In a digital society, we’re bombarded with advertisements more than ever. Surfing the web? We’re met with hundreds of pop-up ads, side-bar ads, and autoplay video. Flipping through cable? The amount of commercials in a single hour of TV hit an all-time high in 2018. Social media? Sponsored ads. E-mail? Forget about it. According to VentureBeat, one in 10 people have more than 1,000 unread emails in their inbox, and a few of us are part of that mildly chaotic club whose unread messages soar into the five figures.
The truth is that the digital marketing world is oversaturated, which means it’s hard to grab consumer attention. If someone doesn’t have an adblocker extension already installed in their brower, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ve evolved into becoming a human adblocker anyway. We’ve gotten really good at filtering out the noise, but there’s still one place we give our undivided attention: our text messages.
There’s a reason SMS marketing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Most people read most of their text messages. Research has shown that SMS messages have a 98% open rate, and that 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes. In other words: it’s one of the most direct lines to existing consumers and potential leads, but just because they’re reading your messages doesn’t mean they’re buying in. In the same way people immediately hang-up on robocalls or slam their doors on door-to-door salespeople, text messages have the overarching ability to feel intrusive.
At its heart, SMS marketing is something consumers actually want — but it has to be done right or you risk annoying your customers. These tips can help.
Make Customers Opt-In
Just because you’ve collected a customer’s phone number doesn’t mean you should use it. The reason SMS marketing is so effective is because text message inboxes are largely unaffected by spam and phishing. They’re private. It’s where people talk to their loved ones, and ignore sprawling group chats from their college buddies. You never want customers to feel like you’re invading their personal space, which is why they should opt-in to your SMS messages before you send them.
According to research, 75% of consumers are comfortable receiving SMS messages from brands as long as they opt-in, and 64% of consumers want to be contacted more often by businesses through this channel. This is a winning recipe for brands who get the green light.
SMS Marketing Should Be A Two-Way Street
Consumers generally like receiving texts from brands, but the majority report feeling frustrated when they can’t adequately respond. This especially rings true for brands that use SMS and MMS messaging for customer service. Basically, if your business texts consumers, you should allow consumers to adequately text you back — and always, always respond.
Research has shown that most people prefer to message a customer service agent rather than wait on hold to speak to a person. It’s the same thought process behind Uber, which hails a cab without users ever having to call a cab service. Unfortunately, a large number of businesses just don’t have the SMS capabilities, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Opening that two way street could be as simple as letting consumers text “STOP” to opt-out of messaging, offering up a menu of AI commands, or diving deeper into the realm of customer service. Just make sure you always have a thoughtful reply, even if it’s automated. Ghosting a customer is just as bad as ghosting a date.
Don’t Forget The Calls To Action
Never underestimate the power of a good call to action. FOMO (or the fear of missing out) is a very real tool. Since texting is such an immediate mode of communication, your SMS marketing messages should always contain some sense of urgency or else you risk sounding a little bit like spam. Typically, the most successful texts include limited time offers or exclusive sales.
Be Helpful, Not Spammy
You may be sending out mass texts to all your customers, but texts should still contain a bit of human empathy. No one wants to be bombarded with a hundred sales pitches. Instead, texts should provide relevant, helpful information to individual customers.
Yes, this can still be a sales pitch. You just have to make sure it’s a sales pitch your customer wants. For example, sending an automated text to a user who abandoned their online shopping cart may remind them that they actually want the items they left behind.
Make Customers Aware Of Your SMS Services
Just like a business sells products and services, you have to sell your SMS messages. It’s pretty similar to pushing email sign ups. Customers want the benefits, but they generally don’t know those benefits are available. In fact, VentureBeat found that 70% of users thought messages about fraudulent activity on their bank accounts were “very useful,” but only 35% actually received them. Similarly, 67% of users claimed it was useful to get messages about changes in travel reservations, but just 40% actually received them. What does that tell us? Customers don’t know these highly useful services are offered by the brands they love.
Make sure information about SMS messaging is front and center. Allow consumers to opt-in to the type of messages they want to receive. Just because they want updates on their account does not mean they want to be notified about sales or new product lines. The more you can cater your services to your customer’s specific wants and needs, the better.
Here at SendHub, we make it easy to remain compliant and never annoy customers with SMS marketing. Want a quote to get started? Get in touch with one of our sales representatives today or feel free to contact us if you have any immediate questions.
Elevation Marketing, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services,
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.