By: Andrew Levi, CEO of Blue Calypso
It may seem passé, but text message marketing (or SMS marketing) still offers a variety of benefits for brands looking to engage consumers. From QR codes to branded apps, marketers are often tempted to jump on the hottest promotional tool of the moment. Depending on your target audience and campaign objectives, that tool may in fact be your best option, but it’s important not to overlook more traditional, “tried and true” platforms—SMS included.
In case you’re still skeptical, here’s some insight into why you should give text marketing another look and a few ways to get the most out of SMS campaigns, based on our corporate partners’ experiences and successes.
Promotional email open rates range from 17-27 percent, while 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes, which can triple or quadruple the chance your SMS promos and offers actually reaching subscribers. According to a Pew Research survey on smartphone usage in 2015, texting is the most widely- and frequently-used smartphone app, with 97 percent of Americans using it at least once a day. SMS marketing also allows you to reach the 32 percent of consumers who still don’t have a smart phone, according to Pew’s 2015 device ownership survey.
High Enrollment, Low Opt-Out
While mobile brand apps are gaining popularity, SMS messaging still has the highest enrollment. Today’s consumers—Millennials in particular—want quick, easy and relevant interactions, which is exactly what SMS provides. Every SMS message you distribute must include clearly stated opt-out instructions, yet opt-out rates for text marketing programs are substantially lower than email. This is simply because consumers receive so few promotional texts, compared to barrage of promotional “spam” emails that hit their inbox every day.
Incentive to Stay
Once a customer has opted in to your SMS program, you need to give them reasons to stay in the club. Hook users from the gate with special offers or freebies within minutes of signing up. The goal is to convert recipients into paying customers, so make sure each SMS message sent has a clear call to action, such as a BOGO, discount or gift with purchase. Everyone loves to be a winner, so text-to-win campaigns are also a great way to keep opt-out rates to a minimum and sweepstakes can drive engagement on other channels, like your mobile site or brand app. Additionally, respond-to-enter programs help evaluate which campaigns are most effective and identify highly engaged users.
Get the Word Out
You may have the best SMS offers in the world, but unless your customers know the benefits of enrolling, your efforts are guaranteed to fall flat. The best way to boost awareness varies by industry, but there are plenty of options and cross-channel strategies. At restaurants, table tents, menu inserts and drive-thru signage can help get the word out. For a variety of brick-and-mortar retailers, cashier contests give checkout staff an incentive to encourage customers to enroll face-to-face. Major national campaigns may even warrant a press release to spread the news, like the announcement McDonald’s issued last week about the text-to-win sweepstakes component of its partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Of the billions of text messages exchanged around the world each month, more and more are commercial or marketing-related. As customers become more familiar with business-related texts, the power of SMS will increase. Now is the time to get ahead of the curve and establish your mobile presence today.