If you’re an average American, you check your phone about 160 times a day. That’s once every 7 minutes.
And whether you own a business or you are using SMS for internal communication, this means your audience is doing the exact same thing. This is a huge reason why SMS marketing has a much higher open rate compared to traditional email. The convenience is there and overall studies say your recipients prefer it as a communication channel.
Text messages have a much higher response rate than emails, traditional mail, and phone calls. And businesses take advantage of this with A2P messaging - or “application to person” texting.
A2P messaging is an affordable and easy way for businesses to send hundreds of texts per minute to customers, leads, or employees that announce sales, updates, promotions, and so on.
Because normal phone numbers (10 digits including an area code) aren’t built for mass A2P messaging, many businesses use shared short codes to save time.
But the word “shared” has a risky downside.
Basically, wireless providers assign the same short code to hundreds or even thousands of businesses. And if one of those businesses breaks the CTIA short code rules (for example, with phishing or spam attempts), everyone gets in trouble.
All accounts associated with that shared short code are suspended - and that’s a huge problem.
So wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T have adopted a new SMS marketing strategy: ban short codes and make businesses transition to 10DLC (10-digit long code) messaging.
Now businesses have to use a 10-digit local phone number that’s specific to them. In other words, if you own a brand and you want to send A2P marketing texts, you have to have your own “normal” phone number. If you’re subscribed to an SMS campaign, you should have recently received something like this:
SMS marketing stands for short message service marketing and is commonly used by businesses and organizations to increase engagement or sales.
Let’s start with two quick basics.
#1: SMS means "short message service" - it's what most of us call a text message.
#2: Businesses launch marketing campaigns to connect with leads and customers, increase engagement, pump up sales, and so on.
SMS marketing combines the two. All of the marketing goals are the same, but instead of emails and phone calls, SMS marketing does it with texts.
There are some rules you have to follow when you launch an SMS marketing campaign like opt-in permissions but don't worry, we'll get to this in a minute.
If you send out an SMS blast, 90% of those texts are opened and read within three minutes.
Our brains light up like the Fourth of July when we get a text and triggers encourage the release of dopamine we get from it. That’s just the science behind it.
The proof of concept stage that text marketing was in is no longer and its benefits are turning into common knowledge.
But there’s more to it than just texting everyone in your company contacts. There are different types of SMS marketing, ways to mobile-optimize your message, and strategies to maximize your investment. Let’s start with the basics. Or skip here if you’re looking to get more advanced.
SMS marketing is one of today’s most popular channels, but it’s a relatively new fixture in the marketing world.
Its success is largely attributed to the growth of smartphone usage and the marketers who’ve learned how to mobile-optimize messages effectively. But how did SMS marketing come to be the channel we know and love today?
Traditional marketing methods like advertisements, commercials, and billboards interrupt customers with messages — and there’s no real way to opt-out.
When you drive down the highway and notice a billboard, you can’t exactly close your eyes..
On the other hand, SMS marketing is permission-based. This means customers (or leads, employees, and so on) have to express written consent to receive marketing texts and they can opt-out at any time.
Why does this extra step matter? What’s the point of permission?
When you give someone your consent, you build trust with them. So when someone entrusts your business with SMS marketing, they implicitly trust that you:
And if you nurture this trust, you’ll yield higher engagement, higher open rates, and higher click rates compared to other marketing channels.
Ladies and gents, the power of permission is real. Head over to our TCPA Compliance Guide to learn more about the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and what rules need to be followed when launching an SMS marketing campaign.
Explore the different types of SMS marketing campaigns so you can plot a course for long-term success.
Think about what you want your campaign to accomplish, and use these ideas to get started.
Remember to use codes that aren’t easy to guess. This prevents non-subscribers from stealing codes (which can muddy your campaign data or deter subscription).
And you need to make it as easy as possible for subscribers to use your SMS coupon codes. For example, you can give subscribers the option to add codes to their digital wallets.
Send personalized messages that make each subscriber feel seen and valued. If your SMS list is built out with first names, try starting your message with a custom greeting.
You can also include short videos and photos to preview exclusive products based on customer data.
For example, if you offer two products and your customer base is split evenly down the middle (50% of customers prefer Product A, and the other half prefers Product B), you can segment your SMS list. Then, you can send two different SMS messages to two different groups for a customized feel.
SMS makes it easy to send real-time order confirmations, shipping updates, and delivery notifications.
This keeps your customers informed on their order status at every step of the fulfillment process.
Text-to-win SMS campaigns increase brand awareness and real-time engagement - it’s a no-brainer.
Subscribers can sign up for a contest or sweepstakes to win a prize. You can give everyone who signs up a small prize, or run a lottery to choose a few winners for larger prizes.
Plus, this is a great way to cross-promote with other products you offer or companies you partner with.
That means fewer event no-shows, higher attendance rates, and a better event for everyone.
If you’re in the event industry, you know how hard it is to get updates out.
But with SMS, you can send mass reminders, tour dates, and cancellations to keep every single event attendee in the loop.
Your campaign’s success hinges on your subscribers - no subscribers, no campaign. This is why the first step to leveraging SMS for increased revenue is enticing people to opt in.
Take a look at how companies encourage individuals to sign up and notice that each one is mobile-friendly.
There are different ways to use SMS vs. email, but advanced marketers should all know by now the best way to use them is together. Email marketing and SMS marketing are permission-based - your subscribers give you consent to message them with alerts, announcements, sales, coupons, and more.
At your fingertips, there are many master marketers out there like John Lincoln who share how to boost conversions with SMS and email. Let’s break it down here for a visual.
Relationships are critical for success:
You get the idea. No matter what your marketing or communication goals are, relationships are at the center of it all - and CRM (customer relationship management) platforms help you nurture those relationships.
Let's use HubSpot as an example. It's a sophisticated platform that pulls together hundreds of integrations for all your marketing needs - including your favorite SMS and email marketing providers - into a single spot.
This means you can analyze data across campaigns and channels in one location, and on one dashboard.
Monitor website traffic and metrics
Keep an eye on email marketing performance
Review sales and revenue data
If you need more insight or want to dig into the details, you can always log in to each individual application.
Why does integrating SMS with other data points matter?
Because you have to track campaign progress.
If you don't track progress and metrics like open rates, engagement rates, and so on, you won't know what works for your brand.
SMS marketing is a great resource and it complements other marketing channels. And with powerful data analysis and reporting alongside other platform metrics, your brand will become unstoppable:
What happens if a subscriber misspells your opt-in keyword? This is where failover keywords come in — they’re words that are common misspellings or iterations of your original keyword.
Here’s an example:
With SMS marketing, it’s no different. And you have a special tool in your kit, a dynamic expiration date. Dynamic expiration dates are specific to the time a subscriber opts in.
So instead of all promo codes expiring at the same date and time (for example, midnight on July 4th), each subscriber’s code expires a certain number of hours or days after they opt-in.
Another advanced SMS marketing technique is list segmentation. To do this, you’ll need a list of subscribers and some extra information about each person like:
To up your SMS marketing game, make sure you have link tracking enabled. This lets you track subscribers across different marketing channels and figure out metrics like click-through rate.
Once you have detailed information about campaign performance, you can use that data to inform future campaigns.
Test, test, test. Testing is one of the most effective ways to try out new techniques (like switching up a call-to-action) and compare results against a control group. What does this look like?
Company XYZ uses SMS marketing to send out promo codes each week. Every message has the same call-to-action.
Company XYZ wants to change the call-to-action (CTA) and find out if it will result in more code redemptions.
Company XYZ halves their subscriber list and sends a message out with their original CTA to the first half. Then they send out the same message to the second half, but they’ve switched up the CTA.
The updated CTA message yields 3.5% more code redemptions compared to the original CTA. In this example, A/B testing confirms that Company XYZ’s new strategy was a success.
Businesses Using SMS Marketing (and Mistakes You Can Learn From)
The real reason there are entire feeds of SMS marketing connoisseurs is to get inspired, so let’s get inspired. Here are ways actual companies have applied SMS marketing, the goals, their texts, and their results.
If you have more than one 10DLC number, choose which account your message should send from.
Then, manually add or upload the phone numbers you want to message.
This is the campaign message subscribers see after they’ve opted-in.
Include promotional details, upload photos, and more. Feel free to get creative and provide value to your subscribers.