The first step in marketing is deciding where to reach potential customers. Even the best campaign will fall flat if there aren’t any eyeballs on it. In that regard, text messaging presents a great opportunity. Over 80 percent of Americans use text messaging, which works out to 292 million people in the US alone. That’s an impressive audience! Here’s everything you need to know about harnessing the power of text messaging for your next SMS marketing campaign.
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What Is SMS Marketing?
First things first. SMS is short for “short message service,” and it’s the standard format for text messaging. If you send and receive texts, you use SMS messaging. So whenever you see “SMS,” just think “text.” Yes, there are also RCS and MMS messages, but that’s a different subject altogether.
SMS marketing is the practice of using text messages to interact with your customers. In this sense, it’s a lot like email marketing. You have a contacts list, and you can message one or all of them at will. This can be used to promote a sale, to follow up after an order, to provide a customer service survey, or to advertise a new product.
The main difference between text marketing and email marketing is that it’s far more effective. As of 2020, the average marketing email had an opening rate of 16%, with a click-through rate of 9.22%. At the same time, the average marketing text had an opening rate of 95%, with a click-through rate of 59%.
Let’s talk about what this means in practice. Suppose you have 5,000 people on your mailing list. If you send them an email, only 800 of them will even open the email, and just over 400 of them will actually interact. Conversely, if you sent a well-crafted text, 4,750 people would open it, and 2,950 would respond.
What Are the Benefits of SMS Marketing?
In addition to a high response rate, texting has a number of other advantages. For one thing, it’s the method most people use to talk with friends and family. They’re already familiar with it, and they don’t have to open any special apps in order to communicate with you.
Another benefit is that you control the context in which people see your ad. With social media advertising, for example, you get limited control over how your ad is presented. Suppose you’re advertising a liquor delivery service. Do you really want your ad to show up right next to an article about a DUI accident?
In addition to that, while SMS messages are as private as email, they’re harder to miss. Even emails people have signed up for can easily get diverted to spam, further diluting their impact. And just like email marketing, SMS marketing is easily scalable, so your campaign can grow with your business.
What Are the Drawbacks of it?
Of course, even the best marketing channel is going to have its drawbacks. For one thing, SMS contact lists are harder to build than contact lists for email marketing. The reason for this is a clause in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that requires you to receive permission to send texts to your customers. Thankfully, there are many ways to do this. You can build an opt-in function into your website when people create an account, for example.
A second potential hiccup is the use of short codes. Those are the short, five- or six-digit phone numbers that can only be used for texting. Unfortunately, since these codes are short, they’re limited in quantity. This makes them expensive, which has forced some companies to start sharing short codes. On top of that, most carriers no longer allow shared short codes, since customers don’t like them. There’s an easy solution to this; send marketing texts from a real phone number.
The third possible downside is pricing, but this largely depends on your business. The smaller your mailing list, the lower your costs. Conversely, when your business gets big enough that marketing texts are expensive, you should be earning enough that you can afford the increased price.
SMS Marketing With Community
So, how do you avoid the pitfalls of SMS marketing, and maximize your benefits? One way is to use the right platform. The SMS marketing agency Community has built a powerful online platform for managing all of your customer relationships.
You can view your conversation with each individual, and tailor your messages to match. When used correctly, you can provide a personal touch to your mass communications, and create a stronger relationship with your customers.
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