OpenMarket – February 18, 2016
Companies that understand the value of SMS in terms of sales and marketing feel like they have access to a secret recipe. That’s how effective and under the radar this incredible sales and marketing tool is. As a business owner, it’s imperative that you leverage mobile messaging strategies before the competition finds out.
SMS as a Sales and Marketing Tool
Don’t look now, but mobile devices – and smartphones in particular – are quickly becoming preferred for both internet research and person-to-person communication.
“Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world,” writes Aaron Smith of Pew Research Center. But it’s what Americans are doing with their smartphones that’s so interesting.
Whereas, in the past, cellphones were reserved for phone calls and the occasional message, today’s smartphones now serve as an information portal for the average user. In addition to being one of the primary tools for surfing the web, smartphones are used to stay in touch.
In total, Pew Research estimates that 97 percent of smartphone owners use SMS at least once per day. And when looking at the 18-29 year old demographic, a decisive 100 percent of those surveyed say they use SMS on a daily basis.
According to Smith, all you really need to know is this: “When asked to choose from a series of statements representing how they feel about their phone, a substantial majority of smartphone owners feel that these devices are ‘helpful’ rather than ‘annoying,’ ‘connecting’ rather than ‘distracting,’ and that they represent ‘freedom’ rather than a ‘leash.’”
As a business, you can’t sit by and ignore these statistics and preferences. If you want to reach your customers – especially those in younger demographics – then SMS needs to be a part of your evolving sales and marketing strategy.
How to Make SMS Work for You
Every business owner, marketing professional, or salesperson probably wonders: What specific value does SMS afford me? Or how can SMS be used in conjunction with my existing approach to sales and marketing?
Well, it looks different in every situation, but the good news is that SMS is a versatile mobile channel that can be adapted to fit a number of unique situations. Let’s take a look at some tips and examples to give you a better idea.
- Speak to People Who Want to Hear From You
When it comes to SMS, only speak to people who want to hear from you. This is both a legal obligation and a suggestion for maximizing your return. Sending messages to people who don’t want to hear from you can get you in all kinds of trouble.
“It should come as no surprise that people are protective of what they consider to be their private space, and that includes virtual space where text messages live,” writes Stuart Leung of the Salesforce Blog. “When advertisements start to show up in inboxes and on SMS services, users have a tendency to get very vocal, very quickly.”
As a result, the FCC and the TCPA have put some rules in place that limit the use of telecommunication and advertising. While there’s a lot of complicated legal language, the basic gist is that a business cannot send an SMS to an individual without first getting express written consent. Furthermore, a business must give the user the option to opt out at any time.
While getting people to sign up for SMS is part of the equation, you also don’t want just anyone signing up. You need to target your strongest existing customers, as well as those who share similar characteristics. In many cases, this will mean millennial smartphone owners.
- Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Since users have the ability to opt out of an SMS campaign at any time, you must keep users engaged. One ill-timed or boring message can spell disaster for your customer list. The key is to make your communication valuable, unique, and engaging.
Create a compelling offer that the customer can’t refuse. Instead of saying something like, “We’d love to hear from you – please fill out this brief survey,” try more engaging copy like, “Answer three brief questions and qualify to win a $100 gift card.”
If you want users to engage, you have to be willing to incentivize them. This can come in the form of tangible rewards, discounts, access to multimedia content, or anything in between. Just make sure you’re doing something unique and interesting.
- Understand the Different Uses
There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to using SMS in sales and marketing. Make sure you’re experimenting with different strategies and campaigns to get a feel for what works with your target customer base.
Over the years, global brands have used SMS to launch a number of campaigns. These have included flash sales, inventory alerts, event notifications, surveys, coupon codes, product information, quizzes and more.
Avoid getting stuck on a single strategy. Keeping users engaged and making SMS a helpful part of your business requires that you continually try different things and periodically invest in new strategies. Don’t get complacent.
Contact OpenMarket Today
SMS is arguably the most versatile mobile channel of communication available to businesses. In addition to being flexible, it’s powerful and high returning. The average user opens a text message in a matter of minutes and it’s very unlikely that they’ll delete it before doing so. This makes it a must-have sales and marketing tool across all industries. Just check out this IDC white paper to see what we’re talking about.
At OpenMarket, we work with some of the world’s largest enterprises to design innovative mobile messaging solutions that transform the way sales and marketing is approached in the modern marketplace. Whether you’re looking for a new and exciting way to connect with customers or a method for improving a stale sales process, we’ve got you covered. Contact OpenMarket today and we’d be happy to tell you more about how SMS can revolutionize your approach to sales and marketing.