SMS marketing is a method used by many companies to reach their client base instantaneously with promotional or informational text messages. While it doesn’t have the high adoption rate among brands that email marketing enjoys, SMS is an effective and in-demand marketing tactic. Estimates indicate that 48.7 million consumers will opt in to receive SMS messages from businesses by the end of 2020, so there is certainly consumer appetite for this method of brand communications. And with an average open rate of 98 percent, compared to a 20 percent average for email marketing, SMS might just be one of the most underrated marketing tactics around.

With stats like that, if your brand isn’t already utilizing SMS marketing, you might now be interested in doing so. Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting started:

1. Goals. As with everything else in marketing, it’s important to have a goal in mind for your SMS campaigns before you get started. What do you hope to achieve with your SMS campaign? For example, do you want to increase sales, drive website traffic or improve your customer experience? Once you have your goal in mind, you can more effectively plan your campaigns and – more importantly – measure results.

2. Trust. While many customers will happily give their emails out to companies, phone numbers are a different story. If a customer gives your business their phone number, it shows they are putting a lot of trust into their relationship with your brand. That means it’s your job to ensure that the content you are sending out doesn’t make anyone regret giving out their number. Ask yourself how you can add value to your SMS subscribers, whether that’s by alerting them to a promotion or reminding them of an appointment. Most importantly, when it comes to trust, if someone wants to unsubscribe, you must honor that and remove them from the subscription list immediately.

3. Content. Just because you are using SMS messaging does not mean that your content cannot look good – albeit in a much more minimalistic way than many other marketing methods. First, ensure the message is spaced out. You do not want your text to look cluttered, so particularly with longer messages, be sure to include spaces and line breaks so it can be read easily. Also, be sure to include a clear call to action. What action do you want recipients to take? If you are including a link in your text message, customers will want to know exactly what it is they will be clicking on. Consider rewarding those who have given their number to you with exclusive SMS codes and offers. Show the SMS content you send out is worth signing up for. Also, don’t overlook mentioning your organization’s name in the message so recipients know who the sender is. Unlike email marketing, there is not a traditional sender name attached to an SMS, so not mentioning your brand’s name in the message can cause considerable confusion.

4. Analyze. Just like any other marketing program, it’s important to study your SMS marketing results. Track metrics like open and conversion rates. Keep an eye on the size of your SMS subscription list over time. Is it growing from new subscribers or are you losing ground due to unsubscribes? Examine individual message results to see what works best – the offer, the timing, etc. – for your recipients so you can optimize your results over time.

Happy Marketing!