Using text messages to communicate with current and prospective customers is a highly effective marketing strategy. Here’s why.
It's a quick and convenient form of communication that can be used to deliver information and updates. And best of all, it's affordable.
Text message marketing can elevate the customer experience and allow businesses to automate their marketing and sales processes. As a result, businesses that use SMS for marketing purposes often see a significant increase in leads, conversions, and sales.
SMS offers an excellent opportunity for brands to add a personal touch to their marketing communications. This article will describe what makes SMS marketing unique and beneficial for companies, how they can get the most out of it, and what regulations have to be followed for successful and compliant campaigns.
Compared with email marketing, SMS marketing is a different beast. In email marketing, businesses send out mass messages to their subscribers hoping that a small percentage will engage with the content. The open and click-through rates for email are notoriously low at around 20% and 3%, respectively.
Text campaigns, on the other hand, have a nearly 100% open rate. This means that when a business sends an SMS to its subscribers, they're almost guaranteed to see it. And SMS messages are usually read within a few minutes of being received, which all but guarantees that a marketing message will be seen and digested quickly.
Most people use SMS to talk to family and friends, and it's growing in popularity as a channel for communicating with businesses. It's the most widely used form of communication today. What's more, it's estimated that 7.7 billion people will have smartphones by 2027.
What does this mean for brands? It means that SMS should be a part of every business's marketing mix. If a brand isn't using SMS to reach its customers, it's missing out on a huge opportunity.
Text messages are personal. They're meant to be read quickly, easily, and without distractions. This makes them the perfect channel for delivering time-sensitive information and updates.
When a customer receives an SMS from a business, they can't help but stop and read it. SMS therefore offers an ideal channel for delivering coupons, discounts, and other limited-time offers.
Sending a text message costs pennies, making it a cost-effective way to reach your customers. And the high open and engagement rates ensure that a brand's message will be seen and read by the people it's sent to.
There are many ways small- and medium-sized companies can use business messaging to stay in touch with their customers. Here are some examples:
Businesses can send appointment reminders to customers via text message. This is a great way to reduce no-shows and ensure that customers know when their appointments are.
Promotions and discounts can be sent to customers via SMS, leading to increases in both sales and customer loyalty.
Providing customer support via SMS is a quick and convenient way to resolve customer issues.
Keeping customers updated on their order status by text message can improve customer satisfaction and reduce churn.
Text messages can be used to promote new products, drive traffic to a website, or increase brand awareness.
In order to protect the integrity of this form of communication, in the United States, SMS marketing is regulated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which was enacted in 1991. The TCPA regulates how businesses can use telephones and text messages to contact their consumers. Similar protections are granted to Canadians through Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL).
The Can-Spam Act, enacted in 2003, also impacts text message marketing. The act regulates how businesses can use email to contact consumers, but the same rules apply to SMS marketing. Businesses can't use SMS to send unsolicited messages, and they must include a way for customers to opt out of receiving future messages.
These regulations are designed to protect consumers from unwanted messages. However, they don't apply to calls or texts that are considered "essential communications."
Every marketing channel comes with its own set of regulations. The following are a few to abide by during SMS campaigns.
This consent can be in the form of:
A keyword text: Texting a keyword to a short code to opt in to receiving messages from the business.
A checkbox on a web form: Checking a box to opt in to receiving messages from the business.
A website popup: Opting in via a popup on the company's website that asks if they want to receive messages from the business.
A paper form: Opting in by filling out a paper form that includes their phone number and consent to receive messages from the business.
Subscribers can opt out by replying to a message with "STOP." Once they've opted out, a business can't text them again unless they opt back in.
These situations include:
Existing customers. A business can send SMS messages to existing customers as long as they haven't opted out of receiving messages. A person is an existing customer if they purchased a product, service, or membership in the 18 months before the company's SMS campaign.
Emergencies. A business can send SMS messages to consumers without their consent in emergencies. This includes messages about recalls, safety alerts, and Amber Alerts.
Non-commercial political messages. An organization can send SMS messages without consent for non-commercial political purposes.
The opt-out information must be clear and conspicuous. It must be included at the beginning of the message and easy for the consumer to understand.
SMS marketing is a powerful tool, but it's essential to follow the rules. Here's what can happen if a company fails to do so:
Hefty fines. The FTC can fine businesses up to $46,517 per violation for breaking the law. Each text message sent in violation of the law counts as a separate violation.
Class-action lawsuits. Consumers can file class-action lawsuits against businesses that send them unsolicited text messages.
Reputation damage. Consumers trust businesses that follow the law. When businesses break the law, it damages their reputation and hurts their chances of success in the long run.
To summarize, SMS can help brands grow because it's:
Immediate. Text messages are opened and read within minutes, if not seconds.
Personal. Unlike email, SMS is a one-to-one form of communication. It feels more personal and intimate.
Efficient. A large number of people can be reached in a single text message campaign.
Effective. SMS has a high conversion rate, which means that more people act on SMS messages than other forms of marketing.
Universal. SMS can be used to reach audiences of all kinds.
Aizan’s Messaging Solutions have been designed with specific business needs in mind.
With both Aim Messaging for large enterprise and MessageKite for small and medium sized business, businesses can:
Automate SMS campaigns. Messages can be scheduled to go out at specific times or in response to certain trigger events.
Segment the audience. A brand's audience can be segmented into different groups so targeted messages can be sent to those most likely to convert.
Personalize messages. SMS messages can be personalized with the recipient's name or other information.
Track results. SMS campaigns can provide valuable data about how many people opened and clicked on the links.
Get support from experts. Our team of SMS marketing experts is here to help at every step of the way.
Brands wanting to learn how to leverage SMS marketing should talk to one of our experts at Aizan today.