It’s no secret that consumers and marketers today love email. But with an open rate of 98 percent, according to Mobile Marketing Watch, SMS messages can give email some serious competition.
SMS, or Short Message Service, utilizes the text messaging functionality of a mobile device and can reach anyone with a phone that has texting capabilities. SMS messages consist of 160 characters with standard messaging rates. Because we’re all so connected to our phones today, SMS makes reaching customers quick and easy. Keep in mind, however, that individuals must opt-in to receive messaging, otherwise businesses are in violation of privacy guidelines established by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and subject to penalties.
So now that you know a little about the what and why of SMS, let’s talk about the when. Here are eight times when a text would make a great addition to your marketing mix:
1. Welcome. Did someone just make their first purchase from your business or sign up to receive your email newsletter? While an email might be your go-to for welcoming them, try a quick text message instead of or in addition to your standard welcome email. Starting your customer relationships off with a text can provide a unique engagement point and pave the way for future SMS communications from your company.
2. Promotions and sales. Special offers and SMS messages go hand in hand. The immediacy of a text message lends itself well to short-term promotions in particular, and can add the needed urgency necessary to move a recipient to purchase. For sales or promotions that are a bit longer-term, you could use SMS in combination with email or other channels to ensure you reach customers everywhere.
3. Reminders. Life is hectic, but SMS messages can help you make it a little less so for your audiences. Whether you’re reminding a customer of a service appointment at their home or reminding a volunteer of their shift at the annual fundraising gala tomorrow, SMS messages are perfect for helping people remember commitments.
4. Follow up. The next logical step after a reminder text message before an event is a follow up SMS afterwards. In the follow up SMS message, thank customers for their business and provide a way for them to share their experience. That could be through a reply to your SMS, an email address or a link to a survey.
5. Customer feedback. A customer feedback SMS message would be much like the follow up text message we just discussed. But remember, you don’t have to wait until after someone engages with your business to solicit customer feedback. Use SMS messages to periodically send surveys or other requests for feedback.
6. Tips. Tap into your organization’s expertise with this type of text message. Whether your team’s knowledge centers on software or sustainability, you could provide your customers with helpful tips via SMS. These tips can easily be pulled from existing content like blog posts, eBooks or videos, and can be a valuable and quick touchpoint with customers.
7. Enhancing an event. SMS messaging can play an important role in events. From a basketball game to a user conference, text messages can be used to effectively enhance an attendee’s event experience. You could, for example, use SMS to guide attendees to various points of interest on a tradeshow floor or provide a traffic alert after a big sporting event.
8. Reconnecting. Has it been awhile since you have connected with certain customers? Try using an SMS message to rekindle the relationship. The content of the message will vary according to your business and the specific customers that you hope to connect with, but you could try sending them a link to an interesting piece of content or a promo code for a limited-time sale.