SMS Marketing — The Ultimate Guide to Engaging & Effective SMS Marketing in 2022
It’s critical that your marketing meets your customers where they live — their phones.
And nothing gets your messages seen faster, by more customers and clients, than SMS marketing — your must-have, mobile-first communications tool.
Forward-thinking marketers and business owners have already tapped into the power and engagement of SMS marketing. They’re growing their businesses thanks to SMS marketing’s phenomenal 98% engagement rate and eye-catching 35% click-through rate.
And SMS marketing can do the same for you! This brief guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started on your SMS adventure.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing stands for short message service marketing and operates via texting apps such as Google Messages and iMessages.
You may know SMS marketing as text marketing, or possibly mass texting or bulk texting, but they all refer to the same thing — a modern, mobile channel that allows businesses and marketers to reach their customers and clients faster and more effectively than ever.
Its most basic usage is to send alerts (inclement weather or itinerary changes), appointment and delivery reminders, and to send mass text messages that include promotions and exclusive offers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Why Should I Care About SMS Marketing?
According to the 2021 CTIA Annual Survey* there were 2.2 trillion text messages exchanged in 2020, an increase of 119 billion messages over 2019, which includes a 28% increase in MMS messages.
The numbers are undeniable. We live in a smartphone-obsessed world, and SMS marketing is the key to unlocking mobile engagement, consumer action, and business growth in a way that no other channel can offer.
How Fast Will My Contacts Get My SMS Marketing Messages?
“Instantly” isn't a very scientific answer, is it? Text message delivery rates will vary based on your textable number type (local 10-digit number, toll-free number, etc.) and trust score with wireless carriers. At a minimum, you can expect to send a thousand text messages in about 5 minutes. If you need faster delivery speeds, we have plenty of options available, such as dedicated short codes, which can send millions of messages in minutes. We’ve also found that 80% of SMS messages are read within 10 minutes of receipt. Between our reliable network and the curiosity of your customers, your SMS marketing messages should reach your customers just about any time you want them to.
How Many of My Contacts Will Read My SMS Messages?
If you’re delivering value in your messaging, most of your contacts should interact with your message. While 80% of messages are read within 10 minutes and 95% of consumers read new SMS messages within 60 minutes. The response rate is nearly as impressive, with 91% of texters responding to a new message within 60 minutes.
How Does SMS Marketing Compare to Email?
People check for (and respond to) text messages far more than they do for emails. Not only does SMS marketing offer 6X the engagement rate of emails, but 86% of businesses that use SMS marketing report that it offers higher engagement than email.
How Does SMS Marketing Compare to Voice Calls?
This may not come as a shock, but 90% of leads would rather receive a text than be called on the phone. And the younger your audience the more likely they are to be phone averse — and that means picking up calls, listening to voicemails, and returning calls. SMS marketing, on the other hand, saves time for everyone by offering a more convenient, frictionless exchange.
No other marketing channel offers the speed, engagement, and ROI that SMS marketing can.
If SMS Marketing Is So Effective, Why Isn't Everyone Doing It?
The truth is that many brands and businesses are already taking advantage of SMS marketing’s incredible versatility and engagement.
If you’re not one of them, you may believe that consumers won’t appreciate the intrusive nature of receiving SMS marketing from businesses. Set your mind to rest because AT&T has reported that 85% of mobile device users would prefer to receive a text from businesses over phone calls or emails.
Or maybe you view building a list of textable numbers, and the compliance rules that go with it, as too daunting. Yes, every new contact you add to your SMS list needs to have opted in to receive your messages, just like email.
We make it easy to capture SMS marketing opt-ins with Keywords, dedicated short codes, QR codes, and digital Sign-Up Forms. And just like diets, novels, and your email list, the sooner you start, the sooner you see rewards.
You’ll also need to add required-by-law opt-out language to your messages. Our exclusive safeSTOP feature can quickly append the appropriate “STOP to end” language to all your messages, making sms compliance that much easier!
OK, I'm Interested In SMS Marketing. How Can I Do It?
First, you’ll need a textable number. EZ Texting will provide a 10-digit textable number when you sign up, but you can also request a toll-free number, purchase your own dedicated short code or turn your existing business phone into a number that can send and receive text messages.
Next, you’ll want to send a test message to familiarize yourself with our platform. It’s just like writing an email although it’s worth it to remember that an SMS message is less than 160 characters. If you type more than 160 characters, or if you add an image or a video, the message automatically becomes an MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) message.
The video below will walk you through the process of sending your first message.
Now it’s time to upload any contacts you have that have opted in to receive SMS marketing messages from you or your business. You can accomplish this by adding contacts individually or as a bulk upload. Again, the video below will walk you through the process.
Once you’ve uploaded your contacts it’s time to start considering the right SMS marketing strategies for your business. It’s the Swiss-Army knife of communications — if you have a need, SMS marketing can handle it. Start a drip campaign, set up automated reminders, kickstart a mobile loyalty program… it’s up to you. We offer insight, suggestions, and tips for customers in our Resource Center and Knowledge Base.
How Do I Make Sure My SMS Marketing Doesn't Upset My Customers?
That’s easy! To help you keep your customers engaged and active with your SMS marketing campaigns here are five best practices we’ve seen work time and time again with our most successful customers.
Just like email, SMS marketing is a permission-based activity, which means you need to get permission from a client or customer before you can send them any messages.
When you do receive permission, be upfront about how often you plan to text and the types of messages you plan to send.
It’s also a good idea to keep your list up to date so that you’re only sending to clients or customers who want to receive your message and are more likely to take action on them.
EZ Texting’s exclusive safeSTOP feature appends required-by-law “STOP to end” copy to the end of your messages, allowing those on your list an easy and upfront opt-out opportunity.
Once they’ve granted permission to send SMS marketing messages, make sure those messages are providing a clear value.
Phones have become an integral and intimate part of people’s lives, so reward their trust and loyalty by providing clear value in your messages.
Send your best and biggest discounts to your SMS marketing customers or provide early access to events or exclusives. Automated appointment reminders are a staple text messaging feature that both businesses and their customers agree adds tremendous value by saving everyone time making calls.
DON’T eat up valuable attention with overlong messages, but DO make sure your messages stay concise and get to the point.
DO feel free to add brand voice or an emoji or two to your SMS marketing messages, especially if you think your audience will respond to them, but people love text because it’s fast, easy, and convenient — DON’T disappoint them on that front.
Send When Your Audience Wants to See It
Our own studies have shown that most consumers want to receive SMS marketing messages from businesses during normal working hours — 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.
Of course, when you send a message may be determined by your industry, audience, or the nature of the message. A nightclub may want to send messages after 5PM, while a construction company may find sending messages before 9AM is more likely to prompt a response.
We’ve also found that one SMS marketing message per week is the sweet spot for most consumers, but again you may find your audience responds better to two a week, or two a month.
Provide a Clear Call to Action
The most effective SMS marketing messages provide a clear call to action for recipients — An in-store coupon or digital discount code and links to a digital payment system or scheduling platform are good examples.
Providing a clear next step is the best way to activate your customers and make the most of your SMS marketing campaigns.
Can SMS Marketing Work for My Business?
Yes! EZ Texting’s SMS marketing solutions are already helping businesses as diverse as retail, ecommerce, professional services, transportation logistics, nonprofits, and higher education.
You can find an industry list based on EZ Texting’s core customers here.
On the off chance your industry isn’t listed, we’re confident that SMS marketing can still provide your business with time-saving, growth-building solutions.
Retail & Ecommerce
SMS marketing for retail and ecommerce businesses provides a suite of solutions that address everything from sales, promotions, and loyalty programs to streamlining returns and exchanges and employee communications.
Products & Services
SMS marketing for property management provides an easy way to attract new residents, improve the resident experience from move-in to move-out, and streamline staff communications.
& Unit Availability
& Alerts to Residents
Reminders & Receipts
& Gather Feedback
See how SMS for advertising, marketing, and digital agencies results in stellar growth for both you and your clients. You may even be eligible to earn commission through our Agency Partnership Program!
for You & Clients
with Trackable Links
How Can I tell If My SMS Marketing Campaign Is Working?
People truly respond to the ease and convenience of SMS marketing, so one way you’ll know it’s working is… they’ll tell you!
But if you prefer hard-and-fast data, we’ve got you covered there, too.
Our reporting dashboard tracks messages sent, messages received, engagement spikes, click-through rates, and more. You’ll know which messages are working, which campaigns really “pop” with your customers.
You can even check your reporting from our Mobile App.
Our link shortener not only acts as a space saver when composing your messages, but also makes your links trackable, allowing you to get the most from our in-app reporting dashboard.
Set a date range and you’ll have at-a-glance access to the number of messages sent, bounce rates, click-through rates, and number of unsubscribes — all critical information that will help you hone your SMS marketing strategy.
- Messages Sent: This can help you track the total number of messages sent during any specific date range and will help you to track your investment and contact list growth over time.
- Click-Through Rate: Using our trackable links you’ll be able to see how many of your SMS marketing recipients took action on your message and clicked through your web page, catalog, payment platform, or digital experience.
- Unsubscribe Rate: Unsubscribes are an unavoidable part of running an SMS marketing campaign. Keep an eye on this number — if you notice a jump in unsubscribes you may want to take at look at your recent messages and make some adjustments
SMS Marketing Solutions
BUILD & GROW A LIST
Building a list is hard, we make it easier with Keywords, QR codes, and digital Sign-Up Forms.
IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Personalization tools and two-way texting allow you to get closer to your customers.
SEND PROMOTIONS & COUPONS
SMS marketing makes it easy to send one promotion to thousands at the push of a button.
CONNECT VIA TWO-WAY MESSAGING
Allow all your customers to text you directly and respond in the same 1-on-1 conversation.
AUTOMATE YOUR MESSAGING
Easily create automated responses, from welcome messages to mobile receipts.
When unforseen changes occur you can send an alert and be sure it has been seen.
MANAGE LOYALTY PROGRAMS
SMS marketing makes it easy to start and build a mobile loyalty program.
IMPROVE INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
Make scheduling and keeping in touch with a remote or mobile workforce easy with team texts.
Why Is EZ Texting the Authority on SMS Messaging?
You’ve seen how SMS marketing can work for your business. Now see how EZ Texting will work for you!
As pioneers in the text space we’ve seen the power of SMS marketing up close. With an easy-to-navigate platform, we’ve helped more than 210,000 businesses drive growth and streamline communications across industries as diverse as transportation logistics, yoga studios, ecommerce start-ups, and construction companies. If it works for the more than 22 industries we serve at EZ Texting, we feel confident it will work for you!
EZ Texting offers flexible pricing plans for organizations of all sizes that include a 10-digit textable number, at least 1 Keyword, and unlimited contacts, groups, and 1:1 chats.
What Else Do I Need to Know About SMS Marketing?
If you want to reach more customers and grow your business you need a mobile-first marketing channel that delivers. To explore more about SMS marketing, please visit our Resource Center, which is loaded with articles, ebooks, and case studies.
You’ve seen how SMS marketing can increase your customer lists, supercharge sales, streamline internal communications, and so much more, now it’s time for the test drive!