What is Text Message Marketing? It is the newest marketing trend that has hit the market! Text message marketing is the method of sending texting text messages to customers using a text marketing platform. Most businesses are switching to text marketing in order to interact with their customers and their employees. But why has it become so popular? The reason behind its recent popularity is the intimacy and speed that it offers simultaneously. But the biggest advantage that stems from it is the high Return on Investment (ROI) which it offers at a significantly low price. The marketing channel has multiple other benefits as well.
Text message marketing is a method of marketing that is more effective than any other marketing medium. Why is that so? Because emails can go unread for days, phone calls can go unanswered, but text messages are almost always read immediately. 80% of millennials claimed that the first thing they did after waking up was to check their phones. What better way to reach consumers than contact them on a device that they simply cannot live without?
Ever thought how brands send promotional messages that you see in your inbox? You instantly know a message is from a brand when the 5 digit number appears on your screen. That number is called a shortcode and the reason behind using it is a very significant one. Shortcodes help consumers to associate the number with a specific brand. Furthermore, they are easy to remember. An example of a shortcode is ‘88802’ or ‘56767’. It is easier for consumers to memorise these digits as compared to the regular, longer phone numbers that they use.
A keyword is a word or phrase placed within the text. Most of us are already familiar with them. An example of a keyword placed within a text message is Send ‘BURGER’ to 78780 to avail coupon.
SMS marketing is a permission-based method of marketing. Businesses and freelancers are not allowed to send promotional messages to consumers without their consent, as per the law in many countries. It is also deemed unethical to violate the privacy of consumers by unnecessarily spamming them. SMS campaigns are conducted for the sole purpose of acquiring the permission of consumers to send promotional text messages.
For freelancers and entrepreneurs that are not familiar with the concept of conducting SMS campaigns, this section is an ideal guideline on how to get started. The first step requires signing with an online SMS platform. An example of one of the most popular SMS platforms is ExpressText. ExpressText is known for its efficiency and reasonable pricing, along with the ease of use and after sales service. Once the process of making an account is complete, the company/individual can either upload a list of contacts or manually add them into the contact. After the payment has gone through, you are set up and ready to go! ExpressText offers a free 30-day trial to put its new customers at ease.
It’s a brutal world out there, and becoming a market leader is no easy job. Every company is striving for a strong foothold in the market which makes it harder for one to succeed. To gain a competitive advantage over another firm, a company can make use of the following text message marketing tips to increase the effectiveness of its marketing strategy:
Sounds simple enough, right? Surprisingly, not everybody gets this right. The way an offer is displayed to customers can make all the difference. Suppose a local clothing brand sends out a text saying ‘Sale alert, avail 50% of till the end of the month!’ Customers are most likely to think that the sale is going to last for a long time, so why go now? Many of them will put it off and maybe even forget about it till the end of the month. On the other hand, another promotional message is constructed as, ‘3 day sale only! Grab your favourite items now before they run out of stock!’. The latter prompts customers to take action and that too as soon as possible. The wordings of the message may even appeal to price-conscious customers who may have not been previously interested in the brand as they will feel like they are getting a good deal on the products.
2. Customer Retention
SMS is not only a means to attract new customers, but can also be used to retain regular customers. It is vital to keep loyal customers satisfied so as to ensure that they do not switch brands. Brands can send out customised texts, addressing each customer by their name. This is an automated feature available in SMS marketing offered by many SMS platforms – including ExpressText. Not only that, but companies can also send out special offers and extra benefits exclusively to their loyal clients. For this, a company has to first identify its best clients and then reward them for their loyalty.
3. Clear messages
It is best to write concise messages with relevant information. You do not want to bore your customers but you also want to provide them with the necessary information. Call to action buttons can be used to prompt action e.g. ‘Click here to donate’ or ‘Visit our website to win the lucky draw!’ These help the consumer navigate through the text message and make it clear what the aim of the company is.
4. Hire a marketing team
What is a text message marketing team? While SMS marketing may seem like an undemanding task which can be performed by anyone, hiring a professional marketing team can lead to maximum Return on Investment. After all, to make money you have to spend money. A professional marketing team comes with the expertise and experience which can enhance a company’s SMS marketing campaign. They can make offers seem more enticing so that more customers are convinced to avail them. They are also likely to guide you on investing your money in the right place. However, for smaller businesses who cannot afford an established marketing team – an innovative marketing strategy and a little bit of luck are enough to make profitable returns!
SMS is just one of the many channels through which marketers promote their products and services. Being rated as one of the most effective channels, why only limit it to the promotion of products/services? A creative way to utilise SMS is to promote other channels of marketing through it. These include:
1. Email marketing
Email marketing is also one of the most effective mobile marketing methods. However, it is not as effective as SMS. The click-through rate for emails is about 4.2% whereas it is 19% for SMS. This primarily owes to the fact that SMS has a higher engagement rate as texts are shorter and easier to read as compared to emails. However, emails have a high ROI as well and act as an effective medium for sending out formal messages. But just like SMS, customers are required to subscribe to email campaigns in order to receive promotional emails. So why not use SMS as a channel to ask users to subscribe to the company’s email campaign? Hyperlinks can be used to direct customers to a form which they are required to fill out in order to subscribe to the email campaign.
2. Social media
Want to go viral? Post a unique story on Instagram. But if you’re new in the market, how do you get customers to find your social media accounts? There are several ways to create awareness; one being SMS. A short text message simply asking customers to like an Instagram page followed by a link is likely to be effective in gaining likes. Social media itself should be a very essential part of any organisation’s marketing strategy. It is one of the most interactive platforms which creates high engagement and can be used for both the selling and buying of goods – whether B2B, B2C or C2C.
3. Direct selling
Again, not only is SMS effective in promoting products and services, but it can be a major part of a new firm’s marketing strategy for creating brand awareness. Customers that are not familiar with a brand are less likely to trust it, which is why a newer firm has to put in extra effort to create customer loyalty. Text messages with enticing offers – those that are better than competitors – can be effective in luring customers away from their regular choice of brand.
SMS Marketing has become much more advanced than when it was first introduced. Firms can take advantage of the many features that it offers, including:
Most customers are used to seeing multiple promotional offers in their inbox. Many may even skim through the text without paying attention to it, which does not benefit the firm or create revenue. Hence, it can be beneficial to surprise customers with new and exciting text messages. Suppose the Football World Cup is taking place. Any firm can create a poll and ask customers to guess which team is likely to win. 3 of the customers who guess correctly will be awarded with prizes from the firm’s product portfolio. This keeps customers’ engaged in the hopes of winning free products.
2. QR Codes
QR codes have made life easier for this generation. They are fast, quick and reliable. QR codes can be used to make all sorts of payments – be it purchasing a product, a service, an online ticket or even donations. Millennials are moving towards mobile banking and soon, cash payments will become a thing of the past. This is due to the fact that online payments through QR codes are more secure, and can be made within seconds.
3. Customer Support
Many firms have switched to 24-hour customer support via SMS. It is a well-known fact that the millennial generation is more comfortable with text as opposed to calls. Most people are not willing to take out the time to drop feedback or a compliant via call. However, bloggers and companies often post customer feedback via messaging platforms. Thus, customer support is also shifting to SMS. It is personal as well as fast. Suppose a customer ordered food from a local fast food chain an hour ago but it still hasn’t arrived. He/she can simply drop a text at the restaurant’s SMS customer service and a customer representative can get back to him/her with an update on their order. Investing in customer support can greatly improve customer loyalty as dealing well with clients leads to positive feedback and retained clientele.
In conclusion, it can be seen that text message marketing is a highly profitable channel of marketing. Usually, something of this magnitude would come with strings attached but surprisingly, text message marketing has almost no downsides. It is inexpensive, effective, speedy and intimate all at the same time. The only caution which firms need to be aware of is seeking permission from customers before sending them promotional text messages and also offering a clear opt-out option. This is why the article offers a detailed procedure on how to conduct an SMS marketing campaign. If used creatively and effectively, it can ensure a substantial market share for any firm. The way that text message marketing is incorporated into a firm’s strategy varies, but all firms can benefit from including it in their marketing strategy.