Marketing your small business can take up a ton of time and resources. As an independent retailer, it can be difficult to gain traction through your marketing efforts due to social media algorithm updates and the sheer volume of emails that most people receive daily.
SMS marketing, or text message marketing, is a simple way to reach your customers and get a much higher ROI. Customers welcome it, too—with 70% agreeing that it’s a great way for businesses to get their attention.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- What is SMS marketing
- Benefits of SMS marketing
- How to use SMS marketing
- SMS marketing strategies to try
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What is SMS marketing?
Short message service (SMS) marketing is a form of marketing that businesses use to send promotions to customers via text messages. In other words, SMS marketing is the same thing as text message marketing.
Benefits of SMS marketing
SMS marketing has several advantages over other forms of digital marketing.
Text message marketing is fast in more than one sense. Unlike social media or email marketing, you don’t need to design any images to go with your content. Text messages also have a low character limit, so you don’t need to write a ton, either. They’re quick and easy to produce and send.
Secondly, texts reach your recipients faster than an Instagram post or email would. Your customers receive instant notifications on their phone when they get a text. Comparatively, they would need to take the additional step of opening a social media app or email client to see your other forms of marketing.
It has near-perfect open rates
If you want people to open your messages, sending them by text is the most effective way to get them to do so. Marketing texts are opened a whopping 98% of the time, which is about as close as you can get to a full 100%. By comparison, a study by Mailchimp found that the average open rate for a marketing email is 21.3%.
It gets high response rates
Since SMS open rates are high, its response rates are high as well. The average response rate for an SMS marketing message is 45%, whereas email click-through rates don’t normally break higher than 7%. Customers are significantly more likely to click on a link you send through text versus email.
How to use SMS marketing
SMS marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s even easier than email or social media marketing since there’s no design component required. Here is what you’ll need to do to get started with SMS marketing:
Get a list of customers you have permission to message
In the US and Canada, it’s against the law to text people that have not given you explicit permission to do so. Before you send an SMS marketing campaign, make sure your list of recipients has given you the okay to send messages. Remove anyone who you cannot confirm their permission status. Loyalty software can help you collect customer info and ensure you remain compliant.
Use a tool to send your messages
You’ll need software to help you automate your message sends. There are some services that solely provide text message marketing, but you could also opt to use an integrated system like Lightspeed Loyalty.
A separate SMS marketing system would require you to upload a list of customer contact info and would track your campaign data separately from all of your other marketing initiatives. The benefit of choosing a loyalty program that integrates with your POS or commerce system is that you can collect info, manage data and send your campaigns from the same place you take sales.
Craft your message
Your texts don’t need to be as long as an email newsletter. In fact, the shorter the better. Lightspeed Loyalty lets you send messages that are up to 300 characters long, which is about 2-5 sentences. Remember to have a clear call-to-action and include a way for your customers to opt out if they are no longer interested in receiving messages from you (opt outs are required by law).
After you’ve sent a message, track its performance. If you included a link in your message, see how many people clicked on it. If you made a special discount code that’s exclusive to your SMS campaign, see how many people used it when they made a purchase and how many sales you generated. Compare these figures to the number of messages you sent.
SMS marketing strategies to try
Similar to a welcome email, try sending a welcome text after a customer signs up for your loyalty program. You can even offer a special discount for new sign-ups to encourage them to shop again with you.
New product arrivals
As soon as you add new arrivals to your storefront or website, use an SMS campaign to let people know that they can start shopping. This is an excellent way to drive traffic and buzz for new items. We suggest doing this once a season—otherwise you may run the risk of spamming your customers.
Flash sales are a great way to reward customers who have signed up for your loyalty program. Let your customers know there’s a limited-time sale that only they can access via SMS. Giving them a first look or making a sale exclusive to them is a fantastic way to show that you value their business.
When it’s time to clear out your inventory, send a text to your customers letting them know about your seasonal sale. With Lightspeed Loyalty, you can segment your sends by specific groups to send more targeted messaging. For example, text a link to your shoes that are on sale to customers that have bought shoes from you in the past.
Ask customers to fill out surveys
Surveys are a great way to learn more about what your customers expect from you. To increase your chances of getting a high response rate, try sending a survey link through SMS instead of other marketing channels. You can easily create a short survey with tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey.
Cross promote your social media accounts
Growing your business’s social media accounts can be a full-time job in itself. Leverage your SMS marketing audience by sending a text message encouraging them to follow you on social media. Combining this with a social media-based giveaway might help to sweeten the deal.
Reach your customers wherever they are
Your customers spend a ton of time online and on their mobile devices. With SMS marketing, you can easily reach them with short and sweet offers en masse.
Looking to start sending SMS marketing campaigns? Lightspeed Loyalty lets you send personalized emails and texts to your most dedicated customers. Talk with a retail expert to learn more about integrating Lightspeed Loyalty into your existing workflow.