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Bulk SMS Marketing Best Practices to Maximize ROI

Many businesses see SMS marketing as an outdated channel, especially compared to social media or email. However, the numbers tell a different story. SMS marketing consistently offers incredible engagement rates, with mind-blowing stats like:

  • 98% open rate for SMS messages
  • 90% of texts are read within the first 3 minutes
  • SMS coupons enjoy up to 10 times higher redemption rates than traditional coupons

That's some serious potential ROI! So, let's explore how to maximize your return on SMS marketing. But first, let's answer the obvious question...


What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing, also known as text message marketing, has become a powerhouse for businesses looking to directly interact with customers on a platform they use more than any other – their mobile phones.


How Does SMS Marketing Work?

Here's a breakdown of how it works:

  1. Gather Customer Consent: Like email marketing, SMS marketing requires customers to opt-in to receive texts. Obtain consent through website forms, checkout options, or by having customers text a keyword to a designated shortcode.
  2. Choose an SMS Marketing Platform: Platforms like EZ Texting, SlickText, or Salesmsg offer tools to send messages, create automated campaigns, and track results.
  3. Craft Compelling Messages Messages should be short, personalized, and offer clear value, like a promotion or timely update.
  4. Timing is Everything: Consider your audience when sending texts. Avoid blasting them too early or too late.

How Much Does SMS Marketing Cost?

The cost of SMS marketing depends on several factors, making it more flexible than you might assume. Here's what influences pricing:

  • SMS Marketing Platform: Each provider has its pricing structure. Some offer monthly subscriptions with a set message allowance, while others have pay-as-you-go models. Shop around for what best suits your volume.
  • Message Volume: Naturally, the more text messages you send, the higher your costs. However, per-message costs often get lower in higher-volume plans.
  • Message Type: Standard SMS (text only) is the most affordable. MMS (which can include images, GIFs, or longer text) is typically slightly more expensive.
  • International Messages: Sending texts to customers outside your country can incur increased rates.

Typical Price Range

While it varies, you can expect SMS marketing costs to fall roughly within the following range:

  • Per SMS message: $0.01 to $0.05
  • Monthly Plans: Can range from around $20 for basic plans to hundreds of dollars for larger businesses with high-volume needs.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

SMS offers a number of benefits over traditional marketing channels, a few of which include:

  • Super High Open Rates: SMS boasts an incredible 98% open rate, far surpassing email.
  • Immediate Reach: Most text messages are read within minutes of being received, making SMS perfect for time-sensitive offers.
  • Versatility: SMS can be used for promotions, reminders, surveys, and more.
  • Measurable Results: SMS platforms provide detailed analytics to track your campaigns' success.
  • No Apps Needed: You don't need users to download anything special – if they can receive a text, they're ready for your message.
  • Customer Preference: Many people find text messages less intrusive than other forms of marketing, especially younger consumers.

Now let's look at some tips to supercharge your next SMS campaign!


4 Key Ways to Supercharge Your SMS ROI

Let's get down to the practical side. Here's how to unlock the power of SMS marketing:


1. Provide Real Value

The golden rule of SMS marketing is the same as any other channel: provide genuine value. What can you give your customers that is helpful, exclusive, or entertaining?

  • Time-sensitive offers: Limited-time discounts and "flash sales" create a sense of urgency.
  • VIP/Loyalty benefits: Exclusive offers, early access to products, or text-only rewards.
  • Personalized recommendations: Offer suggestions tailored to a customer's past purchases or interests.
  • Useful information: Text-based updates about order status, shipping, or helpful "how-to" content related to your products or services.

Key takeaway: Think like your customer. What would make YOU open, read, and act on a text message?


2. Don't Rely on Links

Yes, you can use links in SMS, but you shouldn't make them the centerpiece of your messaging. Here's why:

  • Trust issues: Customers are wary of links in texts, fearing phishing or malware.
  • Friction: Clicking links adds an extra step, reducing the seamlessness of SMS interactions.
  • Character limits: Long links take up precious space within your text message.

Instead, Focus on Clarity and Directness:

  • Clear Calls To Action (CTAs): Explain what you want the customer to do directly in the text ("Reply YES to redeem!").
  • Utilize Keywords: Ask customers to text back specific keywords for an action (e.g., Text "SALE" to get today's discount code).
  • Shortened URLs: If links are essential, use a branded URL shortener and explain where it leads ("Claim your gift: [shortened URL]").


3. Understand the Trust Element

Text messaging feels more personal than almost any other marketing channel. You're entering the same space as their communications with friends and family. Treat that trust with respect.

  • Permission is paramount: Never send SMS marketing messages without clear, opt-in consent.
  • Transparent identity: Clearly identify your business in every message.
  • Respect boundaries: Avoid spammy behavior. Don't bombard customers with excessive texts or ignore 'STOP' requests.
  • Offer value: If your texts aren't helpful, customers will tune out quickly, damaging your long-term trust.


4. Make Awareness Your Goal

While SMS can directly drive sales, it's also powerful for building brand awareness and deepening customer relationships. Here's how:

  • Contests and giveaways: Encourage participation and spread awareness with text-to-enter contests or giveaways.
  • Behind-the-scenes: Offer text-exclusive peeks at upcoming product launches or insights into your company culture.
  • Customer feedback: Use SMS to send quick surveys or ask for reviews. This shows you value customer opinions.
  • Conversational communication: Allow two-way communication where appropriate. This can help solve customer issues quickly and build loyalty.


Additional SMS Best Practices

  • Get Explicit Consent: Stay compliant with regulations like the TCPA.
  • Keep Messages Concise: People appreciate brevity in their texts.
  • Include a Call to Action: Tell customers what you want them to do (visit your site, use a code, etc.)
  • Offer Opt-Out Options: Allow individuals to unsubscribe easily.


Final Thoughts

SMS marketing should be a key part of your omni-channel marketing strategy. If you're not leveraging the power of text messaging, you're missing out on a fantastic opportunity to drive sales, deepen customer relationships, and boost your bottom line.

 Integrate these SMS tips and best practices into your next campaign and watch your ROI skyrocket.

Have questions? Reach out today and get a free digital marketing consultation!