What You Need To Know About Using An SMS Marketing App
One of the most preferred forms of modern communication, text messages, has always played some role in various marketing incentives. The constant development of technology, however, has cast a shadow on SMS marketing recently, but not for long. Today, more and more businesses are rediscovering their effectiveness and start looking for new, innovative ways to include SMS messages in their marketing strategies.
The decision to start with SMS marketing is not the only one businesses have to make, though. For the best results and improved process efficiency, it’s important to consider various SMS marketing tools that will make it easier for you to reach your goals.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the benefits of using an SMS marketing app, and how it can help to boost your business growth.
Messaging app vs text messaging service: is there a difference?
If you’re wondering why on earth do you need some kind of additional software to send text messages to your customers when you already use a regular messaging app for daily communication, let us highlight some major differences here.
There are many messaging apps on the market, and their primary goal isn’t SMS marketing for business. Even if you’d decide to ignore this fact, the channel itself simply doesn’t allow you to use it for marketing purposes to the fullest. So, if you’re thinking of sending a bunch of promotions via one of the messaging apps installed on your phone, here’s why you should think twice before doing that:
a) Recipient limits
While text messaging service providers don’t put restrictions on how many people you can include in a single message, messaging apps actually do. For instance, Facebook Messenger allows you to send the same message to a group of 150 people, and the number is even lower for a regular SMS (about 9-35 people, depending on the device, carrier, etc.). Using an SMS marketing app eliminates the need to worry about this issue and allows you to target as many people as you want.
b) Lack of personalization
If you’ve ever been in a group chat, you probably know how annoying it is when everyone starts responding. It also lacks privacy and personalization that are essential for SMS marketing. Simple SMS still allows people to reply, but it’s done privately, and each interaction can be accessed and managed in the system individually.
c) Complicated opt-out
A possibility to opt-out is crucial, and it’s not really that convenient with messaging apps. Bulk SMS marketing is strictly permission-based and for full transparency must involve the option to opt-out, which can be easily done by just sending a text with one of the keywords required, e.g. Stop.
All in all, if you want to implement SMS marketing in your strategy and do it right, SMS marketing app is a must-have for an easier, more organized communication and better customer experience. How exactly can your business benefit from it?
How SMS marketing tools can help your business
- SMS marketing app will allow you to build campaigns that will drive customer engagement
- SMS messages have high open rates, which will ensure that most of your messages are read
- You can set automations based on different criteria and let them work for you while you focus on other important things
- SMS marketing tools let you schedule your campaigns, saving you some precious time
- The ability to shorten links comes in really handy because of the brief nature of SMS
- SMS is a great tool to trigger timely action. The majority of them are read within the first 3 minutes of delivery, and that’s why it’s a perfect solution to promote time-sensitive deals
- SMS marketing brings you closer to the customer by being a direct and personal communication channel
- Usually, such tools come with in-depth analytics that allow you to follow your results and evaluate ROI
How to get started with an SMS marketing app?
1) Sort out your goals
Although SMS marketing itself possesses promising numbers, a big portion of your strategy success depends on the ways you decide to use it.
There might be many different factors that play a role in this decision. Your budget, business model, your products or services, what kind of value you’d like to provide to your customers, and so on. Once you figure all of this out, you can start looking for an SMS service provider that meets your needs and can help you achieve those goals in the most efficient way.
2) Choose the provider
The growing number of SMS service providers is exactly why you should be as concise about your company’s needs as possible. If you’ve already tried to go through the list of your possible choices, you probably noticed that not only there are tons of decent options to pick from, but also many different features to consider. So how to make this decision?
Besides any specific tools you might need, pay attention if the SMS service provider you’re about to choose can offer you the following functionalities:
- SMS marketing app shouldn’t come with installation nightmares, and most of them make it pretty easy for their customers to get up and running. So if you’ve found one of such, that’s a good start
- Make sure the app you have your eye on can provide you with the most important SMS marketing tools, such as automations, bulk SMS marketing, SMS scheduling, link shorteners, and in-depth analytics
- There’s a chance you’re not going to manage everything on your own, so a possibility to give access to multiple staff members is definitely something to look for, too
- Smooth integration with e-commerce platforms is another feature that can make your life much easier
- Make sure the company you’re planning to choose ensures great customer support in case you need to contact them at any point of your journey.
3) Build your database
There are several ways to start building your subscribers list. SMS marketing is strictly permission-based so you can have a sign-up form right on your website, suggest an opt-in after purchase, or use keywords and shortcodes for this purpose, which is actually one of the easiest ways to grow your database. So, let’s dive deeper into this one.
Once you’ve decided on a keyword for opt-in (something users send to your number to start receiving your promotional messages), it’s also important to set an auto-reply to let them know they’re now a part of your community.
For instance, let’s say you’re running some shoe company, a visitor sends a keyword for opt-in to your shortcode via SMS message, let it be “StepLightly”, and s/he shortly receives an automatic confirmation text:
“Hi, thank you for opting-in for SMS updates from StepLightly! Use this code to get 15% off your next purchase: WELCOME15. Text STOP to unsubscribe at any time.”
The number gets added to your contact list and the customer is about to benefit from your future offers. As soon as your database starts growing and you can already see the first signs of your customers’ interests and needs, you can start thinking about setting your first SMS marketing campaign.
4) Focus on crafting a clear message
The technical part of setting a campaign is not that difficult, however, it features one key ingredient that might require some additional efforts – the message itself. SMS messages are direct and straight to the point which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Why?
The audience responds better to something personal and brief, yet it might cause a great headache to the marketer. To avoid this, you might want to keep these tips in mind:
- Keep it simple
As much as you’d like to show your creativity, send only the information that must be provided. Sometimes less is more, and SMS is one of the cases that prove it.
- Avoid confusing words
Try to make your message as clear as possible and avoid words that might be confusing to your audience, e.g. acronyms. Not only might it look like a bunch of letters just put together, but it might also be hard to digest in such a short time.
- Use caps wisely
If you want to highlight something in your message, you can use caps, but you have to use them wisely. Emphasize such words as “Sale”, “% OFF”, etc. Using too many of them might seem aggressive, and you definitely don’t want that.
- Make personalization one of your priorities
If possible, address the recipient by their name. Personalization always goes a long way.
- Don’t forget a clear call to action (CTA)
Let your subscribers know exactly what you want them to do next (call, visit a website, contact, show this text, click here, buy now, etc.).
- Identify yourself
Not only it will improve brand awareness, but also will reduce the chances of being perceived as spam.
Take a look at these template examples to better understand the idea:
“Hi Peter, today is the last day of autumn SALE! Show this message to our staff and get an extra 10% OFF. Visit the closest store: <link>”
“Jennifer, get 50% OFF all summer collection items! Use the promo code before 09/30: SMMR2020. Shop here: <link>”
“Hi Noel, Christmas is coming! Grab this code for a 15% discount to prepare in advance: XMAS2020. Shop before 12/15: <link>”
5) Present value with every message
Make sure that every message you send to your audience brings them value – leverage incentives and offer real benefits, otherwise your texts might soon start to feel like something to simply ignore.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Send exclusive offers, discounts, sales alerts
- Inform about new products, services, or company updates
- Send coupon codes
- Service notifications
- Send alerts and reminders
- Provide time-sensitive deals
- Implement SMS for safety checks
- Express your gratitude with “Thank you” messages
- Request feedback
- Complement other marketing methods, e.g. send a reminder to read the latest email newsletter.
6) Allow to opt-out
The ability to opt-out is as important as getting permission to send promotional messages.
Usually, it’s enough to include a keyword, such as Stop, in the first message, but some companies might also do it more often.
Don’t be afraid of it, though – if a customer decides to opt-out, it does not mean that they will never buy anything from you again. It just means that they no longer want to receive SMS notifications and allowing them to cancel easily only earns your business more respect.
7) Measure success
Last but not least, simply sending those messages is not enough – you should be able to follow the metrics to measure your campaign success. This is important to note when you choose an SMS service provider, just to make sure that their technical capabilities meet your business needs.
Some metrics you should keep in mind when choosing an SMS marketing app are deliverability, ability to see open rate, opt-out rate, link CTR, monitor revenue growth, etc. Senderium, for instance, offers in-depth analytics that would definitely be a huge help when calculating your ROI.
If you were wondering how to do SMS marketing using an SMS marketing app, hopefully, you now have a much clearer image of the whole process. It’s important to distinguish the differences between regular texting apps and text messaging service providers and keep in mind that the most effective, cost and time-efficient SMS marketing campaigns are not done manually. SMS marketing apps provide businesses with valuable tools that help to optimize the way brands communicate with their audience, and allow them to use the best features of SMS messages to benefit both businesses and their customers.