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SMS is an essential marketing channel for all kinds of businesses. But, it can be tricky to nail down what kind of message is appropriate for SMS, and what kind will annoy and drive away your customers. Read this post for five incredible SMS marketing examples of messages your audience actually wants to read.

Everyone likes getting gifts. But everyone also has that one weird family member. You know, the one who makes you ugly crocheted “fashion statements” for Christmas and gets you underwear for your birthday.

Usually, they have good intentions, but they’re probably unaware and out of touch with what people actually want. In short message service (SMS) marketing, many brands, unfortunately, become just like your Great Aunt Margaret. Someone told them that “Those hip young people like text messages,” and they started sending SMS marketing messages that are the equivalent of a crocheted necktie and tighty-whities.

According to Zendesk, the popularity of using SMS messaging to contact businesses grew by 75% in 2020. However, just like gift-giving, it’s key that you actually give people what they want when they start a text conversation with your brand.

For example, according to SimpleTexting, only 9% of consumers want to hear about your customer satisfaction survey via text. (Which, let’s be real, makes up like 99% of text messages people receive from businesses. Annoying much?) On the other hand, according to the same survey, 35% of consumers would love to get special offers or promotions via text.

Text message marketing can feel invasive and unwelcome if it’s not personalized and valuable to your audience. If you’re still not sure what consumers want to receive, you’re in luck. This guide covers five SMS marketing examples your audience actually wants to receive so you don’t become the marketing equivalent of Great Aunt Margaret. You’ll increase your conversions and your bottom line.

1. Event updates

It’s hard to beat text message marketing campaigns for timely updates you know your audience will see. Americans are constantly checking their phones — about 344 times a day, according to Reviews.org. And McKinsey reports SMS messages have the highest read rates out of any commercial messaging channel, with an open rate of 42%. This combination makes SMS text messages the ideal channel for time-sensitive event communication.

You can use SMS messages to hype event lineups, send ticket QR codes, provide attendees with session time updates, or even provide interactive content during the event.

For example, event attendees may opt in to receive messages, so they can be the first to hear who the headlining speaker is or receive a mobile ticket. And then, once they have opted in, you can notify them of important information via SMS throughout the conference, such as which conference space their sessions are in.

2. Special offers

According to SimpleTexting, 50% of consumers said they would be more likely to opt in to SMS messages from a business if they knew they would receive time-sensitive promotions. Through audience segmentation and marketing automation, marketing teams can personalize the promotions to each consumer, increasing the value and connection to the brand.

SMS marketing for special offers could be as simple as promoting flash sales or as specific as sending a discount code to a customer on their birthday. The key to maintaining the value for the consumer is to use it only for timely or personalized offers, rather than constantly bombarding them with texts.

 

3. Product launches

Consumers have the world at their fingertips with the internet. If you want your product to stand out from the beginning, you need a unique promotional mechanism. According to a survey by Harris Interactive, 77% of consumers view companies that offer texting more positively (not to mention those impressive read rates we mentioned previously). So, if you want all eyes eagerly on that new product launch, SMS is where you should start.

The timeliness of SMS provides brands with a chance to roll out their products in stages to increase the hype. For example, you should start a launch with a VIP and influencer early-access message before opening sales up to all customers.

Besides the timeliness of SMS, it also has the advantage of having very measurable outcomes. Campaign Monitor’s SMS reporting dashboard shows a comprehensive view of your launch campaigns, including audience responses to both email and SMS. Instead of guessing at interest levels in your new product or the success of your campaign, you can easily assess them at a glance.

 

4. Community building

SMS messages provide a unique opportunity to build brand affinity by personally connecting with your audience and creating a community around your brand. In this way, you can promote your brand without promoting your brand.

For example, you could send daily health tips or mindfulness prompts if you’re a wellness brand, or links to interactive brand content such as how-to videos and online communities. All of these things promote user-generated content, which 79% of users say highly impacts their purchase decisions, according to Stackla.

 

5. Donation drives

People get bombarded with organizations asking them for donations. If it’s not the Boy Scout down the street, it’s the fundraiser in the mail or the grocery store clerk asking them to “round up for the cause.” So how do you break through the noise? SMS.

The key to using SMS for donation drives and fundraising is to craft a message that won’t be just banging cymbals in the cacophony of fundraising campaigns. Gone are the days of cold-calling telethons. Today, consumers expect personalized and timely communications. And that is where SMS shines.

For example, you can tailor each message to the individual donor with Campaign Monitor’s subscriber list upload feature and customizable fields. Segment your list by region, income range, age, or any other custom qualifier you choose. Personalize every message with the subscriber’s name for an added personal touch.

With SMS, you can respond within minutes to any community or worldwide crisis, giving people the opportunity to act as soon as the news breaks. You no longer have to wait for the mailer to reach their house weeks later or cross your fingers your social posts reach them. Hit your donor base when it’s still fresh and before they are bombarded with other organizations asking for donations.

 

Once you have your audience’s attention, it’s important that you give them an easily accessible and immediate way to give. Relying on dated payment options isn’t going to cut it anymore. When was the last time you wrote a check for anything? It’s probably been a while. According to the Federal Reserve, the use of checks and cash is decreasing dramatically YOY, and mobile payments are taking the place of most payments previously made via check or cash. In short, if you want people to donate to your campaign, you need to offer mobile payment options.

Combining SMS and email marketing strategies

There’s no arguing the benefits of SMS marketing, but it has an even greater impact when used in combination with an email marketing strategy. Each serves your customers in a unique way and enhances the impact of the other. What they share in common is the ability to grow your customer base and your bottom line. If you want to learn more about how to use SMS marketing strategies in combination with email marketing, check out our guide.

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