SMS marketing is a type of marketing that reaches your customers through text messages. It primarily uses permission-based texts as a means of spreading promotional content. This is done through a web-based program which lets you send mass text messages to engage with your customers. Often, companies decide to integrate an SMS gateway API solution with their existing communication systems. This type of gateway is used to send automated text messages by adding native bulk text capability to existing software and applications, making this the best way to send notifications to thousands of clients at a time.
The goal of SMS marketing is to build a list of subscribers you can draw from in order to increase customer loyalty. This means that as they opt into your SMS marketing campaign, they’re giving you permission to send them messages that have to do with your business. Customer loyalty comes from your consumers engaging with your business over SMS and actually buying into the offers they are sent.
SMS marketing is a powerful tool because nearly everyone has access to mobile phones, plus people almost always read the messages they are sent shortly after receiving them. This means that you’re able to tap into a market that will, nearly 100% of the time, be open to what you have to offer. This is as opposed to calls, emails, and leaflets that can be ignored and forgotten.
How SMS Marketing Works
There are two basic components to any SMS marketing campaign: the keyword, and the shortcode. You’ve probably seen it before! Here’s a quick example:
Happy weekend! Text “SATURDAY” to 101010 to check out our list of weekend specials!
“Saturday” is the keyword, and “101010” is the shortcode. Customers place the keyword in the body of the message, and the shortcode in the recipient box. The keyword is what signifies what your customers are signing up for. This allows you to get your customers to opt into your campaign.
After your customers opt into your campaign, you’ll be able to send them text messages about special discounts or deals you have at your store, which will hopefully send them flocking to your location! This means more sales, which is always a good thing.
How Much SMS Marketing Costs
Expect to pay somewhere between $5-$25 per keyword used. Texts will cost you anywhere from $0.01 to $0.05 per text. Most of SMS marketing companies offer packages which include a fixed amount of text messages you can send (2,000 and up) as well as a handful of keywords (2-10) for a monthly fee.
While the final cost ultimately varies depending on the company you choose, you’ll be looking at two different fees: the fee used to send the text message and the fee for renting keywords. Typically, you’ll be paying a monthly fee that includes a certain number of keywords as well as text messages you’ll be able to send out.
Best Ways To Use SMS Marketing
There’s no real rule telling you who should and should not use SMS marketing; there are only situations and marketing objectives that are best suited for this type of approach. Now that you know how SMS marketing works, here are some things you can do with SMS marketing:
Send customers exclusive deals. Uniquely-generated coupon codes prevents non-subscribers from taking advantage of your deal.
Keep in Touch
Send reminders and notifications to customers who need or appreciate confirmations of schedules, appointments, etc. It’s a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page, and shows that you’re on top of your customer service as well.
Create Drip Campaigns
Send automated messages depending on how long customers been subscribed. In the context of coupons, for example, you may send a 5% off coupon right after signing up, a 10% coupon after 3 weeks and a 20% off coupon after 2 months. This runs automatically as soon as a customer signs up, so you don’t need to keep sending individual messages.
Poll Your Customers
Let customers cast a vote by texting different keywords. Most services let you run polls where you collect responses over a period time and graph them from your online dashboard.
Hold a Sweepstakes Contest
Let customers sign themselves up for a sweepstakes by texting a particular keyword. From the dashboard you can view the list of phone numbers and choose one at random.
Send Photos & Videos
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) Marketing is a fairly new development in which you can send photos and videos to customers. This is especially useful if you want to send a flyer or restaurant menu to a customer.
Do Location-Based Marketing
Send different messages to clients depending on their location. A more advanced method is geofencing, which tracks the location of clients and sends texts when they are close to your shop. Unfortunately, geofencing is very expensive. Each “ping” to track the location of your customers costs more than price of sending a text, so geofencing is not yet practical for common use.
Benefits of SMS Marketing
Texting has by far the best engagement rate of any marketing medium. Whereas emails can sit unread, phone calls can go can go unanswered and leaflets can be thrown out before given a second glance, text messages are almost always read, and read quickly. As James Citron, CEO of text messaging service Mogreet, said to Forbes, “95 out of 100 of your customers who have opted into your text messaging program OPEN and READ your mobile messages within 3 minutes.”
The keyword here, however, is “opted in.” With text message marketing, it’s not ethical (or legal) to send unsolicited messages. You can only text customers who have subscribed to your messaging list. Fortunately, most text marketing services provide an easy way for customers to opt themselves in and out straight from their mobile phone.
Bottom Line: SMS Marketing
SMS marketing takes advantage of the advances in technology today to get your message out to your customers. This is done in a way that is convenient and easy. While it isn’t without its costs, it’s a worthwhile investment to make, and when used properly, can be a great tool to drive sales and earn you more money.