5 Tips for Killer SMS Marketing

killer SMS Marketing

Smartphones are everywhere. Sixty-four percent of American adults own one, and that doesn’t even include the staggering number of American teens carrying them in their pockets. This has ushered in the era of mobile marketing.

As a small business owner, you may be feeling more and more pressure to adopt this new marketing medium, whether that involves optimizing your site to appease Google’s new algorithm or creating a campaign geared specifically towards mobile users.

With so many options, small business owners may not know where to begin their mobile marketing efforts. SMS marketing can be a great first step for those looking to expand to mobile. Not only is it affordable, but it’s extremely effective when you create the right messages. Out of the world’s four billion smartphones, 3.05 billion are SMS enabled, granting you widespread access to this demographic.

SMS: Lucrative but Under-Used

Small business owners can be trigger shy when it comes to utilizing SMS. Many feel that their customers or target audience may be annoyed by marketing messages or that some may find them intrusive. Other companies, however, have had smashing success with these methods, particularly when they offer special deals or promos to those who opt in.

For example, consider the case of Seattle Sun Tan. Within the first month of their SMS campaign, 4,750 people subscribed to receive text messages and offers. These offers brought in 196,000 new sales for the business.

The secret of succeeding with SMS is offering value to your customers. This can be a special deal, updates on issues they care about, or invitations to exclusive events. The fact that many small businesses avoid SMS marketing eliminates competition (as well as the possibility of individual consumers finding themselves overwhelmed with marketing texts).

Make the Most of SMS Marketing

There are several tips you should follow to make your SMS marketing campaign as successful as possible.

1. Create Value

There are a variety of ways small business owners can do this. From contests and giveaways to coupons, customers are more likely to opt in to your marketing campaign if they’re getting something in return.

2. Always Get Permission

Don’t simply sign your customers up once you have their mobile information. Make sure you get their express permission (otherwise known as the opt-in) before sending them marketing messages.

3. Be Consistent

You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with texts, but you don’t want to neglect them either. Create a specific deal or promo schedule and stick to it.

4. Integrate with Your Other Marketing Strategies

If you’re running an online campaign, you can link to it in an SMS message. You can also share the opportunity to opt in to these exclusive deals on your small business’s social media pages.

5. Measure Your Progress

Keep track of the number of subscribers as well as those who choose to opt out. This will help you determine what you’re doing right and potential mistakes that can cost you subscribers.

Keeping up with mobile marketing can be difficult, but you shouldn’t focus all of your energies on a mobile-friendly site or app. If you aren’t taking advantage of SMS, you’re missing out on a lucrative opportunity to generate sales and increase the exposure of your small business.

SMS Marketing photo by Shutterstock 16 Comments ▼

Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

16 Reactions
  1. Marketing through SMS is a huge trend in other countries. Here in the U.S. It is not as widely used yet.

  2. I think SMS marketing is underused but it can be quite effective with highly qualified leads. It is not good for cold advertising though. It is good if you have established prior relationship with the prospect.

  3. SMS marketing helps your business stay relevant and reaches more people in a shorter amount of time. Check out http://www.avidmobile.com/blog/ to learn about available SMS marketing services and how having a central communication hub can help you increase sales.

    • I can’t stress how important being consistent is. There is a local pizza place that I can count on every Saturday afternoon to send me a mobile coupon and I’m pretty sure that’s how I survive the weekend. I’m glad to see someone in the comments here mention AvidMobile. I’ve seen their platform and it’s pretty cool, they even let you sign up for a free trial (http://www.avidmobile.com/free-trial/) if you’re interested.

  4. Thanks for the great tips on SMS marketing Megan! I really like the idea of integrating the SMS marketing with other digital strategies to ensure consistency and the best outcome. http://www.marketingsweet.com.au

  5. I’d really like to emphasize the importance of #3, “always ask permission.” SMS marketing – in the U.S. and Canada at least – is permission ONLY marketing. That’s one of the reasons it’s so powerful; you are marketing only to highly qualfied individuals who have specifically demonstrated an interest in your products or services.

    In other words, you can only legally market to people who have opted into your service, either with their own handsets, or by providing the appropriate consent as dicated by either the TCPA (in the U.S., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act governs the sending of text messages) or CASL (in Canada, the rules are governed by Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation). In the U.S., fines range from $500-$1500 per unauthorized text message plus you also risk civil suits as well. In Canada, fines are equally prohibitive.

    What’s important for business owners to recognize is that an existing business relationship does not necessarily give you the necessary permission to contact your customers. In fact, recent changes to the TCPA removed this exemption. Canada’s law is somewhat different, but complicated and ambiguous.

    Nevertheless, all this does is emphasize my point; it’s critical that you have the appropriate permission from your customers to avoid huge legal liabilities.

    BTW, we offer a complete, “no credit card required” free trial of our service (we serve the U.S. and Canada). Learn more at: http://www.localtextmarketers.com

  6. Text message marketing is the way of the future. More people now prefer to talk through text message because it takes less time and is more direct. Businesses have found that it is also more useful in communicating and delivering what the customer wants. I currently use a text messaging software and I have found it more useful and it generates more sales.

  7. Getting permission from your customers is something I completely support. People hate getting spam. That’s probably what they’re going to think if you’re exploding their phone with texts from your company without their permission.

  8. Very good tips Megan, thank you. Depending on the industry using SMS text message marketing, each one will use it a little bit differently – but these points are quite universal – offering a good enough deal that they can’t resist NOT to act, always getting their permission to be texted to (double opt-in), and always be measuring metrics.

  9. Great article. Bulk SMS is most effective marketing channel for branding your businesses.