The ultimate goal of marketing is to reach your customer. You may have a new product to release or a new service to unveil, and you want them to know — no, you need them to know. That is where marketing comes in, where it shines. However, companies with their wits about them are aware that marketing has experienced a seismic shift over the past decade.
Traditional forms of marketing will not get your product in front of the customer's eye like they used to. Even email marketing, once a powerful marketing tool in the digital age, has lost its luster; and effect. Companies understand that their email marketing efforts can easily be lost in a sea of spam, never making it to the customer.
Companies with the foresight to closely observe the changing digital economy are turning their attention to new ways to reach their customers. Many of them have turned their attention to SMS or text message marketing — a mobile marketing tactic that puts them right in the customer’s pocket or purse.
Mobile marketing is not new, but the effectiveness of text marketing is starting to be realized, and the trend is growing.
What is SMS Marketing
Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing (Short Message Service), is exactly what it sounds like. Text marketing allows you to send your company's message directly to the customer’s mobile device or smartphone — which is practically an extra appendage for most people these days. Many believe it is the superior alternative to email.
Through text messages, companies can send coupon codes, discount links, sale announcements, and more. Each text usually carries a call-to-action of some sort. For this reason, growing your subscriber list is extremely important.
The Better Alternative to Email
It’s true—emails allow companies to offer more information or to elaborate on promotions, upcoming sales, or product releases. And yes, the ability to add striking images or embedded videos is also an option. Emails have their place in mobile marketing. However, its many advantages do not change the mobile marketing facts.
For instance, the open rate for email is 20%, which is extremely low compared to text messaging which boasts an open rate of 98%—it goes without saying that that’s a much higher rate of engagement. Furthermore, the response rate for email is even lower at 6%.
The painful truth is, many people just don’t care enough about the message to dig through miles of emails that they get bombarded with every day. An email is easy to ignore — or delete.
Text Marketing is the Next Big Trend
Text marketing tactics offer numerous advantages and benefits over and against other types of marketing. The good news is, these advantages aren’t unique to one brand or one industry. Any brand or business can enjoy the benefits of text marketing. Here are a few to whet your appetite for this mobile marketing strategy.
Text Marketing Tactics: Advantages and Benefits
- It’s immediate – Beep. And just like that, the customer receives the notification — your message. While many people check their text messages alerts immediately, the average is 90 seconds — the beep can’t be ignored. Regardless, the customer gets to decide when to open it.
- It’s brief – Emails are not brief. No need to write them a novel when 160 characters will do just fine. They will appreciate it.
- It’s direct – Text messages go straight to the pocket, so to speak. There is no need to log into or open an application and swipe through mountains of text. Boom. It’s there — right above the text from their best friend.
- It costs less – Text marketing doesn’t require a hefty price tag compared to other forms of marketing and advertising. SMS short codes make high-volume messaging quite affordable. Less cost plus more potential for conversion could equal a high return on investment.
- It gets noticed – As stated above, the open rate for text messages is 98%. If you like making decisions off of statistics well, then there you go. That’s an A+, by the way.
- It’s easy - Text marketing is multi-channel and can easily be incorporated with other marketing campaigns. Think QR code opt-ins or SMS short code keywords in high traffic areas. Plus, linked texts can ensure your customers get to the landing page you want them at.
- It strengthens – Text marketing gives your brand a shot of digital vitamins. It helps create a healthy and loyal customer base, especially when you start sending out those discount codes.
Know the Basic Tactics of the Trend
Text marketing is not settled science, and it will continue to evolve as more research is done and more data is collected. However, there are six basic tactics that you should know if you want to get on board with the text marketing trend.
- Permission – Perhaps the biggest hurdle you must jump through as a brand is getting permission from the customer to send them text messages. It is called “opting in.” Sending text messages without gaining consent can put you in hot water. Most customers opt-in through company websites during checkout or through authentication and verification methods.
- Opt-out option – As important as getting permission is, providing an option to opt-out is equally as important. Each text that is sent to customers should also come with an opt-out option; of course, you are always hoping they don’t have to use it. No one wants to feel stuck, so provide a way out. It not only builds credibility with your brand, but it’s the right thing to do.
- Identify your company – Yes, it sounds silly and obvious, but you would be surprised how many businesses send out text messages assuming customers know who they are; that comes later. At the very least, the initial text message should state who you actually are.
- Don’t annoy – No one likes to get bombarded, especially with aggressive sales material. Be respectful, cautious, and smart on how you go about utilizing text marketing. You don’t want to burn potential bridges by sending an annoying amount of text messages at 3 a.m. on Monday morning. If you think you’d be annoyed by the volume of texts, chances are they will too.
- Offer value – Customers should want to open your text, not sigh in disgust as it flashes across their screen. But that depends on you. Are you offering them value and substance? Why should they take the time to open or respond? This is where discounts, coupon codes, and incentives come into play. But don’t wait for the holidays—if you really want to spice things up, send them a coupon out of the blue!
- Call-to-action and urgency – Do not neglect the call-to-action when sending text messages to your customers. If you do, you’ve accomplished very little; nothing more than a “hiya buddy” text. Linking a text with a call-to-action is a must: Click to learn more, save now, redeem here, etc. Adding urgency can be used to great effect, too — But hurry! Sale ends tonight at 10.
Joining the Text Marketing Trend
So, how do you jump aboard the text marketing trend? Well, it’s relatively simple, even though it may seem rather daunting. But, so is every new thing.
- First and foremost, have real goals and reasonable expectations.
- Second, make sure you are optimized for mobile use, don’t put the cart before the horse.
- Third, consult experts. Get in touch with people on the front lines of mobile marketing and understand the trends. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Lastly, if you want to understand something more, you read up on it, you research it, and you ask around. This is no different. There are vast amounts of information to be had out in the digital ocean — so take a swim.
Taking Text Marketing Further
Just as there is information galore out there on text marketing, you can also consult numerous experts. If you are an online merchant and already involved in the ecommerce world, you have no doubt had cart abandonment. If this is an issue for you, LiveRecover has a solution.
Studies have shown that online shoppers leave nearly 70% of virtual carts before purchases are finalized, usually because of unanswered questions. LiveRecover adds a personal touch (real people) to your abandoned cart recovery effort with personalized text messages to customers who have abandoned their cart — not dry emails or automated bots. LiveRecover can help convert that product interest into product sales.
As noted, text message open and engagement rates are much higher than email, but many abound. All in all, text marketing could significantly impact your bottom line if used rightly. If your brand or business is not utilizing text marketing tactics, you miss out on one of the biggest digital marketing trends.