By Jake Meador | 2 Mar 2020
When talking about lead generation with SMS marketing, it’s important to understand what SMS can and cannot do. You cannot legally broadcast messages to people who have not given consent or opted in to receive texts from you. This means that if we are talking about ‘lead generation’ as “broadcasting messages to a large, undifferentiated audience in order to turn some of that audience into potential customers,” you cannot do that with SMS.
That being said, there’s another phrase for that kind of marketing: interruption-based marketing. Interruption-based marketing is ineffective because it is expensive, reaches many people who will never buy from you, and because consumers increasingly are equipped with a variety of tools to block interruption-based marketing messages.
You do, of course, need ways of building an audience. If you don’t have an audience at all, you’re totally lost as a business. And building an audience requires reaching people who have never heard of you and getting their attention. But many companies make the mistake of investing all of their marketing into that work rather than thinking more carefully about lead generation.
There is a difference between someone who is simply a ‘contact’—meaning they’ve given you their contact information or have wandered into your store at some point—and someone who is an actively engaged lead who is interested in your brand and regularly interacts with you online or in-person. SMS marketing, like all forms of inbound marketing, excels at helping people move from “contacts” to “leads.”
The answer is simple: People read text messages.
If you were at a restaurant and suddenly received a phone call or email, would you stop your dinner conversation and respond? Probably not. But if you received a text message, you might take a beat to pause the conversation to read it and maybe even reply back.
Open rates on SMS marketing messages average between 95 and 99%. Because you can be confident of people opening your messages, you can be confident of building a relationship with them—provided your messages are relevant to their interests and provide some kind of genuine value to them.
SMS marketing is particularly good because it is inherently a two-way form of communication in which replying and starting a conversation is incredibly easy. When you combine high open rates with ease of use, you get a highly valuable marketing channel.
Lead generation with SMS marketing isn’t about any one technique; it’s about providing value to your individual list members. Unlike marketing messages built around blasting out content to huge audiences, SMS marketing is highly customizable and ought to be personalized. This doesn’t mean you can’t send the same message to a large audience, to be clear. But it does mean you should have a reason for sending the same message to a large audience besides “this is easier.”
The best way to structure your SMS marketing campaign is to break your list up into smaller groups called ‘segments.’ By breaking your list up, you can create smaller groups that allow you to send the most relevant, targeted messages possible. Over time, you will build trust with your list members and this will lead to stronger engagement.
If you are not working with an SMS marketing service, you’ll have to begin there. Signing up for a free trial with Mobile Text Alerts only takes about 30 seconds—and there is no credit card required when you sign up.
If you are working with an SMS marketing service already, here are four steps to begin generating leads:
🔍 First, identify 3-5 different sub-groups amongst your prospects and customers who are already receiving texts from you.
🎁 Second, identify what product or offering is most valuable to each distinct segment.
📝 Third, begin writing messages to each group built around the specific product or offering you want to share with them.
💻 Fourth, consider automating the process by scheduling the messages or using an API triggered integration
Obviously this involves a high degree of customized work for each business. But the entire value of texting is wrapped up in engagement and personalization. By playing to the medium’s strengths, you increase your chances of succeeding with SMS marketing.