SMS, or short message service, is a powerful tool for marketers. Consumers are glued to their phones, so having the ability to meet them where they are is invaluable. Unlike traditional marketing tactics like direct mail, commercials, and billboards, you know consumers are seeing your messages. And not only are they seeing them, but they are often relatively engaged. They’re generally interested in your brand offerings, even if they were enticed to subscribe for a special discount or perk.
Another benefit of SMS is its speediness. You can get a pertinent message out to your loyal customers in a matter of minutes. If you’re seeing a slow sales day, you may decide to offer a quick promotion to drive more traffic. It’s also a way to offer a direct line of communication from a user to the brand. Once you have a business number added for texting, users can quickly send you a text instead of sending an email or calling customer service.
For these reasons and more, businesses of all sizes are prioritizing SMS marketing in some way. Larger stores can benefit from this newer marketing channel just like small, independently owned businesses. But before sending blast messages to all of your registered contacts, take a pause. There are a few things you’ll want to know about this marketing tactic before getting started. Below, three ways SMS can help your marketing strategy.
Knowing who is landing on your site, what they are purchasing, and how often they are returning is crucial for understanding your audience. This knowledge is fundamental when it comes to making sales and meeting expectations. Learning about their demographic traits can help you better understand their wants and needs. And the more you know about your audience, the better you can segment them into different buckets. SMS can be a tool to help you learn about your consumer base.
As you’re developing your SMS strategy, you’ll likely try a variety of different messaging tactics. You want to see what is appealing to your consumers and what motivates them. Are they more interested in a flash sale promotion message than they are a link to your Facebook page? With each message, you’ll have a better sense of what your audience is looking for from you and how they want to feel. Testing and learning is part of the process so remember to track respective data and trends with each send.
As Hawke points out, SMS messages can be especially beneficial during major sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumers are primed to shop during these times, so you’re looking for an “in.” Attracting their attention through SMS before and during a major sale can be beneficial. For instance, send out a teaser message asking users if they would be interested in having first access to your sales. Send subsequent teaser messages and include a live countdown to really draw them in.
This sense of anticipation is a great way to engage audiences while also forming closer relationships. When someone thinks they are getting an exclusive deal, they are often more willing to make a purchase. Adding a “thank you” message after a purchase is another smart move, since it helps establish brand loyalty. And, of course, adding a coupon to this message is yet another way to fuel the purchase cycle.
Finally, a huge advantage of SMS is the ability to tailor communications to different audience segments. Tailoring messages to different groups creates a more personalized experience. A new consumer, for instance, is looking for something to grab their attention. A returning consumer may be looking for how your brand is thanking them for their loyalty. Through SMS, you can create customized communications that will make an impact for any audience member.
This is especially important because personalization and recognition drive sales. In fact, research shows that 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that recognizes them by name. So get to know your customers. Another way to personalize your SMS communications is by sending a message on their birthday. A simple greeting and/or birthday coupon can go a long way and shows that your brand cares about the individual. Similarly, a text on their anniversary of being a loyal customer is another nice touchpoint.
Text messaging is often seen as a preferred way of communication between friends and family members, but brands can get in on the action. A phone call from a business may seem too intrusive. An email can be lost in an inbox, sent to spam, or easily unsubscribed from. Because consumers won’t welcome texts from any brand, having their number is the start of a more personal relationship.
With this in mind, avoid sending too many messages no matter how they are being received. You never want to run the risk of being too aggressive with your marketing tactics. Rather, relay pertinent, timely messages, reminding them of past purchases or upcoming delivery notifications. The more you use SMS as a way to assist your consumer, the better.