SMS marketing — also called mobile marketing or text message marketing — is marketing that uses text messages to communicate with leads or subscribers.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS stands for short message service, and these messages are sent as plain text to a subscriber’s mobile phone number.
Like email marketing, SMS marketing is permission based. This means sending text messages to recipients who have not opted in to your list is a big no-no.
Okay, but does SMS marketing actually work?
A Marketing Charts study found that the average conversion rate of SMS marketing was 29%.
Compare that to conversion rates for email marketing (3.26%), Google ads (3.17%) and Facebook ads (9.21%), and you’ll see that SMS marketing CAN actually work.
Text messages are more likely to cut through the marketing noise and get opened and read.
This is likely because subscribers receive less of them compared to emails.
Which means NOW is the best time to start SMS marketing. A few years before it gets flooded out there.
Now you need to choose the best software for SMS marketing
Just like you need an email software for your email marketing efforts, you also need special software to send and manage your SMS campaigns.
Some email platforms, like Klaviyo, include SMS tools that you can turn on. If your email platform doesn’t include SMS, here’s a quick rundown of some options you can try.
1. Mobile Text Alerts
Used by companies like YETI and Toyota, Mobile Text Alerts is a nicely streamlined business texting tool. Schedule and send messages for discounts, updates, reminders – everything you want to text with leads and customers about. And also do cool extras like:
- Send recurring messages
- Set up SMS drip campaigns
- Offer a ton of different opt-in methods, including QR codes
- Get pretty robust analytics
- Integrate with 1000s of tools, like Shopify, Calendly and MailChimp
SimpleTexting is an all-in-one text messaging service that makes it easy to send SMS campaigns and engage with customers in 1-on-1 conversations.
The platform is intuitive and easy to use, which makes it a great option if you’re new to SMS marketing.
Features include automated campaigns, link tracking, easy keyword opt-in, segmentation, and autoresponders.
3. EZ Texting
EZ Texting is another text messaging software that makes it easy to send 1-to-1 and group SMS campaigns.
It allows your subscribers to opt-in using keywords, QR codes, or web signup fields, and includes solid analytics and reporting as well as contact management that allows segmentation.
Twilio is the most robust and complex option on this list, and it’s definitely worth considering, even if you’re not an SMS marketing pro.
The platform offers a range of APIs that make it ideal for larger organizations looking to build a custom solution for the marketing efforts.
However, the integrations with services like Zapier and Hubspot make it easy to connect your accounts and get started with their no-code solutions.
TextMagic checks the box for being an easy-to-use text message marketing software.
The interface is easy to understand, which means setting up and sending your first campaign won’t take too long.
The features you’d expect are all present in TextMagic — scheduled messages, automations, bulk sending, and integrations.
Sakari is another easy-to-use cloud-based text messaging service that claims you can get set up and send your first message in under 5 minutes.
Features include two-way texting, autoresponders, segmentation, and integration with over 1,300 apps.
As more and more brands find success with sms marketing, it’s becoming more important to understand how to execute successful SMS campaigns.
Here are some suggestions for using SMS marketing in your own business.
1. Make it part of your overall strategy
SMS marketing shouldn’t be left to stand on its own. In fact, it works best as part of a larger marketing strategy.
Invite website visitors, social media followers, and email subscribers to opt-in to your text messaging list for updates and special offers.
The best text messaging services will allow you to integrate your email service, social media accounts, and website.
This will make it easier to collect data across channels and plan more effective campaigns for a better customer experience.
2. Save the SMS campaign for the important stuff
If you’re following the suggestion to make SMS a part of your overall strategy alongside emails and facebook ads, this will be an easy tip to follow.
Resist the urge to send an SMS for everything you want to say. You’ll get better results if you limit your SMS campaign to only the most important messages at the most important times.
3. Think beyond sales
While text messages are a very powerful tool for generating sales, they can be used for so much more. They can also be used to improve your overall customer experience.
Online home retailer Wayfair shares shipping and delivery notifications with customers via text. Customers are invited to sign up with their phone number at checkout.
4. Always ask for the opt-in
This bears repeating. Like email, SMS is regulated, so ensure you always get the consent of subscribers before sending them any messages.
Messages should also include a way for subscribers to opt out of receiving these text messages.
The text messages below from Michael’s are a good example of how to send SMS campaigns correctly. They ask for the opt in, explain what text messages will be sent, and tell subscribers how to opt-out.
5. Make your copy concise
Writing copy for your SMS campaigns is very different from writing copy for other channels.
SMS messages are delivered as plain text, which means there’s no way to format them or add branding elements like fonts or colors.
They also have character limits, which mean you need to be direct when crafting your messages.
This doesn’t mean you can’t apply copywriting formulas. It just means you need to think a bit differently and say it with fewer words.
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