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Bulk SMS Marketing Is Changing The Game

How many emails do you get every day from businesses you may have shown interest in at some point and organizations you support? Add in the number of unsolicited emails, and you can see people read so few emails anymore. While the majority of Americans check their phones an average of 160 times a day, few get through all of the emails clogging their inboxes.

Bulk SMS marketing is a tactic that turns customer engagement tactics on its heels. Email is great for certain things, such as longer-form communications, but it isn’t exactly original, and it’s often associated with spam. Texting prospects, clients, and employees, on the other hand, is not only a more modern way to communicate, but it is proven to be more effective.

Reports continue to show that texts have a 98% open rate and response rates as high as 45%. Compare that with email open rates of only 22% and response rate of just 6%. Gartner says, “No other messaging medium approaches SMS in its reach.” The global research and advisory firm recommend mobile marketers “actively seek opportunities to benefit from SMS as a form of mobile engagement and employ SMS as an easy initial method for customers and prospects to connect to your brand.”

Still, few businesses have caught on, continuing to send doomed emails instead of leveraging the power of bulk SMS marketing. This opens up a fantastic opportunity for your company to be different. As everyone else zigs, you zag. And in a world where differentiating your brand is everything yet one of the hardest things to do, a marketing technique as simple as texting could be the game-changer.

New Game. New Rules.

Bulk SMS marketing isn’t the same as email marketing. It’s an entirely different channel that demands respect, and it isn’t free. With email, you can write paragraphs, insert cool graphics, and send as many emails as you want without additional costs. 

On the other hand, marketing texts are short in length, relatively rudimentary in graphic capabilities, and almost always point the reader to another location or a call to action. That means you have to get your point across in just a sentence or two and get them to click a link to get more information, purchase a product, engage in an activity, or do something you want them to do. Your messaging must be concise, relevant, engaging, and actionable. 

Here’s the kicker: you can’t just say anything. Texts aren’t a secure form of communication, and we have privacy issues to contend with these days. Gartner outlines a few possible downsides of SMS, saying, “SMS campaigns are significantly more costly than email campaigns on a per-message basis. To address legal concerns, marketers must follow consumer privacy best practices, including explicit opt-in procedures, easy access to program terms and conditions, and simple mechanisms to opt out.”

These aren’t deal-breakers, however. Business SMS providers know full well that they have to build in user preferences to be compliant. But once you get someone to opt-in, you just identified a hot lead or an engaged customer – the golden ticket for any marketer.

As far as pricing goes, there are multiple price points and pricing structures from which to choose. You’ll typically pay per message or a monthly fee for a specific number of messages. Depending on your provider and your plan, you may also pay a setup fee.

Determine your budget and usage requirements, and it’s not difficult to find a plan that works for you. Keep in mind that while you may spend more on texting campaigns than you did on email campaigns, the investment clearly has a higher return based on open and response rates.

The Many Use Cases for Bulk SMS Marketing

If you’ve never considered SMS marketing, it may be because you haven’t thought about all you can do with texting and an integrated SMS platform. Yes, you can often integrate an SMS text messaging platform into your existing CRM, such as Salesforce, Marketo, and Hubspot. That means you can text directly from your CRM without having to bounce to another application, keeping all texts centralized and archived in one system. 

Related: Integrating Text Messaging Into Your CRM

But that’s only the beginning.

The Business Side

One of the keys to any marketing campaign is to know if it’s worth doing again. Did your investment pay off or do you need to go in a different direction? Your SMS platform often provides detailed analytics to help you instantly see how well your text messaging campaign is performing. 

You can dig into analytics to determine:

  • Which texts failed to send (so you can correct bad data)
  • Which texts were read by how many (to compare campaigns)
  • How many people responded to the CTA (to gauge effectiveness and identify opportunities to improve strategy)

With success metrics in place, you can see the effectiveness of each SMS campaign per dollar spent, and compare it with other marketing tactics. You can even combine it with other marketing tactics to ensure you are consistently reaching your intended audience on the right channels at the right time with the right messaging. Understanding how your marketing efforts contribute to the conversion process is essential in prioritizing and justifying marketing spend.

The Creative Side

What kinds of campaigns are ideal for bulk SMS marketing? According to Hubspot, marketing goals can fall into five broad categories:

  1. Raise brand awareness
  2. Generate high-quality leads
  3. Grow and maintain thought leadership
  4. Increase customer value
  5. Empower colleagues

SMS marketing is ideal for all five of these objectives. 

Brand awareness

Through creative SMS campaigns, you can instantly get in front of your target audience with brand messaging that either introduces them to your brand, invites them to explore a new product or service, or touts your awesomeness. You can use your brand voice to express your company’s value proposition, mission and purpose. Text them links to games, promotions, discounts and coupons. Invite them to read your blogs, sign up for curated content, or simply check out your website, a video or a social post.

Leads

As we said, with every opt-in, you’re building a leads pipeline for sales. If someone says “yes” to your texts or does not opt-out, they’re giving you the green light to stay in contact. They may not do what you ask by clicking on a link or participating in some way, but as long as they’re still willing to get the text, there’s a 98% chance they’re at least reading it.

Thought leadership

If you want to beat the competition, you have to establish your brand as the best for what you do. Part of that means convincing your audience that you know more than the competition. You may have a better product or service or more useful information – all to build trust in your brand. 

The Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020 found that trust is the second most important factor in the decision to buy a new brand (53%) or become a loyal customer (49%). Much goes into brand trust, but SMS marketing provides a channel to communicate effectively with prospects and customers to start building that trust.

Customer value

A happy customer is a loyal customer. Bulk SMS marketing gives you a great medium to continually engage customers with interactive messaging and opportunities. To keep your customers on the hook, so to speak, and help them build affinity for your brand so they continue to buy and refer others to you, you need a way to reach them. As with brand awareness, texting will point people to things you know they enjoy, such as special discounts and promotions, VIP/members-only opportunities, polls and crowdsourcing ideas, and social media contests.

Related: How Text Messaging Improves The Customer Service Experience

Empower colleagues

SMS marketing doesn’t have to be solely for external use. Many companies use it for internal marketing campaigns as well. Your employees are more likely to read a company text versus a company email. As long as you don’t overuse it and keep it to what you truly want them to see immediately, it can be highly effective. Getting them valuable information quickly is one advantage of texting, but it is also ideal for conducting employee surveys for all kinds of initiatives, engaging them in team-building activities, and encouraging participation in corporate events.

Bulk SMS marketing is a game-changer in how you can communicate and engage with your prospects, customers and employees. The applications are endless, and the effectiveness of SMS speaks for itself. Want to learn more? We’re here to help.

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