SMS Marketing In 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

SMS marketing is proving to be one of the most effective channels in company-customer communication.

Here’s why and what are the best practices to follow.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses SMS (Short Message Service) to convey commercial, promotional, or informational messages.

The service SMS is used by companies, businesses, and institutions with the goal of increasing sales and retaining and acquiring new customers.

SMS Marketing: The Data

What are the SMS marketing trends in 2023? Tech Jury shares some significant data:

  • 66% of the world population receives text messages (text messages are delivered even without Internet access and this is a huge pro)
  • 75% of consumers find it useful to receive text messages from companies to which they have given their consent
  • Text messages have an incredible 98% open rate
  • SMS has a 209% higher response rate than calls, emails or Facebook
  • 60% of customers read messages within 1-5 minutes of receiving them

Other data from SMSEagle: 23 billion SMS are sent every day in the world, equal to 270,000 SMS per second! While you were reading this data, these 1 million SMS were sent, that’s a really important number.

This demonstrates that SMS has not died at all with the advent of smartphones. 

On the contrary! People always carry smartphones, so the effectiveness of SMS marketing is increasing.

A study conducted by British psychologists has found that on average people spend twice as much time as they thought on their smartphones. It is estimated that users tap their phone 2,617 times a day, interesting isn’t it?

SMS has become particularly useful for reaching younger audiences. A study conducted by OneReach found that 85% of student-age consumers prefer SMS as a customer service tool.

These data demonstrate a large use of corporate SMS by younger audiences, suggesting that the effectiveness of SMS marketing will continue to grow.

Additionally, text messages have a 209% higher response rate than emails.

Warning: This doesn’t mean that email marketing isn’t a good communication channel or that SMS marketing is the only type of marketing that works. Like everything, the right lies in the middle and it’s just the proper mix of channels and strategies that brings results. However, it is essential NOT to exclude SMS from your strategy, because (as amply demonstrated by these data) it would be a missed, great opportunity.

SMS Marketing or WhatsApp?

If you’re thinking of WhatsApp as an alternative to SMS, let’s immediately clear up any doubts.

Let’s start from the assumption that nothing is “right” or “wrong”, simply depending on your goals there is one channel more effective than the other.

When you write to friends and relatives, you will probably use WhatsApp (and not SMS), because your goal is to exchange text, audio, video, and photo messages without limits of characters, space, or any other type. WhatsApp is perfect, while in this case, SMS is very limiting.

But is all of this valid in the dialogue between the company and the customer? The fact that private conversations have mainly moved to WhatsApp (or other instant messaging tools like Telegram, Direct, or Messenger) has played in favor of SMS marketing. Today, many notifications and emails arrive on our smartphones, but very few text messages.

Furthermore, WhatsApp prohibits the sending of promotional messages, as described in the App’s Terms of Service. This means that if you want to send a WhatsApp message to customers notifying them of special discounts or sales, your account could be blocked.

Another con. You cannot program messages based on dates or appointments, and therefore you will never be able to send a reminder WhatsApp message or wish a happy birthday (as you can do with SMS instead). However, if you opt for WhatsApp CRM Software, you can easily broadcast promotional messages, auto-send appointment confirmations, and reminders, automate WhatsApp marketing and sales workflows, use a chatbot for customer support, and do much more.

For this reason, in the business world, it is preferable to use text messages, except for some special cases.

SMS Marketing: Goals to Achieve

Here you are.

You have arrived at the key point: the objectives. 

Yes, because in order to be defined as such, every marketing action must start from an objective, which must then be measured at the end of each campaign (e.g. KPIs – Key Performance Indicators).

With SMS marketing you can achieve three main objectives:

  • Sell
  • Build Loyalty
  • Acquire New Customers

Let’s try to go into detail about each item, to better understand what it means.

1. Sell

Talking about SMS marketing with a sales objective, we can refer to promotional SMS that you can send as a company to stimulate customers to make a purchase.

This category includes all text messages for sales such as:

“[customer name] start the new year with great deals! Grab a 30% discount on all clothing and footwear, only until February 7th. We are waiting for you!”

Even when you send a discount coupon, your goal may be to sell.

For example, a valid strategy for reviving old customers is to give them a personalized discount: an incentive for a valid and successful purchase.

Here is an example of a promotional SMS with coupons:

“[customer name], wonderful new arrivals in store. We have reserved you a €10 coupon by presenting the code D9RTK at the cash desk. We are waiting for you!”

2. Build loyalty

SMS marketing is an excellent channel for building loyalty because it allows you to make a direct and personalized relationship with each customer.

An evergreen strategy is to send discount coupons.

Customers will feel rewarded in receiving a discount just for them, they will appreciate this gesture and they will be more inclined to evaluate your business positively (and to buy from you).

Here is an example of SMS:

[customer name], thank you for joining us! Show the code MKJ32E at the cash desk and you will immediately get a 20% discount on your purchase. We are waiting for you!

Another idea?

Establish a personal connection with customers.

Send an SMS on important moments like birthdays, or anniversaries. In the wish message, add a gift voucher or discount code, it will be surely appreciated:

Happy birthday [customer name]! Celebrate your birthday with us tomorrow: We’ll give you a free dinner for 2 for the price of 1. Call us at [phone number] and book, we can’t wait!

Information text messages, such as appointment reminders or expiration notices, also fall within the sphere of loyalty.

For example, your insurance agency sends you a reminder SMS to remind you that your car policy is about to expire. Thank goodness they told you or you would have forgotten. In this case, the loyalty goal was achieved.

3. Acquire New Customers

SMS is also very effective in lead generation or in the process of acquiring new contacts.

Joining the loyalty program is one of the most effective strategies, because it allows you to get in touch with the customer, and then add him into a communications system that leads him to come back to you.

There are also other ways to acquire contacts and we will talk about this in the next paragraph. However, it is important to underline that once you have the mobile number, you must be ready to manage it.

What does this mean?

Choose the right platform or service that allows you to automatically send, immediately after receiving the phone number, a welcome SMS to the customer, explaining how to unsubscribe from the service. An opt-out (unsubscribe) link is usually provided by the platform.

It is an option that will please the user because they will feel they can opt-out. At the same time, there won’t be many who unsubscribe immediately, because if they left you the contact there must be a reason, right? 

How to Write an SMS That Works

SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service. The first undisputed feature is precisely its brevity: 160 characters.

This means that with a few words you have to be incisive and entice the customer to take the action you want, such as coming to the store to buy for the sales.

Here are 3 useful tips for writing an effective SMS:

  • Use the custom sender, which is an alias that matches your business name. The recipient will recognize who sent him the message and you will be able to immediately convey a feeling of trust. 
  • Use custom fields. Enter the customer’s name in the message. You don’t have to write it manually, but if you have also collected names in your contact list, with the custom fields you can set the platform to insert it, automatically.
  • Call to action. Each SMS marketing campaign must have a specific call to action. What do you want to achieve? Write it loud and clear! Add a discount coupon to encourage customers to come to the store or insert a link to a landing page/your website and track who clicks on the link. 

When to Send Your SMS?

Finally, to optimize the effectiveness of the SMS, there are some rules to respect regarding the sending time.

Here are some tips that might help you:

  • Avoid Mondays if possible. Unless your message is tied to a specific date (e.g. a reminder), Monday is the day with the lowest response rate. This is probably due to the high volume of information and work that has accumulated over the weekend
  • Avoid annoying hours. In principle, don’t text when you don’t usually want to be disturbed. So don’t send for lunch, dinner or too early in the morning or late in the evening, it could be counterproductive!
  • Thursday and Friday. For example, between 14:00 and 17:00 are the best days to invite your customers to visit your shop at the weekend.
  • Appointment setting reminders. Reminders must be sent at least 24 hours before the deadline and must contain all the details of the appointment.
  • Are you organizing an event? Sending a couple of reminders spaced out before the event itself greatly increases registrations and attendance. Include useful event details such as times and logistics information in your messages.
  • The midday lunch break. Are you looking to bring more customers to your cafe, or restaurant? Submit your notice at 11:30 a.m. to grab the attention of those making lunch plans. Add an instant offer and make it feel almost like an invitation instead of just advertising.
  • Holidays. Send messages with interesting content related to the holiday a week in advance so people have time to plan. For example, you could propose some Valentine’s Day marketing or Christmas marketing, using SMS as one of the communication channels.

All Clear? Happy SMS marketing!

This guide explored different topics related to SMS marketing and now you have all the tools to get started!

Remember. Today, SMS marketing is more effective than ever.

Give it your all and bring home the results your business deserves!

Erik Emanuelli Emanuelli
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2 thoughts on “SMS Marketing In 2023: A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. “SMS marketing” is the next messaging frontier. When it comes to communication between customers and businesses, email and SMS are the most preferred channels. In fact, more than 39% of consumers prefer to receive SMS messages from companies—that’s more than for mobile apps, social media channels, messaging apps, or phone calls.

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