We probably stunned you a bit with the title, right? It seems like major companies don’t necessarily employ any type of SMS marketing strategy and instead rely on the classic and reliable plan of action. Tools such as SEO, Google Adwords, Facebook ads, Instagram ads and email marketing have pioneered the digital strategy that most online businesses use today – but what about SMS marketing?
We are big believers in using every marketing tool available to you, and with mobile phones being ubiquitous no matter what demographic – it makes sense to reach out to a wider audience. We understand it may not be for everyone, but SMS marketing still has a valid excuse to invest in it.
Here’s why SMS marketing is still good.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing is making use of SMS (short message service) as a marketing tactic, to then deliver a message via text to customers.
It is primarily used as an added feature to any marketing strategy or campaign, as it can provide a unique angle at reaching customers without getting lost in the digital ether.
Because of the mobile dominated era, SMS marketing is a great way to engage different demographics, given the message is always received the same way. There are no spam filters, no annoying or spammy looking header titles that you may get with emails, and the message can be received on any mobile device.
If you’re wondering what kind of messages you’d be sending using SMS marketing, you may be looking at sending:
If you’re having a flash sale, or have a coupon code to give out, SMS marketing is a great way to let your customers know in a super simple fashion. Including a link for them to use the coupon code will ensure they engage with your message.
Important platform updates
If there’s any important changes taking place with the service or product you provide, you’ll want to ensure that you’re transparent with your client base and keep them updated and aware to avoid any drama.
Inadvertently, a marketing tactic in itself as your clients will trust you more if there is a security measure in place to login to their account. User experience is a big and often unseen part of marketing.
This can be things like closing and opening dates over the Christmas or New Year period, getting in touch with a customer who might not have purchased something for a while, and even articles you may deem important for your customers to know about.
Importance of Mobile Devices
20 years ago, there would be a debate over the growth of mobile phone usability and access but today – there is no question to its importance. It is has set in motion the way we access data and communicate with people on a scale that was previously unprecedented, but not anymore.
It is estimated that over 5 billion people have access to a mobile phone. Over half of these people are estimated to have a smartphone, and with the improvements in smartphone technology, it makes it even easier to get the right information we’re looking for.
On a global scale, marketing yourself is a total breeze given your wide target audience.
Whether it be an old Nokia or the latest iPhone, the message received is still the same. It’s especially beneficial for businesses that cater to the younger demographic, such as clothing brands, betting agencies, gyms, fast food restaurants, and even nightclubs.
It allows you to get your message across to your audience in a proven and effective way.
Emails can potentially be missed, hovered over, and may even get caught up in a mail filter and disregarded as spam.
Weighing It Up – The Stats
It’s understandable to be hesitant about an underutilised marketing tool, but we can assure you, it’s cheap, and it’s practical to use.
Over 50% of emails sent every day are considered spam, and there are hundreds of billions of emails being delivered to inboxes every day whose junk folders are already cluttered as it is.
You don’t need to add to that growing statistic, and instead, get creative with a marketing tool that promises a return on investment.
You’ll also have the ability to use Australia’s most renowned and trusted mobile carriers, such as Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone to ensure reliability.
SMS marketing can benefit you in several ways, just like the ones below:
Higher open rates in comparison to emails
The open rates of SMS messages stand at 98%, compared to 20% of emails received.
That is a staggering figure, and it makes sense to invest in a marketing tool where it’s statistics speak for itself.
Allows for a higher customer engagement
Email marketing isn’t dying – but it’s proven that it can be unreliable. It’s read-through and click-through rate is low in comparison, and this doesn’t help your engagement if your email is getting stuck in a junk folder.
SMS marketing is cheap, with an average price of between $0.10-0.15 per SMS message. It also allows you to send a detailed message of 700-800 characters, with a call to action, and you can even set up a contact list for the future.
Fast and Simple
You hear your phone buzz, and it’s an SMS message from your friend who is down to get some drinks with you. You reply in 90 seconds, and sure enough, you’re then on your way for a fun night.
Super simple, super effective, and it’s effectiveness is backed by like-minded individuals who make those statistics so important to believe.
Builds a loyal customer base
Ever received a message from your favourite clothing brand who is having a massive sale? Turns out there’s a 30% off discount code just for you.
SMS marketing is a great channel to build your customer base, and when you reward your customers for sticking around, they’ll be more inclined to do so when they feel appreciated.
Make sure you do the smart thing and give them an opt-out function. It is required by Australian law (Spam Act of 2003) that you provide them with the ability to unsubscribe from updates. This can be such as a button, a link or even texting ‘STOP’ to a particular number.
Some may appreciate a subscription or opt-in type service to your updates, to ensure they’re keeping up with the latest information and best deals.
Failing to do so is not only a legal no-no, but it also makes your business look shady, and that’s the last thing you want.
Consider your demographic as well – you won’t be able to cater to everyone. Also, it may be tough given there isn’t god-given insight into how everyone responds so trial and error about how your customers want to receive your information is needed.
Making Use Of It The Right Way
You’ll need to make the most of what you get with SMS marketing, as if you’re not using it the correct way, you’ll very quickly find a lack of engagement from your audience.
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when crafting up your SMS marketing campaign.
Make the most of the small character limit.
You need to get your message across in 180-800 characters or less, so you don’t have any room for errors. Make sure you’re polite and avoid any irrelevant information. Include the most important points of your message and your call to action.
Also, avoid texting shorthand or ‘toon talk’ such as ‘Nice 2 see U’ for obvious reasons.
Be personal, not general.
It’s an SMS message – it’s meant to be personal. Don’t be part of the faceless corporations that start with ‘Hi Customer’, include their name, and even their most recent purchase or engagement to make them feel like you truly do care about them.
Building a solid relationship with your customers will go a long way.
Keep in touch.
You don’t want to overdo it, but you also don’t want to irregularly send them messages as that won’t help your overall engagement. Keeping in touch every so often keeps you at their forefront and helps build your reputation.
No one wants to see the same thing twice.
Any content you write on your blog or social media should stay there – you don’t want to duplicate your content via SMS. If they happen to have seen something you send them, they may just disregard you in the future, and let’s be frank, it’s a tad annoying when you take this lazy approach.
Loyalty should never be ignored, so it makes sense to pay your respects to those who help build your success. Reward loyal customers, who then market you through word of mouth.
Not complicated by any means, and will pay dividends once your SMS marketing campaign is up and running in full effect.
What Businesses Do ‘Wrong’
There’s a great deal of misconception behind the idea that SMS marketing is only for ‘big players’, and that you need a wide customer base to utilise an SMS marketing service.
Although, generally most of the biggest companies in the world use SMS marketing to retarget users or build customer loyalty, small businesses are able to make the most of it too.
Too much effort is invested into understanding how and why customers leave, but that same effort is not put back into bringing them back.
Most business owners are also unsure if having a physical or online store matters. Realistically, it doesn’t – but your approach will differ slightly.
If you have a physical store, you’ll want to drive them to your store and you’ll need to be extremely enticing due to the fact they can’t just click a link and input a coupon code.
SMS marketing is a service suitable for any business owner. No seriously, it’s all about how you use SMS marketing to your advantage, and it’s significantly cheaper than most ongoing marketing tools you’ll require.
QR Codes – Can They Make Or Break It?
QR (Quick Response) codes are something of the future, but their use in the online world is reminiscent of how a barcode works at your local supermarket – it’s easy and works well.
These codes contain URL’s and information that can easily be read by any smartphone camera, which in today’s age is huge.
The use of QR codes over SMS marketing isn’t a widely debated topic, but I thought I’d touch on it given that simplicity is the key when you’re trying to appeal to a user’s needs.
The idea is that QR codes can do what SMS marketing does, but in a less convoluted way. Users are able to open up their phone camera, scan the QR code and voila – they’ve been given the information they need.
The benefits of QR codes are:
- QR Codes involve no typing or effort – just scan and away you go.
- QR Codes directly link you to where you want to go, you don’t need to open the SMS, and then click a link.
- They can be visually enhanced or edited with artwork, which is an aesthetic upside.
- It can store up to 4,000 alphanumerical characters worth of data, that is 3-10x more than SMS message services allow.
QR codes sound great, right? I agree, but if you have an SMS marketing campaign in place, it might not make sense to shift your users across.
You also run the risk of losing touch with some of your customer base if they don’t own a smartphone capable of utilising QR code technology.
If you’re interested in using QR codes, simply just include them in your SMS marketing campaign, and if you’re a physical business, include a flyer which gives your users the freedom to choose.
Breaking It Down
Having a well-rounded and defined digital strategy is going to get you the desired results you’re after. Is email marketing dead? Not at all.
Is SMS marketing on the rise of popularity? Absolutely – and it deserves to be.
Use them together to grow your online presence and change the way you operate for the better. Making yourself more accessible to your customers and potential clients is the key to ensuring good growth for the future.
Having the ability to get out product discounts, account updates, important announcements, and personal notifications with ease will help maximise your retention and only promotes your business as effective and reliable when it comes to communication.
Given the fact it is relatively inexpensive and just another tool to add to your digital marketing arsenal, there is no reason not to give it a go.