SMS marketing is a medium through which we reach our customers via text messages. Web-based programs are also beneficial as they allow you to send mass texts to all the customers who have subscribed, allow you to run campaigns in which coupons are delivered automatically, help you keep the customers busy in polls, and even help in running a sweepstakes contest.
Advantages of SMS Marketing
The best engagement rate of any marketing medium goes to texting. The reason for this deduction is based on the fact that emails can be left unseen or unread, phone calls can mostly go unanswered, and leaflets can be disposed of without taking another look; text messages are mostly scanned. James Citron, the CEO of text messaging service, told Forbes that “95 out of 100 of your customers who have opted into your text messaging program OPEN and READ your mobile messages within 3 minutes.”
The code word here is “opted in.” it is often considered unethical to send unprompted messages in text message marketing. One can only send texts to people who have already subscribed to the messages. Marketing services mostly provide an easy route for customers to opt themselves in and out by only using their phones.
How does SMS marketing Work?
SMS marketing revolves around two components, such as keyword and the shortcode.
Type and text “Black” to 2345 in regards to our weekly list of flavors!
The keyword here is “Black” It gets synched in the body of the message. The shortcode here is “2345,” and it sets down in the recipient box.
The customer opts into the campaign immediately when they send a text. The customers can be given an automated response or added to a list from where they will be getting additional texts over time. Further ways of “opting-in” people are to allow them to check a box on or submit their numbers online. Phone numbers received in this manner require confirmation because they can enter an invalid or an incorrect number. The confirmation can happen in one of the following ways, i.e., “Text “YES” to receive weekly coupons.”
The only deviation of the “opt-in” feature is that if a customer is being contacted on a previously agreed transaction, for example, there is no need for consent to send an appointment reminder by a medical office if the appointment has already been made; however, consent would be required if the medical office sends out a reminder for a follow-up checkup and such reminders are considered promotional messages which require consent. (Read more here)
Once the customers have opted in, they can also respond to the messages with sub keywords. For example, the phrase “hours” can set off a text with business hours, and “stop” can take them out of the list. This allows the customers to communicate with your business while also being able to opt-out of the campaign if they want to stop receiving messages.
Listed below are some other things which can be done through SMS marketing
- Send Coupons: Give exclusive deals to customers. A coupon code that will have a unique code will prevent the non-subscribers from taking advantage of your deal.
- Drip campaigns: Automated messages should be sent to customers based on how long they have been subscribed. For example, in the light of coupons, you may send a 5% off coupon right after signing up, a 10% coupon after 3 weeks, and a 20% off coupon after 2 months. This is done automatically as soon as a customer signs up, so there is no need to send individual messages.
- Poll Your Customers: Customers should be allowed to cast a vote by texting different keywords. Most services allow you to run polls from which you collect responses over a period of time and graph them from your online dashboard.
- Create Groups: Customers should be divided into groups based on which keyword they responded to, based on their area code, how they voted in a poll, and more. Dividing your customers allows you to send more targeted promotions and coupons.
- Sweepstakes Contest: Allow customers to sign themselves up for sweepstakes by texting a particular keyword. You can view the list of phone numbers from the dashboard and choose one randomly.
- Send Photos and Videos: MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service Marketing allows you to send photos and videos to customers. It is useful if you want to send a flyer or restaurant menu to a customer.
- Location-based Marketing: Clients should receive different texts based on their location. Geofencing is an advanced method that tracks clients’ locations and sends messages when they are close to your shop; however, it is costly. Each “ping” to track your customers’ location costs more than the price of sending a text, so it is not yet practical for common use.
Starting with SMS Marketing Service
How do you get a keyword and shortcode? Both of them are provided to the customer via a text by a marketing service. Having a short code all to yourself gets expensive, and it costs around several hundred dollars per month.
A more practical answer to this problem is to “share” a shortcode with many other businesses. For example, contributors like EZ Texting have only 1 shortcode for all their clients’ use (313131). To differentiate themselves, businesses “rent” different keywords, like ICECREAM or MOVIE. So, when a client texts “Black” to “313131”, they ate your list automatically and not somebody else’s.
Most services handle all the action online. With an online dashboard, you can mass send texts and set your automated campaigns. You can also buy keywords. The online menu also enables you to view a list of customers and generate reports on their activity, based on their signing up and which sources they used, who has responded to which messages. You can even track reasons to figure out which campaigns didn’t work.
What is the cost of SMS Marketing?
Two main costs of text marketing are the price per text and the price of renting keywords. With advanced services, the cost of features like location-based marketing and multimedia messages (MMS) is also included.
It generally costs $15 – $25/month per keyword. You can use sub-keywords for free, but these are the words customers use to communicate after signing up, like “Stop” to opt-out of the list. 4 to 5 cents are deducted for each message you send or 8 to 9 cents for multimedia messages (MMS). Pricing is usually tiered, so the more you spend, the less you have to pay per text.
The base price at “SlickText” is free, and the price of “EZ Texting” begins at $19 per month, which allows 50 and 200 texts a month with 1 keyword, respectively. “Trumpia” costs $45 a month for 1000 texts and unlimited keywords.
The price for advanced edition at “SlickText,” “EZ texting,” and “Trumpia” is $29, $49, and $45 per month, respectively, allowing 2, 3, and unlimited keywords, respectively.
All three of the above-mentioned providers give MMS and polls service. “SlickText” provides unique coupon codes, “EZ texting” gives drip campaigns, while “Trumpia” also gives drip campaigns in addition to customer loyalty rewards.
The Bottom Line
The most powerful way to reach an audience is through Text message marketing. It is important to know these 4 simple rules to stay compliant with the law and keep customers happy:
- Make customers know they are opting in. While advertising your short code, explain that it will add recipients to a mailing list. It’s also good to tell them the number of messages they’ll receive – i.e., “sign up to receive 1 deal a month.”
- Inform customers about fees. Your campaign should include the phrase “message and data rates may apply.” You’ll also want to include this on opt-in confirmation texts.
- Provide customers the ability to opt-out. Opting out should be available to all customers as most marketing services are set this way by default. You will, however, have to remind customers about the opt-out phrase – i.e., “Reply STOP to opt-out of messages.”