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Insights Into The Best SMS Marketing

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It’s been said that to be successful at something, you need to find someone that’s already done what you want to do, then emulate them. You don’t need to create or rewrite the rulebook every time. This is true of marketing too. While it’s a creative field, there are tried and true examples of what works. This is why case studies are so important to helping you understand how something like SMS marketing can work for you.

The Experian Marketing Services company published a report highlighting two anonymous case studies of brands using SMS messaging. There’s a lot to learn from their examples that could help your SMS marketing. Let’s take a look at what they found and how you might put it to work for you.

Email, SMS, or both?

Many businesses already have well established email lists for their marketing. They might be questioning whether they need to add SMS at all, or if it makes sense to try and convert their email customers to SMS.  The answer may surprise you.

Experian’s first example is about dual subscribers: customers on both email and SMS marketing lists. As they point out, it’s a very dedicated customer who will join both lists. To see if being on both lists had any measurable impact on their purchasing behaviour, they looked at the number of transactions per customer.  First they looked at email only subscribers, then at customers who were subscribed to both.

It turns out that dual subscribers are 3.9x more likely to buy than email only subscribers. The lesson is these dedicated customers are on the lookout for great deals from you and will buy more frequently.

The one thing that this case study leaves out though, is the transaction rate for SMS messaging alone. Would SMS only subscribers buy as often as dual subscribers? From this example alone we can’t tell. The next case study though gives us a bit more information.

SMS only vs. Email

In the second Experian case study, they take a much harder look at the impact of SMS messaging on transactions. They actually break up SMS into two categories: push and pull. The push category is when the brand pushes SMS offers to the customer. These are things like sales, holiday offers and such.

Pull messages are when the customer had to text a reply code to get an offer. It isn’t clear whether the pull initiated from a push SMS message, TV ad, in-store signage, or other channel. But somehow the customer knew that if they texted a certain reply code they’d get a special offer.

They tracked the number of messages sent, and the transaction rate for those messages for both push and pull SMS messages. For push messages with a volume of 2 million messages or more, the average transaction rate was about .4%. Pull messages had a transaction rate nearly 85 times higher on average, at about 34%. The volume of messages was much lower and varied more greatly than for push messages, but the return was consistently, and significantly higher.

In addition to looking at just SMS, the report compares these numbers to industry average email rates. The mobile SMS campaigns outperformed email only by significant margins. Transaction rates were ten times higher, and revenue per message was just over three times higher.

Putting it all together

Both these case studies highlight the potentially high profit to be found using SMS messaging. If you’ve been on the fence whether or not to add SMS to your marketing mix, this type of data is hard to ignore.

For companies that already run SMS and email campaigns, but have been wondering whether to choose between email and SMS marketing, you might want to consider running your own test to see if you have dual subscribers – and if you have similar results. If you find there’s little overlap in your lists, you may want to consider promoting your SMS program to your email list before giving it up entirely. You just might create some dual subscribers and higher transaction rates!

If you have to choose though, for whatever reason, the second case study makes the point that SMS marketing performs much better than email. And this isn’t the only case study to show that either. Beginning SMS marketing is probably easier than you might think, less expensive than you might think, and certainly profitable as this data shows.

Success stories like these are great examples of what SMS marketing can do. Now just follow the examples and you’ll be on your way to success too.

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