11 Proven SMS Marketing and Sales Use Cases

SMS marketing is one of the best ways for businesses to connect with existing and potential customers, but it’s highly underutilized. If you’re not sending text messages yet or aren’t getting the results you want from your campaigns, this guide will give you the foundation you need to start building relationships and closing sales.

SMS vs. Text Message: What’s the Difference

SMS stands for Short Message Service. It’s a type of text message. The other main form of a text message is MMS, which is short for Multimedia Messaging Service.

While MMS allows for up to 1,600 characters and supports rich media like GIFs and video, SMS has a 160-character maximum and only allows for text and links. As a result, SMS is the more affordable of the two and is generally chosen for marketing campaigns.

With that in mind, marketers tend to use the terms “SMS marketing” and “text marketing” or “text message marketing” interchangeably. It’s a powerful tool for marketing and sales teams alike.

Benefits of SMS for Sales and Marketing

  • People check their mobile phones 96 times per day or about once every 10 minutes on average, which is about a 20 percent increase compared to two years ago, according to Asurian.
  • 95 percent of texts are read within 3 minutes, and the average response time is 90 seconds, per Viber.
  • SMS marketing has about a 30 percent click-through rate and delivers 30 times return on spend, according to Voyage.
  • Email marketing has a 23 percent open rate and a 3 percent click-through rate per MailChimp, which makes text marketing superior in both respects.
  • Most text marketing platforms charge a low base price for their service and anywhere from 1 to 5 cents per message, so it’s one of the most affordable ways to reach an audience.
  • Text messages are typically delivered directly to the recipient with push notifications and without filters or blockers, so they cut through the clutter and make sure a message is seen.

11 Proven SMS Marketing and Sales Use Cases

By now, it’s probably easy to see what makes SMS such an effective sales and marketing tool—people are glued to their cell phones all day, so it’s a direct line to them. However, you can’t just go sending out mass texts and hope for the best. Develop an SMS marketing strategy around these 11 proven use cases to maximize your results.

1. Promotions

SMS works wonderfully for general promotions. Common tactics are deals like free shipping or a free item and discounts.

2. Flash Sales

Flash sales can give your company a big burst of traffic quickly. This tactic usually involves offering limited quantities of a product at a steep discount for a very short time.

3. Drip and Nurturing Campaigns

Even though the terms “drip campaign” and “nurturing campaign” are often used interchangeably, there are some differences. A full drip campaign is usually sent to a contact regardless of whether the contact responds or reacts, and a nurturing campaign is kicked off based on a trigger or contact’s behavior.

SMS marketing works well in either case. For example, you might start a drip campaign about your referral or rewards program or a nurturing campaign that educates a contact about your products and services as you carry them through the sales funnel.

4. Product Launches

Product launches are often accompanied by a promotion. However, you can run SMS campaigns focused exclusively on a launch if your audience is very tuned in or there’s a lot of demand.

5. Abandoned Cart Reminders

You can send abandoned cart reminders if your CRM and shopping cart are interlinked on the back end. Businesses sometimes send out gentle nudges a day or two after something is added to a cart. Sometimes the message is paired with a special offer like free shipping or a discount to spur the customer into action, or an offer message is sent later.

6. Polls

Polls are best for audience engagement. For example, brands may send out text messages that ask for an opinion on a new product, ask customers to vote on an upcoming product, or compare two products.

7. Giveaways

Marketers often use giveaways to grow their SMS lists. For example, you may run a campaign that adds people to a drawing for a gift card or free item if they opt into the list.

8. Content Sharing

Content sharing is another way to build engagement, though it’s important to make sure the content aligns with the audience’s needs. Some businesses share tips on maximizing the benefits of their product, building greater brand awareness with influencer marketing, or sharing general info relevant to the reader.

9. Birthday and Anniversary Messages

Consider sending customers a special message on their birthday or the anniversary of their first interaction with your business. It’s a gesture of goodwill that helps strengthen your relationship at a bare minimum. Consider pairing it with a freebie or discount as well.

10. Direct Texting

Direct texting typically refers to allowing customers to text your business. For example, you may invite prospects to opt-in via text.

11. Two-Way Messaging

Two-way messaging is similar, though customers expect a text message in response. Demo requests and pre-sales questions fit in this realm. Sales teams also use two-way messaging to touch base with prospects.

SMS Marketing Best Practices

  • Know your local laws. Fines and penalties for things like spamming vary by jurisdiction.
  • Get permission. Sending text messages to people who don’t want them will damage your reputation and brand.
  • Be brief. Don’t exceed 160 characters and keep your message as short as possible.
  • Keep it light. Clever or witty messages to customers do best.
  • Target. Segment your lists and ensure the message is relevant to each recipient.
  • Be responsive. If someone responds to your text message, they’re expecting your reply right away.
  • Measure and adapt. Run A/B tests and monitor results to see what works best for your audience and improve your results over time.

Get Help Improving Your SMS Marketing Strategy

SMS marketing campaigns work best when they are integrated with your full digital marketing strategy and are tied into things like your CRM. If you’re not sure where to start or aren’t getting the results you want from your SMS marketing strategy, I can help. Request a complimentary consultation.

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Husam Jandal

Husam Jandal is an internationally renowned business and marketing consultant and public speaker with a background that includes training Google Partners, teaching e-business at a master's level, receiving multiple Web Marketing Association Awards, and earning a plethora of rave reviews from businesses of all sizes.

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