According to a recent Hubspot analysis, "...more than 76% of businesses plan to invest in text message marketing in the next year."
But what is text message marketing and why are so many businesses investing in it?
I’ve written on why text message marketing works, but the short answer is because:
So what does an SMS marketing campaign look like for your business? In this article, I cover text message marketing basics including:
By the end of this article, you'll be well on your way to building effective SMS marketing campaigns.
“SMS” stands for “short message service” or “text message”. SMS marketing refers to how your business or organization uses text messages to generate leads and communicate with customers about campaigns, promotions, news, updates, and more.
SMS marketing is a conversational and naturally engaging way to generate leads and build relationships. SMS marketing operates similarly to email marketing. But texts are often shorter than emails and messages route straight to a recipient’s cell phone.
Some basic uses of SMS marketing include:
Here’s an example of what MessageDesk’s SMS marketing broadcasts look like:
Once you have a list of contacts, SMS text marketing campaigns typically start with a pre-saved text message template. These templates often contain personalization tags and come with additional MMS media like an image or a gif.
Personalization tags allow you to automatically insert customer information like "first name" into every message. This makes each text message unique and personalized to the recipient, even if you’re sending hundreds of messages.
Here’s an example of a MessageDesk automated car dealership text message that utilizes personalization tags:
Email is tried and true conversational messaging technology. It’s actually the most widely adopted communication channel in the world next to SMS.
Both SMS and email marketing campaigns involve:
But email marketing can suffer from lower engagement rates compared to text campaigns.
In fact, people are sending an average of 15 texts per day vs. 12 emails per day.
Plus, many emails go unread and even get deleted without ever being opened.
So it’s no wonder then that email also has lower engagement rates than SMS. We’re talking about 20% open rates and only 6% average response rates. And that’s on a good day.
Customers are also much more likely to mark advertising emails as spam. So when it comes to receiving email, some audiences may never even have the chance to see your message.
|Open Rate||Response Rate||Spam Rate|
But text message marketing campaigns and email marketing campaigns don't have to be an either-or arrangement.
As you learn more about your customers, you'll find that some messages are better suited for email, while others work best as texts.
As you refine your campaigns over time, you'll find a place for both in your overall marketing strategy.
We’ve covered what SMS marketing is and how it stacks up compared to email. Now it's time to craft your first text campaign.
These are the steps you’ll want to consider when developing a campaign:
What's your goal for your marketing campaign? It's important to focus primarily on one objective per campaign. This helps you to align your content and calls to action. It also makes it easier to tailor your messaging and get message recipients to achieve the desired objective.
Some SMS marketing campaign goals might include:
Setting clear, specific goals tied to performance metrics also helps you optimize campaign performance over time.
Some SMS marketing campaign metrics to track include:
When you choose a text message marketing service, make sure it includes analytics for sent and received texts. Many SMS marketing platforms like MessageDesk provide you with metrics for every text message sent.
Here’s are some of the metrics you see when sending text messages using MessageDesk:
Segmenting your contacts into lists is a marketing best practice. The more segmented your list is, the more you can personalize bulk text messages to that specific audience.
Personalization can be the difference between a high-performing campaign and a low-performing campaign. In general, leads and customers respond better to friendly, personalized messages that include their first name.
You’ll also want to consider automating different messages for different contact lists based on the customer’s life cycle.
For example, brand new text-list subscribers may receive a welcome message. Whereas long-term repeat customers may receive promotional offers and refer your friend discount codes.
MessageDesk groups and multiple inboxes with custom views are a great way to segment your customers into SMS marketing lists. You can create groups based on any contact property or even form submissions and interactions.
There are best practices and text messaging etiquette to consider before you send your first message.
Top 10 texting etiquette rules for business:
The most important thing to know when sending promotional marketing messages is TCPA compliance and consent. For promotional text messages you need express consent from your contacts.
MessageDesk automatically handles all of the opt-in and opt-out requirements for you per TCPA guidelines. The first time you text a new contact MessageDesk automatically displays opt-out instructions. When a contact opts out, they’re automatically put in a “do not text” list.
SMS marketing also includes MMS (Multimedia Message Service). MMS allows you to text images, media, and graphics. This is a great way to boost engagement and interest.
Like email, SMS marketing can be visual. This works especially well when you’re marketing a product.
Almost every business text messaging platform includes MMS messages, including MessageDesk. MessageDesk MMS media folders even make it easy to organize images, videos, or gifs and attach them to any text message.
Every text message should have a call to action that prompts recipients to take the next step. Without that prompt, you're not progressing the recipient down the funnel and through your sales cycle.
So craft clear CTAs like:
It's always better if you include a link in a text message. Embedding the URL in the SMS message removes a barrier between your audience. It makes it easy for recipients to take the next action directly on their mobile phones.
When you include a link in a text message, MessageDesk will automatically shorten it for you.
There’s no need to waste character space by sending the full URL. You can send a shortened URL in a message that looks like this:
To get you started, I've crafted a few example SMS marketing messages. Add these text messages as templates to your campaign library:
Pro Tip: Automate this message so it goes out as soon as a customer subscribes or creates an account.
Pro Tip: Personalizing messages with names boosts engagement and builds the relationship faster.
Pro Tip: You can also build urgency with time-limited discounts or promotional offers to reengage shoppers.
These messages keep the conversation going. They give shoppers friendly insight into tracking and delivery schedules so your brand seems even more trustworthy and transparent.
Reviews and five-star feedback provide great social proof for reaching new audiences. If you know a customer had a good shopping experience, ask for feedback immediately after the interaction is over.
I’ve covered what SMS marketing is. Now you’ve got a grasp of the basic in’s and out’s of running a campaign. What’s next?
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