Scoring feels good, especially when it’s easy.
In golf, it’s a gimme, in basketball it’s a layup, in mobile marketing it’s SMS. But marketers are often skeptical about the efficacy of text messages because, most of the time, they’re misused. But a strong SMS strategy can produce significant returns. How significant? In the case of Country Life, SMS campaigns resulted in a nearly 86% conversion rate and a 91% lift in email subscriptions.
Think about it: with email, folks can just type in their address in exchange for whatever current promo you’ve got going on, then neatly file your marketing messages away in a folder they’ll never read or unsubscribe from your list.
But when somebody signs up to let your brand text them, they want to hear from you. So let’s talk about some fundamental truths when it comes to SMS marketing.
SMS Marketing Truth Bomb #1: If your customers love you, they want to hear from you outside of the inbox.
Email is a crowded space. Your inbox is probably filling up as you read this. Generally speaking, consumers are more likely to miss your email efforts than simply because they get bombarded with messages from many different brands.
And, in the hierarchy of messaging, email can feel a little formal.
If you want to grab dinner with friends or your significant other, are you going to email them? Nope. You’re past that. You know these people: you’re going to send them a text.
That holds true for brands too. SMS marketing works best when you’re interacting with existing, already loyal customers. New customers might feel like texts or intrusive, or too much, too fast.
When customers sign up to receive text messages from your brand, they are interested in building a relationship with your company. They want to get to know you better.
They’ve given you their number. Now it’s time to make a connection.
SMS Marketing Truth Bomb #2: Texts from a brand should open up a VIP experience and a real value exchange.
Integrating SMS into your overall mobile marketing strategy is an excellent way to give your customers a more white-glove experience.
Treat their invitation to text them like a royal invitation from a benevolent queen and use it wisely. That means providing extra value. Give them access to exclusive sales or promotions, VIP-only content, or the opportunity to get reminders if they left items in their cart.
Whatever you do, don’t spam your VIPs. These are the customers that are most likely to drive long-term value for your brand, and you want them to be your word-of-mouth advocates.
Think about how you want your customers to feel when they get a text from your brand: happy, excited, ready to engage or make a purchase? Or irritated, because you’ve sent them twenty things that are also coming to their inbox and showing up in Instagram ads?
You do the math.
SMS Marketing Truth Bomb #3: Conversions from SMS are driven by consideration for your customer.
Your SMS marketing should be beneficial, not intrusive.
Here are 3 key considerations to take into consideration when you set up your SMS strategy:
- Pay attention to timing: Back in the days of corded phones (if you don’t know what that is, google it), there was nothing more annoying than a telemarketer calling around dinner time. Treat your customers with respect or those VIPs will soon unsubscribe and turn to your competitors. So don’t text early in the morning, around dinner time, or extremely late.
- Keep it short: Don’t send your customers a giant tome of a text. Keep it concise and get straight to the point. If the message you’re trying to get across can’t be communicated in 160 characters or less, it’s not the right fit for SMS.
- Avoid Being Spammy: Be cool. Just because a customer gave you their number doesn’t mean you should text them a lot. So while it might be tempting to hit them up with every piece of promotion you’ve got, take a step back and ask yourself if the text you’re sending needs to be sent
SMS Marketing Truth Bomb #4: Integrate your text efforts with your email strategy for best results
When I asked Courtney Syrop, one of our mobile marketing experts, if SMS would replace email, her answer was an emphatic no.
Instead, she suggested that brands start looking to seamlessly integrate email and SMS for a powerful mobile marketing punch. Because, while SMS converts really well when deployed correctly, there are limitations.
You shouldn’t necessarily send the shiny new catalog of your latest product release or an educational article that adds value over text.
The combination of email and SMS can build a seamless conversation that includes both long-form content or editorial and quick VIP offers or promotions that help drive conversions.
A strong SMS strategy can boost performance with your highest value customers if you do it right.