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Is SMS Marketing Part of Your Content Plan?

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Done right, text-message marketing can deliver huge open rates and conversion rates. But it’s easy to do it wrong

Forbes reports that 16 million texts are sent every second.

Holy tl;dnr, Batman! How do you use text messages for content creation? You don’t. But you certainly can use SMS marketing to tell prospects about the awesome long-form content you have created for them. It’s the connection, not the solution.

There’s a reason content marketers stare with longing at that field of 160-character length and dream of ways to claim it. SMS is a powerful way to quickly reach an audience. Approximately 90 percent of text messages are read within just three minutes of being sent. No surprise there, because more than 90 percent of adults say they keep their mobile devices within arm’s reach.

So harness that envy, dear content marketer, and put it to use. SMS is the ultimate complement to an overall content marketing plan. Here’s what you need to know.

Playing by FCC rules

Marketing with SMS means you’re playing by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This agency was responsible for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which makes it unlawful to send promotional text messages to anyone unless they have voluntarily provided their contact information to you and have agreed to participate in your promotional campaign.

Your first challenge is to get people to opt in. It’s a worthwhile challenge to undertake. TextMagic reports that the use of SMS during the sales process can increase conversions by more than 100 percent. If prospects engage with you via three or more back-and-forth text messages, those conversions can increase by up to 328 percent.

Best practices advise not to be creative about getting opt-in permission. Make the instructions perfectly clear, such as “Text YES to 12345 to receive texts with exclusive offers.” You can increase opt-in rates by offering awesome exclusive offers. Or, offer the opportunity to win something for free. You win when you convince prospects of the benefits of opting in.

Are we clear here?

Just because you have 160 characters to snag their attention doesn’t mean you should use them all. Get to the point. Don’t be cute. Say what you mean. Avoid all jargon, acronyms, emoticons L, and ALL CAPS.

Brevity should not invite vagueness. Give them the deadline if you’re telling them about a time-sensitive opportunity. Appropriate information concisely presented is a powerful call to action.

Embrace the text-based CTA

They’re going to read it within minutes of receiving it. You’ve got their full attention, so keep the engagement with your call to action (CTA). It would likely be an eye-catching button if they were looking at an email or online display ad. They’re not. It’s a text message. Summon your wordsmithing powers.

You can’t go wrong with “click here!”

SMS marketing platform EZ Texting advises you to deliver your CTA two different ways in your message. Their reasoning is that it ensures that your audience understands the benefit of tapping on that link.

You’d never include FOMO in the SMS to them, but you do want to take advantage on your audience’s fear of missing out. Make sure your brief message clearly communicates a time-sensitive benefit that they need to act on right away.

Be careful with timing

It’s sort of coming full circle. Remember when advertising was an interruption? How dare you take a commercial break in the middle of this riveting episode of “Mork & Mindy!” If you’re sending a text message to someone in hopes of getting them to fall in love with your brand and buy your product or service, be acutely aware that you are going to pull them away from something else that had their attention – most likely within three minutes of sending the SMS.

Your timing must be impeccable and selected for the recipient’s optimal convenience. It’s why Mobile Marketer advises that you avoid morning and afternoon commute times. It’s also wise to choose quality over quantity. Remember that you’re using a disruptive approach to reach prospects and customers. Frequent disruptions with meh offers will likely cause a high degree of requests to unsubscribe from your SMS campaign.

Timing, they say, is everything. Which means SMS communications are extremely powerful if you have a relationship with a customer that revolves around reservations or appointments. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that doctors can reduce no-show rates by more than 23 percent by using SMS to remind patients of upcoming appointments. Use text messaging to remind them it’s time for a visit.

A tool to highlight your content

SMS marketing is not a replacement for the content that makes up the majority of your inbound marketing strategy. It can, however, light a fire under it. Used correctly, it’s a proven attention-getter, with a 95 percent open rate.

Successful content marketers integrate SMS marketing as a way to draw attention to the long-form articles and video content marketing that helps put their brand into the worldview of prospects and converts them into customers.

Think of it as a digital doorbell. People are primed to answer it. Ding dong. Learn how we can help you integrate SMS into your marketing strategy.

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