SMS Marketing: What It Is and How To Do It

Every business searches for ways to minimize its expenses and maximize its profits.

It’s the basics of economics. 

For a modern business that spends more than $1 out of every $10 it earns on marketing, it makes sense to look for affordable marketing plans

SMS marketing is one such cost-effective strategy. With everyone from a youngster to a retiree having their mobile device, SMS marketing is a strategy you might need to consider.

You might have used text messaging to communicate with friends and family before. How can you use those same text messages for business to communicate with your customers? How will it be different from email marketing?

SMS marketing stands out because of its flexibility. You can use it to thank your customers after purchase to hype them for the new store that opened in their vicinity. You can send them surveys to respond to and products to look forward to. 

Still, as an SMS is more personal than an email or a billboard, you should know its ins and outs before trying your luck and losing customers instead of generating sales. 

Read on to learn what SMS marketing is and how it can benefit your business:

SMS Marketing 101

Ways To Use SMS Marketing

Benefits of SMS Marketing

How To Do SMS Marketing

Final Thoughts: SMS Marketing — How To Use SMS Marketing To Drive Sales

SMS Marketing 101

SMS( Short Message Service) is a messaging protocol to send and receive text messages on mobile phones. With text messaging being active for almost three decades, it is safe to say that all the active cell phones support text messaging, making SMS a valuable marketing channel.

SMS marketing refers to using SMS to send promotional messages for marketing products or doing business promotions. 

According to The World Bank, there are 109 active mobile subscriptions for every 100 individuals. While that includes the users using multiple subscriptions, it gives a good enough estimate that almost everyone owns a mobile phone and shows the potential of SMS marketing.

Also, an average mobile user in the United States spends 4 hours and 23 minutes on their mobile phone, excluding talk time. That presents text messaging as a perfect platform for businesses to connect to their customers. 

Ways To Use SMS Marketing

Ways to use SMS marketing

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With SMS, businesses have found a simple, instant, and effective way to retain customers.

Businesses can establish communication over text messages with their customers. Users can contact the companies for product or service inquiries, appointment bookings, or billing questions. 

Also, businesses can use text messaging to boost their e-commerce marketing efforts by:

  • Sending order and shipment confirmations
  • Making urgent orders by text 
  • Providing event updates
  • Sending appointment reminders

Having figured what SMS marketing is, let’s look at some benefits of using SMS marketing for your business.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing has several advantages that set it apart from email marketing, digital marketing, or traditional marketing. 

1. Higher Open Rates

Can you see 999+ in front of your email’s inbox button, or do you Select All and click Mark as Read whenever you get a chance? 

You aren’t alone. We all do this. Four out of every five emails being sent worldwide never get opened.  

But for text messages, it’s different. 

You’ll likely read a text message within minutes of its arrival and perhaps even respond to it. 95% of text messages are read and responded to within three minutes in the USA. 

2. Immediate Delivery

Benefits from SMS marketing

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Message marketing is instant and happens at lightning speed. Once you press Send, the SMS message is forwarded, and your customers receive it immediately. 

It’s an ideal strategy to send time-sensitive messages — our summer sale is ending in 59 minutes — to your customers. 

Also, it’s possible to set up a campaign and receive thousands of responses from your customers in minutes. Since mobile texting uses push notifications, most customers open the text message straight away and follow up with their replies or queries.

Still, you need to take time preparing and coming up with a unique and engaging text message.

3. Flexible 

In locations with expensive data or unstable internet connections, SMS is a better option to communicate with your customers. Marketers can also use mobile marketing in areas with poor WiFi signals.

Unlike an email which requires a smartphone or computer, a text message only requires a basic cell phone and a cellular network.

4. Affordable

If you’re starting a small business on a shoestring budget, SMS marketing makes more sense than expensive means like Facebook Ads, as it doesn’t cost a lot to send text messages to customers. 

Businesses just starting and looking for a cost-effective advertising option will find it a worthwhile marketing strategy with its friendly pricing.

How To Do SMS Marketing 

  1. Use calls-to-action (CTAs)
  2. Introduce yourself in text messages
  3. Know your audience
  4. Customize the text messages
  5. Craft short and clear messages
  6. Use SMS marketing services and tools
  7. Send texts at strategic times
  8. Ask for permission

1. Use Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

SMS marketing for targeted messages

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You want your customers to read, interact and act on the text messages you send. 

Whenever possible, include a call-to-action in your marketing message to promote engagement with your customers. For instance, a Buy Now CTA button is perfect for targeted messages. 

You can entice your customers to buy a new product by combining a time-sensitive message with a Buy Now button in your text messages.

2. Introduce Yourself in Text Messages

Avoid sending spammy texts

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If anyone receives an anonymous text message from a company or a number they don’t recognize, they label it as a wrong number or spam. Users either delete such messages or indirectly mark those as read, letting your precious efforts go to waste.

To prevent that, you should introduce yourself, either inside the message or by using a sender ID — show your business name instead of an unknown number or a shortcode. 

Users are more likely to read and respond to messages that include a company name. Your company name makes it easier for potential customers to tell apart spammy texts.

3. Know Your Audience

You might need to know and understand your audience in a given location — their likes and dislikes, their needs and wants and their checkouts and purchases — to market your products.

Knowing that helps you opt for different strategies according to the desired audience. 

Further, you can use a customer relationship management (CRM) app to assess which strategy is working and which isn’t. 

Once you know your target audience, you can segment your customers for targeted sales promotion for better results.  

On the other end, you can use bulk text for general promotions and sales on anyone regardless of your information on them.

4. Customize the Text Messages

Customers prefer getting personalized messages — Dear John — over traditional messages addressed to all users. They are much more likely to read a message and take action if they see their name spelled out at the start of the message. 

You can add other things in your text message marketing, including recent purchases from your store and items they added to the cart but didn’t check out. 

5. Craft Short and Clear Messages

Shorter messages that stay to the point work great. A brief text or question with about 160 characters should be a good reference point. 

Ensure that the SMS communication is professional, concise, and simple. Your message should contain enough details to avoid leaving questions in the customer’s mind.

6. Use SMS Marketing Services and Tools 

If your budget allows, it’s an excellent idea to look for experienced SMS marketing service providers to help you create SMS campaigns. They can walk you through the process to help you launch your successful SMS marketing campaign. 

Besides, an SMS marketing software service can help you with bulk SMS campaigns and marketing automation. Also, SMS marketing tools track your results to convey what is working and what isn’t.

7. Send Texts at Strategic Times

Sending well-timed promotional messages to your customers cannot be understated. Sending messages in the weird hours of the night or very early in the morning or during holidays is not cool and is a waste of your efforts. 

In contrast, it can cost you your existing customers and repel potential clients due to negative word-of-mouth. 

You need to consider the right timing with your SMS marketing. It’s crucial to think about the time zones and send your text messages at the most appropriate time.

8. Ask for Permission

Using people’s phone numbers without their permission is illegal. Your company should have explicit consent from SMS subscribers before you send them text messages. 

Similar to opt-in for an email subscription, you can provide users with the option to opt in to receive the texts. Describe to them the kind of messages to expect, and keep your promise.

Final Thoughts: SMS Marketing — How To Use SMS Marketing To Drive Sales

You should better understand what SMS marketing is and how you can develop your SMS marketing strategy. As a communication channel that helps you reach billions of users, it’s immediate and convenient. 

It enjoys a higher open and response rate than other marketing platforms — emails and social media — while being affordable and engaging. 

Try it out for yourself. A well-executed, strategic SMS marketing campaign may well be the one to give you an edge over your competition.Have you used SMS as a marketing strategy for your business? Share your experiences by tweeting us at @Bluehost.

Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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