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Mobile Marketing Tips: Perfecting the Promotional SMS

We’re all very accustomed to brands asking for our email addresses in exchange for 10% off when we first visit their website, but as of late, there’s a second step to the onboarding process. What feels like all-of-a-sudden, brands have started also getting users to opt-in to receive marketing text messages, or SMS.

But, it’s not surprising. It’s the perfect channel for promotional messaging considering “SMS text marketing has an open rate of over 98% compared to an open rate of just 20% with emails.”

Now that brands are jumping on the SMS bandwagon, there are a lot of examples of promotional text messages out there. Obviously, some promotional SMS messages are more engaging than others, but we want to know why. What are the ingredients that make up an engaging promotional SMS that actually leads to conversions?

1. Urgency

Text messages have an urgency behind them that email doesn’t have. If a friend wants to get your attention, they’re going to shoot you a text message. Unless the sender is your grandma, you’re likely not going to get the hot gossip via email.

The same thinking applies to promotional SMS messages. If it’s the last day of your brand’s major sale (let’s be honest, you’re going to extend it anyway), you may want to text subscribers to remind them, versus sending them an email that could get buried in an inbox.

Urgency isn’t always easy to convey in written copy. Search Engine Journal recommends the following to create a sense of urgency in marketing messages:

  1. Offer something people want
  2. Set a deadline
  3. Create scarcity
  4. Use the right words (now, hurry, last chance, etc.)
  5. Offer a bonus incentive
  6. Use numbers
  7. Customize offers

Combining the high open rate of marketing SMS messages with urgency gives your brand a better chance of engaging customers and, as a result, converting them.

2. Pictures

Technically, adding images to text messages means we’re in MMS territory, not SMS, but that’s besides the point. Texts are great for conveying important information in a short, concise way. But as more and more brands start to take advantage of promotional SMS messages, there needs to be something that sets your mobile marketing messages apart—like an image.

Texts, being so short, are easy to read, but not as easy to interpret as an image. According to CSF Journal, “Research has shown that the brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text.[6] This combination of text and images should help the reader recognize more of the story elements.” If you’re looking to stand out and tell a story quickly via text, think about adding an image.

3. Discounts

We know, we know, try to control your shock, pick your jaw up off the floor—discounts get higher engagement. You might be thinking “what is a promotional SMS without a discount?” Fair point. But not all promotional SMS messages contain discounts. They could be new product announcements, exclusive product drops, store openings—you get it. So, while including a discount may seem obvious, a reminder to do so never hurts.

Harper Wilde discount SMS

Bra brand, Harper Wilde, sent a 25% off discount giving shoppers the option to use a code or click the link to make a purchase.

In a grand slam of promotional SMS messaging, Harper Wilde uses all three ingredients: urgency (one day only), pictures, and a discount. Not only that, they tossed in some emojis to add an extra eye-catching element to their text. Plus, as another added bonus, Harper Wilde offers a promo code or a link to activate the discount. This makes it really easy for subscribers to take advantage of this deal across channels, or even share the promo code with friends.

Make the Promotional SMS Worthwhile

When we say make the SMS worthwhile we mean make it worthwhile for both your brand and the customer. While urgency, pictures, and discounts are crucial ingredients for creating effective promotional SMS messages, there’s a final element that should be woven into every single marketing message sent, SMS or otherwise: individualization.

We mentioned it briefly in the above list from Search Engine Journal (the last item is customizing offers), but customizing your promotional SMS messages shows a deep understanding of the customer and builds trust. With the right marketing tools in place, and fleshed out customer profiles, your brand has the ability to send highly individualized messages to each and every customer. Your texts should improve the overall experience with your brand, not annoy customers.

Interested in sending automated, individualized SMS messages to your customers? Schedule an Iterable demo.

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