SMS marketing and mass text marketing services are the hot trend in marketing right now, but why? With so many tools at our fingertips, what sets SMS apart from email, push notifications, and other customer retention techniques?

Not only does SMS have a very specific role within the world of retention marketing, but it has perks that simply cannot be replicated by other tools. The immediacy of SMS is what has taken it from a pipe dream into a multi-million dollar reality.

In order to help you understand why an increasing amount of businesses are utilizing SMS marketing, we have put together this article on the value that SMS can bring to a business. However, along with that we have also include best practices on how to make sure you are not only doing it, but doing it correctly. Let’s get started.

What is the value of SMS marketing?

While email marketing has dominated the industry for years, SMS has only recently been accepted as a valuable means of marketing. The first thing we want you to know is that SMS will never replace email. They both have set purposes that they are better equipped to fill.

The second thing we want to say about SMS is that it is intimate and immediate. If you are used to sending an email, waiting a few hours (or days) for a response, and then picking back up again, you might need to switch your mentality when it comes to SMS.

SMS has a 19% click-through rate and these messages are read on average in 5 seconds of being received.

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Therefore, to run an efficient and effective SMS marketing campaign, you need to plan for this immediacy. Not only that, but you need to start off strong, since in a recent study 90% of participants in SMS loyalty programs feel they gained value from being members, it’s your job to wow them as soon as possible and make sure they see value.

How to do it properly

One of the most difficult things about SMS marketing is making sure you do it right. While email is notorious for spam messages, only 1% messages are spam. The reason for this is strict rules on exactly what you can put into an SMS.

In order to make sure that you are obeying these procedures and using best practices, here are a few of our favorite tips when it comes to SMS marketing.

Understanding the rules

Before getting started, it is worth reviewing the TCPA regulations on what can and cannot be done in SMS marketing. However, the most important thing you need to know is that you can only send text messages to customers who have explicitly opted in for you to do so. This is not an optional thing.

As we mentioned, spam is a huge problem for email, but email also has looser restrictions. The best way to avoid having a problem here is to ask your prospects to manually click and option to sign up for text messaging. While this makes lead acquisition more difficult, every lead you generate will be much stronger and have a higher chance of converting.

Timing is everything

Since SMS marketing is so immediate, timing when you are going to send your targeted messaging is critically important. Remember that mobile users that open these messages do so within 5 seconds.

What this means is that your objective should be to reach your user just before they make a buying decision. For example, a pizza shop might send texts around noon, while a plumbing business might use SMS to schedule appointments. Think about when your users are likely to make decisions and try your best to get your messaging to them right then.

Restrict messages to 160 characters

While there are specific reasons why you should limit your SMS messages to less than 160 characters, the core idea is that these messages should be short and to the point. Your customers will use email if they want to read something longer than this, so avoid going over.

Additionally, most carriers split up text messages into multiple parts if they exceed 160 characters. Since you never know what device the user will be using, restrict your messages to below this number.

Include CTAs in every text

CTAs or Calls-to-Action are the foundation of SMS marketing. Why send a text unless you want to have an immediate response and action? This is the beauty of SMS marketing, but it can also be difficult to do well.

While email marketing allows you to manipulate your message however you want, SMS is much stricter when it comes to design. This is why many companies opt for either making their CTA as simple as sending a word or phrase back to the number it was received from. Others include a smart url at the end of their messages, prompting the user to click through for more information.

No matter what you decide as far as approach is concern, the important thing is that you always include a CTA in every text. Without a CTA, your user has no next step and ends up in a dead end.

Further mistakes to avoid

Now that you have a good understanding of the dos of SMS marketing, let’s talk about the don’ts. While best practices can give you an extra boost, these mistakes and problems need to be avoided at all costs.

  • Regurgitating messaging from other channels: SMS is unique and should be treat as such. Use it when it is necessary, but don’t add it to just another list of channels. SMS works best when it is exclusive.
  • Spamming customers: Again, SMS should be used as a tool in and of itself. The quickest way to lose a valuable lead is by annoying them with constant messaging.
  • Not integrating: Even though SMS is a tool best used on its own, you still need a way for users to enroll in the program. By not integrating SMS into your signups on your site or app, you could have the best program in the world with no one to enjoy it.
  • Inconsistent messaging: On the flip side of spamming users, inconsistent messaging can also be a major turn-off. Mobile users often will need a second to remember who you are as SMS messaging doesn’t allow titles or subjects. If you messages are painfully inconsistent, this will be even longer and may lead them to avoid your messages altogether.

Hopefully now that you know the dos and don’ts of SMS marketing, you will have a chance to try it out (or try it again) with great success. You will be surprised at the power of text marketing to not only reduce churn rate across the board, but engage clients on a new level never experienced before!

About the Author: Aishwar Babber is a passionate blogger and digital marketer. He loves to talk and blog about latest tech and gadgets, which motivates him to run GizmoBase. He is also practicing his digital marketing, SEO and SMO skills to become a marketing expert and live a successful entrepreneur’s life.