Text messaging SMS has been argued by some Marketing experts that it was a dying field – but the truth is, it has the highest open rate in comparison to all other marketing channels:
With a 98% open rate overall, text messaging SMS will produce an astounding ROI of 3000%! That’s twice higher than email.
But to get the most out of it, you’ll have to optimise the performance of your SMS campaigns:
#1. Always ask your customers to opt-in
The first and foremost rule of text messaging SMS is that you can’t send promotional offers and other business messages without the permission of the recipient.
If you’re new to the world of business text messages, you should know that the US law requires explicit permission from consumers via text in order to send them promotional messages.
Luckily, it’s a simple process. All you need to do is conduct an SMS Campaign by sending out mass texts to potential customers and giving them clear instructions on how to opt-in, similar to this:
You can only send promotional messages to customers that have replied yes to your request for permission. At the same time, you’ll also have to ensure that you give them the option to opt-out if they no longer want to receive messages from your SMS Campaign:
#2. Keep it to the point and relevant
Once you agree to get customers to join your campaign, the hard part is over.
However, you need to ensure that you send your subscribers content that keeps them engaged so that they want to receive offers from you rather than opting out.
You want to keep your text messages short, to the point – with only the most important information.
The idea is only to introduce the idea behind your text and give details through advanced features.
Here’s the perfect example:
#3. Use clear call-to-action
The above text message by Subway is great because it uses a clear call to action. It highlights the word ‘Free’ to tempt users to avail the offer.
Whenever you compose a promotional text message, you need to make sure you give clear instructions to customers on how to avail the offer:
Phrases like click here or avail now are great for inducing a call to action.
By highlighting the advantage or benefit that customers will gain from it, you’re likely to get a great response on your offer.
#4. Make use of advanced features
Text message itself is a great channel of communication, but to generate maximum Return on Investment from it, you’ll have to incorporate the advanced features that it offers:
In today’s business world, there is much more to a business transaction than buying and selling.
The concept of buying experience has emerged and that itself determines whether you’ll be able to attract and retain a customer or not.
SMS platforms like ExpressText will allow you to personalise your message to each sender. With a personalisation feature, you can greet each customer by their name:
This helps to ‘humanize’ the customer experience as many consumers feel that especially bigger corporations have automated communication channels so much that it becomes impersonal.
With personalisation, you’ll be able to send out hundreds or even thousands of text – all automated, yet personalised to every sender’s name!
Like I said before, your text messages should only announce the idea that you’re presenting to the customer with only relevant details – otherwise your recipients may feel that the text is too long and they’ll probably not even read it.
But the question is, how do you communicate details about your offer without losing customers? With hyperlinks!
Hyperlinks are used to direct customers who are interested in knowing details or availing the offer presented in the text, to the relevant webpage.
This way, you won’t be boring all customers with irrelevant information that they don’t need.
In other words, hyperlinks help you to organise information is such a way that it is readily available to those who require it. Plus, it adds to a stronger Call-to-action in your text.
You’ll notice that every picture I’ve added in this article contains a hyperlink, which goes to show how crucial it is for effective text messaging.
- Schedule your text message
Again, automation is the handiest feature that you can use in marketing. It will take an entire workload of your employees since it schedules texts to be sent later.
You can use this for personalisation as well as sending out mass texts e.g. the SMS platform that you have signed up with has all the data of your customers saved – including birthdates.
With this information at hand, you can schedule an individual text message to be sent out to each customer on their birthday! Talk about making your customer feel valued – this will instil a lot of customer loyalty.
Similarly, you could schedule a text message to be sent out on Christmas to all your customers, simply thanking them for staying with you on your business journey or offering them a reward for their loyalty to a brand e.g. an exclusive 20% discount.
Did you know that chatbots are one of the biggest marketing trends for 2020? Yep, their use is going to increase and 80% of businesses are expected to automate replies.
Similarly, you can incorporate this feature into your text messaging strategy as well. With automation, you reduce the chances of human error and reduce your dependence on employees.
- 2-way text messaging
However, you can now easily interact with your business customers via text by setting up 24-hour customer support.
Your customers no longer have to do the tedious task of calling helplines and waiting to get an operator on the line – instead, they can just communicate with customer representatives or chatbots through SMS!
#5. Take advantage of the immediacy of text
The great thing about SMS is how fast users read them. Since we check our phones on an average of 25 times a day (and I fall way above the average), it’s likely that most of us will see texts immediately.
Here are the results of a study to back me up:
So how does this benefit your business? You could have an impromptu sale and yet you can get the word out within minutes.
Having a sale at midnight? Let your customers know just a few hours earlier!
The immediacy of text messaging SMS also means that it can be used for communication with your employees.
You can inform your subordinates about emergency meetings, an unprecedented change or damage to inventory or even if there is an unfortunate incident at one of your offices.
This is especially useful for large organisations. With so many levels of hierarchies, it can often be difficult to communicate information in a timely and accurate manner but SMS is a great platform for you to change that.
#6. Incorporate MMS
I was just writing another article on how visuals are much more engaging than text, and my research shows that visuals are replacing text everywhere.
Even if a business needs to write a short post on social media, they’ll incorporate text into a picture rather than writing a post just because it’s more colourful!
The human brain is naturally built to process visuals faster than text, which is why even SMS – the text-only platform, is also compelled to incorporate MMS.
But that’s up to you.
MMS can be a bit pricier than SMS, and rightfully so because you’re sending out heavier texts – but the advantage is that you’ll be able to engage better with your customers
Here’s what a typical MMS message looks like:
Of course, videos are too heavy for text messages, but that’s what hyperlinks are for.
Plus, you can always send GIFs if you want to maximise interactiveness and engagement.
You’d be surprised to know that GIFs were the biggest marketing trend in 2017.
Lastly, if you’re thinking of switching to MMS, you need to keep in mind that they take a bit longer to send as compared to SMS because of their size, so it’s probably best to go with SMS in a time-sensitive situation.
#8. Sign up with an SMS platform
If you’re new to the business world, you might be wondering how you’re going to organise your SMS campaign and send out so many texts to customers.
That’s what SMS platforms are for.
They’ll provide you with an account through which you can manage existing as well as new contacts and incorporate different features into your mass texts.
To give you a better idea about what I’m talking about, here’s what ExpressText offers:
That’s just some of the many features that you can get by signing up with SMS platforms.
They’ll provide you with a shortcode or long code designated for your business.
You can also send out personalised messages to each recipient on their birthday.
You can verify your recipient’s age if your business requires it and even activate double opt-in (i.e. verification through two methods if customers want to receive promotional messages from your business).
The idea is, most SMS platforms allow you to personalise your SMS Campaign with features that you prefer.
If you’re looking to integrate MMS with your campaign, Twilio is a great communication API that will seamlessly integrate its software with your SMS campaign.
#9. Measure the success of your text messaging SMS campaign
This point is linked to my last one – because that’s another feature which SMS platforms provide you with, and it’s a crucial feature that you need to make use of.
Whenever you implement anything, whether it’s a marketing strategy, a website or an SMS campaign, you need to constantly monitor and evaluate results.
Why? Because it will help you to see where you’re going wrong.
You can track your hyperlinks’ click-through rate, SMS open rate, read rate etc.
For example, you notice that your open rate for a few specific numbers has constantly been low – you can always remove them from your list because they may not even be used anymore.
Similarly, if your click-through rate is low in a certain geographical region, you might want to concentrate your user base to more local areas.
This way, you’ll be able to maximise Return on Investment and run a more effective campaign.
So that sums up how text messaging SMS for businesses works.
It’s a great promotional tool and it’s highly underutilised, so if you want to connect with customers on a different platform and break away from the marketing clutter, this is one of your best bets.
Just make sure you follow all the guidelines to ensure an effective and efficient campaign that provides profitable returns.