How Does SMS Fit Into Multi-Channel Marketing?

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A strong marketing strategy doesn't rely on just one channel alone. Find out how SMS or text marketing can complement your cross-channel efforts.

Businesses can’t afford to only advertise in one place. Now more than ever, consumers have endless options when it comes to where to spend their time, and where to search for information. They could be looking for your business on Facebook, scrolling through Instagram, snooping around LinkedIn, or browsing their emails. Even if you have all the resources in the world, it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. New channels pop up every day. Therefore, as a savvy marketer, it’s up to you to decide which ones are worth your time. In this article, we’ll discuss multi-channel marketing and why SMS should be among the channels you choose.

What is SMS and Multi-Channel Marketing?

Let’s get the basics down first. What exactly is SMS? It stands for short message service, and it’s the industry-term for what most of us just call texts or text messages. SMS isn’t limited to words alone. Advanced features such as MMS and extended messaging have opened up a world of other possibilities. Now you can include all of the following in your texts:

  • Trackable links
  • Up to 1,600 characters of text
  • Photos
  • GIFs
  • PDFs
  • Audio files

Of course, SMS is just one of many channels you can use in your multi-channel marketing efforts. You may have heard of multi-channel marketing referred to as cross-channel marketing. Simply put, it’s the practice of interacting with customers on different mediums. The reason it’s so powerful is that it allows you to optimize your strategy based on which channels prove to be successful. Regardless of how many channels you include in your strategy, your campaigns should be cohesive across all mediums, including SMS.

Measuring Your Multi-Channel Marketing Efforts

A multi-channel campaign may include social media posts, text blasts, emails, print ads, and countless other tactics. This may make measuring the effectiveness of your campaign seem like a daunting tasks. Don’t despair. Just keep things simple. Follow these tips:

1. Set Overall Goals for the Entire Campaign
Decide on objectives and KPIs for the campaign as a whole, first. Are you after brand awareness? Site traffic? Sales? App downloads? Choosing your metrics early on will help you narrow down your tactics later on.

2. Set Individual Goals for Each Channel
Not all channels are created equal, and not all channels should have the same objectives. With text messages, for example, you may want to measure CTR. With Facebook ads, you may be more interested in reach. Consider the strengths and weaknesses or each channel before setting realistic goals.

3. Decide on an Attribution Model
Multi-channel marketing efforts work best when you can adjust later on. And in order to do that, you have to have a clear picture of what’s working. Use a platform like Google Analytics to track your efforts and identify which touch points led to your customers making a decision.

With all of this in mind, you’re in a position to strategically dig into your campaign’s data. You should be able to identify:

  • Which channels are performing best
  • The ROI of each channel
  • How each channel is contributing to the overall goal

Once you’ve set goals for your overall campaign, you can decide on which channels are likely to help you meet those goals. Text marketing is an increasingly popular tool for marketers seeking high engagement and response rates. There are two main ways business use texts: for promotions and for 2-way communications.

Why SMS Is a Powerful Tool for Promotions

You have hundreds of digital channels at your disposal. But don’t look at multi-channel marketing as guess work. Each tactic you select should be a strategic decision. So why spend time on SMS as a promotional tool? Consider the following benefits.

An Interested, Engaged Audience
Customers have to give you permission before you can send them mass texts. And if they do, that means they genuinely want to hear what you have to offer. It’s no wonder then that 90% of texts are read within 3 minute, according to data collected from some of the largest cell carriers in the U.S. and Europe. And no need to write a stand-out subject line either. The text message inbox is less crowded than other channels, so your audience is almost guaranteed to see your message.

Higher Open and Click-Through Rates
Research from Pew revealed that texting is the most frequently used app on smartphones. 97% of Americans use it at least once a day! That number is even higher for those between the ages of 18 to 29. Plus, texts almost never go ignored. The average click-through rate of SimpleTexting customers is 17%. Compare that to the CTR of emails which is under 3%.

Texts Are Saved and Referenced
If you’re sending out a coupon or special offer, you want it to be handy for your customers. Don’t let the hard work you put into your marketing campaign get lost in a junk drawer. Unlike printed materials, text messages are saved on yours customers’ phones which they almost always have with them. And while some people prefer tidy email inboxes, it’s a cultural phenomena that people hold on to texts.

Customizable and Highly Targeted
There’s a lot of jargon used to refer to the practice of sending texts to large lists of people: bulk SMS, mass texts, text blasts, etc. Don’t let these mislead you. Text message marketing isn’t just about sending a message to as many people as possible and hoping the right people will see it. It’s highly targeted. You can upload data from your CRM, create dynamic segments, and even use Zapier to connect your existing apps to our SMS platform.

Texts Can Be Automated
When you have multiple channels to manage, you can’t afford to be bogged down with manually sending messages. SMS texts can be set up to send automatically. Schedule texts in advanced or create a drip campaign with a series of autoresponders. Features like keywords and triggers let you instantly get back to your customers with the information they need.

Everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies are relying on texts when they want to be certain that their message will be delivered. But texting isn’t about just sending messages. It’s about receiving them, too.

SMS as 2-Way Communication

Whether you’re texting from a 5-digit short code or a text-enabled 10-digit number, you can both send and receive texts with our platform. Enabling this kind of 2-way communication can aid your multi-channel marketing efforts because it helps you build relationships with your customers. Don’t just talk at people, talk to them.

Quickly Gather Customer Data
The more you know about your customers, the better you can sell to them. 2-way texting allows you to request information from your audience which you can then use to refine your multi-channel marketing efforts. Ask for basic data like first and last name, or more specific info such as product preference. This can be achieved with an SMS survey or by sending a link to a form.

Receive Texts and Calls on the Same Number
One of the best benefits of texting is how quickly you can get started. There’s no need to get a new number or install complicated software. With SimpleTexting, you can text-enable your existing business phone number. Cross-channel marketing is all about giving your customers options. Why not give them the option to text and call on the same number?

Sweepstakes, Polls and Other 2-Way Tactics
Texting is for more than just talking. There is a host of exciting features you can use to build excitement around your campaign. Ask your audience to vote in a contest then send them real-time results. Host an enticing giveaway or contest. If you’re creative, the possibilities are endless. For example, see how Amazon used SimpleTexting to promote the launch of the Season two launch of their Emmy Award Winning Series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Convenient and Inexpensive for Customers and You
No one has to be taught how to text. Your customers are already doing it! Connect with your audience using a tool they’re already familiar with. Most people have unlimited text message plans and we never charge for incoming SMS messages.

Now that you’re familiar with why and how to use text messaging in your multi-channel marketing, let’s review some real-world examples.

Examples of SMS in Multi-Channel Marketing

The benefits of adding SMS to your marketing strategy vary depending on how you use it, and what objective you’re after. We’ve seen customers in a diverse range of industries. Restaurants, real estate agents, e-commerce stores, and entertainment venues all use text messages. Below are three examples of how SMS can be used in tandem with your other channels.

Driving App Downloads
In-telligent is an app and online platform that allows organizations to send emergency alerts to people’s mobile devices. These alerts are able to bypass the silent and do not disctub settings on phones, but only if the app is downloaded. In-telligent promotes their app through social media, paid ads and printed materials, among other marketing channels. They use texting to facilitate the customer journey. When an organization partners with In-telligent, they receive a custom keyword that their users can text to a short code, such as 900900. As soon as someone texts in this keyword, they receive a download link to the app. Read more about how In-telligent uses SimpleTexting here.

Speeding Up Slow Seasons
With 29 locations across three states, Delta Sonic Car Wash is one of the most popular car wash, gas station, and convenience store combos in the U.S. They advertise their services with POS displays, billboards and emails. All of their message is cohesive across these channels, including texting. They created a text-to-join loyalty program and send messages with exclusive, limited-time only offers. Today their list has thousands of subscribers eager to receive special deals. Get more details about Delta Sonic’s SMS strategy here.

Increasing Customer Loyalty
Barnyard Dollar Store is More is one of the most highly reviewed convenience stores in all of Texas. Their marketing strategy includes an active Facebook presence and maintaining up-to-date listings online. Where does texting come into the picture? Barnyard has an online sign-up form on their website which allows people to instantly opt in to text message updates. Using MMS, Barnyard is able to send photos of products that are currently on sale. Read the full Dollar Store and More success story here.

These customers saw success by adding SMS to their cross-channel marketing efforts. You can too. Sign up for a free 14 day trial today and see how easy it is to connect with people by text. We’ll include 50 messages for free, and our customer support team is here every day of the week if you need any help getting started.

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