You may remember, back in the early days of American Idol, you had to call in to vote for your favorite performer of the Top 10 finalists. Complaints of busy signals and robocallers dominating the lines forced the show producers to look for alternatives. A system that claimed to also count busy signals did not satisfy the fans. Eventually they adopted a new method of communication.
Even before the iPhone emerged, carriers had started experimenting with texting, charging a small fee. As we crested into 2008, more than 78-million text votes were received – at 20-cents a vote. And the following year, that record was broken with nearly 180-million votes cast.
It’s hard to believe, as ubiquitous as texting is now, that carriers once charged 5-30-cents per text for several years. Now people under 35 are more likely to text than call for any reason. And for those under 25, many will text each other, even while they’re in the same room.
I talked last week about how the chemicals in our brains are now attuned to give us pleasure or pain when we see or ignore a notification. A study at the end of 2019 showed that most people check their phones 96 times per day – or around every 10 minutes. And text messages – or SMS messages as they’re now called – are opened 98% of the time! Most within THREE MINUTES. Compare that to emails. An email opened by 20-25% of your list is considered a success.
So it should be no surprise that the fastest growing form of digital marketing – and the only one companies are spending heavily on – is SMS Marketing.
A Text in Time
SMS Marketing is mass texting clients, customers and contacts as a way to promote your business’s products and services, as well as to build customer loyalty. Everything we once relied on email to do, can now be done, often more effectively, with text: engage your audience, build relationships, boost sales, build excitement, and collect and nurture leads. You can even install a widget on your website to collect numbers and interact, text-like, with people on the site. It’s no wonder Facebook Messenger wants to be able to coopt your texts.
You can track click through rates, conversions and other Key Performance Indicators with Google Analytics. People who give you their number tend to be more highly engaged. So click-thru rates tend to be considerably higher than emails (up to 35%!).
Often, consumers provide their own sense of urgency because they know if they don’t respond now, they might forget as the text gets buried in other messages throughout the day. And because it’s on their phone, you can reach them just about any time, anywhere.
You can also build relationships and rapport with message-ees by using texts to share your story. Just like you do with certain content blog or social media posts, SMS is another way to show people who you are. Try to keep messages around the size of a tweet, though. More than 140-250 characters can be harder to read and easier to dismiss. You can always encapsulate the essence of a blog post and send it with the link to read more. Images can also be sent in SMS messages. They’re a great way to briefly remind customers of who you are or what you sell.
But don’t forget that it’s a two-way street. Using texts and being responsive to customer questions and complaints has been shown to increase sales by 31%. Anything that increases sales is nothing to look down on these days.
iPhones do now have the option to block or ignore a number. But nobody’s calling AT&T or T-Mobile and reporting spam, hampering your efforts to reach others. And while unsubscribes do happen – texting “STOP” drops the customer’s number – in most industries, this happens less than three percent of the time.
Clarifying the Message
Just like any other form of digital marketing, SMS Marketing works best when you’re targeting your texting. As powerful as SMS’s can be, they aren’t a shortcut to connection without strategy. You still have to do your homework.
Knowing your ideal customers’ demographics and psychographics are essential. Why they’re most likely to buy, what they’re searching for, answer the questions they’re asking. When done well, with a highly targeted strategic approach, texting can almost feel psychic to the receiver.
Unlike retargeting, which potentially shows the buyer things they’ve already got, a solid buyer profile allows you to send answers in the moment they’re likely to be thinking about the questions. And even if you miss it, you can immediately reply to a question text with the answers they need.
If you need help figuring out a strategic approach or building a truly in depth profile of your ideal buyer, please reach out. We’ve built our business by helping and teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners how to build theirs.
Let’s Grow the Dream together!