Marketers need no convincing about the outstanding potential of SMS. Just look at the often-touted 98% open rate as an example of the effectiveness of texting. Despite the compelling reasons to use SMS — such as a 45% response rate compared to 8% for email — brands are often guilty of turning to text irregularly, such as when there’s a sale to announce. That’s leaving money on the table. Integrate SMS with your long-term email marketing, graduate from one-off campaigns to a yearlong calendar, and you can unlock the full potential of such a powerful channel.
Here’s how to get SMS marketing right.
Build Consistent Communications
Your SMS marketing should have the same consistency and cadence as your established email campaigns. To get into today’s crowded inbox instead of the spam folder requires a period of warming up, followed by sending valuable, targeted content regularly. The same applies with SMS. It’s easier to conceive, tease, and unleash your sales campaigns with SMS if you’re already familiar to your mobile users.
Email marketing alone doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting. SMS can take up some of the burden for both promotional and transactional messages. Because it’s so urgent and impossible to ignore, consider following up on important emails about orders, deliveries, or sales with SMS.
Keep It Personal but Respect Boundaries
There’s an often-repeated maxim in SMS marketing that a text message from a business should still sound as if it’s from a friend. Admittedly, friends don’t often announce VIP discounts, but they do interact in a way that is concise, clear, and quirky, not formal and corporate.
In other words, keep the tone of SMS messages personal. At the same time, don’t take for granted the fact that SMS is hard to avoid. Other than the obvious considerations, like only sending to those who have explicitly opted in, pick sending times that don’t encroach on personal time, and avoid sending any message that isn’t relevant. Think of SMS as just one step away from giving a customer a call. You wouldn’t dial them up unless there was something urgent, important, or of direct interest.
Given that almost 50% of emails sent each day are spam, SMS offers a much more attractive alternative to the overcrowded inbox. For now. Spam your mobile users with irrelevant notifications and they’ll learn to ignore SMS too — or block you altogether.
Integrating SMS and Email Into Campaigns
Once your customers are used to receiving messages from you by both SMS and email, you can leverage the advantages of SMS in completing the tasks email often struggles to do. Abandoned carts, for example, are notoriously difficult to convert by email, yet come into play for a staggering 80% of online sales. As an alternative approach, the urgency of SMS can seal the deal (provided that the mobile checkout process is frictionless).
Unlock the concise, personal, and instant features of SMS for:
- Deals and promotions (coupons are supported on SMS)
- Stock or flash sale alerts
- Urgent customer service (e.g., shipping updates)
- Pleasant surprises (e.g., birthday gifts or Mother’s Day discounts)
In turn, that allows you to double down on email’s key capabilities:
- In-depth and educational information
- Brand and community building
- Nurturing from new customer to VIP subscriber
Consumer attention spans are stretched and distracted, but SMS hits the sweet spot for what users consider acceptable and tolerable. As more businesses turn to SMS for their campaigns, the challenge for marketers who want to stay relevant is building a relationship throughout the year. Get customers used to hearing from you by text and you’ll create a channel that is urgent, direct, and personal, with the potential to significantly affect revenue.