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What is SMS marketing?

Learn all about SMS marketing best practices, types of messages you can implement into your marketing strategy, and how to get started today.
Marketer learning about SMS marketing.

Are you tired of traditional marketing methods that don’t seem to get the desired results? Well, look no further than SMS marketing. In today’s fast-paced digital world, where everyone is glued to their phones, SMS marketing has emerged as a popular and effective tool for businesses of all sizes.

Did you know that research shows that over 66% of customers would prefer to receive notifications via SMS compared to other forms of communication? That’s right. With SMS marketing, businesses can reach their customers directly and instantly, without having to worry about their message being lost in the clutter of emails or social media.

But what exactly is SMS marketing and how does it work? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we will introduce you to the basics of SMS marketing and how it can benefit your business. So, let’s dive in.

What is SMS marketing?

Short message service (SMS) marketing is a form of marketing that businesses use to send promotions to customers via text messages. In other words, SMS marketing is the same thing as text marketing. Like email marketing, SMS marketing is permission-based, which means businesses can only send messages to those who have given their consent to receive them.

This direct communication method allows businesses to keep you connected by sharing news about exclusive deals, new products, or even helpful tips, all in real time. This type of messaging creates a personal connection between you and the business, making customers feel valued and special. And, since it’s permission-based, you don’t have to worry about spam or unwanted texts flooding your inbox.

The 4 types of SMS marketing messages

SMS marketing uses different types of messages depending on what you want to achieve. The three most popular SMS messages are: 

1. Promotional

Promotional messages are the most commonly used type of message in SMS marketing. These are the ones you receive when a business wants to tell you about a sale, a new product, or an event happening soon. Promotional messages aim to entice you to make a purchase or take advantage of a limited-time offer.

2. Transactional

Have you ever made a purchase or signed up for something and then received a text about it? That’s a transactional message. These messages let you know that what you did went through successfully and give you important information about it, like your order details or account info. Businesses also use these messages as a chance to suggest other things you might like.

3. Reminder

Reminder messages are friendly texts from businesses to make sure you don’t forget about an appointment, an event, or something important related to them. For example, if you booked a haircut, you might get a message reminding you when it is, so you don’t miss out or arrive late. These reminders not only help you stay on top of your plans but also provide convenience and improved customer experience. Plus, they’re beneficial for businesses as well – they can reduce no-shows or last-minute cancellations, ensuring that appointments and events run smoothly.

4. Broadcast

SMS broadcast, also known as “mass texts” or “bulk texts,” is a messaging service that allows businesses and organizations to send a single message to a large group of contacts, customers, or clients. 

Using Dotdigital’s SMS broadcast tool, you can send an SMS campaign immediately or schedule it for a later time. You can also choose the lists, segments, or marketing preferences you want to send it to. Additionally, you can send single SMS messages to individual contacts.

The benefits of SMS marketing

SMS marketing offers a wide array of advantages for both businesses and their customers. Let’s explore some of the key benefits of incorporating text message marketing into your strategy:

  1. Sky-high open rates: Almost everyone reads their text messages – we’re talking a 98% open rate. This means there’s a way better chance customers will see and read your texts than emails or other types of messages.
  2. Super quick communication: Since text messages reach people’s phones super fast, businesses can get important info or deals to their customers in no time. This means customers are more likely to act right away.
  3. They reach your audience: Not like emails that sometimes bounce – text messages have a way better chance of reaching their destination. Dotdigtial’s SMS is supported in over 220 countries. So whether a phone’s off or out of range, when it’s back in action, your message will be there waiting.
  4. Wallet-friendly: Sending lots of text messages can be affordable, especially when you think about the great engagement rates. So businesses big and small can get in on the action.
  5. Make it personal: Businesses can personalize text messages for individual preferences or even specific events. This makes messages feel special and meaningful to each person getting them.
  6. Boosts cross-channel strategies: SMS marketing is a great addition to cross-channel campaigns, as it complements other marketing strategies. By incorporating texts into their overall plan, businesses can create a well-rounded marketing strategy.
  7. One size fits all: No matter what type of business you have, how big or small you are, or what you want to achieve – SMS marketing is flexible and can be used for all sorts of purposes like alerts, contests, reminders, account confirmations, and more.

SMS marketing best practices

To ensure the success of your SMS marketing campaigns, it’s essential to follow industry best practices. Here are some key tips to help you create effective and results-driven text message marketing:

As SMS marketing is permission-based, it’s crucial that you only send messages to recipients who have given explicit consent to receive them. You can obtain consent through opt-in forms on your website, in-store sign-ups, or through SMS keyword campaigns.

Respect the frequency of messages

Avoid overwhelming your subscribers by finding the right balance in the frequency of your messages. Sending too many messages can lead to a higher opt-out rate while sending too few can result in lost engagement. Test different frequencies and analyze the impact on engagement rates to find the sweet spot for your audience.

Optimize for mobile

Since text messages are viewed on mobile devices, it’s important to optimize your campaigns for a seamless mobile experience. If you include links in your messages, make sure they direct your subscribers to mobile-optimized landing pages or websites for the best user experience.

Use clear and concise language

As SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, it’s essential to use clear and straightforward language to communicate your message effectively. Focus on the most critical information and include a clear call to action that encourages the desired response from your recipients.

Test and analyze

Always keep testing and analyzing your SMS marketing campaigns to identify areas of improvement. A/B tests different message variations, offers, or send times. Use the data gathered from these tests to optimize your strategies for the best possible results.

SMS marketing strategies to try

If you are planning to explore SMS marketing, it’s important to have a few effective strategies up your sleeve to ensure the best possible results for your campaigns. By implementing the following strategies, you can increase engagement and create a personalized experience for your subscribers. 

Here are some highly effective strategies to consider for your SMS marketing campaigns:

Exclusive offers and deal announcements

Reward your SMS subscribers with exclusive offers, flash deals, and coupon codes that create a sense of urgency and prompt them to make a purchase. By offering time-sensitive deals, you incentivize your audience to act quickly and demonstrate the value of subscribing to your SMS list.

SMS contests and giveaways

Engage your audience and expand your marketing list by running SMS-based contests and giveaways. Ask your subscribers to text a designated short code to enter the contest, and follow up with automated messages for confirmation and opt-in permissions.

Text-to-win competitions

This campaign is great for growing your marketing database. Simply advertise your competition and include a dedicated short code for entrants to text. Follow that up with an opt-in message that requires a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response

Appointment and event reminders

Use SMS messages to send reminders about upcoming appointments or events to keep your customers informed and reduce no-shows. These timely reminders can improve the customer experience, save resources, and help ensure that your events or bookings run smoothly.

Re-engagement campaigns

Reach out to customers who haven’t engaged with your brand or made a purchase in a while through SMS. Send personalized offers, product recommendations, or a simple “we miss you” message to reestablish a connection and motivate them to re-engage with your brand.

Send personalized product recommendations

Utilize customer data to send AI product recommendations and promotions based on their shopping behavior or preferences. By providing personalized recommendations, you increase the chances of making a sale and fostering customer loyalty.

Cart abandonment

Carts abandonment happens for a wide range of reasons and one of those might be switching devices. You can increase your chances of converting browsers into customers by adding SMS to your abandoned cart automation program.

Birthday automation

Birthday automation programs are a great way to drive shoppers to return to your website. By adding SMS as a complementary channel to your program, you’re helping your special birthday discount stand out from your competitors.

Business updates

During times of crisis, business continuity is essential. Send business updates via text to ensure customers, staff, and partners stay informed of developments or changes to your BAU.

Set your SMS marketing on the path to success with Dotdigital

SMS marketing has proven to be a highly effective and versatile communication channel for businesses of all sizes. By leveraging the power of SMS marketing, you can connect with your audience in a more personal and direct way. This, in turn, drives higher engagement and conversion rates, ultimately contributes to your overall marketing success.

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