SMS to the Rescue: Three Key Mobile Marketing Tactics
Increasingly savvy Marketers are casting SMS in a supporting role that makes their campaigns’ leading channels stand out. Discover ways your business can achieve results with SMS marketing, explains, Jason Lark, Managing Director, Celerity.
Many marketers don’t perceive SMS as equal in value to email and social media; their argument being that it’s a clumsy, old-fashioned and invasive form of communication. What’s more, given that some service providers impose a 160-character limit, text messaging is not always ideal for more complex content.
All that said, SMS marketing is far from obsolete: in fact, it’s quickly becoming one of the most sophisticated channels. The trick, for savvy marketers, is to cast SMS in a supporting role that makes their campaigns’ leading channels stand out. And not as some last-minute afterthought: like any other digital marketing tactic, SMS communications require strategic thought and careful personalization. A simple SMS done well can help deliver a positive mobile brand experience, boosting consumer engagement and sales.
Also Read: SMS Marketing: 5 Ways Brands Can Try it Out
Here are three ways your business can achieve real results with SMS marketing.Use SMS to support other channels
You can use SMS to support your other marketing efforts. If, for example, direct mail (DM) and in-app experiences are your primary marketing channels, SMS can do some helpful legwork on the side. It can encourage customers to share details of their DM rewards via social media and gain loyalty points, and drive app downloads with the promise of rich interactive experiences.
Using SMS, marketers can message loyal customers with in-app discount codes, driving them to the app store for greater engagement. It also offers a quick and easy follow-up on ROI for high-value DM loyalty campaigns. With one SMS, you can check that recipients have received their gifts and spur them to action if not.
A well-timed SMS can also push customers to the next level of a loyalty programme. A message encouraging customers to spend a bit more in order to move up a level and earn more in rewards is an increasingly popular tactic – especially among retailers. A sense of urgency is key; by adding a deadline to the offer, such as ‘buy this week and become a Platinum member’, your audience will feel more compelled to respond quickly.Tailor your SMS marketing
The power of the SMS is that it can reach customers and prospects wherever they are: as long as they have access to their mobile phones, your message will ping. Of course, given this accessibility, you need to pay attention to your individual recipients’ profiles – as well as regional SMS marketing conventions.
Different regions regulate SMS marketing differently. A text message sent to a lapsed customer in Asia alerting them to a special offer is generally well-received. In the UK, SMS is used more to send reminders and confirm payments. Once you understand the regional nuances, you need to ensure that the person reading and receiving the message feels as though they are being offered something exclusively tailored to them.
Sending SMS messages to customer databases without any consideration of individual preferences is a sure-fire way to disengage people. If an offer is available to everyone regardless of where they live or what they like, recipients feel less compelled to respond. Geotargeting hones your SMS marketing efforts by area, allowing you to target consumers in specific locales with offers and discounts relevant to their local store branches and based on their purchasing histories.Build Rich Communication Services into your SMS campaign
Most modern consumers want to receive mobile communications that are content-rich, interactive and shareable, containing features like photos, videos and live chat. This is where ‘Chat’, a Rich Communications Services (RCS), comes in. This new service expands the potential for bulk text messaging by enabling audio and video messages, full-resolution photos and read receipt notifications.
Like SMS, Chat is carrier-driven and will work on any Android or Microsoft mobile OS. Unlike some popular over-the-top (OTT) messaging services, it won’t provide encryption, but it will allow retailers to send messages in bulk – something OTT can’t offer. Bulk messaging is largely what gives SMS its staying-power and popularity as a marketing tool.
Another issue with OTT messaging is that businesses and consumers need to have the same apps. Chat’s ubiquity – even Google is working hard to persuade carriers to adopt the services – means that it will provide an essential service for brands wishing to reach a wide audience with effective text messaging.
Also Read: 5 Essential Skills for a Mobile MarketerDon’t forget the call-to-action
There is not much room to be overly chatty on SMS. In fact, given the 160-character limit, messages have to be short, direct and inspire action. This takes skill and practice but a good tip for all marketers is to essentially treat the SMS as one whole call-to-action (CTA). A straight-forward CTA like the aforementioned ‘Buy this week’ or ‘redeem offer by 12th February’ can boost customer engagement and help you achieve your marketing objectives.
There is far more to mobile marketing than what has been discussed here. However, the above three approaches to using SMS offer a tried and tested way to deliver communications that support cross-channel marketing efforts. Viewed as an important part of the whole, SMS marketing can make all the difference to the success of your campaign – and help create a far more interactive and positive brand experience.