SMS marketing (also known as text message marketing, mass texting, and texts blasts) is a rapidly growing form of digital communication for businesses. Thanks to its accessibility and ease, it has gradually become the preferred form of contact by consumers across many industries. Texting is a powerful tool and, when used correctly, can result in more lucrative communication between you and your businesses’ target audience.
Text marketing for each business begins a few different ways. The key is to understand that text marketing is not about your personal device, cellphones or tablets. It’s about text-enabling a number or short code that allows you to reach large groups of people at once (or just one person)! To do that, you need an SMS platform. That’s where we come in.
Your subscribers (or contacts) can message your text enabled toll free number, VoIP, landline, or shortcode to communicate with your business directly. You can reply directly to them, or send out text “blasts”, aka campaigns, that share promotional materials, tips, reminders, and more. Text message marketing sees higher and faster open and response rates than any other form of digital marketing. It’s the new universal inbox.
You can use texting as a tool to reach virtually anyone with a cellphone. But to really employ the best SMS marketing you can, your goal is to communicate directly with your target audience.
A target audience, or target market, is the focus and guiding force that determines your marketing message. Specifically, it’s the persona you wish to receive your messages. The “intended” audience more or less.
By creating a target market you’re not keeping others from your marketing material. Just helping to create a focus. For example, if your target audience for a new soda is teenagers, your marketing material would be geared towards them. That doesn’t exclude middle aged people from buying it, it’s just not who the product is heavily advertised towards.
Who is your target audience and how do you advertise to them? If the choice isn’t obvious from your product or service, there are a few ways you can narrow down your selection. If you do have an idea of who your product or service is intended for, but it’s a little too broad, these tools can also be used to narrow your focus.
When determining your SMS marketing target audience and how to advertise to them, here are some factors to consider:
1. Demographics: the first, and broadest way to define your audience is demographics. Demographics are anything you can quantitatively define: like age, gender, education level, religion, etc. When advertising to a target audience based on demographics, align your marketing message with their preferences. For example, use tools like this readability analysis to determine your message readability to make sure it aligns with your audience’s education level.
2. Psychographics: Psychographics are another general audience segmenting tool that categorize people based on things like their attitudes, preferences, goals, or other psychological criteria. When advertising to these groups, consider employing the tools of logos, ethos, and pathos to determine the proper messaging. For example, as a nonprofit marketing to people with a strong interest in rescuing animals, an emotional message tugging at the heartstring would be an effective strategy.
3. Socio-economic status: While this could technically be considered a demographic, advertising based on socio-economic status has everything to do with your brand’s identity. Are you luxury, affordable, cheap? Be sure to align your messages accordingly. For example, if you’re selling high-end vehicles, don’t send text messages with coupons to clients.
4. Geography: You can successfully create marketing messages for an audience based on where they live, work, dine, travel, and more. When creating messages based on audience geography, be sure to keep it local and topical. For example, don’t text links out to surfing blogs to people in Nebraska.
5. Behavior: Segmenting your audience based on behavior is like a combination of demographic and psychographic. Consumer behaviors are measurable trends: like purchasing patterns and brand loyalty. Collecting this information from your subscribers is incredibly important when developing campaigns. For example, if you have a client who buys the same brand of contact lenses each month, you could send them promotional material for lens solution from that same brand.
Now that you’ve determined your target audience, what kind of messages speak to them? The first step in deciding this is stepping outside of your perspective. Instead, put yourself in their shoes. What are they looking for from you? What problems of theirs can you solve? What can you provide for them that nobody else does? How do they want you to make them feel? Once you have a better idea of their needs/wants, you can begin determining how to fill those desires.
Here are some tools you can use to answer these questions.
SimpleTexting’s polling feature allows you to request feedback directly from your audience, in real time, regarding the messages you’re sending them. Using texting as a two-way communication tool opens up the possibility for you to request feedback regularly on the content you’re sending. There’s no rule that your audience can’t weigh in on what they want to hear from you, so use them!
Your support team are your boots on the ground. They have the most frequent and candid contact with your customers. By giving your customer service team the ability to send texts, they now have a direct line to your audience to both initiate, and respond to their needs. With SimpleTexting, you can have multiple users on one account, meaning the whole support team can work under one virtual roof!
Find out what type of content your customers are interested in. In order to test this, you would set up two different campaigns. One message (A) would include a link to your social media at the end, the other message (B) would link to a blog on your website.
A: “Thanks for joining our VIP text list. To keep up with our latest events, check out our Facebook page: https://bit.ly/2mkdkPJ”
B: “Thanks for joining our VIP text list. To keep up with our latest events, check out our blog: https://bit.ly/2mkdkPJ”
By utilizing link tracking, you can test how effective your campaign really is based on who is taking action on your link. From there, your new knowledge about subscriber’s behavior can help dictate the kind of messages you send them.
Now use what you’ve learned to send more relevant messages. With our segmenting feature, it’s easy to stay organized and build these specific sub-audiences for reference.
As we mentioned before, setting a target audience is a tool to ensure your marketing campaign has a focus. It’s not enough to say “buy this because it’s good.” When selling a product, service, belief, or idea, you need to provide evidence. The best way to do that is to speak directly to the interests and needs of a targeted audience.
Creating too targeted of an audience however can become a detriment to your SMS campaign. This example is simplified, but to demonstrate…
Good target audience: Middle aged mother’s with an annual household income of $80,000-$120,000.
Bad target audience: Sentimental non-working Christian mother in the mid-west with family money, on their first marriage, and an annual household income of $150,000.
There might be someone like the second target audience who exists out there, and you may have exactly what they need. But an entire text marketing campaign can’t be based on conjecture and desire. There’s a sweet spot to the specificity in the first example that provides just enough detail and room for expansion, but it doesn’t bog you down with the details.
At the end of the day, the beauty of text marketing is your ability to reach and communicate with both the good, and the not so good, target customers. Mass text campaigns are a great way to reach your customers with relevant and specific SMS marketing. But one-on-one business texting allows you to start a dialogue with one specific subscriber who could go on to be the model of your most successful buyer persona.
Either way, using text messages to reach your target audience will help you send better promotional material to your audience that they will actually want to receive.