In the past decade, the marketing sector has etched out several successful strategic marketing campaigns that have since been effective.
From e-mail marketing to social media, mobile application-based marketing to the very recent use of artificial intelligence in various campaigns – it has all brought about an increase in reach and sales.
But with how quickly technology progresses, the ever-so-significant question arises – “Is this strategy relevant in today’s times?”
Social media marketing and marketing via mobile applications interestingly reflect a fluctuating graph. And this could be due to reasons ranging from the relevance of the modes of communication and advertisement to the complicated ways of implementation.
This brings up an important question – is there a simple yet powerful strategy that has shown continuous persistence despite the changing marketing dynamics? The answer is yes – and it’s SMS marketing.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS (Short Message Service) marketing, in very simple terms, is the use of text messages to communicate with customers by promoting, updating, and alerting them of your various products and services.
From price drop messages to discount coupons to notifying various other offers, this strategy centers around effective close-range marketing as it’s the fastest and ideal way to spread quick information regarding immediate offers or events.
Similar to email marketing, SMS marketing allows you to have complete control over who receives the message, what content you plan to post, and when you plan to post it – making it a strong option to have in the locker.
Additionally, due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, it can be implemented into other marketing campaigns to not only boost awareness and bring in loyal customer engagement but ultimately generate more sales.
You might be still wondering how effective and relevant this strategy of marketing is in today’s social-media-led world and “ain’t Facebook and Instagram the way to go?”
Yes, while social media does offer a brilliant platform to promote your brand and get a dedicated customer base, a lot of efforts do go into what you post and how you post to grab the users’ attention, coupled with the various algorithms instilled in these platforms.
Your brand’s promotional post could be drowned in all the content that’s out there. This is where SMS marketing has a one-up.
Ever since mobile messaging became available in the market, the messaging service feature has always been an integral part that changed the way people communicated. Even in today’s latest advanced phones, the “messaging” application is an in-built application. Moreover, the most popular and most used applications are messaging applications so why not use those facts as a marketing advantage?
People prefer to receive messages over any other form of communication, beating phone calls and even emails. Interesting statistics recorded by TextMagic in their article focusing on text messaging, furthermore showcases that customers are more accepting of meaningful content in the form of messages as compared to any others.
The benefits of SMS marketing do not just end at preference.
More Benefits of SMS Marketing
Apart from it being a direct and immediate channel, SMS is also becoming a very effective multi-channel marketing tool. SMS highly excels in one particular point i.e. quick and simple communication. That alone brings with it other vital benefits as mentioned below:
According to the latest Digital2021 Report for India, there are a total of 1.1 billion mobile connections, a 23 million increase from the past year. And with the constant increase in mobile phone users, using SMSs allows you to directly reach a much wider demographic as compared to any other marketing strategy, ultimately boosting awareness of your brand and eventually sales.
High open rate
When it comes to email marketing, one of the major throw-offs is the fact that consumers generally open only 1 in 4 emails that they tend to receive. Additionally, many cases show that the email automatically finds itself in the spam folder meaning it never gets opened and might get deleted instead. While email has a mere 22% open rate, SMS on the other hand comes with a 98% open rate making it a top efficient advertising option.
Continuing the similar point of an increase in mobile phone users and also the increase in the usage of the mobile phone in tasks like shopping, SMS marketing can be an excellent mobile-friendly option allowing users to receive valuable notifications about your business and products on the go.
When all these three benefits combine it makes for an impactful but very cost-effective marketing approach.
How to Set up SMS Marketing
Like every marketing strategy, SMS marketing also comes with its tips to ensure the implementation is done to the best of its potential. While setting up is not much of a hassle, it is about how to ensure that your messages are being well received and opened that takes up the most thinking.
But before we go any further into the various strategies here is a quick rundown of how to set up SMS marketing.
Collection of Contacts
For a start, it could be just the mobile numbers of existing and past customers. If you had a system in your billing and payments where you took down the contact numbers of your customers, your work is half done. Go through your sales history and make a well-structured list of the mobile numbers.
If you are starting from scratch, the best way is to use a good third-party platform that connects you to your target audience. One can subscribe to these services. You can also buy a list of mobile numbers from various companies.
Ensure that you run a campaign that asks for user consent in receiving your further business-related messages. In the same consent permission message, add a keyword like ‘SUBSCRIBE or ‘JOIN’ that the interested customers can text to gain their consent.
Choosing the Right SMS Service Provider
One thing to understand when it comes to SMS marketing is how you send over your messages – through what service provider or platform. While regular telecommunication services like the Jios, Airtels and Vodafones do get the job done, the work is exhaustive and overall turns out to be certainly not worth the money spent on various combo plans.
This is where bulk SMS service providers come into picture. Their focus is on SMS alone and bulk SMSs to be specific which is what is needed when it comes to this marketing strategy. Implementing this strategy means you are sending messages to hundreds and thousands of users on the go and bulk service providers or even digital business and marketing platforms that have such campaign features will be the most effective way to go about doing your business.
Here below are some common bulk SMS providers in India, along with their pricing and key features –
Other than these services, digital business platforms like Dukaan can come in real handy. Dukaan offers its very own marketing campaign feature where you can choose to send over content through various different channels.
To set-up a SMS marketing campaign can be as easy as ABC due to its well-structured steps making it a very user-friendly tool. The feature also comes with a multitude of message samples to choose from and most importantly a well-integrated dashboard that allows you to track down and record metrics from total number of messages sent to sales from the campaign to the total marketing cost.
Once you have your contacts the next crucial element is the message itself. When it comes to messages, you have a limit on words. You have just 160 characters to express your intent and you have to be clear-cut, to-the-point, and crisp.
Avoid using open-ended messages and instead, use as many call-to-actions as possible. Calls-to-action bring about increased open rates and customer engagement. Emphasis on the product is obvious but highlighting the discount and the duration of the discount to attract immediate attention, is more critical from a consumer’s perspective.
Another important tip is the timing of your messages. The whole idea of SMS is getting down to immediate action. SMS is said to be a lot more effective when they are last minute. Say you have a product being launched on Monday night around 9 p.m, messages related to the launch and offers should be sent by the evening of that day.
SMS Marketing Strategies
Flash Sale Message
Flash sale messages are a common but effective strategy to gain the instant attention of your customer. With flash sales bringing about a 35% boost in transaction rates, it could be a very impactful way of alerting your customers and eventually generating sales.
The message can be as simple as –
“Hey there! FLASH SALE for the next 4 hours ONLY! Get a 20% off on any of our products. Offer ends before 12 p.m. Hurry up! *Insert the link of your website or online shop*”
You can also add a discount coupon and different appropriate emojis to add to the content.
New Product Launch Offers
Launch offers on new products not only help in increasing the exposure to the new product but also drive immediate responses. According to a global survey conducted by Nielsen, 56% of the respondents claimed their family and friends as a source of new product awareness. This also opens up a massive opportunity to expand reach.
Another effective campaign under SMS marketing is the post-purchase follow-up. ost-purchase messages encourage an ongoing conversation with the customer, building trust and ultimately locking them in as your loyal and dedicated customer.
It can start off with a simple “Thank you for your purchase” and eventually add in loyalty bonuses and rewards. By making sure your message is personalized to the specific customer and their purchase history, brings about more fruitful engagement.
- Birthday/Anniversary Discounts
As mentioned above, personalized messages speak to the customer on your interest in making a personal connection with them. These personalized messages not only help build your relationship with them but are also said to bring about higher transaction, revenue, and open rates.
Down below is the increment rates just birthday messages bring out:
- ‘Back in Stock’ Message
‘Back in stock’ emails have an open rate of 65.3%. Similar numbers are seen through the use of SMSs. These messages are another great way to keep customers interested in your business. A lot of times businesses tend to lose potential customers when they don’t give an update on reloaded stocks.
As a business, it is not just losing out on sales but moreover, stockouts create a bad reputation among the general public. Making sure that the customers are well informed of the availability of the product by sending over these simple ‘back in stock’ messages, can elevate engagement and transaction rates.
SMS marketing can be an important part of your marketing strategy. It is one of the most scalable marketing strategies there are today. The scenario is already painted right before us.
As technology continues to advance and as tasks continue to get done on-the-go, people will continue to use phones as an integral part of their lives in the near and far beyond future. And as a business venture what better opportunity to directly connect to the general public than through a simple short SMS. So get going on SMS marketing and watch your ROI skyrocket!