS has an open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%. Another report shows that 90% of users read texts within three minutes of receiving the message.
These statistics clearly show that SMS marketing is one of the best tools for reaching your target audience. Compared to other promotional channels, SMS is more suitable for marketing campaigns.
10 Best SMS Marketing Practices
To leverage this powerful tool, it's important to adopt the best SMS marketing practices. Here are the ten factors to consider when using SMS marketing.
1. Receive Permission from the Users
According to the carrier rules and regulations, a business cannot send promotional messages to consumers without their consent. Companies have to follow the specific text guidelines and send a text inviting users to their SMS program. Users have to respond and opt-in to receive the texts.
Spamming the consumers' inbox without their permission can lead to hefty legal penalties and an immediate suspension of your SMS program. It will tarnish your brand image and may also cause you to lose existing consumers. CDYNE's phone validator can also help to clean up existing numbers in your contact list to ensure that all of your consumers' numbers are accurate.
2. Know Your Goal
SMS services are a powerful tool; however, the success of your marketing campaign largely depends on your marketing strategy. It is important to have clear objectives and goals. You should know what purpose you want to achieve through your campaign.
Once you have set your target, structure your campaign around the goal. Make sure that the content of the message reflects the goal. It also helps subscribers become aware of what type of texts they will receive.
3. Choose Clear Words
With SMS marketing, you only have 160 characters to convey your message. Because of this, you should make each character count. Refrain from using long links or keyword stuffing in the texts. Using all caps for the message may also overwhelm users or detract for your message's main points or call to action.
Jargon and abbreviations can be effective ways to maximize your character count, but make sure all users will understand them before including them. For example, "txt" instead of "text" is still clear, but "mktg" instead of "marketing" is confusing. Similarly, emoticons should only be used to emphasize text, not replace it, and only when appropriate.
Embedding branded links in your message is also a smart way to save a few characters. It helps to keep the main message in the spotlight.
4. Schedule Your Messages
Timing is everything when it comes to SMS marketing. It is important to deliver messages at regular intervals, but not so often that it annoys users. Spamming a consumer's phone with unwanted texts may compel users to opt-out of your SMS program. A good practice is to inform the subscribers about the message frequency after the initial opt-in.
The best frequency is two to four texts each month. Additional texts may also be sent during relevant holidays or time periods. For example, a business may send more texts notifying users of sales in November in preparation for Black Friday, or in December as Christmas approaches.
In addition, send the texts in the "office hours" (generally 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) to make the most of your messages. Businesses can also capitalize on certain times that correspond with their product or service For instance, restaurants should send discount coupons around mealtimes to drive mobile users to take action.
5. Avoid Unwanted Messages
When a consumer allows you to send promotional messages, make sure you send valuable content to them in return. Sending unwanted or unnecessary texts annoys users. Annoyed or infuriated users may decide to leave or unsubscribe from your SMS program.
Make sure each message benefits the users in some way. Add value to your message with coupons, special promotional offers, discounts or sales, and updates about upcoming events. Integrating valuable information into the messages ensures that users welcome your messages.
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6. Add A Clear Call-to-Action
One of the key features of text messages is immediacy. The trick to use this feature to your advantage is to instill urgency in the body of your text. Your message should end with a clear and concise call-to-action (CTA). A two- to three-word CTA, such as "Buy Now" or "Send code," adds value to the message without taking up too many characters. The text should clearly prompt the recipient about what action to take.
7. Target All Generations
Millennials (aged 23-38) are the main target of many marketing campaigns, and Generation Z (aged 7-22) is an increasingly targeted demographic. However, it is wrong to overlook other generations and audiences if you want to maximize your campaign's reach and success.
Studies show that 90% of Generation Xers (aged 39-54) have smartphones, 68% of Baby Boomers (aged 55-73) have smartphones, and even 40% of the Silent Generation (aged 74-91) live in a home with at least one smartphone. Make sure you're not missing out on these audience when designing your marketing campaign.
8. Customize Your Messages
It is important to make your users feel special. An easy way to assure users that you value them is to send customized messages. Make sure to include your company's name in the subject line and the user's name in the text itself.
Create personalized messages for different user segments. For instance, you can send promo codes to new subscribers or respond to their opt-in with a customized message, like "welcome to the x family." For your loyal users, you can run text-to-win or other rewarding campaigns.
9. Promote Your Message across all Platforms
While SMS is one of the most effective marketing tools, it becomes more powerful when integrated with other mediums. Promoting your text marketing campaign across different platforms will help you generate more opt-ins.
For instance, you can promote the campaign through Facebook, include opt-in details on your official website, or include opt-in offers in newsletters sent via email.
10. Respond to your Customers
The average response rate of an SMS is 90 seconds, and 75% of users expect immediacy when using their smartphones. Since users respond so quickly and value immediacy, they expect the same quick turnaround from businesses. For example, 75% of consumers expect healthcare providers to respond within the day to appointment requests made via social media.
Because of this, it is important to monitor your inbox for replies to or interaction with your SMS messages. Businesses should specifically watch for user messages 24 hours after releasing promotional messages. Respond to user comments and questions quickly and clearly.
While digital technology is gaining immense popularity, SMS is still one of the best techniques for consumer engagement and marketing. However, businesses should consider the best practices for SMS marketing when creating their campaigns in order to maximize their ROI and reach.
If businesses follow all text guidelines set by the FCC and other legal bodies, SMS marketing can be a powerful tool for both businesses and consumers.