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The ABCs of SMS Marketing

While many people are lamenting a disdain for intrusive and over-utilized digital advertising, “Short Message Service”(SMS) messages are immensely popular among a large segment of consumers. Commonly known as “Text Messages,” the medium is finding its place among brands’ overall marketing strategies. In a survey conducted by Yotpo, over 55 percent of respondents said they prefer text messaging because it’s immediate, convenient, and allows them to quickly get updates from favorite brands. More than 52 percent of shoppers said “they prefer SMS to other channels because they can easily opt out if they need to, though they rarely do. In fact, SMS has a less than 5 percent opt-out rate.”

Marketers realize that sending text messages allows for immediate responses from prospective customers concerning products, services, and promotions. SMS provides quicker feedback and has a higher open rate than emails and other forms of social media communications. On average, 95 percent of SMS messages are read and responded to within four minutes of receipt, making it a terrific way to open personal conversations and direct interactions with consumers. Text messaging is mobile, reaching a targeted consumer while they are on the move and at an optimal time to engage in conversion. Performed properly, SMS marketing can be inexpensive, cost effective, time efficient, and mobile friendly.

Using text messaging as a marketing tool requires brief, concise content that is focused on getting the most relevant information to the targeted listener. It is best to write clear and concise prose, deliberately selecting words that precisely describe the solution a listener finds compelling. Eliminate words that could clutter the message and create misunderstanding. Six out of ten SMS users find text messages are most engaging when the brand sends information relevant to interests and based on past purchases. Personalization is critical to make the receiver feel as though the message was intended just for them. The goal is to end the message with a call to action (CTA).

The SMS medium requires an in-depth knowledge of the consumer’s personality, interests and wants. Discover as much about the prospect as possible and what type of information they find most useful, buying behaviors, demographics, and engagement. Prior participation approval and an easy method to opt-out from a brand’s SMS program is required.

Promotional alerts, flash sales, simple reminders or transactional messages are the most effective types of text messages. Over 57 percent of survey respondents indicated they sign up for SMS messages because they want to know immediately about promotions, offers, and brand updates. With most consumers experiencing an overflow of emails, they are more inclined to open and read text messages to make a quick connection and have a two-way conversation.

Timing can be especially important to developing a successful SMS marketing program. Half of all shoppers prefer to receive text messages between noon and 6:00 p.m. The best times are during lunch or dinner breaks and immediately after work periods. Text messages sent during travel times can be unsafe and risky for the consumer and should be avoided. SMS is a “less is better than more” medium. Over sending promotional text messages will lead to a perceived “spamming” event for shoppers. A vast majority of shoppers say receiving too many texts would make them want to opt out.