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SMS marketing: a guide with examples, benefits, tips and alternatives

SMS Marketing: How to strike a balance between spamming and anonymity?

Guess how often your customers check their phones every day? The average smartphone owner unlocks their phone 150 times a day. With such great frequency, emails can sit unread for days, phone calls can go unanswered, but text messages are almost impossible to ignore.

This also explains why, despite the fact that SMS is widely reckoned as a ‘last-century product’ and most people do not connect through SMS in daily interactions (while people for some countries like the United States, the Philippines, etc. still do), it remains one of the major channels which businesses use in their B2C communication. Also, have you ever thought as different marketing channels can have different open rates?

What is SMS marketing? is it the same as text message marketing?

SMS marketing stands for short message service marketing, or some may call it “text message marketing”. It works on mobile devices, mainly phones. It is a form of inbound marketing because you can send messages to users who have already shown interest in your businesses and let you collect their numbers.

SMS text marketing is not only a tool to help you reach people you don't know, but it is also useful for brand building and increasing customer retention.

Benefits of SMS marketing for businesses

SMS marketing strengh gif with spongbob

You may have a perception that businesses use SMS marketing campaigns and SMS marketing softwares because it is relatively cheap and affordable as it involves only texts. However, statistics show that it is both affordable and effective!

First, there are a few surprising facts to share:  

  • 64% of customers think that companies should text them more often while 75% want to receive texts with offers.

  • 90% of people open an SMS within 3 minutes, and the open rate is as high as 98%, compared with email marketing at an open rate of only 20%.

  • 50% of business owners think that, if you want to get your messages fast, SMS is a clear choice.

person showing SMS bulk messaging is better than calling

These all point to one conclusion: both customers and marketers are happy with SMS marketing, in terms of conversion and engagement, SMS simply outwins emails. SMS marketing price can also be tempting either you are small business or large enterprise.

5 excellent SMS marketing examples you should try

With its cost-effectiveness, there is no reason why you should not give mass SMS marketing a try. So the next question is how to have the perfect SMS marketing strategy? There are a few examples of how you can use SMS to help your business.

1. Short term promotion offer

For retail and e-commerce businesses, try using SMS marketing tools for your short-term promotion events. Create a sense of urgency by putting an expiry date on the deal, when the customers know that the deal is ending soon, they are more likely to check out the offer because if not now, when?

You can also use a tool such as ringless voicemail drop software to integrate the power of text blast messages, ringless voicemail, and email into a unified, short-term campaign. With it, you can harness an incredibly handy mass communication platform that has proven highly effective.

2. Birthday offer

Everyone loves birthday offers. Sending personalized offers on SMS is cost-effective and your customers are more likely to open them on their mobile phone as they think it’s exclusive.

Talk to us and find out how to set up SleekFlow X Calendly for birthday offer automation!

(Yes, you don’t need to remember everyone’s birthday and send one by one on their birthdays!)

About Calendly:

Calendly helps schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails. It uncomplicates scheduling by only offering times that work with your availability across all of your calendars. It makes automation with dates trigger easier.  

3. Appointment reminders

Businesses that run on scheduled appointment times like beauty salons, clinics, or even restaurants will find SMS messaging useful for sending appointment reminders. This would help to make sure the customers show up on time or hint them to reschedule the appointment in case of changes. A friendly reminder is not just useful to customers, it builds rapport.

4. Deliver urgent updates on special events

If you’re running an event or festival, you would find bulk SMS messaging a handy tool to communicate updates about changes, cancellations, weather information, or reminders.

5. Collect feedback from customers

People are not likely to open and respond to email surveys, but they may not mind answering questions on SMS if they know it only takes them a few seconds.

Best practices for SMS marketing

Dos and Don'ts when using your SMS marketing tools

No matter which marketing channel you choose, the content itself is of paramount importance. Most SMS marketing messages consist of 3-4 lines or not more than 160 characters, how to grasp the attention of customers within such word limits? Here are a few tips on how to write an SMS message for marketing purposes.

1. Let them know who you are

You might have experienced receiving SMS messages about an offer, but having no idea who sent them, the only clue you get is a set of unfamiliar numbers! This happens to many people as we don’t usually save business numbers. Always remember to mention the name of your brand upfront or somewhere in the message.

2. Keep your messages short

Drop the subject line. If you are sending an offer, lead the message with your offer.  If it is a limited-time promotion, tell them the expiry date to create a sense of urgency. Words on SMS messages are meant for quick reading and easy digestion, if you have more to say, email is a better option. Use SMS wisely.

3. Keep questions and answers simple

As mentioned earlier, SMS surveys are a good way to collect customers’ feedback but make sure you get the right format. Set an easy format like text Y for YES and N for NO. If it is an evaluation, ask people to score 1 – 9 instead of typing comments.

4. Include a call to action (CTA)

Tell the customers directly what you want them to do, be it “confirm your booking now” or “redeem your offer”,  a strong call to action is crucial to move down the sales funnel. After all, you want to convert.

When is the best time to send bulk sms marketing campaigns?

Marketing is about giving the right message at the right timing. (That’s why a birthday offer is a good thing to mention.) The best-crafted message can be a disaster if it came at the wrong time. In SMS messaging, the question of WHEN is as crucial as what to write and how to write.

The middle of the week is a peak for businesses

According to Mobile Marketer, midweek days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the most popular days to send SMS messages, while messages sent on Monday usually get the lowest response rate as people are usually getting too much content over the weekend.

What about the magic hours?

When it comes to the best hours, choose the time when people are more likely to be on their phones, like late mornings and mid-afternoons. Avoid “private hours” like dinner time or late evening, sending promotion messages at these times may result in negative reactions.

But these are just some general rules, the best time could be different for different demographics and purposes. Identify the pattern of your target customers, put yourself in their shoes, and find out what best works for your business.

Upscale your SMS marketing service - use SleekFlow!

SleekFlow SMS marketing platform example

SleekFlow software solution for customer servicesales coordination, and marketing automation provides one of the best SMS marketing services. We can combine all your social messaging including SMS so that you can do your campaigns/ tracking on one easy-to-read and friendly-to-use platform. If you are already communicating with your customers through WhatsApp, Live Chat, or other means separately. 

Example of campaign setting with omnichannel platform

Still, switching between Apps? Why not all-in-one?
Talk to us!  

“With SleekFlow, we were able to automate and personalize our messaging campaigns to tailor to our customers better, resulting in a 31% higher reply rate.”

Eva Chui

CRM & Digital Marketing Manager, Eau Thermale Avène

Learn how to use a SMS marketing platform from zero with us

Showing an SMS blast example from mobile app

Before setting the SMS blast software, you have to be on board with our SMS function. Are you ready?

First, you need to apply for a phone number at our partner Twilio.

What’s Twilio?

Twilio is a cloud communications platform that allows you to send and receive SMS text messages through web-service APIs. With SleekFlow, you can start integrating your SMS workflow together with all other communication channels in seconds.

Second, provide us with your Business Registration.

Within one week, you will be given a telephone number with which you can send out messages.

Third, top-up on SleekFlow platform as low as 20 USD.

You need to top up through our platform before sending a message. The minimum amount for the first time set up is 20 USD. After that, you can choose your amount for each campaign. Around 15 USD per month will be charged by Twilio for keeping the official phone number*. 

* Pricing might be updated from time to time. Please check out on Twilio website or contact our customer success team.

Check out our SMS blast blog to see more SMS blast use cases!

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