If your business has ignored text message marketing, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Short message service (SMS) has a massive audience, as more people own mobile phones than ever before. More importantly, text messages have an incredible read rate — 98 percent of all text messages are opened by the user. Considering that email marketing open rates tend to fluctuate between 20 and 30 percent, depending on the industry, this is clearly an incredible opportunity.
Here are four important ways you can get started with your own text message marketing campaign:
Provide Coupons and Discounts Directly
Offering coupons or special promotional deals is a great way to immediately boost sales, and text messaging provides the perfect channel. As we learned above, your audience will be much more likely to open and read your text messages, so you can count on them seeing your offer. Keeping this in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that research shows mobile coupons have a much higher redemption rate than other distribution methods.
The difference between mobile and printed coupons is staggering. Mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than non-mobile coupons. This is because they’re incredibly convenient. They travel with consumers everywhere they go and cannot be lost. They don’t need to be clipped, printed or remembered.
Know When to Send Your Messages
Timing is an important consideration for all marketing communications, but it’s especially vital for text messaging. Evidence suggests that consumers open and read 90 percent of all text messages within three minutes of receiving them. When you decide when to send your texts, you’re deciding exactly when your audience will read them.
To be more strategic about text message timing, it’s important to know a little bit more about consumer behavior:
- Smartphone use — this remains relatively stable throughout the business day, with consistently high use between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Before and after these hours, usage drops dramatically.
- Avoid this day — it’s no surprise that text message marketing performs particularly poorly on Mondays. People are simply not in the mood to receive marketing messages.
- Allow time to plan — don’t send sale information the second it goes live. Give your audience a week or so to plan ahead. Likewise, if you want to drive in-store traffic, best results come from sending messages throughout Thursday and Friday afternoons, instead of on just weekends.
- Rush hour — it’s best to avoid rush hour, especially when you’re targeting a business audience. This is why hours before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. tend to have very little mobile usage.
Integrate With Mobile Payments
We’ve already examined how often mobile coupons are redeemed, but it’s important to review exactly how quickly they drive consumers to spend. In many cases, it’s immediate. Last year, half of all the consumers in the U.S.immediately made a purchase as a result of text message marketing. If you want to take advantage of this, however, you must be ready to take their money.
Take the time to partner with a payment provider that specializes in the mobile market. You’ll be able to accept credit card and bank payments directly over any smartphone or tablet, whether somebody is on your website or your mobile application. By including a link to these spaces in your text messaging, you’ll make it easy and convenient for people who are ready to make a purchase immediately.
Focus on Building Your List
A text messaging campaign can only be successful if you have an audience to message. Use short codes so people can sign up by simply texting a single word. This makes it easy to drive subscriptions from people who are on the run, such as at a storefront, promotional booth or marketing event. You can also use these short codes to segment your audience further, allowing you to target and nurture leads.
Text message marketing is one of the most effective channels available to marketers today. By taking advantage of the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to increase sales, promote your brand, and nurture leads more effectively.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.