SMS Marketing: What You Need to Know


Published: August 3, 2020 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
SMS Marketing: What You Need to Know

“Cut through the noise” might be the next phrase ready to be entered into the jargon playbook considering how often it appears in marketing blogs and materials. However, the need to reach your target audience when dozens—or even hundreds—of brands are fighting for the same few seconds of attention is real. SMS marketing provides a unique opportunity to be heard, as long as it’s done right.

The Case for SMS

The data that marketers have collected on the effectiveness of SMS is compelling. From boasting an open rate of 98 percent to enjoying a response rate that is 209 percent higher than email or even Facebook, businesses have been finding great success with this tactic. Considering that most Americans check their phones almost 50 times every day, these numbers are probably not surprising.

On the other hand, the last thing brands should do is to jump in and start texting all the phone numbers they have. In fact, one of the reasons why SMS marketing is so successful is because of the restraint that most companies have used, perhaps due to how easy it is for consumers to reply to a message with the word “stop” and close that door completely. The challenge, then, is for businesses to find the right strategies to leverage the success of SMS marketing.

SMS Marketing Done Right

If you want to make SMS marketing work for your company, the key is to choose the right approach and deliver the right type of message for this channel. Here are several types of approaches that may match up with your business model and marketing strategies:

  • Sales & Promotions. Are you having a sale? Previous buyers probably want to know about it. Get this right by keeping the message short and to the point. Boost your effectiveness by putting a time limit on the sale to create a bit of urgency.
  • Coupons. Consumers redeem SMS coupons ten times more than any other type of coupon. Offer your customers a specially priced item or discount, and be sure to include an expiration date to make it compelling.
  • Contests. Text-to-win competitions are a fun way to build engagement and grow your list of subscribers, and we’ve all probably heard an example of text-to-win on radio stations every day. Get this right by making sure to disclose any requirements to win and offer an exciting prize.
  • Loyalty Programs. The purpose of these programs is to make your customers feel valued so personal messaging can go a long way. Get this right by including offers that are only available to subscribers of the program, and be sure to filter who gets which message based on past behavior or purchases.
  • Alerts & Notifications. Are your hours changing for the season? Do you have new products to announce? Has a popular, but out-of-stock item recently been restocked? Are you hosting a special event or selling tickets to an event? Any hot news that you have is perfect for SMS marketing.

Don’t Forget the Rules

The first rule of SMS marketing is clear and documented customer consent. In addition to being a polite gesture, the FCC also requires you to get written permission for any commercial messaging. You must also allow consumers to opt-out of your messaging by replying directly to a received message with a universally recognized word (i.e., STOP, UNSUBSCRIBE), and state this in the message. SMS messages may only be sent between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the local time of the recipient.

You must also be consistent regarding which type of messaging the consumer has opted-in to receive. For example, if you operate two different retail outlets with different products, opting into messaging from one does not imply consent to the other. There are a few more rules and regulations that apply to specific situations; read more about them here.

Making SMS Marketing Work for You

Reaching your customers directly on their mobile devices can have a significant impact on the success of your marketing strategies. When you are mindful of the rules and focus on providing recipients with short, direct, and exciting offers, promotions, and information, you’ll enjoy the impressive results that marketers and brands are finding from SMS marketing. If you’re ready to give this channel a try, but you’re not sure where to start or want help making sure you get it right, we can help! Call for a free consultation today.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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