Good communication and relevant messaging are foundational pillars of marketing success. For a small business to thrive, it’s necessary for the target audience to fully understand what the brand stands for and why the company is worth trusting.
There are plenty of ways in which businesses communicate with customers – including email, social media, blogging, direct mail, in-store displays, etc. But there’s one that’s highly effective, yet woefully underutilized: SMS. Learning how to properly leverage it within your marketing and communications strategies will prove beneficial for your business in both the short term and long term.
SMS – also known as text messaging – is a powerful medium through which businesses can communicate ideas and engage customers. Perks include:
- High penetration
These days, almost every teenager and adult has a smartphone. And if you have a smartphone, you have texting capabilities. This makes SMS a high-penetration channel that allows brands to instantly reach a wide demographic and audience.
- High open rate
Did you know that SMS, as a channel, enjoys a 98 percent open rate? When you consider that only one in five emails is opened, this makes SMS an impressive medium with massive opportunity.
- Low cost
SMS is a cost-effective medium – especially when compared to social media, PPC advertising, and even email marketing. For businesses on a budget, this can represent significant savings.
- Short and concise
In a world of short attention spans and plentiful distractions, an SMS message gives brands a chance to cut through the noise and get straight to the point.
5 Tips for SMS Success
Simply integrating SMS into your existing marketing strategy won’t guarantee results. To find success, you’ll need an intentional strategy that reflects your brand values and complements your larger goals. Here are some suggestions:
1. Get Permission
U.S. law requires businesses to earn explicit opt-in from customers prior to sending promotional text messages. This opt-in is totally separate from an email opt-in. Without it, you’re unable to push messages to customers. The best method is to have customers send a text to your number requesting opt-in. You can also have customers sign up on your website.
2. Lead With Your CTA
“Traditionally the call to action is placed at the end or to the side of a document, allowing prospects to review information before urging them to make a final decision,” as this TextMarks article advises. “But with little space to spare, you can often only communicate what’s essential: your call to action.”
Learning how to craft compelling CTAs in such a limited space will take some time, but proper placement – at the beginning – will make a big difference in terms of engagement and conversion rates.
3. Use a Consistent Voice
SMS is an extension of your content strategy. To make it a productive asset, you should focus on establishing a consistent voice that aligns with your blogging, social media, and other content marketing efforts.
When you’re working with such a limited character limit, establishing a consistent voice can be difficult. Train your marketing team to carefully select words and to remember the importance of grammar and sentence structure.
For example, abbreviations and acronyms have a place in SMS, but different brands have different needs. A law office or healthcare brand will want to avoid coming across as unprofessional. A hip startup, on the other hand, can get away with using trendy acronyms. It’s all about understanding the brand and maintaining a consistent voice.
4. Shorten Links
When trying to convey a longer message, you can use SMS to direct recipients towards a link. For best results, shorten these links so they don’t overwhelm the content of the message and look out of place.
5. Gather and Study Data
SMS is like any other marketing platform. To enjoy a high ROI, you have to learn what works. This can be done by gathering data and using SMS analytics platforms to study how users are interacting with your messages. These insights can then be applied to alter, tweak, and refine new strategies.
Adding it All Up
SMS is powerful, but it isn’t designed to work in isolation. To reap the full benefits of text messaging, your business needs to integrate it alongside other forms of communication – including email, social media, and blogging. The objective should be to deliver a cohesive message that accurately encapsulates your brand’s ideas and connects them with the desires, needs, and pain points of your audience. If you can do this, you’ll find success.