Text messaging has previously been meant for communication and nothing else, but recently, entrepreneurs have started utilizing this technology for their businesses, and so far, the results are surprisingly satisfactory. Businesses are getting more leads and sales revenue is at an all-time high. Perhaps these testimonies are the main reason why you became interested in text messaging in the first place.
However, you can’t invest in something if you’re not familiar with it. Sure, it may be showing some results for others, but the fact that it’s become a powerful marketing strategy can lead to some doubts. Why did it become a useful marketing tool? How was it exactly utilized by businesses?
This article aims to answer those questions by introducing the concept behind text message marketing and how it’s changed over the past few years.
Introduction to Text Message Marketing
Text message marketing refers to the use of text messages to advertise a business’ products and services. However, some enterprises also use this strategy to build rapport and trust among customers. In other words, it can be used for customer engagement as well.
As you dabble with the art of text message marketing, you’ll encounter different terms, one of which is SMS marketing. To avoid confusion, “SMS marketing” is just another term for text message marketing,
SMS marketing is popular because of its many uses. Some of these are:
- Sharing information such as updates, discounts, and limited time offers
- Serving customers by involving them in a two-way conversation
- Gathering leads by sending links to a sign-up form
- Engaging customers with personalized messages
Aside from that, a 2019 study by Think of Google shows that 75% of smartphone users prefer a convenient way of gathering information. So, what better way to display information quickly than sending a short text message?
Perhaps this is why a lot of companies are developing SMS marketing tools. One particular company is Drop Cowboy, which specializes in ringless text messaging and voicemails. With these tools, businesses were able to achieve unexpected results with SMS Marketing.
Why SMS Marketing Is Powerful for Businesses
As previously mentioned, SMS marketing has been a popular strategy among businesses. Even those in the big leagues are taking part in this race. To give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with, here are some of the benchmarks of SMS marketing.
Higher Click-Through Rates (CTR)
When it comes to text messages, the click-through rate refers to the number of users that used the link included in the message divided by the total number of users that received the message. Emails have a CTR of around 3%, while text messages boast a 17% CTR.
Better Conversion Rates
This term corresponds to the people who purchased after checking out the links from your text messages. Thankfully, tools such as Google Analytics get detailed analytics of your business’ conversion rate, and so far, the average conversion rate of a typical SMS marketing plan is 45%.
SMS subscribers are more likely to redeem coupons with a redemption rate of 10%. That is ten times higher than the redemption rate from phone calls.
Faster Response Time
When sending SMS surveys, most users take six minutes or less to send their response, while prospects usually take days to respond to email surveys. Moreover, customers respond to text messages typically within just 90 seconds.
As you can see, SMS marketing is bringing great results despite being a very affordable venture. It just goes to show that SMS marketing is one of the most cost-efficient marketing strategies out there. But if it’s so great, why did it only become popular to businesspeople now?
Why Businesses Took Too Long to Utilize SMS Marketing
Considering the high click-through rates and conversion rates from SMS Marketing, why did it take so long for businesses to take advantage of this strategy? There are several reasons as to why is this so.
Segmentation Was Not Possible
Segmentation allows businesses to categorize their prospects. This will enable them to manage their contacts and send the appropriate promotions and information to a user. After all, you don’t want to advertise a hunting rifle to a vegan. Unfortunately, in the past, it was hard to control what messages were sent to a group of prospects. Businesses would just gather a random list of numbers and send a text blast to each one. This is what we now refer to as spamming, which is obviously frowned upon.
Managing Shortcodes Was Challenging
SMS marketing usually involves the use of shortcodes. Shortcodes are numbers consisting of 5 or 6 digits. These codes act as substitutes for long phone numbers to minimize the workload involved in implementing SMS marketing. The problem is, you have to make sure a company is willing to lease you your preferred shortcodes.
Texts Are Not Exactly Engaging
As you may already know, text messages used to have limitations. For starters, you could only include 160 characters at most. There’s was also no way of adding rich media such as images and videos. Hence, not only were they not engaging, but businesses were also limited by the length of words they could include.
Considering its significant flaws, it is easy to see why SMS Marketing did not take off in the past. However, times have changed, and the evolution of text messaging is not something to scoff at. The challenges mentioned above have been easily solved by modern technology.
What Are the Steps Involved in Text Message Marketing?
Just like any marketing strategy, you need to have a marketing campaign plan if you want to implement an SMS Marketing strategy. Since text messaging is straightforward, you don’t have to spend much time planning, researching, or formulating the tools and processes to use.
However, like other marketing strategies, you still need to consult or hire a team of people who can handle and implement a text message marketing campaign. Here’s a closer look at what you have to deal with if you choose to implement an SMS Marketing strategy for your business.
Implementing strategies like email, content, outbound, or inbound marketing usually requires the use or integration of complex software. Thus, the planning and implementation could take weeks or months, but companies typically only take a few days to set up a reliable text message marketing system due to its simplicity.
Upon implementing the marketing strategy, you also have to train your employees so they can adapt to the system. And since almost everyone is familiar with how text messaging works, training shouldn’t take too long.
With implementation and training complete, the next thing you have to worry about is managing messages or inquiries. This, too, can go smoothly since text messages are not as heavy as emails. Hence, after sending text messages to countless prospects, or through a text blast, employees can still manage massive volumes of customer messages.
Text message marketing is also very affordable in comparison to other strategies. It requires little investment but brings the same or even greater rewards than email and social media marketing. In other words, the risk-reward ratio is favorable.
SMS Marketing as A Foolproof Strategy
A 2019 study found that businesses worldwide lost around $130 billion in revenue due to spam emails disrupting their workflow. This is no small change in the business world, and perhaps that’s what pushed developers to add a spam filtering function on email providers.
Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, and almost every email provider can now filter out spam. Unfortunately, this also means that when an email provider detects that your email is similar to spam, it automatically filters it out and hides it from the user.
This will make it a lot harder for you to reach prospects. Chances are, your email will be left unopened in the spam folder. In 2020, only 18% of emails were opened by users. Certainly, your business can’t stand much of a chance with that statistic, but that’s where text messaging apps come in.
Text messages will not be hidden since smartphones do not have spam filtering functions, which makes it more likely for users to open or read text messages than emails. In fact, text messages have an open rate of 98%.
Perhaps this huge flaw in email marketing is the reason why companies recently turned to SMS marketing. And as a result, brands took this opportunity to develop automation tools.
How SMS Marketing Benefits from Automation
Email marketing is tempting because there are many tools out there that help businesses implement this strategy. However, SMS marketing automation tools are also available now, and this makes it easier for businesses to implement the strategy. Text message automation tools come in different forms. Below are some of these automation tools and what each of them entails.
Autoresponders are the most common text message automation tool. This type of tool is also widely used in email marketing.
As the name suggests, an autoresponder sends a reply to phone numbers automatically. Businesses often use autoresponders to confirm that a prospect has successfully subscribed to their alerts, or have successfully placed an order on the system. At its core, autoresponders are best used to confirm subscriptions, transactions, or receipt of orders.
Workflow automation is similar to autoresponders, but instead of responding to sign-ups or subscriptions, workflow automation refers to sending pre-written messages according to the user’s response.
For example, if a user clicks on a link that was attached to your first message, they will receive another message that is relevant to the previous one. This will continue until the system can predict the kind of product or service that the customer wants. Apart from the final message, other parts of the automated sequence involve educating the prospect through valuable content.
At its core, workflow automation involves a sequence of messages that can eventually cater to the behavior or wants of an individual prospect through text messaging. Businesses use automated sequences to nurture the knowledge of their potential clients by sending links to their content. Entrepreneurs also call this text messaging technique an automated follow-up.
Drip marketing is a technique that relies on time triggers. It is called time triggers because this marketing strategy only sends text messages to prospects after a specific amount of time has passed. A time trigger could also refer to a certain schedule. It’s called drip because it’s similar to how water drips down from a faucet in regular intervals. You can choose to set the interval to days, weeks, or even months.
For example, if you set your drip marketing strategy to three days, prospects will receive a message every three days. Workflow automation focuses on educating users and makes an effort to engage and turn them into regular customers, while drip marketing makes sure prospects are always reminded of your business through follow-ups, expiring deals, and even upcoming promotions.
The Future of Text Messaging
Over the past few years, developments in text messaging technology have been enormous. Companies are now developing more advanced messaging apps, and these are all still free to use. It’s also apparent that messaging apps are crucial for every smartphone brand. Apps like iMessage or WhatsApp are usually installed by default. Experts also predict that there will be a significant increase in both SMS and smartphone usage, both of which will significantly affect text message marketing strategies.
Text messaging has evolved throughout the years. What many people thought to be a simple communication medium turned out to be a gold mine for businesses. You might be a small business, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from this marketing strategy. In fact, small businesses could gain a lot from this strategy, as it is a very cost-efficient one.
Overall, SMS Marketing strategies are found to have higher click-through rates, conversion rates, and redemption rates. Most of all, users read and respond to text messages more quickly than emails.