Hackernoon logoSMS Marketing 101: How to Get Started by@Clearout

SMS Marketing 101: How to Get Started

Clearout - Email Validation & Verification Service Hacker Noon profile picture

@ClearoutClearout - Email Validation & Verification Service

Most Accurate & fully GDPR Compliant Email Verifier

More than 5 billion people in the world can send and receive SMS and 90% of such messages are read within 4 minutes of delivery. A high open rate assures that almost all critical messages will be read instantly. These numbers and rising needs for digital and on-demand services reflect that if used correctly, marketing through SMS messages can be the most reliable mobile communication channel.  

Marketing through SMS has multiple objectives and use cases to manage and grow a brand’s customer experience and overall success. Mentioned below are ways of how  SMS improves the experience of users of your digital services.

How Does SMS Marketing Improve Customer Experience?

1.Quick And Direct Reach To A Broader Market

This characteristic of SMS makes it an ideal way of communication for both marketers and customers.

SMS messages reflect immediacy and with a major part of the population owning a smartphone, SMS gives access to a broader market. 45% of the SMS campaigns generate a significant ROI, making it a popular choice amongst marketers. They can opt for bulk text messaging, using two ways of communication for a deeper connection with the customers.

Most customers also prefer the use of texts as the method of communication rather than facing disappointments associated with unresponsive emails or unhelpful calls.

2. Improving Customer Engagement

Establishing different ways of communication over the entire customer life-cycle is a good marketing policy and can make the customer relation grow longer and stronger. SMS messages are one of the supreme ways to enhance how a brand engages with a customer. 

Business owners should not forget to vary the content they send out through each channel as receiving the same information more than once can backfire. Like - a customer may value the changes, updates and upcoming developments within a brand, this information is best delivered through creative messaging where the information is short and via email where it is longer.

3. Enables Tracking, Monitoring, and Improving Customer Insights

Through SMS, customer engagement can be identified rapidly. In addition, the delivery rates can also be monitored to track the accurate return on investment. It is a valuable channel to conduct marketing surveys, know the opinion and suggestions of the user which prove helpful in making future business decisions. 

A marketer may keep the user updated on the current state of an order or customer service interactions to get consistent feedback on customers’ expectation and contentment.

To make the most of an SMS campaign include short surveys in the text or a link to the concerned synopsis, analyse the results and create better strategies for improving customer satisfaction. The surveys can also be used to initiate conversations with inactive buyers and create a stronger client relationship.

4. Efficiency In Customer Service

Most customers hate calling customer care desks as it is time-consuming. Consumers of digital services usually prefer zoom calls but usually for demos or major functional issues. Though chatbots are the most preferred way of providing customer service all digital service providers may not prefer it due to the volume, spamming and additional costs that it can bring in. Text messages play the role of enhancing customer experience here as it is fast, hustle-free and pocket friendly and can be done from anywhere.

Including SMS customer care service in the communication strategies makes a brand easily accessible, reducing the time to resolve issues leading to increased trust from customers. 

5. Personalised Interaction

Personalising text messages based on the location, preferences, browsing data and digital services purchased in the past is the key to deliver optimal customer satisfaction.

To make a client feel special, the marketer can use creative personalised messages like birthday or anniversary wishes with a unique proposition to go along with it. 

From the sales point of view, SMS can be used to post reminders of additional features, expiry of account, demo dates, subscription due, available offers, upcoming events and include their names if applicable.  

6. Complimenting The Email Marketing Strategy

SMS marketing and email marketing are two digital marketing channels that can be brought together to create a communication system that enables marketers to build relationships with customers and leads at a great scale.

A marketer can create campaigns using both channels wherein SMS can be used to communicate time-sensitive and urgent information and emails can include detailed information about the brand

7. Additional Layer Of Security

Most SaaS products offering digital services require users to create a new account or profile before using their services. Sending a One-Time-Password through SMS protects against fake, junk and spam registrations adding an extra layer of security.

Verifying the OTP will quickly vet out the illegitimate or inactive phone numbers ensuring the validity of a user.

A Few Practices To Be Followed Before Initiating SMS Campaigns 

1. Make Sure The Customers Have Opted For SMS Services

Text messaging is a direct line of communication with the customer and is very effective but only if it is planned to keep certain rules in mind. The most important rule for an SMS marketing strategy is getting permission from the contacts to send them SMS messages.

SMSs do have a high open and response rate, but this won’t help if a user is not interested in receiving these messages.  Moreover, most countries require opt-in.

2. Validate The Phone Numbers

Before initiating an SMS campaign, especially in case of cold outreach, ensure the data maintained is of high quality. validate the phone number data to get details like the accuracy of the number, the carrier type and the line type. 

This is necessary to avoid wastage of resources.  The most common errors committed when phone number validation is skipped - Sending SMS to invalid or inactive phone numbers, to landline numbers, at non-working hours etc.

3. Write Clear And To-The-Point Messages

An SMS gives the liberty of 160 characters only! The challenge is to be expressive making sure the message is clear, concise and written in a simple plain language based on the region targeted. Avoid emojis, all caps and abbreviations and avoid using open-ended messages. Open-end messages are those which do not provide complete information leaving the customer in despair. For example - inviting the user to a sale without mentioning when the sale ends.The entire process of sending the SMS and monitoring can easily be automated by connecting Google Sheets and Twilio or any other communication tools. 

4. Include Call to Actions

The main goal of SMS marketing is to get the customer engaged. Messages with clear call-to-action make a user read them, interact with them and act on them.

The most common call-to-actions:

  • “Click Here” - Due to the acceptance of limited characters, SMS messages may not include all the information your customer will need. Click here button can be used to redirect the user towards the necessary details.
  • “Text-to-Win” - Lots of customers will be interested if they have a chance of winning a discount, price or gift from your company. Such CTAs are effective for new and inactive customers to remind them of your existence and increase traffic and sales.
  • “Text-to-Vote” - Mobile polling is very popular to engage users and get their unbiased opinions. The polls can be used to find out how satisfied a user is with your services in terms of quality, prices and more.
  • “Buy Now” - This has proven to be the perfect CTA for targeted messages. Promotional texts can be sent to existing customers with a “buy now” button making it easier for them to make a purchase.

5. Correct Timing

Take your SMS marketing strategy one step ahead by finding out the best time to send a specific message to a certain group of users. Ultra targeting can be done by segmenting the users based on their location, preferred language and working hours. 

Avoid sending messages too early in the morning or late at night as that would be treading on thin ice.  9 A.M - 8 P.M are the widely acceptable hours.

6. Include The Company’s Name

Most bulk service providers send SMS through a shortcode which means the targeted contacts may not be aware of who is sending the messages. Include the company name in the first place.  We don’t want the customers to be left with half knowledge, right?

Conclusion

No matter what kind of company you own, If SMS messages are used correctly they can be more than just a text but a marketing tool to create the best customer experience. Dedicate sufficient time to craft effective messages, analyse demographics and integrate SMS communication to strengthen new customer relationships, trigger new purchases and stimulate interests.

About the Author: Bharti Jain

Bharti Jain is involved in creating, developing and coordinating all manner of content marketing at ClearoutPhone & Clearout  These are SaaS products used for email verification and phone validation respectively.  Bharti is the author of more than 50 articles and Ebooks and develops vlogs too. You can reach out and connect with Bharti on LinkedIn.


Tags

Join Hacker Noon

Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.