Keeping your business top of mind by consistently reaching out to customers with SMS marketing campaigns can help you build brand loyalty for repeat purchases. SMS marketing is a tactical way to engage customers with relevant messaging or promotions.
Texting is a powerful marketing tool. The average click-through rate for offer messages via SMS is higher by 9.18 percent compared to any other digital channel. If you’re new to SMS marketing or looking for a refresher, use these best practices to make the most of your SMS marketing efforts.
10 SMS marketing best practices
1. Send exclusive offers
Special offers are the most commonly used type of campaign message. People love a good deal, and offering text-exclusive offers is a great way to reel in revenue. It’s easy to send scannable barcodes for in-store coupons or a link to your website with a promo code for online purchases.
Whatever you choose to offer, including a promotion deadline and details such as coupon restrictions or expiration dates.
2. Get consent to text
Before you can text your customers, you need to collect an opt-in. An opt-in is a green light from your customers that they want you to text them. Forty-six percent of customers say they would opt-in for texts from e-commerce or retail businesses.
There are numerous ways to collect an opt-in. You can gather an opt-in by sending subscribers an initial text message to gather consent to text them. You can also collect consent in person or have customers check a box on your website permitting you to text their number.
To learn more about gathering SMS consent, read our article “Business SMS opt-ins: What they are and when you need to use them.”
3. Be transparent with disclaimers
When sending a consent message, be transparent about what messages you send your customers. People are more likely to opt-in to receive text messages if they know what they will receive. For example, if you’re sending messages specifically for company updates, specify that at an opt-in.
In good business practice, you should also mention that message and data rates might occur to send or receive text messages.
4. Stay relevant with your messaging
Customers opt-in to SMS marketing messages with a clear idea of what to expect. That’s why it’s crucial to stay on topic when messaging them. You don’t want customers to feel like they are getting spam or unrelated messages that put a bad taste in their mouths about your brand.
Concise and on-brand messaging is a safe bet. You can experiment with different types of messaging as long as it’s appropriate.
5. Provide an opt-out
With an opt-in, you also have to provide the option for subscribers to opt out. Textline users who initiate texts to their customers typically add "Reply STOP to opt-out" to the end of their first message to ensure the customer knows they have that option.
Some other common opt-out phrases are:
- Stop all
Textline users can personalize their opt-out phrases, depending on their brand and customer type.
6. Personalize your messaging
SMS is all about building personal connections with your customers. One way to do this is to focus on personalizing messaging. Personalizing messaging means more than just adding a customer’s first name to a message you send them — it’s about sending messages specific to their needs.
For example, say you have a customer shopping for a specific item or service. Instead of sending them a generic message, you can segment the message about that item or service to be more specific.
To learn more about creating a personalized customer experience, check out our article “How to create personalized customer experiences that drive revenue and retention.”
7. Have a consistent schedule
Consistency is key to keeping customers engaged. Planning a monthly calendar to space out marketing messages can help you send messages out on time. According to the Attentive Mobile Consumer Report, roughly half of consumers prefer to receive four to six messages per month from brands.
8. Use appropriate language and emojis
While texting is advertised to build personal relationships with your customers, some business etiquettes are still to keep in mind. Most importantly, use grammatically-correct sentences and on-brand, relevant emojis. Your texts reflect your brand, and you want to put your best foot forward with each message.
To learn more about writing the perfect business text message, check out our article “Writing the perfect business text message: A step-by-step guide, examples.”
Or, choose from one of our ready-to-use templates from “62 professional text message examples for businesses.”
9. Stay aware of customer time zones
Another thing to keep in mind when sending SMS marketing messages is to make sure you’re aware of the time zones of the customers you’re texting. You don’t want to send messages too late or too early to where you’re disturbing a customer’s time.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to send messages during the average business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
10. Engage with customers with two-way communication
Marketing promotions are often one-sided, but you can encourage two-way communication with your customers with business texting. One of the easiest ways to let customers know that they can reply to your messages is to tell them.
You want to make sure you have the proper workflow to reply to inbound messages promptly. Texting is more manageable for most agents than a phone call, and texting has a faster response time than email at 90 seconds.
6 ways to grow your SMS marketing subscription list
1. Promote your business texting number
The first step to texting your customers is to let them know they can. Displaying your business texting number sounds like a simple step, but it’s often forgotten. There are numerous ways to promote your SMS number. If you have a brick-and-mortar, you can include a print ad at checkout with a phrase or number to opt-in to text messages.
You can add your business texting number on your website, social media pages, or business profiles for digital marketing.
For a list of places to places to add your SMS number, check out our list of “11 top ways to let your customers know they can text your business.”
2. Offer an incentive for mobile opt-ins
Dollar-off discounts are the number one incentive for signing up for an SMS program. Most people sign up to receive promotional messages from a business, hoping they’ll receive a coupon to use for an item or service they’ve been looking at.
Offering an incentive for mobile opt-ins can help you convert more sales, so consider advertising a welcome discount.
3. Make it easy for customers to opt-in
The easier it is for customers to opt in, the more likely they are to sign-up. Besides advertising your texting number in places that customers are potential to look, consider using simple phrases like “WELCOME” or “HELLO” for first-time customers to text in to your number. You can also use a short code instead of a long phone number to collect opt-ins.
Another way to make it easier for customers to sign up for SMS is to ask if they would like to receive text messages from your business when they’re checking out online or in person.
4. Segment your SMS marketing lists
If you want to be more strategic in your SMS marketing, consider segmenting your customer list; Segmenting your messaging targets customers with more personalized messaging, increasing your chances of getting sales. Some segment lists to consider are one for coupons and promotions, a waitlist or product release segment, and one for VIP customers.
5. Build a referral program
Another way to bring in new business is to create a referral program for existing customers. You can offer rewards or points for customers who get their friends or family members to sign up for text marketing with your company. Studies show that customers acquired through referrals have a 37 percent higher retention rate than those acquired through other means.
6. Use MMS to improve communication
A multimedia messaging service, more commonly known as MMS, is the ability to send files, videos, photos, and other forms of media via text. With your marketing campaigns, you can send barcodes, sales graphics, and more. Fifty-one percent of consumers are more likely to purchase if they receive a text message with images and media.
The bottom line: SMS marketing is all about connection
SMS marketing helps you keep customers informed and engaged with your business. It can help you nurture new customers or retain existing ones. Want more SMS marketing content? Check out our article on the different types of SMS marketing campaigns.