There's a very fine line in SMS marketing.
On one side stands intrusive and spammy marketers.
On the other side (the much better side!) stand brands who understand that successful SMS marketing is about carefully timed touchpoints that are actually helpful or somehow add value to the recipient's engagement with the company.
The good news is that regardless of which side you stand on, text messages have a 98% open rate, which far surpasses any email marketing or social selling statistics.
However, the question remains: will your marketing message be effective?
Text messages provide a direct line to leads and customers, but this line needs to be treated with respect. It is far too easy for this tactic to deteriorate into some kind of text-based form of telemarketing. Although a text message is far less likely to interrupt a family dinner, it should be understood that the same sense of aversion can be instilled in your contacts if you don't take into consideration the methodology that drives your SMS marketing plan.
For this reason, the trigger events for any text messages that are sent out to your contact list need to be carefully considered and if you are able to balance this timing with the delivery of a healthy dose of value to the contact, SMS marketing can actually be an insanely effective strategy.
In fact, customers who receive text messages have a 40% higher conversion rate.
So how can your business take advantage of this under-utilized tactic?
Here are 3 ways that businesses can apply SMS marketing:
1. Lead Generation
Have you ever received a text message out of the blue?
Well, you probably asked yourself, "Who the heck is this and why are they texting me?" Keep this in mind when considering your company's SMS marketing strategy for lead generation.
Cold texts rarely convert. Instead, you should consider when and where can you use a text message to create a more personalized and high-touch interaction with a potential customer. If you are able to quickly engage and provide a convenient method to support leads then it becomes far more likely that you will be able to convert them into a paying customer.
2. Customer Retention
73% of U.S. consumers say that customer experience is a critical factor that influences their purchasing decisions, while 75% of online customers say that they expect customer support or help within five minutes of their request.
Text messages are an incredibly fast and effective way to hold onto customers. If anyone has a problem, the miracle of automation makes it possible for you to reach customers within seconds of their request. With the help of a bit of clever copywriting this is one of the most effective ways to help your customers in a time of need and will provide a sense of overflowing support that most customers will respond to positively.
3. Referral Programs
Referral programs that are operated via SMS marketing completely eliminate the "cold text" problem of using text messages for lead generation by empowering your customers to provide warm introductions to their network. This is a great way to turn a happy customer (who's had a positive customer experience via text message) into a channel for exponential growth.
There are a few best practices for referral programs that should be followed, but the high-level concept is simple—contact happy customers immediately after a positive experience and reward them and their contacts with incentives to keep them coming back!