5 Creative Ways to Use SMS Messaging to Boost Your Marketing
SMS messaging can be a hugely productive way of developing your marketing strategy. It was found by Statistic Brain that the number of text messages sent each month has grown by over 7,700% during the last decade, while more than 560 billion texts get sent every month throughout the globe.
Just on a daily basis alone, there are 18.7 billion text messages flying around worldwide – and WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger combined add to this with over 60 billion messages sent each day according to The Verge. These numbers are high for a reason – over 4.2 billion people in the world use text messages to communicate, according to MBA Online, and Nielsen reports that text messaging is the most used data service globally.
There are some key reasons why text messaging is so popular when it comes to marketing strategies. According to Text Request, it is 10 times quicker than phone calls. This helps businesses save time, money and productivity when reaching customers.
Additionally, according to SinglePoint, text messages have a 99% open rate, ensuring your marketing or sales message will have a high chance of being seen. Additionally, Forbes reports that, within three minutes of being sent, 95% of text messages will have been read. The average response time for a text message is 90 seconds according to CTIA, while texting takes up to 33% of mobile usage time for millennial users. 96% of smartphone owners text, as reported by the Pew Research Center, with the average adult spending 23 hours per week texting, according to USA Today.
However, that all being said, as SlickText has found, text messages are read – on average – in less than 5 seconds. That means you only have a short period of time in which you can impress your potential customer. People are starved of concentration thanks to hundreds of digital and offline distractions, along with the many other companies all reaching out to them through SMS. In order to be effective and get the most from SMS text messages, you need to be creative with your SMS marketing. So here’s how…
Use SMS messaging to establish engagement
SMS messages are a deeply personal way to reach out to customers. You are quite literally sending your message into their pocket or handbag. As such, it is important that you write to them in a personalised and thoughtful way.
Once you have done so (for example, “Hi Kate, you’ve qualified for a discounted hair cut. Call now to book your appointment. Offer expires by Friday”), you can then use these messages to establish which customers are most engaged and build on this. Through offering an incentive that they need to call or visit you to enjoy, you’ll be able to see which customers are most interested in your text messages.
You can then use this data to send them more targeted or sales-driven communications in the future. If you are honest and friendly, without being overbearing, you’ll build engagement.
Integrate your SMS campaigns with other channels
Your SMS text messages shouldn’t work in isolation when being sent out. Unite them with your other communications strategies in order to optimise your success rate. Your text message doesn’t need to do all the work by itself. Adding links to your text messages can drive customers towards your site. Sending out a newsletter shortly afterwards can remind them of your text offer if they missed it. You can also drive people towards subscribing to your newsletter through your text messages, which can in turn increase their engagement over time from numerous marketing channels. You can also request they call you for a special offer.
Add unique links
Through putting unique links into your SMS campaigns, you will be able to track who has clicked on them and what they are most interested in. You can then use this data to direct your marketing to this audience in a more targeted, considered way.
Run customer surveys
You have a very limited time in which you can capture the attention of your audience. However, through customer surveys you can often learn more about them, which can be valuable for targeting your marketing towards them. In order to get them to actually complete the survey, it is always best to offer some kind of sales incentive – such as a discount or free gift that can be claimed once you have completed the survey. Through sending these surveys out at different times, you will be able to see from your customer’s response times what sort of time of day is best to contact them in order to get a response or interaction.
Establish who your influencers are
Not all your customers will have the same impact on your business – some will have far more influence, and these are the ones you need to identify. Through social media, you can establish this with those who are posting images about your company, who are hashtagging or marking their visit at your business, or who have large followings and have the potential to spread the word far and wide. The best-personalised marketing tool available to you is word of mouth, so establishing who can offer this through SMS messaging is incredibly valuable.
By sending out a set of simple questions to your customers, you can quickly learn more about their behaviours. For example, through asking them to rate how likely they would be to tell their friends or family about you on a scale of 1 to 10, you’ll be able to establish from those who text back with a high response what type of value they have. This can then be passed on to your sales department. Of course, it’s not an absolute given but these are certainly the people you should be looking to target and focus on most specifically.
Often people think of their SMS messages as being a one-way communication stream with customers, but the best way of boosting your marketing efforts is through engaging in a dialogue with them. When phrasing your text messages, think of ways to create a discussion with them. Add their name, personalise the communications, and finish on a question. Think of the way that you would engage with a friend when you want a response – this is something you need to consider, albeit in a professional sense when it comes to reaching out to customers. This type of relationship will be much stronger and more effective than anything else.
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The drive to earn and retain consumer loyalty is big business in the UK. Increasingly, companies are grasping the important role SMS text messaging can play in this. Customers’ mobile phone numbers are gold dust. The most forward-looking companies are developing systems to encourage customers to opt-in. Then, they are structuring SMS campaigns to build loyalty and reap maximum commercial advantage from it.
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Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
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