The rise of smartphones has put a limitless source of information right into our pockets and made us much easier accessible through a wide variety of different channels. Not only to our families and friends though – nowadays, the brands are also equipped with various tools that allow them to reach their audiences anytime, anywhere.
As great as it sounds from the marketer’s perspective, it actually comes with some new challenges. Even though digital communication and advertising has evolved a lot, so did the user’s ability to filter out even the most attention-grabbing banners and ignore emails, not to mention the increased use of various ad blocking software during the last few years. When the reducing open and click rates affect the overall effectiveness of such channels, there is no other way but to remember and take advantage of the most direct solution that still works wonders – good old SMS.
Quick facts about SMS marketing
Before we go through all the tips and tricks of creating a winning message for text marketing, here are some quick yet really impressive statistics for those who are less familiar with the concept:
- SMS messages have a mind-blowing 98% open rate and are usually read within the first 3 minutes of delivery (Source: Gartner)
- 74% of mobile phone owners have no unread text messages (Source: State of Texting Report 2020)
- While it takes about 90 minutes on average to respond to an email, text messages get answered in about 90 seconds (Source: TechJury)
- 97% of companies admits that communication with their customers improved after launching text messaging initiatives (Source: Statista)
As you can see, the numbers are truly compelling, however, achieving them definitely requires some additional effort and knowledge. Here are some key “do’s” and “don’ts” that you should keep in mind in order to get those clicks.
5 key DO’s of bulk SMS messaging
1. Keep it simple
"Less is more" is the concept that can be adjusted to many industries to create the highest value in the simplest way possible. Bulk SMS marketing is not an exception, and it's actually one of the reasons that make text messages so effective.
They are short and direct, and you have a limited number of characters to pass your message to the customer – make each of them count. Be brief and straightforward, say only what is important, avoid using complex terms or acronyms that might make your text more difficult to understand. Try to clearly express your offer to ensure that your audience truly gets the purpose of your message.
2. Put a lot of thought into the timing
Have you ever received a call from a telemarketer that was just not at the right place and certainly not the right time? Do not be one of them. Timing is crucial and cannot be overlooked when scheduling your SMS messages.
Since SMS is very personal and is guaranteed to land into your customer’s phone wherever s/he is, it should happen at appropriate times. Consider everything that is under your control - dinner time, rush hours, early mornings, or late evenings… Anytime you would be less likely disturbed by a message yourself.
3. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA)
Not only do you want your messages to be read, but you also want them to convert and bring you some noticeable benefits. For this, you would want your message to contain a clear call-to-action – something that tells your customers exactly what to do next.
Whether you want them to respond to their scheduled appointment, visit your site, or simply claim a discount, give them instructions on how to do it. This would give you the highest chances of getting something back and engage with your audience at the same time.
4. Make your customers feel special
So you’ve collected a decent subscriber list and want to start sending messages. Don’t just think of them as one soulless group – work towards making each of them feel special.
Your customers gave you their permission to send them messages, so use it wisely not to disappoint them yet benefit from it. If possible, add a personal touch to your messages (e. g. address them by their names), offer exclusive deals, special discounts, something they would not be able to get anywhere else. Make them feel valued as individual customers and see how it works out for your business.
5. Consent matters - get it
Not only is it common sense to ask your customers for permission to send them messages, but it is also a legal requirement. Although it might sound like a threat to marketers, it is really more like an opportunity to filter out your audience and communicate only with those who are truly interested in what you have to say.
This added value of such customers might result in higher open rates, better response, and better engagement. They trust you with their personal data already, why wouldn’t they trust you with your products?
5 key DON’TS of bulk SMS messaging
1. Spamming your customers will never work
Bulk SMS works well, however, it does not mean that sending as many messages as possible will get you more sales. Quite the opposite, actually - the chances are that your customers will only get frustrated, start ignoring your messages, and sooner or later choose to opt-out.
By agreeing to receive your messages, your subscribers expect value – and this is what you should give them. Don’t just say something for the sake of reminding them about yourself. The frequency of your messages is as important as timing and might lead to the loss of potential sales if used incorrectly.
2. Don’t just try to sell
There’s that rule in email marketing – write like you talk. If you want your readers to engage with your content, you have to sound like one of them. The same goes for bulk SMS messaging.
The latest researches indicate that an average modern person sees or hears up to 5000 ads per day. 5000! The number itself suggests that some of them are filtered out instantly, and your goal is to prevent that from happening to your offer. Obviously, if you are sending business messages your primary goal is to convert them into sales, but always remember you're still speaking to people - try to keep the right balance between human communication and a sales pitch.
3. Don’t forget to identify your business
Since we already know that your message competes with ~5000 other messages every day, it is important to make sure that your name stands out once it gets noticed.
It is normal to introduce yourself in any human situation for the first time, and it is not different in SMS marketing. Getting a message from a random, unknown number increases the chances of being ignored and ending up as spam; meanwhile, showcasing your business name gives your business transparency, makes you more familiar, relevant, and easier to engage with.
4. Don’t be boring
Imagine if someone kept sending you the exact same thing over and over again… If this is something you wouldn’t enjoy, neither will your customers.
Mix your communication up a little bit. There are many options to do it – send updates, discounts and coupons, alerts and notifications, thank you messages, allow your customers to easily reschedule their appointments, use two-way communication, etc. Always seek new ways to improve it, bringing benefits both for your business and your customer.
5. Don't miss out an opt-out option
The ability to opt-out is as important as getting your customers’ consent to send them messages. Things change and your offers might become less relevant for specific people as well.
Allowing your customers to unsubscribe at any time makes them trust your business more and, who knows, maybe will encourage them to come back later. To be respected, be respectful.
Ready to craft an effective SMS?
SMS marketing is a relatively cheap way to engage and keep in touch with your customers that can be very effective when done right. It is important to remember that knowing what not to do is equally important as following the key rules of sending those cheap bulk SMS messages, and this guide should help you make your first steps. Combine those Do’s and Don’ts and start turning your messages into sales!