SMS marketing is poised to have one of its best years. Many marketing experts are projecting record years for texting adoption, and they predict by 2025, about half of text messages will be from businesses to consumers. So now is the perfect time to adopt texting, if you have not done so already.
As with any marketing strategy, there are constant changes that need to be adopted into the campaign strategies over time. This year is no different. So, what should you expect to see emerging as the top strategies for 2017 in text message marketing? Read on to find out, as well as some tips on how to incorporate them.
Customer Service: People are turning increasingly to texting for customer service solutions.
Automation: Chatbots and AI tech will change the way we use automated messages.
Social engagement: Texting is poised to pass social media for some aspects of marketing. Find ways to integrate the two channels.
Local advertising: Texting works very well for local advertising solutions.
Mobile first: More people are turning to their mobile devices to access the internet. Discover how texting fits in.
Multi-channel marketing: Develop a seamless integration of all your marketing platforms, including texting, for an enhanced user experience.
Time-Tested strategies: Just because there are changes doesn't mean you need to completely give up everything you've done before.
Customer service has already been an important component of any SMS marketing strategy. There are many ways to implement it:
- In store keywords for help
- Two-way communication via text
- Inquiries and requests handled via text
- Transactional messages
- Better engagement and customer experience
Texting gives you a great way to provide superior customer service.
If you do not have some level of customer service in your SMS marketing strategy, 2017 is the year to do so. The majority of customers want to utilize this platform as a way to engage with businesses and handle customer service issues, including troubleshooting problems or asking questions.
When developing your customer service strategy, keep your focus on the customer experience. You want to make it easy for customers to interact with you, whether they have a simple question or a larger problem. It should be a positive experience so that the customer walks away feeling satisfied.
Ready to take your customer service strategy to the next level? Look for chatbots to make their way to the testing environment in the near future. Chat bots utilize artificial intelligence to interact with customers in a way similar to another person. They can handle many different components of customer service:
Another emerging trend for SMS marketing is automation. You already have some automation in your texting campaign, namely the response messages to your keywords. There are many ways to include automation into your campaign:
- Customer service
- Keyword response
- Drip campaigns
- Scheduled campaigns
- Birthday/anniversary messages
- Repeat campaigns
- Follow up messages
What type of automation strategy do you have in place for your campaign? To take full advantage of your campaign, it is best to have more than your confirmation message after someone sends a keyword to opt-in to your program.
When you create your automation strategy, you will incorporate similar concepts to any marketing strategy:
- Develop an objective
- Focus on targeted content
- Schedule timely messages
The beauty with automation is that you can set it up once and then it can keep one part of your program going for a long period of time. It is perfect for drip campaigns since it will continue to hit leads at certain times to keep them engaged and interested, moving them forward towards conversion and repeat business.
Another important strategy to include with your SMS marketing program is incorporating social engagement. People more and more turn toward text messaging as a way to communicate with friends, family members, businesses and many other people. You want to infuse your campaign with parts of this social component to reach your customers on a more intimate level.
Text messaging is innately more intimate since you are sending messages to people on their cell phones in a similar manner to their friends and family. Just like social media marketing promises the ability to have your information right next to that of your customers' social network on their feeds, you have a similar place in their message inbox.
Bring social interaction into your texting campaigns.
Therefore, you want to take advantage of this situation for more social engagement. Now, it is unlikely that you will interact with every texting subscriber on a one-to-one basis. However, you can leverage your content to have a more friendly and intimate feel to it to get people to start seeing your brand as their friend.
Additionally, you can utilize your social media profiles to support your texting program and vice versa. This also helps you to cross promote your channels and hit people on multiple levels through different channels.
When you create more social engagement messages with your texting campaign strategy, there are some key rules you should follow:
- Remain professional
- Infuse some humor
- Avoid text speak and abbreviations
- Connect emotionally
- Provide value
- Remain relevant
- Personalize messages
Your social content in your texting campaign will be similar to that in your social media posts. You will find ways to connect with customers beyond simply selling them something or providing values and deals. However, ultimately you will remain a professional business that simply relates on a more personal level.
SMS marketing provides a key component to local advertising efforts. If you have not yet taken advantage of this component of your program, then be sure to do so. Promote your business in your local newspaper, on community radio, with geo-targeted ads and more. Include texting as your call to action. Then, when customers see the ads, they can text a keyword to opt in and receive more information about your business.
This works very well for when people are already out shopping or looking for a restaurant. When they see your information, they can act and get an immediate response. Even if they are already in your store, they can take advantage of an offer for signing up for your texting program.
This not only improves your overall business, it also gains you a larger following. Once you have people subscribed to your text marketing messages, then you have a chance to continually engage with them until they become repeat customers.
A key marketing strategy for 2017 is to take a mobile-first approach. Mobile devices are quickly surpassing computers as they way that people engage with the internet, including searching for businesses and shopping. Therefore, you need to not just have a mobile-friendly platform but one that has a mobile-first concept.
Your SMS marketing program fits well into this mobile-first strategy. People will have their phones with them at all times, so they can easily opt-in to your campaign and take action when they get your message. Additionally, they can redeem coupons in-store more easily, since they already will have their phone.
To prepare for a full mobile-first strategy, you also need to make your website mobile friendly. Then, when you send out links to your texting campaign, any landing pages are already mobile friendly for a seamless transition from text to online shopping.
Speaking of seamlessly transitioning platforms, another key marketing strategy for 2017 is that you have a true omni or multi-channel marketing experience for customers. This means that they can go from one platform and/or device to another with ease. If they have looked at buying an item on their phone and then visit your site a few hours later on their tablet, your site remembers and retains the items in their cart.
So, how dos your texting campaign fit into this multi-channel marketing strategy? Well, it is one platform among many through which you interact with customers. You need to incorporate the data from this channel with the data you have from your other channels. This provides you with a fuller picture of each customer. Plus, you avoid oversaturating the customers with interactions because you can easily keep track of when they received messages from you across different platforms.
When incorporating these new strategies, don't forget the time-tested ones.
Although there are many key changes to marketing strategies for 2017, there are still some time-tested SMS marketing strategies that you should keep in place for the coming year:
- Customer first approach
- Provide value
- Offer incentives
- Remain respectful
- Limit your messages to 2 to 4 per month
- Be timely
- Personalize your messages
- Choose the right keyword
- Create a strong CTA
This might seem like a lot of strategies that you need to utilize for your program. Just remember, ultimately you will create a program that fits the breadth of what you need to do while also engaging with your clientele. You might take aspects of each of these strategies to develop a strong and dynamic texting campaign that helps you achieve your business goals.
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