What is SMS marketing?

SMS (short message service) is a marketing channel similar to email marketing. It allows businesses and organizations to communicate with customers through text messages.

Like email marketing, SMS is a permission-based method of marketing. It can be used to send promotions, alerts, coupons, and more. 

As a permission-based channel, customers have to give their explicit consent to be marketed to. The best way to gather this consent is to incorporate it into your email subscription process. But you can also collect phone numbers and permissions using contest entries, or texting keywords to your brand’s shortcode. 

Does SMS marketing work?

Simple answer: yes.

How do we know? Well let’s look at the stats and see. 

  • 90% of SMS are read within three minutes. 95% are read within five minutes. That’s an open rate unparalleled by any other marketing channel. 
  • The average consumer checks their phone around 150 times every day. As a result, 70% of shoppers would like their favorite brands to send offers directly to their mobile devices. 
  • 22% of text messages are forwarded on to friends and family when they are considered to be valuable to the reader. 
  • The average redemption rate of mobile coupons is around 20% but this is expected to rise as brands increasingly adopt SMS marketing. 

SMS is ready and waiting for marketers. 

Diverse group texting, always on mobile devices for SMS marketing

Why SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is the perfect opportunity to connect with your customers on the devices they carry with them all day, every day. Consumers are texting, so why aren’t you? Go to where your customers are. 

If that isn’t enough to drive you to adopt text message marketing, here are some of the main benefits of adopting SMS: 

1. Global reach 

Over five billion people around the world have a mobile device. That’s a lot of potential customers out there, just waiting for brands to reach out. 

2. Immediate

SMS marketing campaigns take, on average, three to six seconds to be delivered. The unrivaled efficiency of SMS is due to the speed with which they’re delivered. 

3. Guaranteed delivery

Unlike traditional email marketing, SMS doesn’t bounce. Even when a device is off or not connected to a network, text messages will still reach users once the phone is back on or in range. 

4. Strong engagement 

As a permission-based channel, your customers have asked you to reach out to them via text message. They have requested that you contact them on the device they have in the palm of their hand. SMS adoption rate is still relatively low among your competitors, so targeting customers on this channel will guarantee engagement. 

5. One size fits all

Whether you’re a large company like a bank or an airline, or a small business reaching out to your local audience, SMS generates results for both. From mass communication to highly targeted messaging, SMS has the capabilities to do both, effectively and efficiently. 

6. Easy and simple

You don’t need special design or coding skills for SMS marketing. Creating text message campaigns is fast and easy. In fact, you can build a campaign in about five minutes to build with no design time required. 

7. Adaptable

No matter your business, no matter your size, no matter your goal, SMS is highly adaptable. You can use SMS as an alert channel, for competitions, reminders, account confirmation, and more. 

8. Supporting channel 

You can further improve SMS’s impact by using it alongside other channels like email and push notifications. Adding SMS to your marketing mix will help you get closer to achieving your marketing goals. 

Types of SMS marketing campaigns

Alert, updates, and notification types of SMS campaigns

Business updates

During times of crisis, business continuity is essential. Send business updates via text to ensure customers, staff, and partners stay informed of developments or changes to your BAU. 

Flash sales

Advertise flash sales with a bulk SMS message to reach your entire database. Flash sales rely on customers making impulse buys, so they’re most effective as a ‘pre-sale’ event. 

Promotional deals

A promotional text is like a flash sale but is typically a time-sensitive deal. This helps create a sense of urgency among your customers. You can target these messages to drive recipients to visit one of your brick-and-mortar locations. 

Coupon codes

SMS coupon codes are a great tactic to welcome new customers who have signed up for your SMS marketing. Coupons are a great way to boost in-store traffic or online purchases. 

Text-to-win competitions 

This campaign is great for growing your marketing database. Simply advertise your competition and included a dedicated shortcode for entrants to text. Follow that up with an opt-in message that requires a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response

Alerts and notifications 

You can use SMS alerts and notifications to send a wide range of marketing messages including: 

  • New product or service launches 
  • Event updates and information
  • Ticket sales 
  • Back in stock alerts

And more.

Transactional SMS

Giving your customers a choice of how they get their order and shipping updates is a great way to improve experiences and empower the customer. Send shipping updates directly to customers’ phones so they never miss a delivery again.

Cart abandonment 

Carts abandonment happens for a wide range of reasons and one of those might be switching devices. Increase your chances of converting browsers into customers by adding SMS to your abandoned cart automation program

Birthday automation

Birthday automation programs are a great way to drive shoppers to return to your website. By adding SMS as a complementary channel to your program, you’re helping your special birthday discount stand out from your competitors. 

List growth

Like text-to-win competitions, SMS is a great tool to build your marketing list at physical events. Particularly good for brands who attend roadshows and exhibitions, a text-to-subscribe campaign ensures you don’t miss an opportunity to engage with new customers. 

Discover SMS marketing with dotdigital

SMS can add immense value to your marketing strategy. It can help businesses with anything and everything. For more inspiration about how you can add text message marketing to your digital strategy, check out our latest SMS marketing resources.

dotdigital SMS whitepaper on text message marketing tactics

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