Published 12 December 2018 Category: Direct Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advertising

How to Use SMS Marketing in 2018

At a point in time, when mobile phones had no social messengers and lacked optimal features, SMS marketing was one of the most popular marketing methods aside from email marketing. With time, as phones became smarter and people were able to use additional mediums for instant chat and communication, SMS marketing began to decline. In 2018, where people use WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger and plenty of other apps, SMS marketing is still carried out by different companies. Although it is no longer popular, SMS marketing is not completely dead and businesses still make use of it because it’s cheap and easy.
 

What is SMS Marketing & Why are Businesses Still Using it?

Short Messaging Service (SMS) are text messages sent to mobile phones. Businesses often send promotions, promo codes, and other offers via SMS because it reaches the audience directly. Although you tend to ignore these messages and eventually pile up in your inbox, they are still being used by businesses as a solid marketing strategy because it’s simple to execute and works purely on automation. One simple message sent out to millions of people, out of which thousands are likely to open the message and make a purchase decision. According to Entrepreneur.com, “the average open rate for emails is somewhere between 20-30 percent. In comparison, the open rate for an SMS is nearly 98 percent. And nearly 90 percent of SMS recipients open their text messages in the first three seconds.” This statistic shows that SMS marketing may not be dying anytime, but these numbers do not show whether the audience feels motivated or annoyed, whether they block the number or respond. It is important that you use a smart strategy when executing an SMS marketing plan and avoid becoming a name that would frustrate the audience into using the block option.
 

What do You Have to Watch Out for if You Want to Use SMS Marketing?

The greatest challenge with SMS marketing is its spammy nature. Because it's easy to send text messages in bulk, businesses often overdo it and eventually become annoying to the user. The rise in SMS spam has put it under the radar and some countries such as the US have strict spam laws that could result in massive fines. Before you plan an SMS marketing campaign, be aware of any existing law against acquiring personal numbers and sending marketing messages. The GDPR and other data protection policies require that you always request consent from your leads before marketing to them. SMS marketing is no exception. Some companies have been violating ethical standards by purchasing user data in bulk from a third-party vendor and then spamming them with messages. This puts all other legitimate sources under the radar too, which is why it is important to always have your audience’s consent to provide their numbers in return for receiving promotional text messages.
 

Some Important Tips for Effective Bulk SMS Marketing

Bulk SMS marketing involves sending SMS blasts to registered users and functions the same way as email marketing. The reader has 3 seconds to read your message the moment it pops on their screen - similar to reading the subject line of an email the moment an email pops in the inbox. The text preview of an SMS which is hardly 6 words are read by the user within a matter of 2 seconds. These 6 words help them decide if they want to continue reading the offer or not. This is why effective copywriting is a highly critical matter for text message advertising. Your first 6 words, your first 2 seconds are super IMPORTANT. Some additional tips to make your SMS marketing efforts fruitful are:
 

Short, Crisp Messages Limited to 160 Characters

By default, SMS allow for only 160 characters. Short, crisp messages that fit within 160 characters to be sent out once a while are the most effective. Avoid breaking your message into two parts because the moment someone receives a second notification from the same company, it becomes a tad bit annoying.
 

Avoid Sending Frequent Messages

Anything that is easy is often abused. SMS marketing was so convenient and so easy that businesses went crazy sending out messages four to five times a day! Avoid sending excessive messages if you really want to be successful with your SMS marketing plan. Once a day is a good number to send messages to your audience. More than twice a day is overdoing it and you’ll just be irking your customer into blocking your number.
 

Always Have an Offer or a Discount

The primary purpose of an SMS is not to advertise your business but to incentivize people with an offer. In fact, messages with promo-codes, discounts, and special offers tend to get more attention than mere service/product advertisements. Unless you don’t have an offer or a discount available, your SMS marketing plan may not produce any significant results.
 

Always Have a CTA

What action do you want the audience to take once they read your message? Is it to visit the store? To download an app? To make a call or to make a purchase? Whatever the purpose of your message, align the right CTA with it. Also avoid giving multiple options - keep it simple with text messages. If you want them to visit the store, share the address. Want them to visit an online offer? Share a URL (after shortening it)
Like other digital strategies, an SMS marketing strategy needs to be well-planned and should be delivered keeping in mind existing rules and regulations. SMS marketing is not dead, businesses just need to be smarter and more people-centric if they want to be effective!