SMS Marketing
  • Marketing

Getting Started with SMS Marketing

By Happy Medium

Marketers constantly canvas the media landscape trying to get a few seconds of attention from their audiences, and celebrate any margin of success over a benchmark. As attention spans shrink and the deprecation of third-party cookies draws near, advertisers need to reset their expectations, but also avail themselves to new media that can maximize the potential of their zero and first party data.

Think of all the tactics people generally resent about advertising:

  • Junk mail
  • Spam emails
  • Clickbait
  • Contextually inappropriate ads
  • Excessive repetition
  • Pedantic/drawn out commercials

What do all these have in common? Cluttering up your space and taking too much time.

Now think of all the tactics people generally like about advertising:

  • Humor
  • Invitations to participate
  • Special or exclusive offers
  • Useful/interesting information
  • Alignment with taste
  • Life hacks
  • Relatable stories/testimonials

What do all these have in common? Relevance to and resonation with the end user.

If you can hit any of the marks on the bottom list, then you should be eager to engage your audience and your audience should be eager in return. The only question is, how will you stay in touch with them?

You can target them with ads through the usual channels. You can email them. You can also reach them through text messages!

SMS Marketing Basics

Short Message Service (SMS) itself has been around for a while. But SMS marketing, or delivering marketing messages through text messages, is a relatively new player in the ad space. It’s similar to email marketing in that it relies on zero party data intentionally given by the end user, with mass scheduled messaging about your products and offerings.

Emails are longer formats, and often go unopened due to the implied time commitment they require. The body of the messages are longer and they often call for clicking over to other information which might also take some time.

People often put off emails and leave them unopened. People also might read the email, lose interest, and never click out of it. Email marketing has its place and efficacy, but SMS is a little different.

SMS messages are shorter, and therefore more impactful, resulting in higher engagement. In a survey conducted by eMarketer, 43.3% of marketers report clickthrough rates (CTR) between  20-35% from their SMS marketing, compared to an average email CTR of just 2-5%. 

Texting also spans across a much broader age range. While it might not be shocking to know that younger generations prefer texting, it might surprise you to learn that people up to 50 also prefer that method of communication.

In addition to performance benefits of SMS marketing, there are a number of functionality benefits as well. There are no algorithms to wrestle with, bounce rates to consider, or spam folders to avoid. Your message gets delivered directly to the consumer without any GDPR complications, which is a great workaround for iOS devices

Using SMS Marketing to Engage Consumers

To date, 85% of US digital shoppers are subscribed to at least one text message program. This is outside of the texting businesses are using to provide reminders and updates to upcoming appointments and deliverables such as food delivery or prescription fulfillment.

However effective SMS marketing is, we don’t want to abuse this method, and it certainly should not replace other channels of communication. Consider SMS marketing as more of a supplemental medium, rather than the entirety of your marketing plan. Below are some helpful measurements to keep in mind when approaching this space:

  • Why would they sign up?
  • Why wouldn’t they sign up?
  • What type of messaging would compel them to convert?

eMarketer did some research on what motivates people to subscribe to text messages from brands. The top reason why people sign up for text marketing is to unlock exclusive or one-top promo codes, with early access to sales and regular text-only offers ranking 2nd and 4th respectively. In addition to sales and offers, consumers are also receptive to text messaging that provides updates about their orders, with 51% of consumers saying that they would sign up to receive such updates. 

It’s also important to keep in mind what could cause someone to unsubscribe from an SMS marketing program. When it comes to SMS marketing, consumers have many of the same concerns as they do with other marketing platforms. According to eMarketer, the top two reasons why US shoppers do not sign up for a brand’s text messages are worries about brands texting too often and concerns that the brand will share the shopper’s personal data.

Before Pressing “Send”

Like with any marketing effort, the impact of your SMS marketing depends on the amount of strategy and planning work you do up front to make sure you’re reaching the right audiences with the right messaging. If you or your business needs help developing a marketing strategy or wants to seek new, innovative ways to reach customers, Happy Medium would love to help you out. Give us a call

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