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Guide to SMS marketing - the whats and hows of a text message

Team MessageFlow
7 min
SMS
November 13, 2023

Coming into 2024, we’re expecting to see 6.94 billion smartphones being used worldwide. Among the many channels, SMS stands out as a direct, efficient way to connect with audiences affordably and at scale. Its no-frills nature is perhaps its biggest boon, allowing concise and clear messages to be directly delivered, especially when timing matters. If you have been considering SMS marketing, this guide will help you understand the benefits of having a text message marketing strategy and enhancing your communication strategy moving forward.

Throughout this article, we’ll cover:

  • SMS marketing statistics

  • How to do SMS marketing

  • SMS best practices

  • What tool to use for SMS marketing

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is a powerful, targeted communication strategy used to reach and engage both existing customers and potential leads. It's a direct and immediate marketing channel that allows businesses to send promotional messages, discounts, and exclusive offers, among other things, directly to the mobile phones of their audience.

Aside from marketing, you can also use SMS for transactional communication. It serves as a reliable means to deliver order confirmations, appointment reminders, and important notifications. The beauty of SMS marketing lies in its simplicity and effectiveness. It slices through the digital noise, ensuring that your messages are delivered and read promptly.

Benefits of SMS marketing strategies

You may be wondering if SMS marketing can benefit you at all. Well, despite the growth of other B2C communication channels, texting isn’t going anywhere. With 8.4 trillion messages sent globally each year, it remains a popular means of communication offering brands looking to leverage it a number of strong advantages.

Instantaneous communication

SMS is a great way to reach your audience instantly, with messages typically being read within minutes of receipt.

SMS marketing messages have high open rate

SMS boasts a significantly higher open rate of 98% compared to other communication channels, ensuring your message doesn't get lost in the digital clutter.

Wide reach

With about 86% of the world's population using smartphones in 2024, having and SMS marketing program in place allows you to connect with a vast and diverse audience on a global scale.

Versatility of an SMS text

Whether it's promotional offers, discounts, confirmations, or reminders, SMS accommodates various types of messages, making it a flexible marketing tool for different objectives.

Direct engagement

Establish a direct and personal connection with your audience, fostering engagement and loyalty.

Cost-effectiveness

SMS marketing provides a cost-efficient solution for businesses of all sizes, delivering impactful results without breaking the bank.

High conversion rate 

The immediacy of SMS messages often translates into higher conversion rate, driving action among your audience promptly.

Opt-in model

SMS marketing typically involves users who have opted in to receive messages, which makes them a more responsive audience.

Take advantage of SMS integration possibilities 

Seamlessly add SMS to your overall digital marketing strategy and customer experience, enhancing the synergy of your campaigns through cross-channel communication or omnichannel marketing, combining Email and SMS

Real-time interaction

Enable real-time communication with your audience, making your brand a responsive and dynamic presence in their daily lives.

Types of SMS marketing campaigns - what to use SMS marketing for

SMS marketing encompasses three main strategies – Promotional, Transactional, and Conversational – each playing a unique role in wider brand communication. These campaign types cater to diverse goals, from sparking interest and driving conversions to fostering dynamic, two-way interactions. 

Promotional SMS

Captivate your audience with Promotional SMS campaigns, intended to generate interest. These messages pack a punch with attractive discounts and special offers, inviting recipients to seize exclusive opportunities. Remember to include a compelling CTA to ensure your marketing message hits the spot, encouraging your audience to take decisive actions. 

Transactional SMS

Precision defines Transactional SMS campaigns, where messages are sent in response to specific events or user actions. The timing is crucial, creating a heightened sense of relevance that significantly increases the open rate. These messages, triggered by precise moments, also become opportunities to drive conversions. 

Conversational SMS

Shift to dialogue with Conversational SMS campaigns, introducing prompts that invite recipients into a two-way exchange. These messages facilitate an automated interaction that resembles human-to-human engagement, contributing to an improved customer service experience.

10 SMS marketing best practices to observe

1. Permission-based opt-ins for SMS text marketing

Prioritize building trust by ensuring that recipients on your SMS list have explicitly opted in to receive communication. Obtain their consent through clear and transparent methods, whether it's via online forms, text message confirmations, or other mechanisms. This foundational step follows ethical marketing practices and sets the stage for a more receptive audience, improving the overall effectiveness of your SMS campaigns.

2. Segmentation

Improve the precision of your messaging by segmenting your audience based on specific criteria such as demographics, preferences, or purchase history. This allows you to tailor messages to the unique needs and interests of each segment, increasing the relevance of your communication. Regardless of the goal you’re trying to achieve, segmentation ensures that your messages resonate more strongly with the distinct parts of your audience, creating a deeper connection and engagement.

3. Clear marketing message CTA

Create irresistible calls-to-action that leave no room for ambiguity. Clearly instruct recipients on whether you’d like them to make a purchase, visit a website, or subscribe. A persuasive CTA will drive immediate engagement and guide users through the desired conversion path.

4. Timing matters

Send messages at optimal times to fit into your audience’s schedule. Consider time zones and the nature of your message, be it a promotional or a transactional notification. Timely delivery enhances open rates, ensuring your messages catch your audience when they're most receptive, maximizing impact.

5. Personalization makes great SMS

Add personal touch to your messages by drawing on relevant customer data. Personalized messages speak to your audience on a deeper level, making them feel seen and valued. Whenever you’re tailoring promotions or acknowledging past interactions, personalization will boost the user experience, adding towards a stronger connection between your brand and its recipients.

6. Compliance

Pay close attention to the regulatory landscape, making sure your SMS marketing is legal. Follow local and international regulations, obtaining explicit consent before sending messages. Stay informed about the evolving legal framework to ensure compliance, safeguarding both your brand reputation and the trust of your audience.

7. Concise messaging

Keep your messages succinct and to the point. With the built-in limitations of character count, clarity is key. Craft messages that convey the essence of your communication efficiently, ensuring recipients understand the message and are more likely to act upon it.

8. Testing and analytics

Conduct A/B testing to evaluate different elements of your messages, from content to timing. Analyze performance metrics such as open rates and conversion data to collect insights. Continual testing and data-driven adjustments contribute to ongoing campaign optimization and increased effectiveness.

9. Mobile-optimized landing pages

Extend the user experience beyond the message itself by ensuring any links direct recipients to mobile-friendly landing pages. Help transition users from the SMS to a page optimized for their mobile devices. A cohesive experience enhances user engagement, reducing friction and increasing the likelihood of successful conversions.

10. Text marketing campaign automation

Automate message scheduling, responses, and other repetitive tasks to improve the efficiency of your marketing efforts. Send regular updates or respond to specific triggers – with an SMS marketing platform your communication will stay timely and consistent. This will translate into saved resources and allow for a more responsive and scalable strategy.

Final word on text message marketing

In summary, SMS marketing is a vibrant space where immediacy, relevance, and engagement come together to shape brand stories. Having a customer's phone number signals an open invitation to connect, offering a direct path to meaningful interactions.

As you explore SMS marketing, consider the strategies discussed here. Promotional campaigns, Transactional engagements, and Conversational interactions are all about building connections and driving conversions.

If you’re ready to integrate SMS into your marketing communication, we have something for you.

Best SMS marketing software

Getting started with SMS marketing for your business communication is easy. The channel, whether as a standalone or part of a broader strategy, offers lots of room for experimentation that’ll eventually drive business growth. Automating the process using an SMS marketing platform will take care of the heavy duty tasks for you. 

If you’re looking to efficiently send text messages at scale, consider MessageFlow, a solution capable of meeting various text messaging needs, from promotions to transactions.

Importantly, the SMS format being rather plain in its nature can be a rather inaccurate notion. Using MessageFlow, you can customize many of its elements, contributing to the positive impression the recipient gets. Among these adjustable items are:

  • Own branding via SenderID - have your company’s name sitting atop of the message thread, clearly indicating who the SMS is from.

  • Links in your own domain - instead of a shortened URL made up of a string of random characters, include links in your own domain, consistent with branding.

  • Direct connections with operators - take advantage of SMS being sent via direct connections with local GSM operators, ensuring an average delivery time of 3.5 seconds.

  • Personalization - address the recipient directly in the message content by referring to essential and relevant data points.

Are you ready to launch your first SMS marketing campaign or improve the efficiency of existing ones? Get in touch with us at contact@messageflow.com and let’s talk about how SMS can help your business deliver a better experience throughout the customer journey.

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