Do customers even read them?
SMS is dead in 2022, just like Myspace.
When you have Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, you don’t need SMS for marketing.
This is how many marketing teams worldwide think about SMS marketing.
Are they right? Absolutely not. They couldn’t be more wrong.
SMS marketing is extremely relevant for communicating with customers today. If it’s not part of your marketing communication mix, you are definitely missing out on sales and providing a suboptimal customer experience.
Sounds hard to believe? Let’s understand SMS marketing in detail.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing involves sending business-related SMS, transactional and promotional, to customers in various situations. SMS marketing has been around for more than 2 decades now.
Earlier, businesses used to manually send text messages to customers. It used to be cumbersome, especially if you had to message a large number of customers.
Now, there are advanced software applications available that help businesses reach out to thousands of customers in an instant at the click of a button using automation.
How does SMS marketing work?
SMS marketing uses two components – keyword and short code. For example – “OFFER” could be a keyword, and “556677” could be a short code.
The keyword usually designates the reason for sending the SMS. For example, “OFFER” keyword can be sent by the customer in text messages when the customer is interested in availing a particular offer of a business.
The short-codes are short 5-6 digit numbers associated with one or multiple senders.
With the help of the keyword and the short code, SMS marketing software applications can automatically compile various lists of customers who opt-in for different promotions.
For example, assume there are two keywords – “OFFER” and “NEW,” where “OFFER” stands for availing an offer, and “NEW” stands for expressing interest in a new product. In this case, the SMS marketing software will automatically create separate lists of all potential customers who want to avail of the business offer and those who wish to purchase a new product.
Why is SMS marketing so beneficial for businesses?
SMS marketing or business SMS offers several advantages for any business –
- High open and engagement rate – SMS offers the highest open rate out of all marketing channels. Customers also find it very easy to respond to and engage with. With SMS marketing, businesses can assume a high probability that customers will notice and engage with their messages.
- Trackable – With SMS marketing, you can easily track the open rates and other metrics. For example, you can insert links or discount codes in the SMS and then track how many people click on the link or use the code compared to the number of business SMS sent.
- Instant delivery – With SMS marketing, you can instantly send a message to thousands of customers within seconds. This helps in creating viral promotions for your offers.
- Customer lists – Advanced SMS marketing software applications help to automatically create segmented lists of customers. Businesses can identify differences between various segments and adopt appropriate strategies to target each customer segment effectively.
- Personalization – A corollary of having the ability to create custom segmented customer lists is that businesses are equipped with the ability to send personalized messages to customers. This helps to provide enhanced customer delight.
- Low-cost deployment – SMS marketing is an inexpensive way to communicate with customers, as compared to running costly ads on Facebook or YouTube.
6 SMS marketing strategies to enhance customer experience
SMS marketing offers businesses a lot of flexibility to provide an enhanced customer experience. Here are 6 effective strategies businesses can use with SMS marketing –
- New product alerts – Businesses can immediately alert their entire customer base whenever they launch a new product. This way, they can ensure successful launches of their new products.
- Short-term promotions – Businesses can send personalized discount codes to customers, based on past purchase behavior. Businesses can also conduct lightning sales for their products and inform customers via text messages about the short duration of such sales. For example – businesses can conduct a short 1-hour flash sale and immediately notify thousands of customers of this sale.
- Transactional updates – Customers can receive updates on payment, order processing, and delivery status automatically with the help of SMS marketing.
- Reminders – Service-based businesses such as dental clinics or legal firms can send periodic SMS reminders to their clients for appointments booked online. Businesses can also send reminders for important events, such as the launch of a new product or a new sale promotion.
- Polls – Businesses can engage customers by polling their opinion using SMS marketing. They can seek feedback on sales, products, and any business decision instantly. Polls are a fun way to engage customers without taking much of their time.
- Customer feedback – Besides polls, businesses can use SMS marketing to collect detailed and measurable feedback on their products or service from customers.
SMS marketing best v/s worst practices
Even though SMS marketing can be effective and profitable, businesses can easily abuse it. Over the top use of SMS marketing can definitely annoy customers. Here are 3 best practices and 3 worst practices every business should keep in mind while using SMS marketing:
3 Best Practices for business SMS –
- Ask your customers to opt-in and give them the option to opt-out.
- Keep messages short. Sending lengthy messages will reduce the engagement rate. Long messages can also confuse customers and be simply ignored by them.
- Personalize messages to give them a more humane touch and increase customer delight.
3 Worst Practices for business SMS –
- Disregarding the time when sending messages. No one likes to be sent messages late at night or in the early mornings.
- Sending too many texts. Customers will simply not take your messages seriously.
- Only sending promotions.
Choose a reliable SMS marketing partner
SMS marketing can truly do wonders for your business. However, you should ensure that you select a reliable SMS marketing partner, like Airtel IQ, that will provide you intelligent insights into your SMS marketing strategies.