[Even If You’ve Been Too Afraid to Try It Until Now]
SMS Marketing is for the big boys, right?
Not for a little business like yours.
Heck, you wouldn’t even know how to get started.
And what if you messed it up? Isn’t it difficult to do? Won’t you make your customers angry if you try it?
Well all I can say is read on, because if you’re not already using SMS Marketing in your business, then you are missing out on some of the EASIEST sales you’ve ever made in your life.
What is SMS Marketing?
It stands for Short Message Service. Essentially, it’s a text of 160 or fewer characters.
SMS marketing is exactly what you imagine it to be – sending marketing text messages to people who have opted into your SMS list.
Why is SMS the Best Marketing Tool Ever Devised?
Because 160, 98, 90, 1/3rd and half, that’s why.
160 – this is the number of times the average person checks their phone each day. 46% say they check their phone before they even get out of bed.
98 – Almost 98% of SMS messages get opened, compared to just 20-30% of emails.
90 – According to Dynmark, 90% of all text messages are read (READ!) within 3 minutes of being received.
1/3 – Almost a third of those targeted with SMS ads respond to the correspondence…
Half …and almost half of those go on to make a purchase.
That’s right… they go on to make A PURCHASE.
One half of a third is one-sixth.
Send a marketing SMS and you could get a sale for every six or seven messages sent.
Are there more advantages to SMS Marketing?
1: The fact is texting has the best engagement rate…
…Of. Any. Marketing. Medium.
70 to 80% of emails never get read.
Phone calls are ignored.
Social media is hit and miss – usually miss.
But text messages are read immediately after they’re sent.
2: SMS Marketing is trackable.
You can manage your campaign from your desktop by using any of the countless texting platforms available to you.
And you can use the detailed analytics to track each step in the conversion process, including initial delivery and opening.
3: You can drive subscribers to your site.
Include a link and an excellent reason to visit your site and watch your traffic soar.
4: SMS is fast. Really fast.
Press send and your message is arriving on your subscribers’ phones almost immediately.
You can get hundreds of clicks and multiple sales from your best customers in just minutes.
5: SMS Marketing is personal.
Your message is arriving on your customer’s most treasured device – their phone. Yes, they are going to pay attention.
Use words such as “You” Your” “I” and so forth to make it even more personal, like one person texting another.
Are SMS Messages Welcomed by the Recipients?
If the numbers above didn’t already give you the answer to that one, consider this:
Everyone who is on your SMS list has ASKED to be placed on the list.
They WANT to hear from you, because they want the special deals and offers you can send them.
Let’s say you teach people to make money online. You’ve just hit upon a new system that is smoking hot, making thousands of dollars a month for absolute newbies. You’re going to conduct a live webinar to teach this system – do you supposed your SMS subscribers want to know about it?
If you send an email, some of them will see it. But if you send an SMS, too, then nearly your entire SMS list will see it, thereby greatly increasing attendance.
Remember, everyone on your SMS list ASKED to be there.
How Do People Join My SMS List?
SMS messaging is 100% opt-in based, meaning customers must give their expressed consent to join your SMS list.
They can do this in one of two basic ways:
- Webpage – Subscribers can double-opt-in via a web widget, checkbox on an order form, a web sign-up form and so forth. After opting in, the new subscriber receives an auto reply confirming their subscription. For example, “Text ‘YES’ to receive weekly coupons.”
- Text – Subscribers can send a text to join. For example, “Text ‘ICECREAM’ to 12345 for our weekly list of flavors!” When the customer sends that message, they have joined your campaign.
At any time, the subscriber can simply text STOP to cease all messaging.
Why Am I Restricted to 160 Characters?
Strictly speaking, you’re not.
The problem with sending longer messages, however, is they often don’t arrive in the same manner you sent them, if they arrive at all.
Mobile networks will typically break the text into smaller chunks of 160 characters each. These chunks might not be delivered in the right order. And some networks can refuse to even carry messages longer than 160 characters.
Thus, if you use more than 160 characters, your recipient might not receive your message or it might arrive in the wrong order.
And your recipients are expecting short messages. A long message might not get read, or it might confuse more than enlighten, and it has the potential to dramatically lower your conversion rate.
Is sending SMS messages going to make everyone happy?
Of course not. There is no form of marketing that pleases all of the people all of the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective or that you shouldn’t engage in it.
Take email marketing – some people who have opted onto your list will be annoyed you send them too many messages.
Others will be annoyed you don’t send them enough messages.
You can’t please everybody, but then again you don’t need to try to, either.
Let’s say that Nancy Neurotic opts into your SMS list. But every time her phone chimes, she thinks it’s either the bank texting her that her account is frozen or her email service saying she’s been hacked. There’s no way on earth that sending Nancy text messages (even though she opted into your list) is going to make her happy, but that’s okay. Nancy won’t subscribe in the first place, or if she does she’ll leave the list, so it really does not matter.
A tiny percentage of humans are weird that way. They want to be on your list and then complain they’re on your list.
The point is, do not forgo a marketing technique that works just because a few people who asked to be on your list then decide to leave your list.
Can I Send SMS Messages to People on the DNC Registry?
The US has something called the Do Not Call Registry to protect consumers from unwanted calls. The idea is to stop telemarketers from randomly calling people. But the DNC Registry has NOTHING to do with text messaging.
SMS is strictly permission based. If you do get an unwanted SMS that you did not subscribe to, you can file a complaint, but this type of SMS is rare and not what I’m suggesting you do as a marketer.
Just for your own information: American businesses can be fined anywhere from $500 to $1500 per UNSOLICITED text message. That’s why you only want people on your list who have explicitly opted in themselves. Don’t get overly eager and start adding people to your SMS list just because you happen to have their mobile numbers.
But Aren’t Texts Too Short to Accomplish Anything?
It’s true you’re not going to text your latest sales letter or even your newest blogpost.
SMS messages have a 160 character limit, but for a marketer this can be an incredibly powerful, positive restriction.
When you are limited to 160 characters, you get STRAIGHT to the point.
And when someone is checking their texts, they WANT you to get to the point, so this just makes sense.
Essentially, for most of the SMS messages you send you’ll want to give an offer and a call to action, like this:
40% off all Kindle Publishing courses for the next 2 hours, click here: LINK
Is Timing Important?
Obviously, you don’t want to send a marketing message at 2am or even 10pm or 6am.
More specifically, you want to time your message to when your prospect is most likely to act upon it.
For some niches the timing is obvious. For example, if you’re texting lunch discounts, you’ll be sending your SMS messages just before lunch.
But what if your niche is information marketing? This can be trickier. If you’re reminding them that your webinar is today, you might send the SMS an hour before hand.
If you’re offering them a discount on your ‘how to make money online’ course, then you have to consider when they might be the most receptive. Is it in the morning when they are wide awake and able to make a fast decision? After work when they have more time to contemplate your offer? Or perhaps on a Sunday evening when they are dreading going to work the next day?
Testing different times to find out what works best is often a key component to SMS marketing.
Give the Recipient a URL
You’ve got to let them know how to buy what you’re selling, and most often this will be a URL at the end of your message.
You can use Bitly to shorten your URL if needed.
And if possible, send them to a landing page seamlessly tailored to the SMS message you just sent out.
In other cases you might want to give your phone number instead. For example, if you’re running an SMS campaign for an insurance agent, that agent might be asking her customers to call her to see if they qualify for a discount when they upgrade their coverage.
What’s a Short Code and Do I Need One?
A Short Code is a special telephone number that is shorter – usually 5 or 6 digits, that is used to send and receive SMS messages to and from mobile phones.
If you’re sending more than a few hundred messages a day from a regular long code phone number, your messages run the risk of being marked as spam and subject to carrier filtering. But short codes are pre-approved by carriers and enjoy a high throughput, meaning they get delivered.
Getting your own short code can cost $1000 or more, depending on which country you’re in. Initially your SMS is going to be small until you build it up, which is why you probably don’t want to invest in a short code until you reach the level of sending hundreds of messages per day.
Then again, if you’re asking people to opt into your SMS list by texting rather than using an online method, then short codes make the process much easier for users. For example, “Text CAR to 43574 to get the latest discounts on overstocked vehicles.”
How do I get people to opt into my SMS list?
Ideally you want to promote opt-ins across all media channels, such as:
Website – the SMS opt-in should feature prominently on your site.
Social media – for example, add a mobile-number field to your Facebook page sign up and an opt-in button for them to join your SMS campaign.
Point of sale – anyplace you sell anything, give the buyer a chance to opt into your SMS list.
Newsletter – in every newsletter give them an excellent reason to join your SMS campaign, along with making it super easy to do so.
SMS – send a text asking if they want to opt-in. For example, “Get access to 5 texts per month for SMS only discounts. Hit reply or text 1234 to opt-in.”
Most of all, do everything you can to get your best clients and customers onto your SMS list. These are the people who are spending real money with you, and if they’re on SMS they’ll likely continue to buy your products.
Dedicate extra time and resources to your best customers, treat them like VIPs, and they will not only buy from you again, but also tell others about you and you brand.
How Do I Send Out SMS Messages?
If you have visions of texting from your own personal phone to your hundreds of SMS subscribers, you’ll be relieved to know it doesn’t work like that.
There are tens and perhaps hundreds of services you can choose from to handle your SMS messaging, much like you use an autoresponder service to send out your emails.
Here are a few services to check out, but be sure to do your own research and find the software or service that is right for your needs.
Entry level price is $9 per month, paid annually.
Super popular, with 130,000 businesses in 170 countries using this service. Includes access to over 500 pre-built automations and powerful segmentation and personalization.
Entry level price is $0 per month for 1,000 out-going messages
This service is rated super high with users. Easy to use, schedule your messages in advance, track message delivery, do drip campaigns and so forth.
Entry level price is $0 per month
180,000 businesses worldwide are using this one. Like some of the other platforms listed here, this is an all-in-one marketing platform, including email marketing, chat, Facebook Ads and of course SMS marketing.
A few others to get you started on your search:
- Dial My Calls
- Hey Market
- Many Chat
- Omni Send
- Post Script
- Send Lane
- Send Pulse
- Shout OUT
- Simple Texting
- Slick Text
- Text Em All
- Text Magic
- Text Marks
- TXT 180
- Zip Whip
Is SMS marketing expensive?
If you compare it to email marketing, then yes, it does cost more. An autoresponder charges a flat monthly fee, whereas some SMS services will charge a few cents per message.
However, as we stated earlier, SMS marketing is far more effective than email marketing, so any extra money invested should be covered many times over in profit.
And when you compare SMS marketing with any other kind of paid advertising, SMS is both the cheapest and the most highly targeted.
Really, when done right nothing else compares to SMS marketing for cost-effectiveness, ease of deployment and return on investment.
Okay great, I understand how SMS Marketing works, but what should I send to subscribers?
You’ve got plenty of options. Here are 5 to get you started:
1: Send coupons, discounts and exclusive deals
You can generate unique coupon codes for each subscriber to prevent non-subscribers from getting the deal you’re offering. This way, people have to subscribe to your SMS list if they want deals, too.
“50% discount on the ABC course for the next 3 hours w/code NR7H6SD.”
2: Use drip campaigns
Much like an autoresponder, drip campaigns are automated messages that are sent at specific times, such as when a person first subscribes, 5 days later, 2 weeks later and so forth.
For example, you might offer increasing discounts over time, promote different offers, or offer products that are similar or complimentary to the first one purchased.
3: Let your customers vote
Most SMS services will let you run polls and collect responses from your subscribers, who text different keywords to cast their vote.
You can use the results to better target your subscribers, to learn what they want most, and to inject some fun into your campaigns.
Plus, it actively engages your audience with your brand. People who leave an answer will be eager to find out what the results are, and they may even share them with others.
4: Send photos or even videos
Let’s say you’re offering a new book. In addition to your 160 character SMS message, you can also send an image of your book cover.
Let them know your book is available and encourage them to click the cover to preview the book.
5: Run a sweepstakes or contest
You can grow your SMS list by getting customers to sign themselves up for a sweepstakes. Just ask them to text a particular word and they are now on your list.
Either give away a small prize to everyone who enters, or a few larger prizes to people randomly drawn from the entries.
This is also an excellent method for cross promotion with another marketer. Give away your products to the other person’s list to grow your own SMS list, and vice versa.
5.5: Send only specific or time-sensitive messages
SMS marketing can backfire if you annoy your customers with generic messages that aren’t specific or time-sensitive.
This is no place to work on your product awareness in the hopes of making sales down the road.
Instead, let them know about sales and especially flash sales, as well as exciting events or news they truly want to know about, such as something that directly impacts them.
SMS Marketing lets you reach your best customers at moment’s notice and get traffic to your offer within seconds.
And because 98% of SMS messages are read and a high percentage are acted upon, investing time in SMS can literally double the sales you are already making.
Isn’t it time you added SMS Marketing to your business?