SMS Marketing: 8 Best Practices for Business Growth

SMS Marketing: What It Is & How It Works (+Examples)

SMS Marketing: What It Is & How It Works (plus Examples)

Ever wondered when is the right time to integrate text messages into your marketing strategy?

SMS marketing can be your go-to solution for immediate and effective, yet personalized communication.

Whether it’s for a flash sale, an important update, or customer engagement, SMS marketing excels in reaching customers fast, making it ideal for time-sensitive communications and immediate engagement. Learn insights and examples of SMS marketing strategies that will make you rethink the way you connect with your audience.

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS Marketing is a strategy for businesses to send short, impactful text messages to people’s mobile phones.

It helps them connect directly with customers, share promotions, and boost engagement, due to instant delivery, high open rates, and cost-effectiveness.

How SMS Marketing Works

SMS marketing operates by using platforms to send text messages to customers who have chosen to receive them.

These messages often contain promotions, product updates, or important information.

Recipients, having agreed to receive these messages, can engage with the content or take specific actions, such as making a purchase or visiting a website.

These platforms, commonly known as SMS gateways, act as intermediaries between businesses and phone owners.

They enable businesses to manage their subscriber lists, schedule messages, and track the effectiveness of campaigns.

How Can SMS Marketing Help to Grow a Business?

SMS marketing contributes to business growth by directly reaching customers, improving engagement, and influencing actions like purchases.

As a cost-effective solution, it enables businesses of all sizes to engage with their audience without the need for substantial marketing budgets.

The simplicity and accessibility of SMS make it an inclusive tool for businesses, allowing them to compete in the market regardless of their scale.

As a result, SMS marketing is positioned as a versatile strategy, not only leading to immediate sales but also nurturing long-term customer relationships crucial for sustained success.

Types of SMS Marketing: Online vs Physical Stores

SMS marketing strategies are different for online and physical retail stores.

For eCommerce, messages may focus on online promotions and exclusive deals.

Online stores often leverage SMS for flash sales, personalized recommendations, and order confirmations, connecting the overall customer experience.

Physical stores, on the other hand, utilize SMS to drive foot traffic, announcing in-store promotions, new arrivals, and exclusive events.

SMS Marketing for eCommerce

eCommerce businesses use SMS to create a sense of urgency through limited-time offers and flash sales, resulting in immediate action from customers.

Additionally, order updates and shipping notifications sent via SMS keep customers informed and engaged throughout the purchase journey.

The personalized and real-time nature of SMS increases customer satisfaction, becoming a great channel to also send feedback surveys after delivering a product.

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SMS Marketing for Retail

In retail, SMS marketing can drive foot traffic to physical stores through location-based promotions, in-store events, and special offers.

It acts as a powerful tool to bridge the gap between the digital and physical retail experience.

Location-based SMS alerts notify nearby customers of ongoing promotions, encouraging spontaneous visits and increasing overall foot traffic.

SMS marketing in retail goes beyond transactions, building a connection between the brand and the customer within the physical or digital retail space.

Is SMS Marketing Effective?

Yes, SMS marketing is highly effective.

With near-instant delivery and high open rates, businesses can reach a wide audience promptly, leading to higher engagement and conversions when compared to other marketing channels.

Text messages are typically opened within minutes of receipt, ensuring that time-sensitive promotions or announcements have a significant impact.

Is SMS Marketing Illegal?

No, SMS marketing is not inherently illegal. However, businesses must comply with regulations, such as obtaining consent from recipients and providing opt-out options, to ensure legal and ethical practices.

Expanding the paragraph: Adhering to legal requirements is crucial for the success and reputation of businesses engaging in SMS marketing. Obtaining explicit consent from recipients before sending messages is not only a legal obligation but also a fundamental aspect of building trust with customers. Providing clear opt-out mechanisms ensures that individuals have control over their communication preferences, aligning with privacy regulations and fostering positive customer relationships.

Is SMS Marketing Spam?

SMS marketing is not considered spam when businesses adhere to regulatory guidelines and only send messages to individuals who have opted in to receive them.

Expanding the paragraph: Unlike unsolicited messages that characterize spam, SMS marketing relies on the consent of recipients. Individuals willingly provide their phone numbers and agree to receive messages, creating a relationship built on permission and mutual interest. This clear opt-in process distinguishes SMS marketing from spam and reinforces the importance of ethical and targeted communication practices.

Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing outcomes depend according to your needs, preferences, and other business strategies.

Acknowledging what are the pros and cons of SMS marketing can help you take advantage of the best opportunities for SMS marketing while managing its risks.

Advantages of SMS Marketing

  • It’s Fast: Messages are delivered instantly.
  • Near-Perfect Open Rates: SMS consistently achieves high open rates, with the majority of messages being read within minutes of receipt.
  • High Response Rates: Direct and immediate communication prompts quick responses.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional marketing channels, SMS is a part of relatively inexpensive marketing ideas and is budget-friendly.
  • Perfect for Real-Time Updates: Ideal for conveying time-sensitive information, such as order updates, appointment reminders, or event notifications.
  • Direct Communication Method: Establishes a direct line with customers.
  • Proven to Sell: Effective in driving sales and conversions.

Disadvantages of SMS Marketing

  • Opt-In Requirement: Getting consent is important, and SMS marketing is subject to strict opt-in regulations.
  • Limited Content: SMS messages have character limitations, making it challenging to convey detailed information.
  • Potential for Spam: If not executed carefully, SMS marketing can be perceived as spam, leading to negative brand perception.
  • Platform Dependence: Success relies on users having mobile phones and opting to receive messages, limiting the audience.
  • Privacy Concerns: With growing privacy concerns, consumers can worry about sharing their phone numbers for marketing purposes.

How to Do SMS Marketing: Best Practices

Here are 8 best practices to build your SMS marketing strategy.

  1. Get a List of Customers You Have Permission to Message

Always ask before sending texts.

Make sure people say “yes” to getting messages from you, using clear ways, like checkboxes on your website or forms in your store.

Keep things clear and let people know what to expect from your messages.

Also, give them an easy way to stop getting texts if they change their mind.

This keeps you following laws like GDPR and shows you respect people’s privacy.

  1. Identify Yourself

When you send a text, make it clear who you are.

Put your business name in the message.

This helps people recognize you and trust your texts.

If they don’t know who’s texting, they might ignore or delete it.

Being clear also means using the same style in your messages.

This builds your brand, and people start to know it’s you when they get a text.

Also, add contact info, like a support number or your website link.

This makes you look real and reachable.

  1. Automate Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Make things easy by using digital marketing tools that do things automatically.

You can plan when texts go out, so they reach people at the best times.

This is great for quick deals or events.

Automation also helps make texts more personal.

It can notice what people like and send messages that fit.

This makes people feel special.

Plus, it keeps your messages coming regularly without you doing it all the time.

People like this and see your brand as trustworthy.

  1. Craft Your Message

When crafting SMS messages, simplicity is key.

Keep your texts short, interesting, and to the point.

Clearly communicate what you want your audience to do and why it matters to them.

Utilize A/B testing to figure out what resonates best with your audience, using clear language to ensure your message is easily understood.

Remember, the goal is to capture attention and motivate action, so clarity is essential.

  1. Reach the Right Customers at the Right Time

Know your audience and send messages when they are most likely to see and engage with them.

Segment your customers based on their preferences and behaviors.

This targeted approach ensures that your SMS messages are relevant and have a higher chance of making an impact.

Timing matters, and understanding your audience’s habits helps you reach them at the right moment, increasing the effectiveness of your SMS marketing.

  1. Know Your Character Count

SMS messages have a character limit, so it is important to keep your messages concise.

Stick to the limit to ensure your audience receives the entire message without any parts being cut off.

Long messages might lead to important information being missed, so brevity is key.

Craft your message within the character count to guarantee that your audience gets the complete and intended message.

  1. Track Results

After sending out SMS campaigns, it’s essential to track their performance.

Use analytics tools to gather data on metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

Understanding these results helps you evaluate the success of your SMS marketing efforts.

Analyzing the data allows you to make informed decisions, refine your approach, and continually improve the effectiveness of your SMS campaigns.

  1. Give Customers a Way to Opt-Out

Respecting your customers’ choices is essential.

Provide a clear and easy way for them to opt out of receiving SMS messages.

This not only ensures compliance with regulations but also builds trust with your audience.

Knowing they can opt-out at any time gives customers a sense of control and contributes to a positive relationship with your brand.

SMS Marketing Strategies to Try

Here are 8 strategies you should try to improve your SMS marketing.

Send Welcome Texts

Begin the customer journey on a positive note by sending welcome texts.

These messages serve as a friendly introduction to your brand, expressing gratitude for the customer’s engagement, and establishing a warm connection.

Consider including exclusive deals or discounts for new subscribers to immediately provide value and incentivize further interaction.

Send Bulk SMS Marketing Messages about New Product Arrivals

Generate excitement and interest by leveraging bulk SMS messages to announce new product arrivals.

Craft messages that highlight key features, benefits, and any special promotions associated with the latest products.

This strategy aims to create a buzz around your offerings, keeping your audience informed and eager to explore what’s new.

Combine Email and SMS Marketing Campaigns

Integrating SMS with email marketing campaigns forms a powerful multi-channel marketing approach.

By combining these two communication channels, you reinforce your brand message and increase the likelihood of customer engagement.

Utilize SMS to complement your email content, providing additional touchpoints that resonate with your audience.

Run Flash Sale SMS Marketing Campaigns

Create a sense of urgency and drive immediate action with flash sale SMS marketing campaigns.

Notify customers about time-sensitive offers, exclusive discounts, or limited-time promotions via text messages.

Craft concise and compelling messages that convey the value of the flash sale, motivating recipients to take advantage of the offer before it expires.

Send SMS Messages about Seasonal Sales

Align your digital marketing strategy with seasonal trends by sending SMS messages about special promotions and discounts during holidays or relevant seasons.

Tailor your messages to match the festive or seasonal spirit, capturing the attention of customers seeking deals during specific times of the year.

Seasonal sale SMS messages provide an opportunity to connect with your audience on a more personal and timely level, tapping into their heightened interest during specific occasions.

Ask Customers to Fill Out Surveys

Engage your audience and gather valuable feedback by incorporating SMS surveys into your strategy.

Encourage customers to share their opinions, preferences, and experiences through simple survey questions.

This interactive approach not only demonstrates that you value their input (and their time) but also provides insights that can inform future marketing strategies.

Cross Promote Your Social Media Accounts

Use SMS to cross-promote your brand’s presence on social media platforms. By encouraging SMS subscribers to connect on social media, your business creates a multi-channel presence, enhancing brand visibility and engagement.

Some examples of cross-promotion include:

  • Text-to-Follow Campaigns: Encourage subscribers to text a keyword to a shortcode to automatically follow your social media accounts, making it convenient for them to stay connected.
  • Share Social Media Highlights: Send SMS messages featuring highlights from your social media posts, enticing subscribers to visit and engage with your profiles.
  • Exclusive Social Media Updates: Promote exclusive content or announcements on your social media channels and use SMS to notify subscribers about these special updates.

Outsource to a Dedicated SMS Marketing Company

Consider the benefits of outsourced marketing projects to specialized companies with expertise in the SMS field. These companies bring a wealth of knowledge, resources, and experience, ensuring efficient execution of campaigns and adherence to industry regulations.

Outsourcing allows you to tap into the skills of professionals dedicated to SMS marketing, potentially uncovering new opportunities and optimizing your strategy for maximum impact.

When outsourcing to a dedicated SMS marketing company, consider reputable options like Twilio or Plivo.

Before deciding, consider the following factors:

  • Features: Assess if the company’s features meet your SMS marketing needs. This may include personalization, scheduling, and analytics.
  • Cost: Compare pricing plans and ensure they align with your budget. Be aware of any additional fees for exceeding usage limits.
  • Integration: Check if the SMS provider integrates smoothly with your existing systems, such as CRM or marketing automation tools.
  • Compliance: Ensure the company adheres to SMS regulations and data protection laws to avoid legal issues.
  • Reviews: Look for recent reviews and testimonials to check the experiences of other businesses with the SMS marketing company.

Examples of SMS Marketing Messages and Effective Campaigns

Here are 5 real effective SMS marketing examples by well-known companies.

QALO: Abandoned Cart

QALO abandoned cart SMS campaign

Source: Mailcharts

QALO takes a proactive approach to address potential customer questions in their abandoned cart strategy.

By encouraging subscribers to text the brand for assistance, QALO shows a commitment to helping customers make informed decisions.

Although responding to individual messages can be more time-consuming, it signifies the shopper’s genuine interest and opens a valuable channel for personalized guidance, turning potential hesitations into sales.

Fenty: Back In Stock

Fenty back in stock SMS campaign

Source: Mailcharts

Fenty generates excitement with a savvy restock strategy, building anticipation before the product is available.

Through these text messages, the brand urges customers to set alarms for the Eau de Parfum restock, creating a sense of urgency with the promise of limited quantities.

Finally, Fenty includes the product’s cost, providing transparency that aids in informed decision-making.

BLUME: Birthday

Personalized SMS birthday promotion campaign by BLUME

Source: Mailcharts

Blume brings a refreshing twist to celebrations by not just honoring subscribers’ birthdays but also commemorating the company’s birthday with a special offer.

In this instance, they announce a BOGO sale (Buy One, Get One for free), creating an exciting reason for subscribers to engage.

However, businesses can get creative, offering options like free shipping, a gift for purchases over a certain amount, or a percentage off to mark the occasion.

KNIX: Abandoned Cart

Abandoned cart SMS campaign by Knix

Source: Mailcharts

Knix‘s SMS is a great example of urgency in abandoned cart messages.

They alert the shopper that the item in their cart is popular and might sell out soon.

The message is short but effective, emphasizing scarcity to prompt quick action.

Knix smartly taps into the fear of missing out, urging the shopper to return promptly.

This concise approach aligns with successful abandoned cart strategies, reminding the customer of their chosen product and giving a compelling reason to complete the purchase.

AVEDA: Opt-In

Opt-in for receiving promotional offers

Source: Mailcharts

Aveda adds a touch of warmth to the often dry opt-in process with a simple “Thanks!” to new subscribers.

This one-word expression, punctuated with an exclamation mark, transforms a routine message into a genuine show of appreciation.

In the process of opt-in communications where most messages dive straight into practical details, this small but impactful gesture stands out.

Best SMS Marketing Software and Platforms

Here is a selection of the 4 best SMS marketing platforms and SMS marketing services.

Sparkcentral by Hootsuite

screenshot of Hootsuite website

Source: hootsuite.com/products/sparkcentral

Sparkcentral by Hootsuite stands out for its complete features, offering businesses a multi-channel approach to customer engagement.

Sparkcentral pricing starts at $600 a month.

  • Key Features: Multi-channel customer engagement, automation, analytics.
  • Pros: Seamless integration with Hootsuite, robust automation capabilities.
  • Cons: Pricing may be on the higher side for smaller businesses.

EZ Texting

EZ Texting is recognized for having a complete system, with which businesses can efficiently manage contacts, automate campaigns, and analyze results. EZ Texting offers a free trial, allowing businesses to experience the impact of free SMS marketing before committing to a paid plan.

EZ Texting pricing starts at $30 a month.

  • Key Features: SMS marketing automation, contact management, analytics.
  • Pros: User-friendly interface, robust automation tools.
  • Cons: Lack of some advanced features compared to competitors.

Omnisend

screenshot of Omnisend website

Source: omnisend.com

Omnisend allows businesses to engage customers across various platforms.

Its automation workflows are useful for different marketing and integration with various e-commerce platforms through API and best increase its appeal for businesses operating in the online retail space.

Omnisend pricing starts at $59.

  • Key Features: Multi-channel marketing, automation workflows, analytics.
  • Pros: Integration with various e-commerce platforms, versatile automation.
  • Cons: Pricing may be higher for businesses with larger subscriber lists.

Attentive

screenshot of Attentive website

Source: attentive.com

Attentive differentiates itself through a focus on personalized messaging and effective list segmentation.

Businesses can craft messages to individual preferences, increasing the personalization of their campaigns.

Attentive pricing starts at $300 a month.

  • Key Features: Personalized messaging, list segmentation, analytics.
  • Pros: Emphasis on personalized communication, and effective list segmentation.
  • Cons: Pricing is a challenge as your lists grow, as they charge $300, plus clients pay $0.01 per SMS.

Final Word: Elevate Your Business with Text Message Marketing

SMS marketing is an effective way of elevating your business, complementing your digital campaigns with text messages.

After engaging your customers through the most effective SMS, it is time to build a complete digital experience

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why sms marketing?

SMS marketing is effective because it reaches users instantly on their mobile phones, a device they always have nearby. With high open rates, text messages grab immediate attention. They’re concise, ensuring quick communication without overwhelming the recipient. SMS also allows businesses to deliver time-sensitive promotions, exclusive deals, and personalized messages directly to customers.

How successful is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is highly successful, with exceptional open rates often exceeding 90%. Its direct approach ensures messages are read promptly, making it a powerful tool for time-sensitive promotions and urgent alerts. With the majority of people owning mobile phones, SMS campaigns reach a broad audience.

Do customers like SMS marketing?

Many appreciate the immediacy and convenience of receiving relevant offers on their phones, while personalized and exclusive deals often increase customer satisfaction. However, excessive messaging or irrelevant content can lead to annoyance. Respecting opt-in preferences and providing easy opt-out options are important for positive customer experiences.

Does SMS marketing cost marketing?

Yes, SMS marketing costs money because you pay for sending messages. The price can depend on how many messages you send or a fixed subscription fee. Businesses might also spend money on getting permission from customers and using tools for managing messages.

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