What is it?
SMS marketing is a form of marketing that involves sending deals, promotions or important business information to customers directly via text messages.
SMS marketing is different to other marketing campaigns due to the fact that customers have to opt-in to the campaign in order to be targeted. Social media marketing or traditional TV and radio marketing are more passive forms of engagement with customers. The customer will see these ads whether they want to or not – this is where SMS marketing differs.
How does it work?
Initially, the business will need to create a way for customers to opt-in to the SMS marketing campaign. This can be done in a couple of ways:
- The business can ask for the phone number of customers in online account registrations for the purposes of SMS marketing. An example of this is when you sign up for an online shopping website and need to fill out a registration form. There is normally a section for your phone number and a checkbox that reads “please SMS me promotions, deals etc.”
- Keywords and Short Codes. A keyword is a word that when sent to a certain phone number (a short code) will register a customer to an SMS marketing campaign. For example, this can be seen in restaurants where a flyer is placed on the table advertising the SMS campaign. The flyer will say something along the lines of “Text SUSHI to 123456 to get cheap deals every week on our Japanese cuisine.
Once the customer has opted into the campaign, the business owner is now in a position to start sending messages. The texts will send out via a third party SMS service, so the owner can update their frequency and content accordingly. Third party services have systems in place that enable customers to opt-out of the campaign if they wish. Normally this involves information at the end of the SMS that gives a keyword that the customer can text back to the short code to stop the messages. This is usually something to the effect of “Text STOP to 123456 to unsubscribe.”
Why use SMS marketing?
There are a number of different reasons that set SMS marketing apart from other marketing channels.
- High Open Rate. SMS messages have a 98% open rate (tantango.com), meaning that the customers open 98% of the messages that are sent. This is chiefly due to the fact that the amount of messages that are sent per week is generally much lower for texting than email or social media platforms. Customers are more likely to read something that isn’t surrounded by clutter.
- It is instant. The average open time for all mobile carriers and SMS services is 7 seconds. This is the fastest that marketing gets.
- Your customers are interested. Because SMS marketing requires customers to opt-in themselves in order to be targeted, they are generally already interested in the product or service to begin with. This means that marketing efforts are not wasted on customers who aren’t interested.
- It is easier for customers. Everyone keeps their phone close by and is using it constantly. Customers don’t want to have to print off an email code if they don’t have a Smartphone that can view it. However, anyone can bring their phone into a store and show their SMS to claim the deal they were sent. This just makes things simpler for them.
SMS marketing can be a great addition to your marketing campaign. It is relatively cheap, yet simple and effective. With a variety of SMS marketing services available, it is a very worthy addition to any marketing campaign.