KickoffLabs Blog:

Are You Forgetting About Mobile? SMS Marketing For the Win

By Josh Ledgard

Jun 7th, 2016


If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve sent a text message before. Heck, even your mom sends text messages nowadays.

mom text

Image Courtesy of Thought Catalog

But, are you sending text messages to your customers?

It may not be the last frontier in marketing, but it’s definitely the latest. For reasons we’ll discuss below, you can use text messages more effectively than other types of marketing. Let’s get to it.

Don’t miss this list of the best practices for SMS Marketing. Subscribe to receive this extra resource.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS stands for short message service. It’s a type of message that can be sent to or from a mobile phone.

In SMS marketing, your business can send one text message to a large group of subscribers. This message can promote a product, service, or event. It can also advertise a limited-time promotion or coupon. This permission-based form of marketing can help you create top of mind awareness with your audience.

This permission-based marketing will create top of mind awareness with your audience. Click To Tweet

Why Use SMS for Marketing?

There are a lot of great reasons to incorporate SMS in your marketing campaign. Here are the standouts:

SMS Open Rates Have Astoundingly High Open Rates

Compared to a 22% open rate for email campaigns, SMS enjoy a open rate of more than 90%. In fact, some studies show that SMS has a 98% open rate.

That’s astounding.

mind blown

Image Courtesy of Giphy

While I won’t abandon my love for email marketing any time soon, there’s something undeniably attractive about SMS marketing.

Think about it: you may not read your email, but you’ll probably read your text messages right away.

You’ve Got the User’s Permission

SMS enjoys high open rates because they actually want to hear from you. Just like with email addresses, you don’t know their information unless they volunteer it. They must opt-in to receive this type of marketing which means they have to trust you first– a necessary component to permission-based selling.

But SMS requires a deeper level of trust than email marketing. It’s one thing to give a random email address, but it’s another to offer your phone number. People guard their phone numbers much more closely than emails, so if they give you permission to send messages to their phone, it’s a big deal.

Text Messages Get Read Immediately

Most people read text messages within three minutes of receiving them. This is because humans are gradually turning into borg drones.


Image Courtesy of Giphy

Resistance is futile. Yep, people are attached to their mobile devices. In fact, most people can’t even go to the bathroom without their cellphones.

While this may be questionable for the long-term fate of humanity, it is good news for you. People check their phones up to 150 times a day. Let at least one of those times be an update from your brand.

No Spam Filters

I’m so excited about this one. As it stands, there’s no spam filters on SMS.

Sometimes, email marketing feels like a walk through a field of landmines. You never know what word in your subject line will trigger a spam filter. The whole process is unnerving.

But, SMS is different. You don’t have to wait behind a velvet rope to maybe get in. You don’t have to wait in line at all. You’ll frontsies to the front.

waiting in line

Image Courtesy of Giphy

People Want to Stay Connected to Your Brand

SMS marketing is permission-based because people want to hear from you. Keep them in the loop by sending valuable updates.

Emphasis on valuable.

57% of users don’t mind SMS marketing messages as long as they receive a special, exclusive discount.

Every message you send should have a distinct value, not just a “that’s good to know” type of message. Save company updates for email, and use SMS to send time-sensitive sales messages.

Here’s How SMS Marketing Works

In SMS marketing, you ask your customer to send a keyword to a specific number designation also known as a short code (for example, text “JOIN” to 111111 for an exclusive 10% off coupon).

JOIN is the keyword. 111111 is the short code.

You’ll receive this short code by signing up for an SMS marketing service such as SlickText, Tatango, and others.

Many services allow you to rent a specific keyword for a common short code shared by multiple businesses. You may rent the keyword JOIN, others may rent PETS, PIZZA, PINTS, and so on, but all of you will share the same short code 111111.

Types of SMS Marketing Messages to Send

To get subscribers to your SMS list, you’ll need to dangle a carrot, just like you do with email marketing. This carrot may be a coupon or promo code. It can be a one-time offer, but ideally position your offer as ongoing.

Let’s take a look at the best types of SMS marketing messages to send:

  • Offer exclusive promo codes based on new product launches, latest discounts, birthdays, and anniversaries
  • Do a “Show this Text to Redeem Offer” campaign
  • Do a text-to-win campaign that’s tied to your contest
  • Don’t forget to segment!

    If you’ve read anything on this blog before, you knew that was coming.

    Segmenting is so important for delivering the right content to the right demographic. You can slice and dice depending on age, gender, buying habits, coupon redemption, etc. If you’d like to learn more about segmentation, check out this post. It primarily deals with newsletters, but a lot of it can be applied to SMS segmenting, too.

    Here’s How to Get SMS Sign Ups

    Encourage people to sign up to your SMS list in the following places:

    Show the SMS opt-in on your website. If you get SMS subscribers from your website, be sure to send a text message to confirm the opt-in. This prevents sending out your SMS messages to the wrong number.


    Image Courtesy of Redbox

    Invite customers to sign up for your SMS correspondence by pasting a sign on your front door or on your register.

    Include an option to SMS subscribe during your checkout page. Be sure to include a check mark to opt-in to SMS marketing.

    Final Thoughts and a Word of Caution

    You probably know this already, but I’ll say it anyway: please don’t send unsolicited SMS messages. Even if you have someone’s mobile phone number, it’s not permission to automatically send SMS messages. Only send messages after a person has explicitly subscribed to your list.

    SMS is an innovative way to keep your audience connected to your brand while practically guarantee high open rates. Now go forth and SMS.

    Don’t miss this list of the best practices for SMS Marketing. Subscribe to receive this extra resource.

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