Mobile text messaging, also known as SMS (for short message service), may just represent the next frontier in mobile marketing. Why? More than 4 billion people worldwide — and 75 percent of Americans — regularly send and receive text messages. With the recent announcement that social media giant Facebook is acquiring WhatsApp — an SMS platform that allows users to send free text messages on smart phones of all kinds — texting’s popularity isn’t likely to decrease anytime soon.
Here’s why you should take advantage of this growing market and add SMS to your marketing strategies.
The Power of the Personal
In Internet years, text messaging is a virtual grandfather; after all, the technology has been around for more than 20 years. In fact, it’s been around so long that a (mind-blowing) two-thirds of the Earth’s population has access to it. Perhaps due to the well-established nature of SMS, many companies have bypassed it as a marketing strategy, probably in their rush to drive customers to the mobile-optimized versions of their websites.
However, as any marketing guru will tell you, customers respond best when a campaign engages them personally. That’s where text message marketing comes in. Stats from Techipedia reveal that:
98 percent of all sent text messages are opened
83 percent of text messages are opened within three minutes
SMS marketing campaigns boast response rates of up to 45 percent, as compared to email campaigns, which average a 6 percent response rate
Given these high response rates, using SMS seems like a no-brainer. Just send out a few well-worded messages to leads, and watch the sales grow — right? Of course, there’s a catch.
In order to be successful, text message marketing requires thoughtful implementation.
Effective Implementation of Text Message Marketing
Consider how annoying you (probably) find telemarketing calls, spammy-sounding emails, and all of that other marketing stuff you’re constantly bombarded with but didn’t sign up for. Same goes for SMS; no one wants to receive random or irrelevant text messages all the time. Add in the fact that some mobile users have to pay for each text message they receive, and the importance of only sending texts to those who’ve opted in becomes crystal clear. It’s all about relevance.
Speaking of relevance, one of the most effective uses of text message marketing is keeping in contact with your existing customers. They’ve already tried your product or service and decided they like you. SMS offers a cost-effective way to keep in touch. Whether you’re announcing a special event, sending a coupon code, or implementing a loyalty program, the judicious use of text messages keeps your company in your customers’ consciousness.
SMS can also enhance your customers’ experience. Text messages containing reminders, schedules, notices of last-minute availability, and even customer satisfaction surveys provide value to your customers while saving them time and hassles.
Appropriate Uses of SMS Marketing
Here are a few ways to incorporate text messaging into your marketing plan in a way that customers will appreciate.
Promotions and Sales: Send promo codes, coupons, and special event notices. Consider geo-fencing to send offers to opted-in customers when they come near your place of business.
Receipts: Sending receipts makes it easy for customers to keep track of spending.
Surveys: Customers can fill out surveys about their experience, providing you with valuable feedback.
Loyalty Programs: Make it easy for customers to join your loyalty program via text, and get information you need to develop detailed customer profiles that help your marketing strategies.
No matter what you’re using SMS for, the key lies in creating an opt-in program and focusing on content that provides value to customers. Text messaging shouldn’t be used to generate leads; instead, it should provide relevant information to interested customers.