Digital marketing can be one of the easiest ways for small businesses to reach their customers. It can strengthen relationships, develop loyalty, and help create sustainable revenue. You’re no doubt familiar with email marketing—it’s among the most widely used digital marketing channels—but SMS marketing is an excellent complement, thanks to its high reach, ease of personalization, and effectiveness.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing sends personalized content, notifications, and timely promotions to your customers or potential customers through text messages, also known as SMS (Short Message Service).
- SMS marketing can be an excellent tool for businesses. Since most people carry their mobile phones with them at all times, texting provides a direct and immediate way to reach your audience, no matter where they are.
- Compared to traditional email marketing, SMS messages have higher open rates, with an average of 95%, and an average reply time of within 4 minutes. But the success of any marketing channel isn't just based on delivery and open rates—it's about getting customers to engage and take action on the offers within those messages. When used correctly, SMS can be a powerful tool for driving engagement, conversion, and brand loyalty.
- Also, adding SMS to your multichannel marketing can provide a well-rounded customer experience. Email allows for rich content and storytelling, while SMS provides immediacy for time-sensitive content. For example, you can use text messages to remind customers of an upcoming product launch 2 days before and then email them with more detailed product information and photos to complement the SMS text.
- Let's talk about setting up your SMS marketing list and how to incentivize customers to join.
Building a permission-based SMS subscriber list
Failing to obtain consent before texting your customers could result in noncompliance with various regulations and customers reporting your messages as spam, which could result in aggressive spam filtering or denylisting, preventing some subscribers from receiving any of your campaigns.
You must also include an easy opt-out method to allow customers to easily unsubscribe. Please research applicable SMS laws and regulations or seek legal advice for assistance.
Set up your SMS strategy
Mailchimp simplifies the process of adding SMS to your marketing strategy*. With our 300+ integrations and multiple channels, it's easy to add it on to your current marketing road map. Using multiple complementary channels can really help expand your reach when communicating with your customers. Always make sure that you add an easy opt-out option for your SMS subscribers. This can be done by having them reply 'stop' or 'unsubscribe' to be removed from the list.
5 tips to get SMS marketing consent from existing email subscribers
- Make it easy. Make it simple for subscribers to sign up for SMS marketing by including a checkbox on your email signup form, a link in your email signature, or a signup form on your website where customers can opt in.
- Tell them what to expect. For a better sign-up experience, personalize your message and tell them what type of messages (exclusive offers or discounts, for example) they'll receive.
- Verify your customer’s phone numbers. Once a customer has signed up by providing their phone number, you can send them an SMS asking them to verify their number followed by their first offer.
- Every word counts. SMS messages are short, so it's crucial to be concise and straightforward and always include a call to action and who is sending the message.
- Send an SMS-only offer. Send an email offer to email subscribers that's only available to SMS subscribers. A simple "Hi! Enjoy 15% off sitewide when you sign up for our SMS alerts. Offer valid until Wednesday!" can encourage customers to join and check out your new products.
Retain your SMS subscribers
Once you have a healthy, growing SMS subscriber list, retention is your next priority. Here are a few ways you can easily stay on top of your SMS list.
- Choose double opt-in. You must always obtain explicit consent from customers before sending SMS messages. Double opt-in sends a text confirmation to the customer after they signed up for your company’s texts to confirm their sign up—similar to email lists. This can improve deliverability to help ensure that you're only customers that want to receive them and show respect for their time.
- Be transparent about frequency. Because SMS is personal and immediate, it can also be annoying if it seems like a barrage. Let your customers know that you'll only text them with valuable offers.
- Segment your audience. Separating your audience into groups and tailoring your messages to their specific needs can help increase engagement. For example, you can create a group of subscribers who recently purchased from your website and send them exclusive SMS offers.
- Keep your branding consistent. Maintaining consistent messaging across both email and SMS marketing reinforces brand identity, to help make your brand more recognizable and memorable for customers.
Expand your reach with effective SMS marketing campaigns
SMS marketing is a direct and personal way for businesses to communicate with customers. With Mailchimp, you can use SMS and email marketing in tandem*—all in one place—to boost your business's bottom line. SMS marketing can enhance engagement, get immediate responses, and build strong relationships.
*SMS is available as an add-on to US paid plans only and SMS credits are added to your account after purchase. Application and agreement to terms are required before purchasing credits. Credits are issued monthly and unused credits expire and do not roll over. Pricing varies. See terms for details.
Availability of features and functionality varies by plan type. For details, please view Mailchimp's various plans and pricing.