Each year comes with new marketing goals and objectives to help you stand out from your competition. Among all the marketing trends batted around in 2019, SMS marketing is one of those go-to channels that can truly help you grow your business.
Considering that 91% of Americans have their mobile devices almost glued to their hands, it becomes obvious that the response time to a text message is extremely fast.
Despite the popularity of other marketing channels such as email and social media, SMS marketing is alive and kicking in 2019, and we’ve got evidence to prove it.
One simple example would be that, in comparison to email mailing lists, which have a 20% open rate, SMS marketing dominates with a 90% open rate in the first 3 minutes of sending the message.
Here’s even more evidence showing that SMS marketing can change the rules of the game and be one of your best tools to reach out customers:
- Overall SMS open rate is 98% compared to email open rate of 20%
- SMS response rate is 45 percent
- 90 seconds is an average time needed by a person to respond to a text message
- 95 percent of all text messages are read within 3 minutes
- 65 percent of marketers agree that SMS marketing is “very effective.”
No wonder that 8.6 trillion text messages are sent on average every year in the U.S., right? Indeed, if done correctly and legally, SMS marketing can be a great way to reach customers directly, build brand resonance, and collect valuable feedback.
In this article, let’s see whether SMS would be a viable channel for your business, and how you can make your SMS marketing campaigns relevant in 2019.
Benefits of SMS Marketing for Businesses
- Low Cost – First and foremost, SMS marketing is cheaper compared to other channels such as email marketing, so it’s more accessible for businesses with limited marketing budgets.
- Maximum Reach – SMS messages allow reaching maximum exposure. Everyone owns a cell phone or a smartphone these days, and an overwhelming majority of messages sent by businesses are read.
- Results – SMS campaigns are highly result-oriented. According to the data by Business2Community presented in the introduction, SMS campaigns can generate a response rate of 45 percent.
If these benefits sound good to you, let’s learn how to craft effective and relevant campaigns so you’ll be all set to make them a reality for your business.
How to Create Effective SMS Marketing Campaigns in 2019
1. Know the Legal Requirements
Modern data protection laws require digital marketers to have consent from leads before contacting them with offers. This is easy if you’re using an SMS marketing platform or some other data collection platforms. For example, McDonald’s gives its customers details on their privacy statement and requires its app users’ consent before creating their account.
“The privacy statement can be either displayed on the screen and ask your leads to read it and accept it, or you can offer a link to it before your prospects move to the next step.”
Dane Macfarlane, Senior Customer Success Manager at Onlinewritersrating
“If you fail to get permission to send your messages, you’ll be spamming people, which has to be avoided. Otherwise, you can seriously damage the image of your business in addition to causing legal problems.”
Gregg Peterson, Head of Marketing for ResumesExpert
Don’t forget to make it easy for people to opt out; for example, this could be done by sending a shortcode to a specific number.
2. Know Your Customers
In order for an SMS campaign to be successful, it must send the right message to the right audience. To achieve that, you’ll have to research and segment your audience; for example, you can do this by researching a customer’s previous purchase history and their behavior on your website.
“Remember, the most effective customer targeting always involves having a lot of data about customers. So, do your best at collecting information about your leads and customers so you know what they might be interested in buying.”
Jonas Derrickson, Digital Marketer at Canada-Writers
3. Keep Your Messages Concise and to the Point
Since you have only 160 characters to include in an SMS, do your best at making it as short and concise as possible to make that limit.
Here are some tips to write clear and concise messages:
- Write text in natural, plain language
- Give details that the recipients need to know; for example, if you announce the sale, tell them when it ends
- Avoid using all caps, abbreviations, and emoticons.
4. Limit the Number of Messages
Sending too many messages to your customers’ inboxes increases the risk that many people will opt in because they don’t want spam. That’s why it’s critical to limit their number to about three or four per month to achieve good results, avoid an image of a spammer and legal action.
Another critical consideration is to let customers know how many messages you’ll send. There are many examples of businesses violating this requirement and getting sued; one of the examples involves a Pittsburgh Penguins fan suing the team for exceeding the number of messages stated in terms and conditions; their website said that he would receive no more than three texts a week, but he received five.
5. Always Include a Call to Action (CTA)
CTA identifies the action that you want your customers to take, so sending messages without it is simply pointless. An example of a CTA would be a call to visit the web page of a sale or sign up for a webinar. Nowadays, you can send links in your messages, too, which is very convenient to help viewers reach a website or a specific page easily.
Every message you send out should have a clear CTA, which means that you always need to have a good reason for your campaign as well (a message without a clear goal and a CTA is just an interruption of a recipient’s attention with a text).
Example of a message:
Buy 2 products, get 1 FREE at our Brooklyn Store! Offer valid 48 hours.
6. Get Timing Right
One sure-fire way to get people to unsubscribe is to send them messages at the wrong time. For example, if you text them at 3 in the morning with a sale announcement or share the news about a discount at your local store at 5 in the morning, you’ll get a lot of people complaining and unsubscribing.
That’s why the best period of time to send SMS marketing is business hours. Mobile Marketer provides the following tips on timing :
- Avoid rush hours such as 8:30 am and 7 pm because many people wouldn’t read and engage
- No messages in the morning or too late at night. The reasons for this are obvious
- Avoid sending messages on Mondays because of the overwhelming content that people receive via email and other marketing channels after or on the weekend
- The best day and time to send SMS marketing are Fridays between 2 pm and 5 pm.
7. Provide Value
Try to make every SMS worthwhile. Remember: people have provided you with permission to text them and interrupt their attention, so you should strive to offer them something they find valuable and useful.
The list of the most popular and useful offers includes exclusive offers, sales alerts, important announcement, discounts, and event alerts.
You can make SMS marketing work for you in 2019 if you respect the rules of this business and the needs of your subscribers. Keep in mind that there are a lot of effective SMS marketing tools out there, and they can help with the automation of repetitive processes.