Getting a 98% open rate for a marketing campaign is the stuff business owners dream about. At best, emails get an 18% open rate. So how can businesses 5x their open rate, boost overall engagement, and drive more conversions? By simply meeting consumers on their preferred channel – text messaging.
A staggering 70% of consumers think SMS marketing is a great way for businesses to get their attention. That’s probably because 82% of consumers open every text message they receive. With this level of engagement, it’s no surprise that even back in January 2020 more than half of U.S. businesses planned to increase their digital marketing investment in messaging and SMS. By June of 2020, that number had increased to 56%, outranking any other area for potential investment. So how can your agency help businesses get started on the right foot with SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing best practices
1. Time your texts
Choosing the best time is important for any marketing message. But for SMS, it’s critical. That’s because people usually have alerts turned on for text messages. The last thing any business wants to do is wake a customer up in the middle of the night or disrupt their evening with a marketing offer.
Rather than sending a blast message to everyone at once, choose an appropriate time and send it out in stages by time zone. It’s a good idea to do some testing to see what times get the best response and the lowest unsubscribe rate.
2. Allow consumers to text back with two-way texting
60% of consumers want to be able to respond back to SMS messages they receive, yet only 13% of businesses allow for customers to respond to their SMS marketing messages. People prefer texting because it allows them to have real-time conversations and get immediate responses.
Yet, too often customers receive personalized offers, shipping updates, appointment reminders, and more, without being able to respond. Customers shouldn’t have to jump on another channel to speak with someone to get information. Businesses can stand out from the competition by allowing consumers to respond to SMS marketing messages so they can ask questions and get information.
3. Use SMS marketing the way consumers want
People prefer the speed and convenience text messaging offers for an array of business interactions and transactions.
● 83% of consumers would like to receive appointment reminders via text
● 54% of consumers would like to receive promotions via text
● 48% of consumers would like to receive shipping updates via text
● 35% of customers want to pay by text
Businesses need to be equipped to manage the entire customer journey through text messaging. From scheduling an appointment to paying for products or services, customers should be able to do it all through text messaging.
4. Don’t text without a clear opt-in
Businesses already collect phone numbers from consumers every time they convert a lead. That doesn’t mean they should start mass texting them. Much like email marketing, SMS text marketing requires a clear opt-in.
To be compliant with TCPA guidelines, businesses must ask customers for permission to text and let them know right away what kind of texts they will receive and how often they can expect to receive texts.
5. Include instructions on how to opt-out
This is a must to be compliant with TCPA guidelines. Remember, with SMS marketing a business is connecting with consumers on their personal phone. That’s why it’s important to include unsubscribe information.
Since open rates for SMS marketing messages are consistently much higher than those for email, unsubscribe rates will be higher too. Don’t panic if unsubscribes seem a bit higher than what you’re used to with email.
After fully implementing an SMS marketing program, you should establish an unsubscribe rate baseline and benchmark future campaigns against it. If unsubscribes are unusually high or low, analyze the message to see if you can identify what led to the change in result.
Given the high demand from consumers for text messaging, and increased investment from businesses into this popular channel, SMS marketing is now an essential part of accelerating growth.
Businesses that are equipped to provide a consistent, seamless, and personalized experience throughout the customer journey will be in a prime position to attract more customers. This all may seem like a lot to manage – especially when factoring in all the other marketing strategies and channels businesses manage. However, leveraging technology to centralize and automate all customer messages in one place will significantly simplify the entire process.