Text message marketing is bigger than ever and just in time. Text messages have an open rate of 82 percent. That's four out of every five people reading their texts within the first three minutes of receiving it.
Is your email marketing campaign showing those kind of numbers?
Texting is an integral part of the public's way of life today, and they actually prefer to be engaged in that format. But only if it's done right. Developing an effective SMS strategy takes a specific attention to detail.
What Is Text Message Marketing?
Also known as SMS marketing, it's a marketing technique where businesses send announcements, deals, coupons, and other information to customers via text message.
It's a faster, more direct way of engaging with customers that feels more personalized and sincere (depending on the message, of course).
4 Reasons Text Message Marketing Works
We wouldn't be surprised if you were a bit skeptical of the practice. It seems like an extracurricular activity on top of more traditional marketing strategies. Kind of like an elective.
But there are real benefits to text message marketing.
1. It Builds a Sense of Urgency.
What's a guaranteed way to get someone's attention these days? Have their text chime go off.
It's incredibly easy to dismiss a phone call or ignore an email, but there's something about texts that compel us to open them at the next available opportunity. Whether it be curiosity or compulsion, people react to messages differently than other means of outreach.
And, depending on your messaging, you can make a flash sale or limited-time coupon feel much more urgent or pressing just by sending it in text message format.
It makes people jump to engage and chase after some great deals.
2. There's a High Engagement Rate.
Remember that 82 percent we mentioned earlier? Compare that to the average open rate of emails at 18 percent.
There are less obstacles getting in the way when using SMS marketing tactics. Reaching your audience isn't dependent on them having access to the internet or opening busy, distracting apps.
As long as they have a text plan and a mobile phone, they'll receive it.
3. It Creates an Interactive Campaign.
Your audience will actually be able to reply to your messages or click links to mobile landing pages, creating a more interactive experience. This is a great way to receive feedback and promote direct engagement with your brand, boosting awareness and trust.
4. It Allows for More Personalized Messaging.
With SMS marketing, you can add personal touches to your messaging. The direct nature of the text makes the received message feel more casual and personal, especially with second person pronouns, like "you" and "your."
16 Text Message Marketing Statistics You Need to Know
There are many interesting facts about text messaging marketing you should know before you develop your strategy.
Customer Experience Stats
As with every touchpoint in business, you want to ensure you're delivering a positive customer experience.
Let's look at stats showing how many people actually prefer this channel, thanks in large part to the fact that smartphones are a mainstay in people's daily lives.
- 62 percent of smartphone users check for new messages immediately after they wake up.
- After opting in, three of four people are ok with getting SMS messages from brands.
- Only 10 percent of text marketing messages are considered spam, which is low when you compare that to 50 percent of emails being spam.
- Six in 10 people have a positive impression on brands that contact them through SMS.
As mentioned, the SMS channel is far more engaging than other, more traditional channels like email. Here's a look at stats showing the high levels of engagement.
- 98 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. send texts regularly.
- SMS messages have a 98 percent open rate.
- Nine out of 10 SMS messages are read within three minutes after they're received.
- On average, it takes a person 90 seconds to reply to a text, whereas emails are responded to within 90 minutes.
Your marketing efforts should be directly impacting your sales numbers. Here are some data points showing how effective texting can be with enticing people to make purchases.
- Coupons delivered via text messaging earned 10 times more redemptions than other types of coupons.
- Text message marketing campaigns perform seven times better than email marketing campaigns.
- Consumers receiving text marketing messages are 40 percent more likely to convert than those who don't.
- 50 percent of people make direct purchases after getting branded text messages, discount coupons, or QR codes.
7 Tips for Launching Your Text Message Marketing
Knowing the impact you can have on your audience, you're ready to launch your first text message marketing campaign. To get the best results, keep these tips and best practices in mind.
Get Permission First.
This should go without saying. Spamming people is not only annoying; it's also illegal. This is why you should first build your list by soliciting opt-ins.
You can do this by running a simply promo campaign, where you ask your audience to send a keyword or short code to your company.
You can also make opting in easy for your customers by giving them a checkbox during their checkout where they can agree to receive text messages from you.
Segment Your Audience.
As you do with email, you want to segment who is receiving your messages.
You don't want to send irrelevant offers to a set of customers who don't need a specific product or service. That's a good way to frustrate your list, which can lead to opt-outs.
To drive the most engagement, first get to know who you're sending messages out to. Break your audience up into different groups with similar interests and needs (new customers, loyalty program members, etc.). This will help you create personalized content, which leads into the next tip.
This is a no brainer. After all, a major benefit of text messaging is your ability to create an intimate, customized experience.
Include the recipient's name, which you can automate with text message marketing software, and create messaging that provides context of their relationship with your brand. For example, you could mention products or services they purchased from you in the past.
Focus on Timing.
When you send your message is almost as important as the content of the actual message. You don't want your text to get lost in the shuffle.
It's not the best idea to send messages to people in the middle of the night. You don't want them to wake up to your message and delete it or ignore it first thing in the morning. Instead, schedule your messages during times of high activity, like during the middle of the day.
Keep Content Concise.
Nobody wants to read a Tolstoy novel when they're getting texts, especially when those messages are coming from brands. Just get right down to it.
Don't bury the main point of your message with too much text. Keep it under 160 characters, and show them exactly what they need to do to get the most value from your offer.
As with most content in your marketing efforts, you can break up text using images and video. Just know this – by adding visuals, you're not using SMS (short message service). Instead, you're using MMS (multimedia messaging service).
The former can be received and opened no matter what, whereas the latter requires a connection to the internet and can use their data. But visual content can add a nice touch that is more memorable and engaging.
Mix It Up.
Don't just blast your list with a bunch of sales and discount codes. You should be mixing up your strategy. Some of the most common text message marketing tactics include:
- Sending coupons with exclusive deals.
- Conducting drip campaigns based on how long someone is subscribed.
- Hosting fun contests that submit engaged users for a chance to win a prize.
- Running polls to learn more about your customers.
Always Include a CTA.
People want to know right away – why am I receiving this message? In other words, they want to know what they get out of it.
Make it clear by always including a call to action (CTA). Otherwise, they won't be able to take any action on your message. A simple best practice: use branded links people can click so they're sent to landing page associated with the campaign.
4 Examples of the Best Text Message Marketing Strategies
Get some inspiration by checking out these four strategy examples.
List Growth Strategy
The goal of these kinds of campaigns is self-explanatory – you're trying to build your opt-in list. To accomplish this, you need to set up a campaign using a keyword to solicit opt-ins.
An example of this would be to encourage your target audience to text "SUBSCRIBE" to a specific number. But they won't just do it for the sake of texting you.
Step into their shoes and determine what value you expect and how you would want a brand to communicate that value to you.
You can use this approach in multiple channels and touchpoints that make sense. For example, add exit-intent pop-ups to high impact pages with straightforward directions and information on what they will receive from your text messaging.
You can also promote this via social media posts, emails, and even in-person at your location or during an event you host.
This kind of campaign requires a keyword and a short code. The keyword refers to the term your audience will use to sign up for your campaign. In the aforementioned example, the term "subscribe" is the keyword. The short code is a five to six digit phone number you provide for them to send the keyword to.
This approach is perfect for keeping customers engaged and in the know. You can send reminders for appointments, reservations, and other confirmations.
For example, let's say a visitor opts in for your text list. Then, they go to your site and sign up for a webinar that is relevant to their needs.
You create a simple follow-up campaign that greets the user by their first name, confirms their reservation, reiterates the time and date, and ends with a message to get them excited.
Here's an example of reminder text messages: "Hey Karey! We are confirming your seat for the technical SEO webinar hosted by Bluleadz this Friday, January 31, at 1:00pm. We're excited to see you there!"
Another way to continually engage your audience is by delivering notifications for a specific event or offering that your audience would find valuable. These notifications include information about the event or offering to inform and excite them.
You can also use this approach for keeping customers in the loop on their orders by sending them real-time updates on when their products have shipped or when they gain access to a service they purchased.
Notification text messages might look something like this: "Hey Sara, it's time for a HubSpot User Group (HUG) meeting! RSVP by tonight to reserve your free seat at the event, hosted at Bluleadz headquarters on March 5th at 4:30pm."
The content is straightforward, including the information they need. It also ends with a CTA, explaining exactly what they need to do to sign up for the event.
These are generally built for promoting limited time offers, deals, and even sneak peeks at new products or services.
Start by brainstorming what you want to promote, then consider what segments of your audience would care and what your messaging should be to engage them.
For example: "Psst, hey Tim. We have a secret. We're rolling out a new service – a comprehensive goal setting workshop – and we want to share it with you first. Book time now to get a jump on your goals! [link]"
This message is straight the point and implies exclusivity, making the recipient feel special for getting access to a new service. It also includes a clickable link that sends users to a landing page where they can sign up for the workshop.
5 of the Top Text Message Marketing Software Options
Now you're ready to launch and run your text message marketing campaign. But before you dive in, make sure you're using software that's right for you and your company.
Some of the best features to look for in your text message marketing software include:
- Automation tools for sending messages on a regular basis.
- Contact management for adding contacts, importing, segmentation, and more.
- Customization using customer data.
- Templates for faster message creation.
- Drip campaigns automating messages based on triggers.
- Mobile keyword research and tracking capabilities.
- Surveys and other customer feedback options.
- Text-to-landline functionality, delivering and receiving texts on your business landline.
- Scheduling capabilities to simplify content planning.
- Integrations with other technologies, such as Mailchimp.
As this strategy continues to grow in popularity, more tools are emerging. Here's a look at the top five best options.
1. EZ Texting
One of the best known software tools is EZ Texting. They've served over 160,000 customers and stand out as a top choice, thanks in large part to the hundreds of positive reviews on G2. They currently have 4.5 out of 5 stars.
You can test it out with a free 14-day trial, then sign up for several different tiers, priced from $49 to $2,000 per month.
2. Simple Texting
Another leading name, Simple Texting is a great option for companies of all sizes. They have customers ini several industries, including real estate, ecommerce, commercial, nonprofits, and retail.
After a commitment free two-week trial, you can sign up for one of their many tiers, starting at $25 per month to $625 per month. They also provide customized quotes for enterprise-level organizations.
Perfect for small businesses, SlickText provides a strong set of features at a budget-friendly price. They're also known for their great customer service.
Their free tier is a great place to start your first SMS marketing campaign, providing you 50 texts per month and one text word. The next tier starts at $29 per month, and the largest tier is $1,250.
Simplicity is a big selling point for Textedly, and they're trusted by several big name clients, including GoDaddy, Lyft, Chick-fil-A, and the New York Yankees.
After their two week free trial, you can sign up for $24 per month and spend up to $350. If you opt for annual billing, you can 20 percent more messages per month.
Another option worth considering, Avochato is a robust platform that is perfect for sales, support, and operations teams. They offer integrations with big name tech solutions, including Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft.
Upon signing up, you get 50 messages free to test it out. Then, you can select one of three tiers, from $99 to $399 per month.
Once you find the best software to suit your needs, you're ready to launch your first text message marketing strategy. Start driving results now, one text message at a time.