With the rise of cell phone use, SMS marketing is quickly gaining traction among businesses to easily communicate with their customers.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS - or short message service - marketing is the act of sending customers and prospective customers communications via text message, allowing interactions in a highly personalized manner. In a 2023 survey, 53% of marketers said SMS is a top 3 revenue-driving channel. Of those respondents, 22% said that over twenty percent of their revenue is attributed to their SMS marketing program.
Inviting customers and website visitors to sign up for SMS advertising enables brands to keep their contacts engaged and coming back to their website by delivering personalized communications throughout their purchasing and lifetime journey. 49% of consumers are likely to become repeat buyers if offered a personalized experience by a retail brand. When used strategically, SMS can scale communications by utilizing key visitor behaviors and influence decision-making.
Three types of SMS marketing
When implementing an SMS marketing strategy, there are three types of messages you can consider when communicating with your customers and prospects.
Promotional SMS marketing
A promotional SMS advertising message focuses on the intent to build brand awareness or promote a product or sale. 58% of consumers say texts about limited-time releases and new product launches allow them to act faster on deals.
Transactional SMS marketing
A transactional SMS message is one in which you are informing a customer about the status of their order, whether that is an order confirmation, shipping or delivery confirmation, or a shipping update. More than half of the respondents in a recent survey reported they would sign up for SMS just to receive transactional text messages.
It is important to note that when someone opts-in for transactional SMS, that does not mean the have opted-in for promotional text messages, as these two communications require explicit consent.
Conversational SMS marketing
Conversational SMS messaging creates a two-way communication with either automated text technology or human customer service agents, enhancing customer service efforts.
79.6% of respondents in Attentive’s state of conversational commerce study ranked opting-in to a brand’s SMS program improves their shopping experience.
Considerations of an SMS marketing strategy
According to a 2023 consumer trends report, 91% of consumers globally have signed up for an SMS program, or are interested in doing so. However, there are strict compliance requirements for a text marketing program.
SMS Compliance Requirements
Often the first concern for brands is the legal requirements for a text marketing program. Explicit opt-in, respect for opt-outs and quiet hours are the highlights. The right SMS provider will have the expertise to provide you with guidance and help you stay compliant. The experts at Blue Wheel can help you find the best tool for your brand. For SMS each country has its own set of rules. Below we share some of the SMS compliance requirements for the US:
- Subscribers must explicitly opt-in for SMS marketing in writing, with this opt-in separate from email marketing. No marketing text messages can be sent before this.
- Brands must explain to potential subscribers what types of messages they’ll receive and clearly state how they can opt out. It’s important to note that messages will be recurring.
- Brands can’t send text messages during federal or state-specific “quiet hours.” Under the TCPA and related state laws, you can’t send text messages during “quiet hours.” Typically brands should avoid 8 pm to 12 pm EST.
- Include the brand’s name in all outgoing text messages.
- Subscribers have access to opt out of SMS program at any time—with opt-out keywords, such as: “stop,” “unsubscribe,” and “quit” depending on your platform’s setup.
SMS Platform Considerations
When looking for your SMS platform there is a lot to consider. Make sure to ask the following questions when determining if a partner is the right fit for your SMS marketing strategy.
- List growth tools - will you use a third-party app for list growth or the forms that come along with your SMS tool?
- Will you utilize two-way conversations in your SMS strategy?
- Does the new platform support personalization that allows you to build relationships with subscribers?
- Does the reporting/analytics from the platform allow you to measure performance with clarity to inform your strategy and growth?
- Are there guard rails for compliance to prevent future legal issues?
- Are your eCommerce apps and tools supported when it comes to integrations?
If you are looking for an email and SMS agency to help guide this decision, ask about our platform partnerships!
What is the difference between MMS and SMS?
MMS stands for multimedia messaging service and is a type of SMS marketing that features multimedia such as a static image or GIF with a text message, providing a visual element to help engage contacts.
These are best used for launching new products, a promotion ending, or cart abandonment messages.
SMS stands for short message service and contains no multimedia. This type of text message is limited to 160 characters, while you can write more than this your platform will charge for additional messages when over this limit. Some examples of when to use SMS are promotion reminders, transactional updates, and two-way messages.
When deciding between MMS and SMS, plan around your budget: MMS can cost ~3x more.
How to use SMS marketing
The basics of SMS marketing
- Write clear, specific, and actionable text. Keep copy between 75-115 characters, which is ultimately 3-4 lines long. When you Incorporate timely language such as ends soon or 24 hours only this entices subscribers to click through and convert, preventing them from missing out.
- Your brand will have its own unique messaging cadence: We recommend most brands stick to sending around six one-off campaigns per month, but this largely depends on how your audience responds, and what value you are able to provide with these timely messages. Personalized messages around subscriber behaviors may happen more frequently for loyal customers and one-off campaigns should not overwhelm your contacts.
- A/B test one-time campaigns and workflows. Testing can uncover what is driving the most success for your messages when you change one element (image, tone, send time) and compare the two for conversion and engagement.
- Use personalization to optimize for conversion. Segmentation can drive conversion when you provide more value to your contacts by tying in their unique details such as site activity, purchase history, loyalty status, geographic location, or other properties.
- Integration is key. When your email service provider (ESP), loyalty or review apps are integrated you can dig in further to customize your campaigns and journeys.
Taking SMS marketing to the next level
- SMS Only Promotions: SMS serves as a unique channel to reward highly engaged customers with exclusive promo codes, VIP early access, and limited-release products.
- Non-promotional offers: If your brand doesn’t typically discount, SMS is a highly engaged channel for sending product launch information, loyalty program alerts, and branded marketing campaigns.
- Triggered workflows: Engaging subscribers at scale, workflows cover abandoned cart reminders, price drop notices, back-in-stock alerts, and more.
- Two-way texting: Next-level SMS platforms offer personalized back-and-forth conversations with prompt responses from your subscribers, to further custom and curate product offerings based on these experiences.
- Upgrade your Customer service: With the right platform, your team can jump into SMS customer support providing quick resolutions for your customer base.
As an omni-channel agency, Blue Wheel specializes in creating a comprehensive strategy that includes an email and SMS program — giving you the peace of mind when adding SMS marketing to your lifecycle marketing strategy.