In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, the proper SMS marketing strategy is absolutely crucial to ensuring that a business achieves the success that it desires. Nearly 90% of all of today’s consumers want to message with businesses; therefore, no business – whether small or large – can afford to be left without SMS. Your business must communicate in a relevant and personalized manner with timely information that is important to your customers. SMS marketing is a truly effective method of making instant connections with your customers. Continue reading to learn the best practices associated with the endeavor.
1. Reach Customers Exactly Where They Are
Messaging refers to any type of communication that is sent over a digital channel. This includes in-app chats, email, and SMS. For the purpose and intent of this guide, we are going to focus on SMS. This is because this channel allows you to reach customers exactly where they are and most of those customers prefer SMS.
According to statistics, most users spend nearly 4 hours a day on their mobile devices. Approximately 50% of that time is spent interacting in social media apps and communication apps. An amazing 5.1 billion mobile phone users who have service subscriptions are capable of both sending and receiving text messages. SMS is a quick, inexpensive, and very easy method of communication. As a result, it is now considered one of the most universal of all digital channels.
If you want your business to have a competitive edge, it is imperative that you focus on reaching your customers through SMS – right where they are at. A total of 96% of all of the SMS that you send will be read within 3 minutes. Here is one fact that you will really like; 90% of those messages will be read within 3 seconds! 75% of all consumers that have communicated via SMS will almost instantly reward the business that sent the messages by making a purchase!
2. Obtain Permission
Now that you know that the first best practice is actually reaching customers exactly where they are, it is time for best practice #2; that is, obtaining permission. Your business should not just randomly start sending SMS to users. It must get the consumer’s permission first. Failure to do this and just start shooting off messages will ruin the reputation of your brand and you may find that your business faces many legal fees before it is all over with.
You should study and apply all of the local laws and policies associated with SMS and the CTIA Messaging Principles. These protect consumers from unwanted forms of solicitation. You must allow interested parties the ability to sign up to receive SMS texts from your business. Just like you offer an opt-in that gives you permission to send messages, remember to always include an opt-out that can be used by those consumers to stop messages. Nothing should ever be forced.
3. Timing is Everything
SMS best practices include the fact that communication should occur at the right time because timing truly is everything. You should be certain that you are sending out messages to consumers at times that are most convenient for them. Never send too early in the morning, or in the middle of the night. In some instances, sending after-hour messages may be appropriate, but not in all instances. Be aware of your customer’s location and the time zone that they are located within. As a rule of thumb, 10 am to 7 pm is ideal; however, most consumers state they prefer to receive SMS texts in the afternoon or early evening hours.
4. Frequency is Important
Just like you should watch what times you send SMS to your customers, you should also pay attention to how frequently you send those messages. There is no one that wants to receive a highly abundant number of messages from a business. When your customer signs up, you should outline how often they will receive messages from you. Many say that it is best to not exceed 8 messages a month while there are others that claim a business should send no more than 4 messages a month. You must practice perseverance. Remember, the goal is to attract customers, not push them away.
5. Focus on Messaging Intelligence
Many businesses have made the mistake of looking at messaging as a simple exchange between their company and customer or prospects. While – on the surface – this is true, when you are sending SMS as a business, you must do so in an intelligent fashion. This means that you should carefully analyze the content that you share, ensure you are delivering the message to the right audience, and appropriately responding within the right context of the original message. This may all be accomplished by electing to use AI programs with SMS. You should consider incorporating this technology in your efforts because it can help enhance the customer experience, overall.
It is often referred to as “contextual intelligence”. If you use it wisely, the individuals that you send SMS to will have a more efficient and highly personalized experience. These programs are designed to identify the needs of the customer and automate the appropriate actions to those anticipated needs. This level of intelligence can assist in resolving issues, recognizing needs, and even directing customers. It is a means of engaging with a large number of people without ever having to worry over the general quality of that unique interaction.
6. Keep it Simple
It is a known fact that simple is better. This fact applies to SMS for businesses. You should focus on being innovative, engaging, and very brief. It is better to get to the point when it comes to SMS. If you fail to keep it simple and lose the balance, it is quite likely that you will find that your business receives a vast array of opt-outs. The shrinkage of your contact list will immediately affect your success rate AND your profits. If you aim for brevity and your audience appreciates your balance, they will give your message the same level of attention as they would those received by relatives and personal friends.
SMS texts should be informal. They should be quick and have the ability to be read from even a locked screen or a watch. They should be easily understood by all who receive them. You want the minimum word count that will make the maximum impact. Have a clear call-to-action and even include information about any relevant incentive. Make sure any SMS shortcodes are clear and are not buried. Give your customers a reason to engage and an incentive to respond, but don’t bury them in complications. Short and sweet is the best strategy to “simple”.
7. Instill a High Level of Trust with Consumers
While it is true that SMS is a wonderful way to engage with customers, but that only holds true if those messages are wanted and they can be trusted. There are many new technologies out there – like Verified SMS which is offered by Google – that help deliver the best and most trusted messages to users. You should integrate any type of program that promises trustworthy information that is verified. If you do this, more individuals are likely to opt-in to what you have to offer in your SMS marketing campaign.
8. Global is Great, But Don’t Overlook Local
You should use an SMS provider that has the ability to grow with your business. It should allow you to send a high number of text and pictures within the least amount of time. Yes, you should be able to SMS on a global scale, but you should never overlook the power of going local. You should make certain that any messages that you send out are filtered by the provider so that they are delivered at the most appropriate time for your customer – based on their location.
9. Manage Responses from Consumers
You should always anticipate and be able to handle any type of responses that you receive from those that you messaged. You should place an emphasis on integrating technologies, programs, apps, and other systems that will respond in real-time and automatically. You should never attempt to handle responses one at a time because – one day – you will not be able to keep up the pace. Customers that reply to messages expect instant results. In today’s world, it is virtually impossible to succeed in this endeavor without the assistance of technological tools to assist you.
10. Seek Help
If you want to start a marketing program for your business, you should connect with a business that specializes in website creation, SEO, social media success, and SMS. We here at Brick Road Media have the capability of assisting you with all of this, and MORE! We encourage you to contact us today so that we may help you create the type of business you deserve so that you may achieve the success that you envision: 765-439-4029