The average knowledge worker ‘checks in’ with communication tools every 6 minutes say research done by RescueTime. As a small business owner, this means that people are tuning into communication channels – email, IM or messages every 6 minutes.

We also know that email open rates peak at about 24%. What about IMs and SMS messages? A whopping 85% of text messages are opened within 5 minutes of receipt. And unlike email marketing, it is much easier for your customers to opt out of SMS marketing than it is for them to opt out of email marketing

What this means for you is that SMS marketing is not spammy as it used to be a couple of years back.

What kind of SMS Marketing is effective?

Unlike paid advertising channels such as Facebook and Google, with SMS marketing, you know the person whom you are targeting with your message. It’s likely that the person is an existing customer or filled out a lead form and you have more information on them. This means you can personalize your messaging to appeal to them and where they are in the customer journey.

Upselling to current customers using SMS marketing

Planet Fitness uses automated SMS marketing to promote its premium plans to existing users. They make the user experience for this very easy. Text with a shortcode (such as PF UPGRADE) to a specific number and the user starts the process to upgrade to a premium plan.

Franchise owners, we talked with say that members prefer text communication much more over other channels. Our pet theory is that with the increased nuisance of robocalls and emails being overloaded with newsletters and promos, text messaging offers a noise-free channel that the user can opt in and opt out of easily.

Driving referrals with SMS marketing
Driving referrals with SMS marketing

Get Permission before promoting to cold leads

An example of an opt-in message: Eg: Please reply YES to receive updates from Example Company. Std. msg&data rates apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

One of the main tenets of SMS marketing, also one that you should follow to put yourself on the right side of the law, is getting the permission of your customer before you start sending more promos to them. Make it clear in the first SMS what your ask is and what the user can get by giving you permission to text them.

Since the response to this email usually boils down to a ‘Y’ or ‘N’, your response rates would be much higher than that for an email. Also, you are able to qualify your leads much more quickly.

Make it stand out by including rich media

Driving referrals with SMS marketing

Check out the SMS messages in your inbox that you have ignored. There’s a good chance that you ignored those messages because they failed to stand out from the crowd or were too repetitive. Apart from writing good content, another good way to make your messages stand out is to add rich media in them – a picture, a link to an article or a video.

Make sure that the rich media you are adding, adds value to the customer. Think of this as a way to hook the user into your content so that you can make bigger asks later on.

A couple of fitness studios who work with Gleantap use the rich media feature of SMS marketing to send fitness and diet tips to their customers – sometimes these are links to videos they have produced or articles that they have written on their blog.

Use the 80/20 rule

SMS is a very personal marketing channel – This is a double-edged sword. if your customers start feeling that you are misusing their attention, they may start to unsubscribe. Misusing attention can take forms of

  1. Sending a high number of explicit marketing content or upselling them without adding any value
  2. Having a very high frequency of messages sent.
  3. Selling user data to third parties without the permission/consent of the user.

Instead of sending a constant barrage of marketing messages, send them content that adds value to their relationship with you. As earlier mentioned, these can be tips, articles you have written or content that you think they may like. As always make it very easy for them to unsubscribe from these SMS’es as well.

fitness-studio-retention-use-case2
Sent messages that add value to the customer