Any marketing medium is only as effective as the strategy behind it. With so many ways to communicate with prospects, it’s no wonder why so many businesses are looking for SMS best practices and guides to help create campaigns.
And as more savvy mobile marketers turn to SMS as a strong and reliable customer touchpoint, the more you need to focus on what you’re doing to stand out from the crowd.
To connect with customers on mobile phones–where they spend all their time–brands will need to be creative with text messaging.
With that in mind, we have this list of effective text marketing tips. The tips are actionable, and where applicable, we include real-world examples. No “keep it simple” or “watch your character count” filler tips here.
We promise that your text marketing strategy will benefit from reading this article.
The famous management thinker Peter Drucker said “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
The same is true for your text marketing campaigns.
You can track and measure SMS in a quick-and-dirty–but effective way–by monitoring clicks on links in texts.
If you don’t sell online, you can still keep track of promotions redeemed in your PoS system, or even use a spreadsheet to track results.
Not every SMS marketing campaign is going to involve a coupon or promotion, but if possible, it helps to measure performance. Otherwise, how can you improve what you’re doing?
Most digital marketing guides tell you that you need to A/B test everything. What they fail to acknowledge is that not every marketing channel benefits from A/B testing equally.
One of the benefits of SMS campaigns is that you’re already working with a somewhat pre-qualified base: these people have said they want to receive your SMS messages.
Plus, a lot of your SMS subscribers are existing customers. All of this leads to high engagement with your texts.
That’s why when you try out a new call-to-action (CTA) or offer in your SMS marketing messages, the impact on your conversion rates can make a more significant difference to your bottom line than, say, A/B testing a brand awareness Facebook ad.
Below is an example of an A/B test we ran with a SimpleTexting customer. The text with a photo had a 52% higher click-through rate.
💡This is a great resource if you want to learn more about SMS marketing A/B tests and how they can improve your text messages.
Your customers are not all the same. Maybe they live in different locations, or they’re interested in specific products. Understanding these differences allows you to provide more value.
The more value you offer, the more responsive your recipients will become. It’s why HubSpot found, that “marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.”
With our segments feature, you can filter contacts by specific criteria and then send only those contacts targeted text messages.
Let’s say you sell bikes. You sell all kinds–from kids’ bikes to mountain bikes to road bikes. Someone who spends their time flying down mountains is likely to ignore a flash sale of triathlon gear. Worse still, they might respond, “STOP”, and opt out from future messages.
The person who just bought a $5K road bike in preparation for their first Ironman is, on the other hand, very interested. If your bike store collects data on your subscribers, like what kind of cyclist they are, you can send a text blast to only triathletes.
With our autoresponder feature, you can set up a series of texts to go out after someone subscribes to your text messages.
Say you sell cookware, and someone subscribes to receive your messages. Instead of sending them a message pushing them to purchase, you can send a series of texts with helpful cooking tips, or even link to recipes.
Not only are subscribers typically most engaged when they first sign up for your text messages, but the experience they have in the first few weeks will also set the tone for the rest of their time on your list. If it seems like you’re just after their hard-earned cash, they might unsubscribe or ignore your messages.
If they feel like you’re providing value and taking the time to build a relationship, they’ll be more likely to purchase when you do send a promotion.
What are your email conversion rates? We ask because our customer, Whisker Seeker, sees a 25% conversion rate from its MegaDeals Text Promotions. Conversion rates for text marketing can reach as high as 45%.
The average conversion rate for e-commerce emails is 2.3%. The conversion rate of text marketing is over 700% higher than email marketing.
Email is a crowded space. When Gmail made its update to filter promotional emails into a new tab in 2013, that hurt many company’s open rates.
That’s why if you promote an email marketing program with a pop-up like this…
You can replace it with our Mobile Sign-Up Widget instead and take advantage of the high conversion rates of text marketing. (Seriously, why wouldn’t you?)
The widget makes it easy for website visitors to text in a keyword. (A keyword is a word, phrase, or other combination of numbers and letters that allows people to subscribe to your text messages.)
When visitors click on the widget, it opens a pop-up with more information on your brand’s text marketing program. You can offer a similar 10% discount as you would in an email pop-up.
The example above comes from our customer Toroe Eyewear. The DTC brand saw an increase in revenue of $7K in one month–and an ROI of 156x the investment.
If you’ve ever posted the same copy across all your social media channels, we forgive you.
However, when it comes to your text marketing, exclusivity is an essential part of a successful strategy. If you text an offer to your customers, make it exclusive.
You can even include in your text that the deal is only available to VIP text customers. Not only does it make them feel like they are a part of something special, but it also reduces opt-outs.
Messaging apps, chatbots, in-app messaging: conversational commerce has taken the world by storm. Conversational commerce enables transactions to occur between brands and customers via messaging interfaces such as SMS or other mobile messaging platforms.
Think of it as a conversation with the fishmonger at your local market. You might ask them what’s fresh, chat about what you want, and ask for prices. When you’re done conversing, they hand over the fish, and you pay for it. Conversational commerce is about enabling people to do that, just using messaging apps.
To make your text marketing efforts more interactive, you can send an SMS promotion with a free consultation call-to-action. From there, a member of your team could chat with the customer, answer questions, and provide purchase suggestions.
Even if you don’t have the resources to execute on this, we recommend responding to customers who reply to your text blasts. Given the personal nature, people often don’t realize that you’ve hundreds or thousands of texts at once, so they respond with questions or even a thank you.
It’s always best practice to acknowledge these incoming text messages with a response.
Forrester analyzed more than 2,000 posts and close to 12 million user interactions between social media users and the top 50 global brands. From this data, they concluded that most interactions with brands happen on Instagram.
What do the results of this study have to do with texting?
Images are engaging.
While marketers everywhere are scrambling to hand us the “most obvious statement of the year award,” it’s surprising how few people take advantage of MMS.
If you want to increase engagement with your texts, then it might be time to add an image to your messages.
In every text marketing tips article ever written, there’s a reference to CTAs. We hate to include a generic tip, but it’s true. You need to tell people what in the world to do.
How you wrap up your message will determine whether or not your recipient takes that critical next step.
In short, don’t leave them hanging.
Whether it’s posing a question or giving them a place to click, there should be no second-guessing what you’re offering.
“Shop the collection now while stocks last…”
“You can read our nutrition tips here…”
“Invite a buddy and get another 20% off…”
Beyond your CTA, how you choose to sign off is a subtle but significant way to leave a positive impression on your recipients. If it’s unclear, they’ll wonder why you bothered them in the first place.
To be an effective SMS marketer, you need to collect phone numbers. Then you need to keep these subscribers interested.
We can’t emphasize that it’s essential to get creative and provide customers with something of value. This applies when you first ask for your customer’s numbers. It also applies when you’re sending messages to someone who subscribed a year ago.
That means you need to keep your SMS marketing strategy fresh. You can’t resend the same texts week in and week out. Consider hosting a giveaway, running a poll on what products customers want, or expanding beyond promotions entirely.
If you run a Crossfit box, you could provide expert advice on everything from diet plans to mental health tips. If you’re a realtor, you can use text marketing to invite them to events where they can learn about the home-buying process or share info and tips about programs they can benefit from.
When your business gains access to someone’s inbox, your texts sit alongside messages from close friends and family. So, it’s important not to be spammy or devoid of value. Otherwise, you risk harming your overall customer experience.
There is something deceptively simple about texting that sometimes lulls people into a false sense of security.
Maybe it’s because–with minimal effort–your text messages are likely to outperform your other marketing channels.
Most of the above text marketing tips follow the lead of other marketing channels. Offering value, including images and measuring performance, could apply to any marketing activity.
However, if you incorporate them into your SMS strategy, you’ll stand out from your competition and see an impressive ROI.
Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.More Posts from Drew Wilkinson
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