How To Use SMS To Increase Sales And Customers
SMS marketing is arguably one of the most powerful marketing channels available. Yet many small businesses are not taking advantage of SMS to increase sales and customers. And that probably includes most of your competitors.
By adopting mobile marketing now, you have the opportunity to get ahead of your rivals and reach customers. Furthermore, because over 90% of text messages are read within 15 minutes your promotions find your target.
Texting is also the quickest way to reach customers. The immediacy is much more powerful than any other digital channel. Text messages are direct and recipients do not have to be online to read them.
Why use SMS marketing?
Because SMS is native to mobile phones, people already know how to use them. And as the statistics point out, people cannot resist opening a text message even when they know it is an advertisement.
SMS therefore has as higher success rate than email. Only 21% of emails are opened because there is too much competition in an inbox. End-users tend to delete promotional emails.
Furthermore, studies show that 57% of consumers are more willing to receive promotional SMS messages. Therefore, small businesses can expect higher opt-in rates which helps you grow your list of potential customers.
Providing you offer enticing incentives that encourage consumers to sign up to your campaigns “such as a discount or free gift” people are more willing to give you access to their mobile number.
Although messaging service such as Zalo, WhatsApp and Facebook are becoming popular for chatting with friends and family, over 6 million texts are sent on a daily basis in the US.
In other words, SMS messaging is not dying out. Whilstever texting remains the only channel of communication that relies on a telecommunications network rather than a wi-fi connection, it is not going to disappear any time soon.
How to get started with SMS marketing
There are two ways you can run an SMS marketing campaign; through an agency or with a self-service tool. The latter of the two is the most cost-effective solution for small businesses.
Agencies obviously have the marketing expertise and know how to generate leads through SMS. But if you have a good enough offer, word play is not critical.
The most important aspect of SMS marketing is making your message clear and concise and telling the recipient what they have to do to take advantage of your offer.
Bearing in mind you only have 160 characters to play with, you message should be direct and straight to the point. For example:
Buy one pizza get one free: TXT 55609 now for your coupon.
However, before you start launching into an SMS campaign, you must ensure you are mobile marketing compliant. In accordance with FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rules, it is against regulation to send unsolicited messages. You need the recipients consent.
Marketing SMS messaging
Before you can send SMS marketing messages, you need to market your promotion through other channels and get people to opt in to your mobile promotions.
There are various methods of marketing SMS campaigns through other marketing channels such as:
- Posters and flyers
- Social media
- Your website
- Business card
- Brochures and stationery
- Oral promotion via staff
To increase your sales the initial promotion must have a big enough incentive to encourage people to sign up. But regardless which channel you market your SMS campaign through, the call to action will always be to TXT in a short code number.
You then need to decide how customers will redeem the promotion. If it involves them visiting your physical store, a coupon or mobile QR code is the most appropriate and convenient solution.
If the transaction can be carried out online, send customers a code and a link to the relevant page of your website. Then inform them to input the code and take advantage of your promotion.
Once recipients reply to the initial text and understand that by doing so they are giving you permission to send other promotional text messages, you can add them to your list of customers that are open to receiving further promotional offers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that mobile ad spending is expected to surge over the next four years. Analytics firm Magna forecast SMS texting to reach $215 billion by 2021.
The statistics say it all. If you are not already engaging in SMS marketing, now is the time to start and increase your sales. Before your rivals clock on to the idea.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.