Is SMS Marketing Effective, and Should My Business Use It?

A lot of people believe that old school marketing techniques, like SMS marketing, are no longer effective. But SMS marketing is about as dead as email marketing - which is to say not at all.
How Effective is SMS Marketing?

A lot of people believe that old school marketing techniques, like SMS marketing, are no longer effective. But SMS marketing is about as dead as email marketing – which is to say not at all. Both forms of marketing can bring you significant results, as long as you know the right steps to follow! 

On average, we pick up our phones around 58 times a day, and spend 195 minutes per day on our phones. And those are just averages! So it’s hardly surprising that SMS marketing can be a good strategy to invest in – there’s a high likelihood that people will see your messages, even if not everyone acts on them. 

how effective is SMS marketing
what is SMS marketing

What Is SMS Marketing?

We don’t often refer to text messages as SMS anymore, which stands for ‘short message service’. The exception seems to be when discussing SMS marketing! As you can unboundedly guess, this is a marketing strategy that involves sending customers messages via text – pretty straightforward, right? The bigger question is why so few businesses employ this strategy! SMS marketing has been shown to yield significant results, with a great ROI.

One important thing to remember with SMS marketing though, is that it’s unlikely to be successful unless your messages are optimised for mobile. You can include images, as well as embedded links to your website via text, which should lead to better conversion rates.

Why Do Many Businesses Avoid SMS Marketing?

A lot of companies believe that SMS marketing is far more regulated than email marketing, so it’s not worth the hassle. But this isn’t true – the regulations are remarkably similar. And as the open rate for texts is much higher than for email (98% compared to 20%), it would be foolish to disregard SMS marketing as a strategy. 

Another reason many companies don’t use SMS marketing is that they are too focused on more innovative marketing techniques. And while these can be successful, they’re rarely cheap – the latest product on the market is bound to be costly. Sometimes the classics work best, as is the case with SMS marketing.

The Advantages of SMS Marketing

There are numerous advantages to SMS marketing. It can increase your company’s brand awareness, help you engage with your customers, and even drive sales. And best of all, it’s got a fantastic engagement rate. Unlike emails, which often sit in our inboxes for days, or are just deleted, text messages are normally opened immediately. 

Of course, the catch is that to send a marketing message via text, your customers have to opt in. Though there are easy ways around this – you can embed software into your sign up form, which allows customers to opt-in with just a few clicks. One company that offers such technology is Attentive, which promises to make SMS one of your top revenue channels.

Another benefit of SMS marketing is that it’s easily trackable, and has immediate delivery. You can see instantly once your message has been delivered, and should get clicks within minutes. 

This marketing medium furthermore allows you to personalise your content, whether it’s by segmenting your contact list, or by using particular words. You can even include interactive content, such as a ‘reply’ button or a link to your site. Quizzes and games are a great way to engage with your audience too, and can be sent via SMS. 

SMS Marketing Strategies

There are a number of different strategies you can use when running SMS marketing campaigns. But if you’ve previously run contests and other promotional campaigns on your social media channels, you’ll probably have a good idea of where to start. For instance, offering exclusive deals and discount coupons can be an effective way of generating engagement. It can even encourage people to opt-in to your messages, by offering an incentive. People will need to subscribe to qualify for the deal.

Another SMS strategy is to use a drip campaign, which is essentially a way of sending automated messages based on how long someone has been a customer. You can also create other triggers to send a text, and write tailored content for each group of subscribers. 

Running polls and contests is another great way to increase engagement – your audience will simply need to click one of the provided options, or text a particular word to enter. With the latter, texting a word like ‘WIN’ or ‘ENTER’ will automatically opt someone in to future campaigns too. 

SMS marketing strategies

SMS Marketing Tools

When it comes to sending marketing texts, there are a number of platforms you can use to help you get started, like OptinMonster. In addition to the features you’d expect, such as high quality templates and easy integration, OptinMonster also offers lead generation tools, to help you grow your marketing list. Their platform is simple to use too, with a visual drag and drop builder. 

Another option is Sendinblue, which allows you to segment your audience, and then bulk send personalised texts. They additionally have features that allow you to promote special events and time-sensitive discounts, conveying a sense of urgency. There is also a built-in analytics system, so you can see which messages are performing the best, and make adjustments as necessary.

Things to Avoid With SMS Marketing

There are a few obvious things you should avoid with text message campaigns, such as sending SMS at unsociable hours, or bombarding people with texts. But there may also be things you haven’t considered, like the use of abbreviations. While you do want to be succinct – there is a 160 character limit per text – the message still needs to be legible. 

Anonymous messages should be avoided too – don’t forget to sign off with your business name! If the recipient doesn’t know who the SMS came from, it will probably be marked as spam. And at the very end of the message, you need to provide the option to opt-out, which is usually something as simple as texting back ‘STOP’. 

Finally, it’s essential that you don’t forget to include a call to action. There is no point in sending a bulk SMS if you aren’t asking your subscribers to do something, even if it’s something as simple as visiting your website to check out your latest products. You could alternatively encourage users to sign up for other marketing messages, or perhaps complete an online survey. Whatever the call to action, make sure it’s clear!