What is SMS Marketing? - Everything You Need to Know

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What is SMS Marketing? - Everything You Need to Know
by Marketing


What exactly is SMS marketing and what do you need to know about it? Which digital marketing channel has the highest open rates? You might think it would be email marketing, which has a 15-25% open rate.


But what if I tell you there is another channel with open rates of 98%?


With a whopping 98% open rate and an average 36% CTR, there is a new channel for eCommerce marketers: SMS Marketing.



What is SMS Marketing?


SMS marketing is the fastest-growing digital marketing channel right now. 


It uses permission-based text messaging to spread promotional messages to a target audience. The prime objective of SMS marketing is to build a database of subscribers to enhance customer loyalty and increase your conversion rate.



Why SMS Marketing?


On average, people look at their phones 150+ times each day and rely heavily on them. This makes SMS marketing very popular among people and an ideal choice for eCommerce marketers.


SMS marketing enables eCommerce marketers to offer consumers information, incentives, and choices at the moment they are expressing an interest or when they are most likely to make a buying choice.



Other key benefits of SMS marketing:


  1. It is an immediate and direct channel for two way communication
  2. 75% of consumers are OK with receiving SMS messages from brands (after they’ve opted in)
  3. Unlike other channels, SMS marketing is the most cost-effective and time-saving and can integrate with other channels
  4. Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook
  5. Shortcodes in the messages can be used to simplify the response of the audience and build your database
  6. Consumers redeem SMS-delivered coupons 10 times more than other types of coupons



How does it work?


Here are the basic steps to implement an SMS marketing strategy in your marketing mix:



Ensure opt-in permission


The foremost step to maintain a good reputation amongst your audience is to ensure that the audience has opted-in and has permitted to receive updates via texts.



Look for the correct platform and database


You need to find a platform capable of sending and receiving text messages and maintain a database of your subscribers including the revised phone number to share updates on products and services.



Choose a Keyword and Set up an Automated Response


A keyword is a short-code composed of letters and numbers shared with the audience to sign up for future discounts. Example: “Text COFFEE to 252525”.


Once the audience texts the keyword “COFFEE”, an automated response needs to be set up to confirm the subscription and share discount coupon and welcome message to the audience.



Build an Audience


Turn your email subscribers into SMS subscribers by promoting SMS alerts in your email campaigns. 


You can also add-on option of “Phone number” in the subscription form. Once they subscribe, share a discount code coupon with them.


You can also directly approach your most loyal customers for referral as 77% of the audience will tell relatives or friends if they feel content with the services of the brand.



Schedule and Send SMS Campaign


After successfully building an SMS audience, prepare to launch your first text marketing campaign. For an effective campaign, noon is the best and most accurate time, no matter the day of the week. 


It is important for you to pre-plan the SMS campaign and schedule it with a specific time and date as it reduces the chances of missed campaign opportunities and will reach the customer at the right time.


woman wearing black framed eyeglasses and grey knit beanie while using smartphone



3 ways to use SMS marketing


SMS marketing is one of the most appropriate channels to support marketers as it has an incredible influence on the mobile audience. There are many ways to use SMS marketing for eCommerce but below 3 are the best.



1. Promotional Messages


Text messages are mainly used by many eCommerce brands for advertising. They use it to promote product deals, offers, and vouchers to their customers. Such messages coupled with a strong CTA encourage the customer to buy from you. SMS marketing campaigns can generate up to 20X ROI.



2. Transactional Messages


SMS marketing is also used to send personalized messages that are triggered by specific customer actions, such as bill payments. Most banks use these messages to keep their customers informed about their purchases.


For Example, “ You paid $90 for electricity to ABC. Txn ID: 98656437. Updated balance: $2500.” 



3. Reminder Messages


Brands use SMS marketing to keep customers updated about shipment details, upcoming sales alerts, and many other important messages.



SMS Marketing Best Practices


Consider the following best practices to keep your SMS marketing campaigns significant.



Get Customer Permission 


For SMS marketing campaigns, it’s vital to get permission from your customer for sharing promotional messaging. To begin with, you can simply add the Phone number option in your newsletter subscription field.


Once they share the number you can easily share a subscription message to your subscribers. It is important to make sure you give customers an unsubscribe link or a number they can text STOP to.



Use an SMS marketing software


As many customers will opt-in for your SMS subscription, it will be difficult for you to start sending manual messages to your customers. To overcome this, you should be using SMS marketing software for this.


An SMS marketing tool besides automating your messages will share messages to all at one single time, it will also provide you with important metrics and reporting so you can measure how impactful your text marketing campaigns are.



Add value to your customers


Before any SMS campaigns, the main question is how to get high profits from the campaign and how to add value to customers.


Adding value to customers is critical to building a loyal subscriber base, if not done properly then customers might opt-out from your list.


You can add value by sharing relevant information, messages related to their preferred products, sharing discounts, birthday greeting discounts, and many more.


woman holding phone smiling



Keep it short


To encourage customers to read your SMS, share short and concise messages as customers might lose interest while reading lengthy messages.


Always get to the point in minimal words and to make it an effective message include a strong CTA with a direct link. This will help customers understand what to do next and how to respond to the message.



Personalize your SMS campaign


Each subscriber has their own product preference and if you share the same message to all the customers then your campaign won’t make much impact.


Customers majorly expect from the brands to share personalized messages. To establish a good relationship with your customer, address them using their first name, and send offers that are relevant to them based on location, or previous purchase history.




Final Thoughts


SMS marketing is an excellent platform for smart eCommerce marketers to bridge the gap amongst all the channels (email, social media), scale-down cart abandonment rates, uplift sales and become the best in the eCommerce market.


For instance, An exceptional retail company, Redbox uses SMS marketing to engage its customers. They personalize their messages and promote DVD rentals. Its “The 10 Days of deals” SMS campaign generated nearly 1.5 million text messages, resulting in more than 200,000 new Redbox Text Club Members.


A well-planned SMS marketing strategy is the best solution for higher customer retention and nurturing the relationship with subscribers by notifying them about upcoming sales, product launches, events, and offers of their interest.




This guest post was written by Wigzo