One is the loneliest number. And for your marketing, usually that one is email. With that in mind, welcome to the Plus One series where we’ll be going through the benefits of using multiple channels to reach your audience. Even adding just one mobile channel can vastly improve your customer experience. Up first: SMS.
How many times did you check your texts today? Whether you’re an avid texter or not, there’s a high likelihood you sent or received a text at some point during the day.
As recently as 10 years ago, the average text user was sending or receiving over 40 messages per day. 40! As recently as five years ago, text messaging was the single most popular feature used on smartphones.
And with everyone in one spot, not seeing family and friends, suffering from Zoom fatigue (stay safe friends), the number of daily texts is likely rising quickly.
Texts and SMS are important, is what we’re trying to say. So for marketers, adding SMS to your strategy is all but a no-brainer. Here’s a quick look at how your customer experience can benefit from adding SMS to your channel repertoire.
Top Benefits of SMS Marketing
Reach Customers Where They Are
Over 90% of the U.S. population owns a device capable of receiving SMS messages. And now U.S. adults are spending almost four hours a day on their mobile devices. Heck, even your emails are being read on mobile.
The benefit of reaching your customers where they are is painfully obvious. If they’re using their mobile devices, and you send an SMS, the chances of engagement are much greater. You’re keeping your brand top of mind.
And since SMS messages are often in a simply-designed app without distractions—opposed to, say, Instagram where you can check a story, view photos, watch videos, etc., etc.—you get the customer’s undivided attention to read your message.
But, there’s an underutilized aspect to SMS too. Since this is a mobile channel, you’re sending your messages literally to where the customer is.
Take The Nudge, for example. An SMS service that provides updates about happenings in your area, The Nudge does a great job at sending relevant messaging that pertains directly to users’ locations. Going one step further, The Nudge also allows customers to respond to better refine the content to their own preferences.
Working in tandem with email, where maybe you added location to your list of data points to collect from users, SMS can be a great channel to incorporate contextualized information that recognizes where the user is and improves their experience.
SMS marketing gets a bad rap. It’s often associated with impersonal language, a quick discount, and a URL that feels like someone knocked over a Scrabble board.
This doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Modern SMS marketing can be more personalized—to the user and the brand! We’ll get to the user below, but for the brand, it’s simple now to get your brand name front and center in your SMS marketing.
In this example from Kylie Cosmetics, the brand builds trust and clout by providing URLs that feature “Kylie Cosmetics” right there in the name. Taking it one step further, Kylie Cosmetics customizes the URL based on the product line to give the recipient a bit more context.
With features like custom domain support, your SMS marketing gains credibility, keeps your brand name top of mind, and puts your customers at ease.
Yep, Still Here!
Speaking of keeping your brand top of mind for customers, SMS is an underutilized channel for campaign marketing. Unless your users have unusual settings that delete their messages regularly, their texts stay in their inbox for at least a year.
SMS marketing loses impact when used infrequently and inconsistently. Like we mentioned above, users these days are texting up a storm, so your SMS campaigns should take advantage of these regular visits to the text app.
Kmart shows this in a smart way by using SMS as the channel of choice for their welcome series. By going beyond just the “Respond with Y to opt in” type of welcome, Kmart is letting the user know that this channel is an important part of the Kmart experience. And since these messages aren’t disappearing in the same way as, say, push notifications would, the user can continually revisit their “conversation” with Kmart to see old deals.
By getting into Day 5—and continuing to Day 7 from our experience—Kmart is establishing a cadence and setting expectations. Maybe a text per day is a bit much for some, but this frequency doesn’t have to be sustained throughout the experience. High frequency early on sets the tone that SMS is going to be a vital source for offers, discounts, and other information.
Incorporating SMS into broader campaigns—whether these campaigns are all via SMS or are cross-channel—gives users an indication that this channel is a direct line to the brand, and one that cannot be ignored.
IDK, My BFF Jill
Text messages are personal. They’re a direct contact between users. The content is fluid, conversational, and fun. So why don’t more brands use SMS in a similar manner?
Email and push notifications delve into fun tones, even bringing in emojis regularly. Marketers today are aiming for a personalized relationship with customers—one that meets them where they are and communicates in a way that feels human.
SMS marketing arrives right in someone’s message inbox next to their conversations with family and friends. To build a closer relationship, brands should be more human in their messaging.
Resy starts going down this more conversational tone in their confirmation messages. “Just a reminder” is something you likely heard from a colleague today. And “Thanks for letting us know” feels like a nice, polite touch beyond the standard, robotic-sounding “Your reservation has been cancelled.”
We aren’t saying you have to go full LOL BTW text speak with your customers—unless that fits your brand—but adding a touch of conversational language makes your messages more readable and human. A good example of this would be to ask customers to save your contact in their phone.
SMS marketing can feel extra impersonal coming from a string of numbers. Once users have opted in, send a quick message thanking them for opting in and ask them to save the number so they know it’s you right away every time you send a message. It can help set expectations and build a connection with your brand. Just imagine the response if their bff Jill sees your name on their phone!
Plus One Channel Makes All the Difference
SMS marketing is about tapping into one of the currently most used communication methods. It’s a direct line to your users where they are spending a significant—sometimes the majority—amount of their time.
Using the above techniques, adding SMS to your marketing strategy gives you a new channel, yes, but most importantly it gives you access to a relationship builder with each user. Treat SMS like you do with your friends and family and consumers will respond in kind.
This is just Part 1 of our Plus One series. Stay tuned for next week’s edition covering Push Notifications. In the meantime, schedule a demo today to find out how to add SMS marketing to your toolkit.