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9 Best Practices for SMS Marketing This Year

Learn what you need to know about SMS marketing – from simple tips and compliance concerns to building a world-class opt-in flow.

9 Best Practices for SMS Marketing in 2021

Looking to build an effective SMS marketing campaign for your local business?

Did you know that text is the only marketing channel with a 98% open rate?

On August 19, I moderated a sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Thomas Clawson, Partner Marketing Manager at Podium.

He shared tips on what SMS marketing really looks like and how to run an effective campaign as a local business.

Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.

SMS marketing is the practice of sending text messages in order to convert leads or keep customers engaged.

Text, however, is underutilized. With well-timed messages and relevant content, SMS marketing can actually strengthen relationships.

Text vs. Email

When was the last time you received a marketing email with a 98% open rate?

You guessed it: it was never.

Email by the numbers

It’s quite astonishing, but it doesn’t happen on email. However, for businesses sending SMS, that’s the average open rate.

Ninety-five percent of texts are opened within three minutes and that’s 200 times higher than phone, email, or Facebook.

Text by the numbers

Text-based offers and redemptions for coupons produce good open rates.

SMS Marketing Myths Busted

Myth 1: SMS Marketing Always Gets Businesses in Trouble

When done correctly, it has a significant impact on the customers.

Myth 2: SMS Marketing Is a Spam

SMS marketing in a compliant way requires being transparent and only messaging people who have opted in.

By opting in, you agree to adhere to the rules set forth by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, as well as other regulations similar to them.

Myth 3: SMS Marketing Laws Are Too Complicated to Understand

Send them relevant content that makes them excited to work with your company once you get their opt-in permission.

It is important to follow regulations and common-sense practices to keep your customers happy.

How to Be Effective With SMS Marketing

SMS marketing’s first priority is to be effective and increase conversions.

Local businesses use SMS marketing to engage new customers, increase customer lifetime value, and generate revenue.

You don’t want to irritate customers, damage your brand, or contribute to consumer burnout.

It’s important to give your texts the feeling and value of one-to-one interactions.

You can achieve this by keeping a few key practices in mind.

1. Opt-ins

  • Don’t ignore opt-in and opt-out rules. Noncompliance undermines trust and damages your reputation.
  • Get proper consent. You can collect an opt-in at some of your customer’s touchpoints along the way. By utilizing them, your list will grow on its own.

Get proper consent

2. Messaging

  • Don’t use slang. It risks unprofessionalism and misunderstandings with your customers.
  • Use simple and conversational language. Make your messages lighthearted, short, and conversational-just like you’re talking to a friend.

3. The Offer

  • Provide value. Make your content specific and relevant to the demographics you’re targeting.
  • Include a CTA. You miss the point of SMS marketing if you don’t include the call to action. Messages should include a direct call to action such as “check this out!” “stop by!” or “leave a review!”
  • Track performance. You should keep an eye on how your campaigns are performing and see if you can make any adjustments.

4. Personalization

  • Don’t sound like a mass text. Make it sound like you are speaking to a single person.
  • Market like a human. Today’s consumers crave personalization in their brand interactions.

Market like a human

  • Don’t send too frequently. It has more to do with the content of your messages than how often you send them. High-value campaigns are less likely to cause problems.
  • Send during business hours. Send texts during working hours to respect your customers’ privacy.
  • Don’t forget to identify yourself. Find a way to do this creatively with each successive message so it doesn’t get stale.
  • Do respond in real-time. To increase connectivity and avoid disengagement, try to respond as quickly as possible.

What Good Looks Like

Pinki Palm does a nice job including an expiration date, personalizing their message, and encouraging specific questions that lead to a transaction.

Their textable payment links make their conversations even more worthwhile for their customers.

Pinki Palm - SMS example

Sam’s Cycling addresses Rachel by name and identifies themselves immediately.

They also take their anniversary as an opportunity to benefit Rachel and encourage conversation with “feel free to text any questions!”

Sam's Cycling - SMS example

LB Carpeting uses SMS marketing to employ an effective referral campaign, encouraging response with their appealing promotion and inclusive feel.

LB Carpeting - SMS example

Market Like a Pro With Podium Campaigns

Build and manage an opt-in list, use targeted offers to engage their customers via messaging, and report on engagement efforts.

  • Quickly build text campaigns.
  • Easily gather opt-ins along the customer journey.
  • Continue the conversation from the same inbox.

Not all SMS marketing tools are made equally.

With Podium Campaigns, local businesses are able to build and manage an opt-in list, use targeted offers to engage their customers via messaging, and report on engagement efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • When you receive the opt-in permission, send content that is relevant to them and that makes them want to work with you.
  • Your content should provide real value.
  • Texts should have the feel and value of one-on-one interactions.

[Slides] 9 Best Practices for SMS Marketing in 2021

Check out the SlideShare below.

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock
All screenshots taken by author, August 2021

SEJ STAFF Heather Campbell Director of Marketing at Search Engine Journal

Heather has over 20 years of industry experience and is the Director of Marketing at Search Engine Journal. Having worked ...

9 Best Practices for SMS Marketing This Year

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