Digital marketing is in overdrive — Forbes estimates that the average consumer now comes across 5,000-10,000 marketing messages per day.
Social media ads, TV commercials, and billboards are all trying to sell something. As a result, consumers have begun to tune it all out. It can be hard to make sure your company's messages get through to the desired recipients — let alone have the desired impact.
This is where text marketing (or SMS marketing campaigns) come in.
Done well, text message marketing can help you engage your customers in all stages of their buying journey — from the initial brand awareness stage, through to alerting them about when they can expect their package to arrive on their doorstep.
What's more, you can be pretty sure that customers are actually going to read your message. How many unopened texts do you regularly have on your phone? And how does this compare to your email account?
Text message marketing campaigns work for all types of companies: small businesses, non-profits, and industry behemoths. Let’s take a closer look into the what, why, and how of text message marketing so you can determine the role this strategy should play in your wider marketing campaigns.
What Is Text Message Marketing?
Text message marketing is a straightforward concept: Instead of sending out direct mail or emails, you send SMS messages (which stands for Short Message Service) to your prospective and current customers' mobile phones.
If you're thinking this is intrusive, don't worry: If people have given you their contact details, they already trust your brand and have given you consent to contact them directly.
There's a wide range of cases where text message marketing can be effective. You can send out polls and surveys to check what customers think of your customer service, you can promote special offers or offer discounts with a text message marketing campaign, or you can answer questions a customer might have.
And for eCommerce companies looking to make abandoned carts a thing of the past, text message marketing boasts incredibly promising results, which we’ll explore in more detail later on.
Why Use Text Message Marketing?
Of course, there has to be a reason to adopt text message marketing — after all, you likely already have a myriad of ways to communicate with prospects and customers alike.
The main reason to look into text message marketing, no matter what industry you're in or what you're selling, is because it's so darn effective (especially when compared to email marketing).
- According to Business 2 Community, text messages have a click-through rate (CTR) of 36%. To put that into perspective, that's a whopping 400% more than the average email CTR.
- During the recent holiday season, text message (SMS) promotions received 592% more orders than email promotions.
- Text message open rates are 98% and 90% of texts are read within just 3 minutes.
- Plus, 45% of text messages receive a reply.
- 85% of mobile users would prefer to receive a text over an email or a phone call.
Right, as impressive as they are, those stats are a lot to digest, so let's break it down further. In short, text message marketing is:
- More effective
- More welcome
What more could you possibly ask for?
In an age where classical advertising is in sharp decline and people spend their entire day being bombarded by emails from colleagues, family, and businesses alike, text message marketing cuts through the noise — delivering your message straight to the target recipient with minimal fuss.
Given that most modern consumers have their mobile devices or cell phones on hand 24/7 and that texting is a cost-effective way to deliver real-time messages, text message marketing campaigns can play an invaluable role at each stage of your wider marketing strategy.
Brand and Product Awareness Stage
Text message drip campaigns (automatically sending out a scheduled series of pre-written marketing messages) are a great way to increase your brand or product awareness.
For example, you might initially pique your prospects' interest by sending out a mass text about your upcoming sale, then send follow-up messages alerting them to when the sale is due to end.
Alternatively, you could make this outreach more effective by tailoring your text to the customer's preferences. If you see that an individual has browsed your site looking for polo shirts, then a short message telling them that polo shirts are now 20% off is likely to regain their interest.
Abandoned carts are the bain of ecommerce marketers' lives. After all, you've got a prospect who's clearly interested in your brand, they've earmarked a product they'd like to buy, but then they left your site and were never heard from again.
According to Baymard, an eCommerce UX research company, the average cart abandonment rate is now around 70%. Imagine what that would look like in a grocery store — 7 out of 10 customers would regularly walk in, fill their carts, and then dump them on the floor before simply walking out.
Consumers abandon their carts for a variety of reasons: Maybe they were just browsing and didn't intend to actually buy anything, maybe they got distracted and forgot all about it, or maybe they checked their bank balance (eek!) and decided against it for now.
Whatever the reasons, eCommerce marketers shouldn't simply accept this widespread habit. So, let's look at how you can go about re-attracting lapsed customers.
Of course, you could consider sending an email, though the likelihood is that it'll get pushed straight into the dreaded promotions or spam folder, never to be seen again.
Or, how about sending a text instead? LiveRecover data shows that text messages have a 21% recovery rate, compared to 7% for email (which is a massive 300% uplift).
Plus, if you decide to go the text message route, you don't even have to lift a finger — our service integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce (among others), to follow up with anyone who didn't finalize their purchase.
Of course, marketing doesn't stop once a prospect has converted into a paying customer. Post-purchase updates about when a package has been sent out for delivery or when it's expected to arrive will drastically improve the overall customer experience.
This is also a great time to answer any questions the customer might have, such as the different delivery options that are available, what to do if they're not in when you come to deliver their item, or what they need to know about installation if they're buying an electronic product.
Solving customers' pain points is the key to creating a wonderful customer experience. Given how visible a brand's reputation is now, going the extra mile to ensure your customers' satisfaction pays off in the long run.
Text message marketing can revolutionize the way customers interact with your brand, opening an ongoing dialogue that goes above and beyond the age-old "we sell, you buy" relationship.
How to Implement Text Message Marketing
Okay, we've covered the what and the why — let's run through how you can go about implementing a successful text message marketing system at your company. There are 4 main steps to keep in mind at all times.
1. Gain Permission
As simple as this sounds, contacting somebody without their permission is a big no-no. So, make sure your landing pages always have an opt-in box. Consumer data laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have been putting the power back into consumers' hands, so it's crucial that you explicitly ask for their permission before sending out text messages.
Many companies get consumers to hand over their contact details by having the consumers create an account. This way, the company can send them a short code for two-factor authentication each time they want to access the site, which increases security. After all, you wouldn't want someone accessing saved credit card details. If you put an opt-in box alongside where the customer enters their number, you'll subsequently be able to contact them via text on an ongoing basis.
However, you also need to give consumers a way of removing permission. As annoying as this might be, it's fundamental that you allow people to opt out. If you don't, you'll not only annoy your prospects and customers, you could set yourself up for legal troubles.
2. Use an SMS Tool (Like LiveRecover)
Your text message marketing campaign isn't the be-all, end-all of your marketing strategy. You've likely got 1,001 campaigns and a plethora of marketing tools you're currently focusing on, so you know what you should do? Focus on them.
When it comes to mobile marketing, we highly recommend that you use a text messaging marketing service to handle the entire process for you.
At LiveRecover, we've been fine-tuning our text message marketing strategy for years: tweaking, chopping, and changing to constantly improve what we do. Of course, this is a never ending process, but we've gained an unparalleled level of expertise. And unlike SMS marketing software that relies on bots, we work with real-life humans who will contact your customers with a personal message.
So if you want to kickstart your organization's text message marketing strategy, consider signing up for our 14-day free trial.
3. Add Value
With great power comes great responsibility.
There's nothing worse than giving away your phone number or email address only to be bombarded with nonstop communication. If a real person behaved like this, you'd block them straight away, file a restraining order, or consider running away to far-off land complete with a fake passport and a new identity.
So that begs the question: Why do so many companies still behave like this?
As self-explanatory as this might sound, don't use text message marketing to harass customers. Instead, focus on adding value. What pain point are you helping your customers solve? What pain point are you helping your company solve? How are you adding value to the overall customer experience?
4. Keep It Short and Sweet (With a Human Touch)
In an ideal world, your text messages should be short and sweet, and should have a human touch.
By making it a habit to only send out succinct messages, you ensure that every text has a definitive purpose. You're not getting in touch for the sake of it or bombarding your customer with information. You're reaching out for a specific reason — whether it's to confirm delivery slots, answer questions, give updates on special offers, or provide another service.
Make sure employees introduce themselves when they send out a text. People prefer engaging with a human as opposed to a bot. This is only natural. Needless to say, having an individual text you and offer their help feels a lot nicer than receiving an automated email.
Say goodbye to generic emails from faceless corporations. Say hello to personalized outreach from actual people. Mass texting might be a useful tool to pull out of the armoury once in a while, but in general, try to avoid it if at all possible.
It's Time to Get Texting
Better customer service. More sales. Increased loyalty. Fewer abandoned carts.
When done well, text message marketing shows prospects and customers alike that you care. It cuts through the noise to deliver personalized messages that customers are going to see, and it opens up a two-way dialogue.
On top of all this, text message marketing improves your bottom line. Get in touch today to try our service and kickstart your company's text message marketing strategy.