SMS Marketing

How to Get Started With SMS Marketing

Are you looking for a new way to reach your customers and promote your business? SMS marketing can deliver powerful results in a cost-efficient way. Despite this, some marketers are still hesitant to dip their toes in, due to the myths and misconceptions surrounding SMS marketing. 

Prepare to have those myths – like that it’s obsolete or annoys customers – be debunked. We’ll be diving into how SMS marketing works and the best ways to engage with your customers. With our guidance, you’ll be able to get started with SMS marketing and take advantage of this powerful communication channel. 

What is SMS marketing?

SMS (or text) marketing is a direct marketing tool that allows businesses to communicate with their customers via text message. It’s a form of opt-in marketing that requires customers to subscribe to receive messages. Examples include sending abandoned cart messages, getting customer feedback, announcing sales or promotions and confirming appointments.

Text marketing is beneficial for businesses that want to build personal connections with their customers or need to send important and time-sensitive information. There are essentially three ways that marketers can send SMS messages:

  • You can send quick, ad-hoc SMS messages to one or more contacts as a one-off. These can be sent to numbers that you manually input and aren’t necessarily on our contact lists. But remember, the contacts still need to have opted-in to receive your messages!
  • You can bulk-send messages to subscriber lists of your choosing, with personalisation wildcards and scheduling options.
  • Or you can create automations that send predetermined messages to contacts, triggered by certain events or behaviours (just like email).

Our SMS marketing tool has the capabilities for all three. You can learn more about it by signing up for a free account or reading our step-by-step guide to creating SMS.

What are the benefits of SMS marketing?

1. High open rates

With an open rate of approximately 98%, and most messages being read within the first 3 minutes, SMS marketing is the fastest and most direct way to communicate with customers and ensure that your messages are read. 

2. More personal touch

SMS marketing provides a personal touch not available with other marketing channels. Because SMS messages are sent directly to the customer’s phone, they feel more personalised and direct. This can help businesses build better customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.

3. Affordable

Another benefit of SMS marketing is that it is an affordable marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. It is highly cost-effective because it does not require expensive production or design expenses. Additionally, the cost per message is relatively low compared to other marketing channels. This is especially beneficial for small businesses that may have limited marketing budgets.

SMS marketing can also help provide additional customer service, which can help alleviate the workload from customer support teams but also reduce the need for expensive call centres. 

4. Expands your reach

Studies have shown that 91% of consumers would opt-in for SMS messages from brands, further cementing its importance in this day and age. SMS marketing can also help businesses reach customers who may not have access to other forms of marketing, such as those who do not use social media or have email accounts. This can help businesses expand their reach to different demographics and increase their overall customer base. This makes it a valuable tool for businesses looking to connect with a wider audience and drive growth.

What are the types of SMS marketing?

1. Promotional SMS marketing

Promotional SMS marketing is used to generate sales and create brand awareness. It involves sending messages to customers to promote products, services, or offers. Here are some examples of situations where promotional SMS marketing messages can be used:

  • Product launch or new product announcement
  • Flash sales or limited-time promotion
  • Discount or special offer for first-time customers
  • Holiday or seasonal sale
  • Reward program or loyalty program update

2. Transactional SMS marketing

Pride yourself on superior customer service? Transactional SMS marketing is one way to give your business that competitive edge. Not only does this type of communication reassure your customers but gives your service that personal touch. These messages are usually triggered by specific customer actions, such as a purchase or online booking. Examples include order confirmations, appointment reminders, or delivery updates. Here are some examples of situations where transactional SMS marketing messages can be used:

  • Order confirmations and shipping notifications
  • Account verification and password reset requests
  • Appointment reminders and confirmations
  • Ticket and reservation confirmations
  • Payment and billing reminders

Two-Way SMS Marketing

Two-way SMS marketing allows for two-way communication between businesses and customers. It enables customers to respond to messages the business sends and engage in a conversation. Two-way SMS marketing is typically used for customer support, feedback, or surveys and can help businesses build stronger customer relationships. It can also be used for promotions or special offers, providing customers with a more personalised experience.

Here are some examples of situations where Two-Way SMS marketing messages can be used:

  • Customer service and support interactions
  • Feedback requests or survey responses
  • Appointment scheduling and confirmation
  • Sales inquiries and lead generation
  • User account verification and authentication

SMS Marketing Best Practices

1. Make sure you’re compliant

Just like email marketing, SMS marketing is permission based. So it’s vital to have consent and comply with anti-spam legislation. Here in Australia, the Spam Act 2003 incorporates email and SMS marketing with the same basic requirements applying to both.

  1. Consent must exist prior to sending your message
  2. The recipient should easily be able to identify the sender
  3. The recipient needs to have a simple method for opting out

Additionally, knowing any industry-specific regulations that may apply to your business is important. For example, financial services providers may have additional rules around marketing messages. Australia’s governing body ACMA provides good advice for adhering to anti-spam legislation around consent for SMS marketing. Plus Vision6 takes the worry of processing opt-out requests off your hands as this happens automatically with the capture of SMS responses from your campaigns.

2. Keep your SMS messages clear and concise

One of the most important things to remember is to keep your messages clear and concise. Remember, you only have a limited number of characters to work with (usually around 160), so make sure you’re only conveying the essential information. 

What is the purpose of your message, and what action do you want the recipient to take? Once you have this in mind, craft your message using simple, straightforward language. Avoid using jargon or overly complex language that could confuse the recipient.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure your messages are easy to read. Use short sentences and avoid long paragraphs. Consider using bullet points or numbered lists to break up the text and make it easier to digest.

3. Personalise your SMS

Personalisation is a key factor in the success of any marketing campaign, including SMS. To effectively personalise your SMS messages, start by segmenting your audience. Consider demographics, location, interests, and past behaviour to create targeted messaging that resonates with each segment. You can also use personalisation wildcards to insert the recipient’s name or other personal details into the message.

Consider tailoring your message content to the recipient’s preferences. For example, if a customer has previously shown an interest in a particular product or service, use that information to craft a message that speaks to that interest.

Research indicates that 31% of consumers want to receive personalised messages from a brand’s SMS marketing. Therefore, personalising your SMS messages can help build stronger customer relationships and increase engagement rates. When customers feel that you understand their needs and preferences, they are more likely to respond positively to your messages and take the desired action.

4. Include a clear CTA

When sending an SMS marketing message, including a clear call-to-action (CTA) is important. A CTA is a specific instruction that encourages the recipient to take a desired action, such as purchasing, visiting a website, or subscribing to a service.

It should be clear, concise, and actionable to make your CTA effective. Use strong action words that communicate what you want the recipient to do, such as “Shop now” or “Sign up today.” Also, ensure your CTA is prominently displayed and easy to find within the message.

Another important aspect of including a clear CTA is ensuring that the landing page or website the recipient is directed to is relevant to the message and the CTA. If your CTA is to “Shop now,” for example, ensure the recipient is directed to a page where they can easily purchase the advertised product.

5. Less is more

By keeping your messages short, sweet, and to the point, you can maximise engagement and minimise the risk of being seen as spammy or intrusive. Avoid sending too many messages, and ensure each is tailored to your audience’s interests and needs. 

Personalise your messages using the recipient’s name, and include clear calls to action to encourage conversions. Following these guidelines, you can use SMS marketing as a powerful tool to connect with your audience and drive business growth without overwhelming or annoying your customers.

6. Be aware of timezones

Timing is everything. You want to make sure that you’re sending your messages at a time when your audience is most likely to be receptive and engaged. However, with customers in different time zones, finding the right timing for your messages can be challenging.

Be aware of time zones and adjust your messaging accordingly. Ensure you clearly understand where your customers are located and segment your SMS list by time zone. This will allow you to send messages conveniently to each audience, increasing the likelihood that they will see and engage with your message.

In addition, it’s important to be mindful of the time of day you’re sending your messages. Avoid sending SMS messages early in the morning or late at night when customers may be sleeping or otherwise unavailable. And consider the nature of your message – if it’s time-sensitive, make sure you send it well in advance so that customers have ample time to respond.

By being aware of time zones and timing your messages strategically, you can optimise your SMS marketing campaign for maximum engagement and conversions.

7. Other important considerations

People tend to be more protective over their mobile numbers than they are over their email addresses. This is mostly because it’s considered a personal device reserved for communicating with friends and family. So be mindful of how you start communicating with people via SMS.

  • Make your messages helpful first, and promotional second.
  • When asking for a mobile phone number, be clear on why you’re asking for it and the types of messages people can expect to receive from you.
  • Always give people options. Let them choose how they want to be contacted whether it’s via email, mobile or both.
  • Only send SMS messages at appropriate times. Nobody likes being woken up at 6am by the buzzing of their phone.

How to get started with SMS marketing

1. Set up your Sender ID

To get started with SMS marketing, one of the first steps is establishing your sender ID. This is the name or phone number that appears on your customers’ phones when they receive your message, and it’s important for building trust and credibility with your audience.

There are different options for setting up your sender ID depending on your location and the regulations in your industry. Generally, it’s best to use a recognisable brand name or short code that customers can easily identify. You’ll also want to ensure that your sender ID complies with local regulations, such as including opt-out instructions in your messages.

2. Use our forms to get permission

Before you can start sending SMS messages to your customers, getting their permission is essential. This ensures that you’re compliant with local regulations and helps build a list of engaged and interested subscribers who are more likely to convert.

One effective way to get permission is to use our sign-up forms. These forms can include a clear call-to-action and an incentive for signing up, such as a discount or exclusive content. Make sure to include a checkbox for customers to opt-in to receive SMS messages, and provide clear information about how often you’ll be sending messages and what they can expect to receive.

3. Create SMS automation workflows

To make the most of your SMS marketing campaign, creating automation workflows that streamline your messaging and improve conversions is crucial. Automation workflows allow you to send targeted messages based on specific triggers or actions, such as a customer’s purchase history or behaviour on your website.

You can create many different types of automation workflows for SMS marketing, depending on your goals and audience. For example, you might set up a welcome series for new subscribers or send reminders for abandoned carts or upcoming appointments. Include clear calls-to-action and personalised messaging that meets your audience’s needs and interests.

Are you ready to uncover the secrets of Australia’s most reliable SMS marketing platform? Book a free demo today.

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