SMS Marketing: Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices

Customers today are interacting with businesses in far more ways than before beyond just visiting a brick-and-mortar location. We’re Googling the shops we go to, visiting the websites of restaurants we eat at, and even getting marketing messages from smartphone notifications and SMS texts.

SMS advertising is effective precisely because of smart devices. When we receive a short message directly to a device in our pockets, it’s far more immediate and accessible to us. And more people are carrying around smartphones than ever before as well, so the target audience is rather vast.

What Is SMS Marketing?

Standing for “short message service,” SMS is the use of text messaging to market your brand to your customers. Naturally, the messages here are usually plain text with a short length (less than 160 characters in most cases).

What Is SMS Marketing?

Businesses use SMS marketing to promote brand awareness, customer engagement, and sales. SMS is also useful for conveying transactional information, such as order confirmations, shipping updates, appointment reminders, and abandoned cart notifications.

Companies often send out bulk SMS promotional messages, a separate strategy that has to do with promotional content specifically. An example would be a text messaging detailing a seasonal sale for Christmas or Black Friday.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

But SMS message marketing can be used for far more than sales and holidays. Year round, companies know that messages stand out as a unique channel for communicating with clients for several reasons.

  • It’s fast and direct: You receive a text message instantly and, because of the notification, usually read it quickly as well. In fact, 90% of people read a text message within the first 3 minutes.

This immediate nature makes SMS perfect for time-sensitive promotions or any type of urgent brand message.

  • It can integrate with other marketing efforts: Market research has shown that SMS can be a useful tool for encouraging engagement with other aspects of your marketing effort, such as surveys, emails, and social media.
  • You can gain valuable insights: By measuring ROI and response rates, you can gauge what kind of content drives engagement the most in your audience. The insights you receive regarding consumer interests can be used to personalize the messages further.
  • It’s an intimate approach to marketing: Unlike the annoyance of spam emails, text marketing is a fairly unique and personal way to engage with the audience.

Now that you understand the strengths of an SMS marketing strategy, let’s dive into some of its best practices.

SMS Campaign Management Best Practices

Advertising through text messaging has been around since text messaging has been around, but businesses are still finding ways to optimize and better their efforts. Even small changes can have drastic impacts on click-through-rates and other important sales metrics. What we recommend the most are the following.

Make It a Positive Experience

An SMS campaign is more impactful when it’s convenient, user-friendly, and useful to the recipient.

  • Before sending a message, think to yourself what value the recipient will get from reading the text. Make sure you have a solid answer to that question before hitting “send.”
  • Avoid sending too many messages so that you end up annoying your customers. You also want an easy way to opt out of the texts, such as an unsubscribe link or an option to send a “STOP” message back.
  • Keep it short and to the point. For any additional information, include a link to follow or a supplementary email.
  • At the same time, don’t use too much text slang, which not everyone will understand and will make your business seem unprofessional.
  • Time your messages at convenient moments in the day. A notification sound at 3 AM in the morning isn’t likely to generate a positive reception.

SMS is a powerful tool that can also harm your reputation if done poorly. Keep the best interests of your audience in mind while composing a new text.

SMS Campaign Management Best Practices

Make It Personal

Text messaging is a far more intimate way of interacting with the audience compared to other methods of advertising. To that end, try to personalize the message by addressing customers by their first names. Make the content relevant based on location, previous purchases, and preferences.

Have a Call-To-Action

Every time you send a marketing text, you want the recipient to take some kind of action, whether it’s to fill out a survey or visit a website to make a purchase. That’s where the call-to-action comes into play.

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A customer must know what to do, why it’s worth doing, and what time frame is involved. Call-to-actions are how you drive ROI with SMS marketing.

Don’t Abandon Other Marketing Channels

SMS is certainly a powerful tool, and we’ve compared it favorably to email marketing in this article. However, you can (and should) combine SMS and email marketing together. Both are personalized and permission-based channels that complement each other rather well.

You can use detailed email messages to build a relationship with potential buyers while using text messaging to bolster that relationship through discounts. For instance, use a text message to tell users to check for an email you’re about to send out.

Use Marketing Automation

Don’t worry; you don’t have to tap in every single SMS message your business sends out. SMS marketing software and automation tools like ActiveTrail can help. These solutions allow you to:

  • Send messages out in bulk
  • Segment your audience to personalize the marketing
  • Collecting important metrics and generate reports

Automation takes away all the menial work so that you can focus on maximizing ROI and adjusting your marketing push according to customer behaviors.

Spruce Up Your SMS Marketing Plans With ActiveTrail

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Spruce Up Your SMS Marketing Plans With ActiveTrail

Being able to seamlessly create, automate, and manage marketing campaigns is a must-have. The challenge is finding a platform that can tie all of these channels together into one seamless experience.

Are you interested in SMS marketing but not sure where to start? Or do you already have an initiative in place but are having trouble improving it?

Start your free trial of ActiveTrail today and see how our marketing automation platform can help you put your campaigns on autopilot.