Not every marketer has a ton of experience with text message marketing, which is why we’ve gathered our 10 most effective SMS marketing tips and best practices to share with you.
SMS is the most preferred way for billions to communicate, and 75% of consumers want to receive texts with special offers.
So we’ve put together this guide to text message marketing that people want to get. Find ways to remove potential friction from SMS campaigns, such as:
- Including an opt-out message by telling people that they can type “STOP” at any time.
- When people sign up, let them know how often to expect updates.
- Letting people know what kind of content they’ll be receiving.
Consider those three examples as a bonus tip. 😉
In this article, you’ll learn the following 10 most effective SMS marketing tips, where to find more expert SMS marketing advice, and how to run effective text message marketing campaigns.
- Send Exclusive Deals and Offers via Text
- Launch Automated Drip Campaigns via Text
- Use SMS Keywords for Opt-Ins
- Trigger Live Agent Notifications
- Run a Sweepstakes Contest
- Use Live Chat to Convert Leads into SMS Contacts
- Send Reminders and Confirmations via Text
- Be Educational and Then Sell
- Gather Feedback and Data
- Send Short and Engaging Messages
#1. SMS Marketing Tips: Send Exclusive Deals and Offers via Text
Businesses use SMS to send promotions and sales because it is one of the most engaging and cost-efficient ways to engage prospects and customers.
Customers.ai’s OmniChat® messaging inbox allows you to support messaging on multiple chat platforms, including SMS text messaging.
Waiting for people to chat with you on your website vs reaching out proactively and engaging with prospects is powerful. And one of the most powerful proactive channels is text message marketing.
After opting-in new SMS subscribers, you can send bulk text messages to that audience with announcements, news and deals.
For example: “Take 20% off your order with code THANKYOU”
Here is an update from a fashion brand, Jenni Kayne, offering a 20% promotion code to all shoppers.
This SMS example includes an image, the promo code, and a link to the website to purchase.
If 75% of all consumers want to have special offers, discounts, and coupons delivered to their smartphones via SMS, you shouldn’t be worried about giving it a shot, right?
#2. SMS Marketing Tips: Send Automated Drip Campaigns via Text
Send nurturing drip campaigns via SMS text message.
Drip campaigns are key to keeping active customers engaged as you continue to send them valuable and relevant content.
You can use your growing contact lists to send SMS drip campaigns to:
- Welcome and onboard customers
- Keep leads engaged with the brand
- Activate the use of sophisticated solutions
- Leverage automation to communicate at scale
If you were sending coupons in a drip campaign, for example, you could send a 5% off coupon right after subscriber signs up, a 10% coupon after three weeks, and a 20% off coupon after two months.
The longer they stick around, the bigger the potential bonus. So you’re incentivizing the action you want.
Customers.ai’s SMS drip campaign builder is all visual. It’s just a matter of choosing an audience, adding your content, and setting the timing of the drips.
#3. SMS Marketing Tips: Use SMS Keywords for Opt-Ins
What’s the best way to grow your SMS subscriber list?
Well, one fantastic way is to use SMS keywords, which are also supported by Customers.ai.
If you live in Canada or the United States and text the word “CLUB” to 309-740-3151, that will enter you into our Unicorn Marketers Text Messaging Club where Larry Kim will send you a weekly message with the latest growth marketing strategies.
SMS keywords are just one way you can get more SMS subscribers.
SMS opt-in is powerful, not only because you can re-engage with your customers after they leave your website, but because the results from SMS marketing are almost hard to believe.
If you haven’t given text message marketing a try, here are just a few SMS marketing statistics that should change your mind:
Tips for advertising or promoting any SMS marketing program:
- Provide a link to the Terms and Conditions.
- Set expectations about how often the audience gets SMS updates.
- And offer an incentive or make the value of joining really clear.
Sign people up for SMS text marketing updates with SMS keyword opt-in.
#4. SMS Marketing Tips: Trigger Live Agent Notifications
Set up alerts for your team to jump in when customers need to talk to a real human.
As you send out SMS blasts and SMS drip campaigns, your customers may continue the conversation.
Your team may need to be able to see conversations that require follow up and jump into convos. They can do this from a multi-channel customer support inbox.
View the OmniChat inbox from Customers.ai’s web app or mobile app. Business owners and teams get a single unified inbox for viewing and responding to all conversations happening across messaging apps — from SMS to Messenger.
Seamlessly manage all messaging convos, and a live agent can jump into conversations at any time.
You can also set up pop-up notification alerts to let your team know there’s a customer requesting answers or service.
#5. SMS Marketing Tips: Run a Sweepstakes Contest
You can have customers sign themselves up for sweepstakes by texting a particular keyword.
Once again, this is a standard promotion tactic.
You can select some winners from everyone who opts in. Or you can also give away a smaller prize to every person who texts your keyword.
You can even use it as an opportunity for cross-promotions.
Running a short-term contest is one of those growth hacking strategies you find on everyone’s list of how to get more SMS subscribers.
They work! But they can’t run forever.
Consider a contest or giveaway something you can do every year to every quarter, attached to holidays, anniversaries, and special occasions.
In the case of how to get more SMS subscribers, folks enter by texting the magic keyword to your SMS phone number or shortcode.
Keep in mind these tips for contests and giveaways that generate the most leads:
- Create urgency
- Use a partner to cross-promote
- Have a low bar to entry
- Don’t forget a really sweet prize
Build-in urgency, leverage partner networks and make the process for entry very simple to generate a spike in the size of your SMS subscriber list.
#6. SMS Marketing Tips: Use Live Chat to Convert Leads into SMS subscribers
You can turn your website into a lead generation machine by turning live chat into an automated path to SMS subscription.
Live chat has been shown to increase average order value, increase conversions, and build loyalty among customers.
When customers can get in touch with a business to receive real-time answers to their questions, the business can reduce bottlenecks obstructing conversions.
In fact, someone that chats on your website is 10X more likely to convert.
And you can generate SMS subscribers from live chat using a bot and an opt-in widget.
Here’s what that SMS opt-in widget looks like using Customers.ai’s live chat software on your site:
#7. SMS Marketing Tips: Send Reminders and Confirmations via Text
Consumers report SMS as the most convenient way to stay in touch with service providers and businesses. This is made clear by the following SMS marketing statistic: 67% of people would rather text with a business about appointments and scheduling than by email or phone.
And this is especially true for short and useful messages that could get lost via email, such as:
- Appointment reminders
- Billing reminders
- Booking confirmations
Here are three real-life examples of all three of the above.
Using SMS to send appointment reminders
Example: “Your appointment is tomorrow, 3/17/2020, at 3:00 pm.”
Appointment reminders via text message are a no brainer because they are most likely to be seen when an appointment is upcoming.
In this SMS marketing example, a customer is reminded of a flight that departs in 24 hours.
Consumers reward brands they do businesses with when great communication is provided. Not to mention, in this case, they’ll show up on time!
Sending billing reminders via text message
Example: “Your balance of $100 will be paid by card on 8/1/2020.”
More and more businesses are accommodating the preferences of their customers by providing billing reminders with text messages.
SMS updates are less likely to be overlooked than messages sent to crowded email inboxes, and they are just as easy for businesses to automate.
Booking confirmations with SMS text messages
Example: “You’re booked! See you on 3/17/2020 at 3:00 pm.”
Emails are often lost to spam filters or become invisible in a sea of unread messages.
Rather than sending a booking, appointment, or reservation confirmation via email, businesses can send confirmations in SMS where they are much more likely to be seen.
In addition to sending an SMS confirmation that a booking has been made, this spa follows up with a reminder of the appointment and automates the confirmation process.
To confirm their appointment, clients simply reply “C” to confirm their attendance.
#8. SMS Marketing Tips: Be Educational, Then Sell
Drip campaigns work best when you establish a relationship.
Let’s say you go to a networking event. Do you go straight to selling your products or services? No. You probably get to know people first and then decide whether or not to go into your sales pitch.
SMS marketing campaigns are like that, a chance to get to know each other.
So, start with education and see if it makes sense to continue the conversation.
For example, let’s pretend it’s been 48 hours since you sent an educational tip.
You could now say something like “How about we get on the phone to discuss the event you’re planning?”
Then you could provide response option buttons such as, “Sounds good” or, “I’m not ready yet.”
If someone clicks on “sounds good” you can use Customers.ai to add a notification widget to send a live chat agent an email or push notification.
Chatbots and live agents working together is yet another proven ROI booster.
#9. SMS Marketing Tips: Gather Feedback and Data
We recommend ending a welcome message or drip sequence with a survey or poll.
This gets back to the fact that chat drip marketing gives businesses a channel for real-time feedback from prospects or customers.
By creating a survey within your drip campaign you will learn more about who the audience member is and what you can offer them.
At the end of your chat drip campaign build, it’s a good point to start to think about incorporating this, maybe saying something like the following example.
It’s important to make things fun as well, such as adding in a couple of smiley faces. Remember that people communicate on chat quite differently to how they might write an email.
If you receive a positive response to a survey question regarding customer experience, you could ask the user to leave a review on Facebook, Yelp, or whatever platform is important to your business.
#10. SMS Marketing Tips: Send Short and Engaging Messages
If you receive a large number of emails in one day from a company, it’s natural to perceive that as spam.
However, when you chat with one of your Facebook Messenger contacts or using SMS, the same quantity of messages isn’t so negatively perceived.
This is partly because the messages tend to be shorter.
When communicating via chat, limit your messages to 200 characters. A quick sentence and a call to action or a question, for example, works great.
An audience will be a lot less sensitive to receiving several of those a week as opposed to receiving several emails.
Also, remember that SMS chats are a 2-way conversation. Unlike email, SMS campaigns are interactive and reactive.
What’s great about chat flows is that you’re able to route them one way for a positive answer, and one way for a negative answer.
Either way, you’re going to learn a lot about how your customers perceive your brand.
You can also implement this as a way to positively stoke your app ratings. For example, if a customer responds to your initial question in a negative manner, use this as a learning opportunity.
On the other hand, if a customer responds by giving you a positive rating, it gives you an opportunity to ask a follow-up question that requests them to leave an app rating and review.
Facebook Messenger and SMS are unique in that they are fun and interactive. That’s something to take advantage of.
When you’re sending out SMS messages, make them even more engaging by adding a GIF.
This is really easy to do through the Customers.ai GIF widget.
So, add some fun and engagement!
Then, you can carry on sending out your tips. But be a little careful about the quantity you send.
A maximum of 3 text messages in the first day is generally OK.
After that, you may try a soft-sell to encourage the user to get back to you or to check out your products or services.
How To Get Started with SMS Marketing
Now that you’re all set to test out these effective SMS marketing tips, it’s time to get started with your first campaign.
Or, watch our video on “How To Do Text Message Marketing.”
SMS marketing is the fastest way to reach the more than 5 billion people that send and receive text messages around the world. And that’s because it’s instant, convenient, and universal.
Want the best stats on the effectiveness of text message marketing? Check out these 60 SMS marketing statistics that will blow your mind.
When you’re ready to execute your own SMS marketing campaigns, opt-in programs, and text message blasts, use Customers.ai’s suite of SMS marketing tools.
Have questions? Customers.ai’s SMS FAQs help doc has answers.
Important next steps
- Get started with SMS marketing campaigns by building a free Customers.ai OmniChat™ chatbot. Get Customers.ai for free today.
- Talk and learn about chatbots with other enthusiasts. Join Customers.ai Island, a Facebook group of over 35k marketers and entrepreneurs that are ready to support you.
- Advance your marketing performance with Chatbot University, a free chatbot tutorial and training area for chat marketers.
See all the tools in Customers.ai’s multi-channel chatbot platform by getting started with Customers.ai for free.