My mother-in-law recently pointed out to me that in the eight years that her son and I have been married, she has never talked to me on the phone. While you might be thinking of some mother-in-law jokes to crack right about now, it isn’t something I have against her. I just really dislike talking on the phone – period. I prefer texting. And I’m not alone. In the United States, according to mobile data tracking firm Informate, people send and receive five times as many texts as phone calls per day.
As texting has become more and more common between friends and family, so too does it grow in popularity among brands. However, to date, much of that use has been by B2C marketers. But B2B marketers shouldn’t miss out – particularly since, according to Mobile Marketing Watch, SMS messages have an open rate of 98 percent. In addition, per research from AT&T, 85 percent of mobile device users prefer a text from businesses over phone calls or emails.
If you’re a B2B marketer that hasn’t explored the SMS channel, you might be wondering how to get started. Read on to find out!
1. Create a list. Before you can reap the rewards of SMS marketing, you need to have a list of people to text – and have the permission to do so. You can build your list one of a few ways. One option is to send an initial text asking your customers and prospects to opt in to receive SMS messages from your organization. A downside to this approach is that your message will have to be very concise to fit in the 160-character maximum for SMS messages. Another approach is to promote joining your SMS subscriber list via email, social media, webinars and other channels. The downside is that this method isn’t as direct as the SMS sign-up option. You can also combine the two options to maximize reach. Regardless of how you build your list – or lists, as segmentation is just as beneficial in SMS as in email – be sure that you have permission to text everyone on it to avoid running afoul of applicable laws and regulations.
2. Plan your messages. Aim to be one thing in your SMS marketing messages – helpful. This messaging may look different to different businesses in different industries, but your overall goal should be to add value to your customer and prospect relationships. While that should be the case for all your marketing endeavors, it is especially important in a channel like SMS that delivers such immediacy. It’s easy to become intrusive – and rack up unsubscribes – if you aren’t adding value. To keep your SMS subscribers happy, send them links to informative content, new product or feature announcements, exclusive promotional offers, occasional surveys and other related content. Also, it’s important to remember to identify yourself as the sender in every message you send so recipients know who your messages are from as soon as they are received.
3. Mind your timing. What is one of the last things you want to think about as you sit down to dinner with your family? Work surely ranks high on that list, right? So, as a B2B marketer, if you are sending SMS messages to your customers at dinnertime, they likely won’t be received favorably. Instead, opt for hours that are safely within working hours. For example, at 4 pm, one of your subscribers may have hours left in their workday while an early riser recipient might be heading home. To be on the safe side, stick with late morning or early afternoon. And always be mindful of time zones.
As you progress in your journey with SMS marketing, be sure to take stock of how your campaigns are performing. What’s converting and what’s not? Are you retaining subscribers or are they dropping off? Answer these questions on a regular basis to ensure continued SMS marketing success.