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SMS marketing has evolved drastically over the last five years, and has rapidly secured its spot as a must-have channel for any omnichannel marketing campaign. We want to set you up on a course to embrace SMS marketing and make it a powerful channel in your playbook.
Kick start your SMS marketing 101 journey with some hard hitting statistics proving its worth, then we explore the benefits and provide specific SMS marketing examples for B2B. It concludes by outlining SMS best practices and the metrics needed to measure your success.
SMS marketing is a communications channel used by companies to send promotional or transactional campaigns to consumers through mobile text messaging. This channel is fast becoming a preferred option by both marketers and consumers, especially when it comes to timely messages like delivery alerts, pre-release launches or 24-hour sales alerts. It’s typically known for its fast, inexpensive delivery, and very impressive open rate.
SMS marketing is moving beyond the standard promotional or transactional campaigns and branching out into customer nurturing with special focus on celebrating customer milestones, and being recognized as a terrific customer service tool.
If you’re not using SMS marketing within your strategy then you are missing out. Mobile commerce has quickly cemented itself as a high-traffic channel since the majority of the global population have access to a mobile device. It only makes sense to use the channels where your customers are hanging out. Not convinced yet? These ten mind-blowing statistics will show you just how powerful SMS marketing can be.
By 2025, companies are forecasted to spend US$50 billion on SMS messaging globally. (A2P Messaging)
The average cost for an SMS per send comes in at $0.07. Compared to the $1.39 cost per click for Google Search and the $3.87 for LinkedIn, SMS marketing is proven to be a cheaper form of advertising. (BurstSMS)
43% of marketers using SMS marketing, report click-thru rates between 20% and 35% (Simple Texting)
According to Ericsson & The Radicati Group, global smartphone users reached 6.64 billion as of March 2022. This equates to over 83% of the world's population.
83% of millennials would rather use SMS instead of a customer service call (OpenMarket)
By 2023, the mobile wallet industry is expected to reach $3.5 trillion in value. (Finaria)
Over 60% of people will read their text message within 5 minutes of receiving it. (Simple Texting)
Customers are 4.5 times more likely to respond to a text than to an email. (Learning Hub)
A survey conducted by Review.org found the average American checks their phones 344 times daily. This equals once every 4 minutes.
54% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. (StatCounter)
To put it simply, marketers use this channel of communication for three core reasons. SMS marketing is cost effective, has incredible engagement rates, and provides quick delivery.
In case you missed one of the astonishing statistics above, SMS marketing has shown itself to be a much more affordable form of marketing. The cost of sending a standard SMS is $0.07, compared to the increasing costs of Facebook ads, and Google spend. They sit anywhere from $0.70 to $1.39 per click respectively.
If we move beyond the physical cost of sending an SMS, this channel of communication is also cost effective when it comes to time and resources. Compared to creating an email, there is generally no need for design with SMS, and keeping the copy under 160 characters means your message is short, sharp and to the point.
With less time and resources spent on creation, along with the average SMS being opened within 90 seconds of being sent, (emails sit around 90 minutes), SMS proves itself as a cost effective channel for new, growing businesses, as a way to begin advertising without breaking the bank.
SMS marketing beats email marketing in the race for open rates by far, with various sources reporting the SMS open rate sits at 98%. An incredible difference compared to the industry benchmark of 20% for email open rates.
It’s no surprise that SMS marketing has such strong open rates. We put it down to most people having their phone close by.
When needing to send time-sensitive communications, SMS marketing is the medium of choice. The ability to send succinct messages (the length of a Twitter post), to customers in a short amount of time proves to be very beneficial in a time of need. The context of messages can range from pushing sales by sharing VIP offers and discounts, or a customer service announcement like a delay on your upcoming flight.
With such an impressive open rate, you can almost guarantee your customers will receive your message the same day it’s sent, instead of a few days later as they wade through their countless emails.
We’ve decided to focus on SMS marketing campaigns specifically for B2B. If you’re looking for more of an ecommerce skew then we have SMS marketing automation strategies for ecommerce waiting for you.
B2B has a stigma that SMS isn’t a suitable channel for communication. We disagree and believe that if it’s sitting within the right customer journey or campaign plan, then SMS deserves its place at the B2B table. We have collected six proven SMS marketing campaigns to kickstart your inspiration, so you can customize and implement today.
It's not just customers from the B2C industry who enjoy a good welcome message. At the end of the day you’re still ‘selling’ to people, so it’s no surprise that crafting a on brand welcome message will assist in cementing your company as a customer-centric leader.
And it’s much easier than you think. Create an automated welcome journey in your Ortto account. For example your new customer has just signed up, this triggers an SMS welcome message. The text will not only welcome and celebrate them coming on as a customer, but will also be used as a tool to obtain express consent if they are interested in receiving SMS in the future (we touch on this a little later).
Here are a few examples below:
Welcome [first name], it’s great to have you onboard! If you’re interested in being the first in the know for any feature updates, or promotions happening, please reply with YES.
Don’t be left in the dark. Please reply YES to receive updates from [company name] Std. msg&data rates apply. Approx 5 msg/month. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.
It’s official, [their company name] is now using [your company name]. We are here to help onboard you smoothly, to opt in for SMS reminders, updates and news please reply with Y to confirm. You can text STOP at any time to unsubscribe.
Onboarding is one of the most monumental stages of any business relationship. Weaving in an SMS element into your onboarding customer journey will only strengthen the start of this promising client relationship.
It’s standard for your customers to receive an onboarding email, welcoming the client along with taking the chance to explain a little more about the company, brand & any steps needed to take to use the product correctly. This information is usually spread across three to four emails.
If you’re noticing your new customers are not opening these critical onboarding emails, then SMS can be your saving grace in gently prompting them to check it out. Another example where SMS can be beneficial is when the customer has ticked off all their onboarding tasks. Take the opportunity to celebrate their success and also check in with them, in case they need a hand with anything else.
Here are a few examples below:
Hey! This is [your name], one of the founders. I wanted to personally welcome you to [Product]. How’s it going so far? Let me know if I can help with anything as you get started.
Good morning [first name], we wanted to check in to see how your onboarding with [company name] is going? To get the best out of our product we recommend following our checklist found here - [insert link]
Deliver timely communications with ease when using SMS as your tool to notify customers about their orders of billing updates.
We’ve all felt that rush when the ‘buy now’ button has been pressed, but the adrenaline starts kicking in if the confirmation of purchase notification doesn’t come through. The same happens with B2B customers too. Ensure your customers know that their purchase has been accepted and processed by creating a simple journey.
Once the order has gone through, a SMS notification to alert them that their order has been received will be triggered. Or if there was an issue in processing, this can provide a fast avenue to resolve the issue.
Here are a few examples below:
Yay! Your payment has been processed. Next steps, your receipt will be sent to your email, and then we can begin your onboarding journey. We are excited to work with you.
Hi [first name], unfortunately your payment could not be processed, please contact our team on [insert number] and they will be able to help you further.
Oops, it looks like the credit card on your account has expired. Would you still like to keep your service active? If so, could you please update your payment information on file? Here’s the link – [insert link] Thanks.
With characteristically high open rates, SMS provides you with a better chance of nurturing your customers. SMS will fit in well to your ongoing lead nurturing campaign. Create immediate and intimate customer connections by sending customer birthday messages, client milestones achieved or exclusive access to promotions, events or product releases. It’s a great step forward when building yourself a loyal and captive audience.
It’s important as a company to not only serve your customer but also take it to the next level and provide them with surprise and delight experiences. If your customer has taken the meaningful step of providing you permission to text message them, well it’s time to celebrate them.
Here are a few examples below:
Hey [first name] – [your name] at [company] here. Just sending you a note as we’ll be starting our webinar in 10 minutes. Hope to see you there! The link to join is in your email – let me know if you have any issues joining.
It’s time to celebrate [first name]. Our highest requested feature is ready to be released! Because you’re a gold standard customer we want to give you special access to test it out. Click here for more details - [insert link]
Wow! Since you’ve been a client of ours you have achieved [outcome #1], [outcome #2] and [outcome #3]. Congratulations and we couldn’t be happier in helping this come true.
You read any blog on marketing at the moment, and they talk about creating personalized experiences for your customers. Enabling a two-way conversation with your customers can really strengthen your relationship. Using SMS can help in nurturing your customer relationship, by providing a surprise-and-delight experience, or resolve customer issues faster.
There are plenty of AI powered SMS bots available now that can help your customers, and alleviate workload from your customer support team.
Two-way messaging allows you to easily track your clients’ behavior, preferences and even collect data for future marketing.
Sometimes customers seem like they have fallen off the face of the earth. This can be due to a number of reasons, and it’s important to reach out to them and get them back on board engaging with your brand.
Confirm how your company determines an unengaged customer. It can be a decrease in logins, or reduced engagement with emails or social media. Once decided upon, you can then set up a trigger to then reach out to your at-risk customer. For example, Company A has decided that if a customer doesn’t login to their account in 3 weeks then they are unengaged. Once this happens, they are then sent an SMS to help in re-engaging them. This could be a promotional offer or simply asking how you can help?
Here are a few examples below:
Hi [First Name], This is [First Name] from [Company]. We haven’t heard from you for a while, so wanted to make sure everything was fine. Our customer service team is available 24 hours a day for your convenience.
Hi [First Name], We miss you and want to see you working with us again. We’d like to offer a 20% discount on your next project. Head to [INSERT LINK] to set it up.
Like with other marketing practices there are some core do’s and don’ts to remember. SMS marketing is no different. We highlight some best practices to keep in mind when kick-starting your SMS strategy.
Exactly like when you’re setting up your email marketing campaigns, always have your customer opt-in to the service. Most people will still view text messaging as a highly personal communication channel, reserved only to family and friends. We don’t want your hard-earned customers churning simply due to this miscommunication. So permission is integral.
And while we are at, you are also required by law to always offer an opt-out or unsubscribe link within every SMS.
Your opt-in message doesn’t need to be dull — if it fits your brand, have a bit of fun with it. You can ask your customer to respond to a joke, or answer a question, or simply text back the company name, as seen in the example below.
This is where using a platform like Ortto will enable you to jump into SMS marketing, with ease along with a set and forget mentality. Say you’ve created a few of the campaign examples mentioned above, once the workflow has been built, the platform will essentially do the rest.
Using Ortto’s segmentation, your customer journeys, once triggered, will be delivered to the right person at the right time, with the touch of personalization needed to see results. This allows you as a marketer to then focus on bigger picture items. All you need to do is keep an eye on metrics, and refine and adapt with the results that come back. It couldn’t be easier.
Ortto also helps you build your SMS subscriber list automatically through the use of pop-ups, QR codes, opt-in keywords, and checkout prompts.
While we’ve been pushing the magic of SMS marketing and what it can achieve, it’s worth taking a moment to state that, like most channels, it performs best as part of an omnichannel strategy. Each channel has its own strengths, so when SMS weaves its way into a customer journey that includes email marketing, they can complement each other.
For example, say you send an email out to customers outlining the specials of an upcoming sale, an SMS can then be sent once the sale starts, to further prompt the customer to take action.
Personalizing any communication channel will assist in building a stronger and closer bond with your customers. SMS can be classed as quite an intimate channel anyways, so adding an extra level of personal touch will go a long way. It will feel like receiving a message from a friend.
Like most things in life, moderation is the key. SMS messaging has had a bit of a brand reputation issue in the past, when companies have exploited the function of the channel, by over-sending texts to customers.
It’s important not to overuse this channel, and blast your customers daily with irrelevant messaging, it's a sure-fire way to have them unsubscribe. According to a recent 2022 study, “the most successful brands send each subscriber 5 or more messages per month.” This was based on the ecommerce industry, so it’s important to note that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach here. You will have to find a sending cadence that works with your customers.
Be a data-driven marketer, and make better business decisions by measuring and tracking your SMS campaigns. By testing, learning and optimizing, you will be able to fine-tune messaging and content so your customers are empowered to take the desired CTA. If you’re not quite sure what exact metrics to keep your eye on, then keep on reading as we’ve highlighted your dashboard must-haves.
This is a metric used to measure the engagement of your message. Unlike email or social media clicks, this metric is purely based on the CTA link within your text message. It’s a great way to see if your recipients are engaged by the message to take action.
Best practice: Only include one link within your message. Use a url shortener, and don’t forget to add a UTM tracker so you can measure the source of website visitors.
If you’re looking to calculate the click rate, simply divide the total number of clicks by the total number of text messages sent.
This measures the total number of SMS recipients who complete the desired action set by your company. This doesn’t necessarily mean a sale, it can include event signup, customer feedback or any other action that you encouraged the recipient to take.
To calculate the conversion rate, take the total number of conversions and divide it by the total number of people who received the text.
This is an incredibly important metric to look at after every campaign. You want to make sure your texts are reaching their destination. If you are experiencing a low deliverability it could indicate a few things including carrier errors, invalid or incorrect subscriber details, low SMS gateway network quality, or even spam filters.
If you’re looking to work out what your deliverability rate is, take the number of delivered texts and divide that by the total number of texts sent. Then multiply by 100.
The unsubscribe rate is presented as a percentage, and easily calculated by dividing your unsubscribers or campaign ‘opt-outs’, by your total number of subscribers at the beginning of the campaign. Then multiply by 100%.
Like any core channel in marketing, it’s important to track your unsubscribe rate. While it’s natural to have people unsubscribe from your communications, if there's a substantial number of unsubscribes then, it’s time to take a look at your SMS strategy. A high unsubscribe rate could be due to a number of reasons, including a cadence issue, irrelevant messaging or promotions, or not setting customer expectations in the first place.
Know how quickly your subscriber list is growing, by dividing the increase of subscribers by the total number of subscribers, over your desired time period (usually weekly or monthly).
An increasing list growth rate indicates that you are not only acquiring customers but retaining them as well. Essentially the dream outcome.
Now that you know the metrics to follow and have started to track them over a period of time. You can then see how your numbers compare to the industry benchmark. Each industry will have different levels of performance so it’s important to find benchmark results that match your industry or come in at a close second. Below is an all industries average, to give you a guide when assessing your SMS performance.
As we wrap up SMS marketing 101, we hope this has provided you with a jump-start on a marketing channel that, when used correctly, will be a strong ally in your strategy.
Once SMS marketing is integrated within your marketing matrix you will see just how effective this medium is to grow and strengthen customer relationships, communicate important time-sensitive news and increase conversions.
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