By Jake Meador | 19 Jun 2020
Every marketing strategy ought to do a few key things for a business.
So if we’re going to talk about how SMS can integrate into your existing strategy, we need to be clear on what your marketing strategy ought to look like.
First, successful marketing campaigns generate leads for your business. Put another way, marketing helps move people from being totally ignorant of your business to being aware of it and considering becoming a customer.
Second, successful marketing builds a brand for your company. Your brand is the mental associations that people have with your company. Pretty much anything can be a brand, of course. You need to think about your brand in light of what your business actually sells as well as what you see as being most valuable to your customers.
For example, if you are a company that provides financial services, two key things that probably should be part of your brand are intelligence and trustworthiness. If you’re a bakery, then friendliness and creativity are likely to be more important.
There are as many ways to do those two things as there are businesses. Some companies, such as Chipotle, became massively successful national companies without using conventional marketing.
In other cases, companies like HubSpot built their entire business around online marketing—that makes sense in their case, of course, since they sell marketing software.
What this means is that every business is going to need to assess their goals, strengths, and needs and on that basis make decisions about how to design their marketing strategy and what specific marketing tools they will use.
These are some of the most common tools a marketing team might use in doing their work.
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Posting
Content Marketing & SEO
The mistake to avoid at this point is to pit all of these different channels against each other.
It is true that the vast majority of companies will not be able to use all of these channels due to staffing and financial constraints. This forces, by definition, to choose which tools they will use and which they will not.
That being said, this does not mean that marketing tools should be seen as competing with each other; in a successful marketing strategy, different tools work together harmoniously, each doing what they do well and, ideally, compensating for the gaps left behind by other parts of the marketing strategy.
Each marketing channel has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Email, for example, is great for educating people and building trust. Email lends itself to longer copy and also allows you to control the order in which people receive messages. This means that email can be great for businesses that need to do a lot of education before people are comfortable buying.
A well-designed direct mailer can help build awareness and offers a tangible reminder of your business.
Social media, meanwhile, makes it easy for people to find basic information about your business and to interact with your brand.
That said, one thing that many marketing channels struggle with is engagement. By “engagement” we mean the percentage of your desired audience who actually see and engage with your marketing message. Most direct mailers get recycled. Email open rates hang out around 20%. Facebook organic reach is 3-5%.
This creates an obvious problem: You can have messaging nailed. You can have a good strategy. But if engagement numbers are low, how valuable is it?
Engagement, of course, is the biggest thing that SMS does well. Text messaging open rates average between 95 and 98%. This is far superior to what all other marketing channels can match.
There are a number of reasons text engagement is far higher. One is that anti-spam regulations with text are far more aggressive than similar laws regarding email. This tends to keep spammers away from your SMS inbox. Second, because SMS messages are short, they require minimal mental energy from the recipient.
Two things about SMS marketing follow from these basic observations.
First, texting is an excellent communication channel because it has such high engagement rates.
Second, you cannot simply port your emails or social media posts to SMS and expect to succeed. Texting works well because it is short, informal, and quick. So your marketing messages need to fit the channel. (This is true of all marketing channels, of course. But it is especially important with SMS.)
These facts, then, will shape how you integrate SMS marketing into your already established marketing system.
Hopefully you already have a marketing plan that is producing some results for your business. SMS is not an all-in-one solution. Indeed, all-in-one solutions mostly don’t exist anymore because marketing channels have multiplied so much.
All successful marketing is a result of integrating different channels such that they all work together to generate leads and build your brand.
SMS will do three things especially well.
First, it is great for alert-style messages. If there is a sale happening or an event coming up, SMS is a great way to let people know about that.
Second, SMS is very good at basic, informal messaging to follow-up on previous interactions. For example, if you have an ecommerce business and someone abandoned their cart, you could use texting to remind them to complete their purchase.
Third, SMS is good at reinforcing messaging that has been communicated via other marketing channels. This can be explicitly restating ideas that were presented on other channels. You could, for example, set up a drip campaign to customers via text messaging that is meant to complement other campaigns you are running via email.
So the two campaigns can communicate the same concepts and ideas; texting will just be in much more bite-sized portions whereas your emails would go deeper. Similarly, your text campaigns can simply be another way of building your brand with customers and leads. If you are a finance-based business trying to build a perception of being intelligent and trustworthy, you want to write your SMS messages in ways that will help build that perception. This could be smart investment advice, stock tips, or, perhaps just as important, sincere questions meant to help spark conversation: are we helping you meet your goals?
The goal of SMS marketing is not to replace these other channels, necessarily. Rather, it is to work alongside them while filling in some of the gaps that they leave behind and which the unique strengths of SMS are able to fix.
We have covered a lot of what you could call marketing theory or marketing strategy in this post. So how do you actually bring SMS into your marketing strategy, practically speaking? Here are two simple things to do to start.
First, build text messages into your email messaging strategy. So review your email marketing strategy. Then identify some very short, relatively simple messages that you could relay via text. And insert those text messages into the relevant places in the email marketing strategy.
Second, make a list of moments in a customer or lead’s relationship with your business where alerts or reminders are useful.
What that list looks like will vary a great deal depending on your business. If you are a bookstore, the list probably includes “when they have reserved a book,” or “when we have an upcoming sale.”
You’ll need to make your own list for your own business.
With that list, you now know where to begin building out your SMS marketing plan. Begin by figuring out how you can ethically get a person to sign up on your SMS list. Then begin building out messages meant to go out during those particular moments when a text message will be most valuable to your lead or customer.
If you want to get started with SMS marketing today so you can see how it can complement your existing marketing strategy, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial with Mobile Text Alerts: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/signup