Basic Things to Know About SMS Marketing.
For some reason, when many business owners think of digital marketing, they think of social media marketing, SEO, PPC advertising and email marketing but don’t seem to consider SMS. The reason SMS marketing may be overlooked is probably that many people have not been exposed to how effective it is.
What is SMS Marketing
Before we get into how effective text message marketing is, what is SMS marketing? SMS or text message marketing is simply a form of marketing whereby promotional messages are sent to customers through text messaging. Any marketing material sent out using text messages is SMS or text message marketing. Now, if you are reading this and wondering what the fuss is about because you get SMS from brands and still don’t understand how it could transform your business, well, let me introduce you to some stats.
You see, approximately 3.8 billion people own smartphones in 2021. And that’s not counting those who own other mobile phones – that although are not smartphones – can receive text messages. Now, of this vast number, more than 60% of people on the average read their SMS within 5 minutes. Besides this, SMS is also said to have a 98% open rate compared to email marketing. The reasons for this are not far-fetched.
Why SMS Marketing?
There is the fact that text message marketing is personal and customers have been known to prefer personal communication. That’s why it is a best practice in marketing to personalise your marketing copy. The more seen the customer feels, the better for your business. If you give your customers a sense of belonging, you are likely to get loyal customers who will take your business like theirs. And text message marketing is a great way to get this because like I mentioned earlier, it is more personal or at least, feels more personal than others.
Although many people disable notification for social media and email because of how disruptive and distracting they are, they rarely do that for SMS. After all, they probably don’t have as many SMS notifications as they do for the aforementioned anyway. So, you would be taking advantage of the fact that they are likely to get notified when your message drops. Plus, based on the statistics above, many people don’t find it disturbing to read their text messages as much as they do opening their emails.
Ease of Use
The ease of use is another reason you should consider marketing through SMS. It is not only easy on your part, it is also easy on the part of the receiver. Consider the number of people that own a phone today as mentioned earlier and imagine the possibilities. People are practically always with their phones as well. So, getting the text message, opening it and getting the information you want passed across is so easy for the customer. Also, text messages don’t need an internet connection; their phone just needs to be switched on and not on airplane mode and they will get your message. Besides that, you can rest assured that unless you are marked as spam, your message will not end up in the spam box.
It is also arguably the cheapest marketing channel, which is a good option for small businesses with budget constraints. Depending on the number of customers, you could manually send group text messages or you could decide to use any of the SMS marketing platforms available that provide bulk SMS services. And each of these options is affordable.
Now, like all other marketing channels, text messaging marketing is not without its challenges. Some of them include;
The highest number of characters you can get for most SMS platforms is 160 and some are even less than that. So, they are not suitable for all kinds of campaigns as some campaigns might demand long content. And even for the short content, you have to make sure to pass your message in as few words as possible.
Like email marketing, you are not advised to send SMS to people without getting their permission. So, you have to first find a way to encourage customers to opt-in to receive marketing materials from you via text message. If not, you will be marked as spam. And in these days of so many spam or fraudulent messages, you don’t want your brand to be marked as one of them. Plus, in some countries, it is even illegal to send text messages to your customers without getting their permission to do so.
Due to the opt-in aspect, you can only reach a restricted number of people that have opted in to receive SMS from you. For this reason, you can hardly use text messaging marketing for campaigns targeted at getting new customers. This is because most of the people who have opted in to receive text messages from you are already either customers or considering it. And so, marketing targeted at telling them about the brand will be unnecessary, your messages will most likely be to tell them about new products, events or inform them of certain changes within the brand. So, you may have to combine with other marketing channels to get new customers or to create brand awareness.
To conclude, let me say that despite the challenges, we can see from the benefits that SMS marketing is actually very effective, especially in communicating with existing customers. After all, retaining customers is just as important as getting new customers.