Pop quiz: What marketing method has a 98% open rate and a 45% customer reply rate but only about 40% of companies are using it? Answer: Text messages. Yes, text marketing strategy: It’s the final frontier of effective personalized marketing.
Lucky for you, there’s still time to be an early adopter.
We’re diving into the research proving how you can benefit from a short message service (SMS) marketing strategy for your business. Plus, we’ll share 5 campaign ideas to get started.
Text Marketing Strategy: Is It Effective for Your Business?
The growth of SMS direct marketing is outpacing email. In 2020, business text messaging increased by 171% whereas email marketing grew by 9% year-over-year, according to Salesforce.
It’s no secret why SMS is growing: It works. Check out these conversion rate gains from 2019 to 2020 from clients of Omnisend, an ecommerce SMS and email marketing platform.
Besides these impressive stats, the 3 main benefits of a text message campaign are:
1. Customers Want It
Some 63% of consumers are willing to switch companies if the new one offers texting, according to Avochato.
And while this survey isn’t specifically about texting, Google found that, all other factors being equal, 68% of customers would buy from the company that offers the most convenient communication, including live text chat.
2. It’s Quick and Simple
Out of all your channels, text marketing is by far the easiest. To create an email campaign, you need at least a copywriter, graphic designer and potentially a programmer. For a text? Hey, you can do that yourself. Right now. With your thumbs.
There’s a powerful simplicity in 160 characters of text-only content. You can include images in multimedia messaging service (MMS) messages, but the majority of business text messaging is still SMS for now.
3. It Boosts Your Other Marketing Efforts
A study by Pure360 found that email campaigns had up to a 30% higher open rate if they were followed up by a text message referencing the campaign.
Adding mobile SMS marketing is like the icing on the cake for your digital marketing strategy. It’s effective by itself and gives everything else a boost.
5 Ways to Use Text Marketing Messages
One of the most effective ways to use text marketing is for upcoming sales or special promotions. Indeed, 54% of consumers want to receive promotions via text message but right now, 11% of companies are doing this, according to a report from EZ Texting.
A quick, snappy message with a promo code or link to shop a sale is all you need to generate a high return on investment (ROI).
2. New Product Launches
Generate interest around a big product launch with an SMS marketing strategy designed to bring in new subscribers and reward your loyal customers.
This campaign isn’t about sending 1 text. It’s about building interest and momentum around your new product and channeling that into sales on launch day. SMS direct marketing has an average 29% conversion rate, according to a meta-analysis by SimpleTexting. It should be a central part of your launch strategy.
To do that, you need to nurture your text subscribers with the following:
- An opt-in offer to sign up for texts. Perhaps it’s first dibs on purchasing, a 10% off coupon or something else.
- Key information, such as the launch date and price.
- Features or other interesting info about the new product your customer will want to know.
- And finally: Launch day. Include a link to buy with their special offer (if applicable).
3. Customer Service
With the convenience of texting, customers get faster service without having to wait on hold.
Twiddy, a vacation rental company, increased its conversions by 40% after adding texting to the lead funnel. It allowed the Twiddy team to answer questions from leads immediately while they were still acutely interested in booking, resulting in more sales.
It isn’t surprising that the popularity of live chat on websites has moved over to where most of us chat the most: Via text on our mobile phones.
Text communication also is more efficient for your team. A customer service representative can handle 1 phone call at a time, but Chatdesk recommends that each representative can handle 3-5 simultaneous SMS chats.
4. Back In Stock Notifications
Out-of-stock items are, of course, a leading cause of lost sales. When given the option, customers want to know when they can buy from you again. This is why back-in-stock email notifications have an average conversion rate of 22%, according to a case study by Marketing Sherpa.
But now there’s a more effective way: Back-in-stock text message campaigns.
Pair it with a discount code to capitalize on your customer’s sense of urgency to act and snap up the item before it sells out again.
5. Transactional Texts
The usual flow of events for ecommerce looks like:
- Place an order.
- Receive a confirmation email.
- Receive another email with the tracking number when it ships.
OK, email is great, but 66% of customers want to receive notifications via text, according to EZ Texting’s survey. Because 23% of companies are doing this, why not stand out from the crowd and give your customers what they want?
While you shouldn’t abandon email altogether, start sending order confirmation and shipping info via text. Your customers will love the convenience.
5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Text Marketing Strategy
1. Be Concise
With a standard text, you have 160 characters to work with. SMS isn’t the time to wax poetic or make character-wasting (albeit hilarious) puns.
Get to the point. Are you promoting a sale? A new product? Hosting an event? Offering a discount? Make it clear right away and include a link for your customer to check it out.
Your text should contain just enough info to pique their interest and get them to click to learn more.
2. Use It Sparingly
Don’t send out a text a day or even multiple per week. No one needs that many throw pillows, no matter how much they’re discounted.
Appearing in your customer’s text inbox is a privilege so don’t overuse it.
Postscript recommends texting your customers no more than once per week, or 4 times a month. Although the number your customers are comfortable with may vary, so as with all marketing, knowing your customer is key.
3. Time It Right
What’s better than startling awake at 3 a.m. to a loud beep to discover the alarm clock you wanted to buy is back in stock? Cue irony.
Keep your customers’ time zones in mind when you schedule texts to go out. Most business text messaging platforms have localization built in so be sure the one you use does before you launch a big campaign.
Don’t annoy your customers, alright?
4. Have a Call to Action
Again, 160 characters isn’t a lot to work with so you need to keep your copy tight. But, be sure to include a call to action in every message. Otherwise, what are you nagging your customers for?
Keep it short, such as:
- Buy now
- Learn more
- Use code: 1234
If your call to action is to get customers to sign up for your texts in the first place, make it extremely clear what you want them to do. Don’t have any other competing calls to action. Keep it to: “Text (word) to (number).”
5. Stay Exclusive
The entire reason customers signed up for texts was to be the first to hear about new promotions and products, right? So make sure they’re actually the first to know.
Send out product launch notifications to your text subscribers first, before the email campaign hits their inboxes. They’ll feel special and that signing up for texts is worth their time.
Additionally, offer your text subscribers perks you don’t give anyone else. After all, you’re getting more access to them than email or social media can provide, so give them a treat, too. Offer an exclusive promotion code or free upgrade, such as free or expedited shipping.
Talk about VIP status.
Capture Attention and Sales With an SMS Marketing Strategy
If you’re looking for a way to stand out with your marketing, a text message campaign is a surefire way to reward your loyal fans and bring in new ones.
With 85% of American adults owning a smartphone capable of text messaging — and that number rising every year — you can’t afford to snooze on mobile SMS marketing.
Text marketing is perfect for:
- Notifying customers of upcoming sales
- Offering exclusive discounts and promotions
- Announcing new products
- Customer service inquiries
- Transactional communication, such as shipping notifications
Great customer service means providing the experience your customers expect. According to research by OpenMarket, your customers want to text. 80% of millennials would rather text than call for customer service inquiries and 60% want to be able to text businesses they deal with.
Give your customers what they want, then sit back and enjoy the SMS ROI.