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SMS Sales Strategies: Winning Customers on the Go

Unlock business success with our SMS sales strategies. Reach customers on the go and boost sales effortlessly.

With most individuals never more than an arm's length away from their smartphones, Short Message Service (SMS) marketing, or text message marketing, is a popular choice for engagement.

Quick, direct, and personal, SMS is a unique channel unlike any other. Historically, SMS was a simple communication tool primarily used for personal conversations.

However, it has transformed into a dynamic sales and marketing instrument, enabling businesses to connect with their audiences in real time, send timely promotions, and receive instant feedback.

The ability to communicate a flash sale or special discount directly to your customers without being lost in their social media feeds or email inboxes is invaluable.

Businesses of all sizes can use SMS sales strategies to foster loyalty, inform customers about new products and services, or gather feedback while creating an essential touchpoint in a multi-channel marketing strategy, driving traffic to online platforms or physical stores.

Keep reading to learn more about SMS sales strategies and how they can help your business stand out.

Mobile devices have firmly entrenched themselves in the fabric of modern society. From the moment we wake up to the last check before sleep, these devices play a pivotal role in communicating, working, entertaining, and shopping.

SMS boasts an astounding open rate of around 98%, unlike other communication channels. This dwarfs other mediums, and even more impressively, most of these text messages are read within just a few minutes of receipt.

When integrated seamlessly with other sales channels, the potential of SMS marketing multiplies. Consider e-commerce websites: An SMS can alert customers of a flash sale, with a link driving them directly to the site.

Similarly, for brick-and-mortar stores, an SMS might offer an exclusive in-store discount, incentivizing foot traffic. When combined with social media or email campaigns, SMS can be a reinforcement, ensuring the message is received and acted upon.

Ultimately, the directness and immediacy of SMS offer businesses a unique advantage. It provides an additional touchpoint that's almost guaranteed to be seen. Utilizing the right SMS marketing software further enhances the campaign's efficiency.

When comparing SMS vs. MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), SMS is generally more versatile and has a broader reach. While MMS allows for richer content like images and videos, it might not be supported on all devices or might incur additional costs for the recipient.

Thus, for sales strategies, the straightforward nature of SMS often proves more effective.

Build an SMS sales list

Building an effective SMS subscriber list is the foundation of any successful SMS marketing campaign, with the goal of converting leads into loyal customers.

Unlike other channels, SMS requires a delicate balance of personal touch and respect for privacy. As such, a targeted and opt-in list becomes crucial to ensure your text messages are welcomed and effective.

To collect opt-in SMS contacts, you can:

  • Promote on other channels: Use your existing email newsletters, social media profiles, and website to promote your SMS subscription.
  • Incentivize sign-ups: Offer exclusive deals, discounts, or early access to sales for customers who opt into your SMS list. This encourages sign-ups while setting the tone of the kind of value SMS subscribers can expect.
  • Use physical store promotions: If you have a brick-and-mortar store, use point-of-sale (POS) displays or receipts to encourage customers to join your SMS list. QR codes can also be a quick and efficient method for in-person sign-ups.
  • Collect during checkout: Another effective method is to collect phone numbers during checkout. Physical stores can ask customers if they'd like to sign up, while e-commerce brands can include an empty opt-in checkbox on the checkout page.

It's crucial to understand that there are several regulations that govern SMS marketing and protect consumers from spam and unwanted text messages. Complying with these regulations avoids penalties and helps you to build trust with your customers.

Always ensure that customers have explicitly opted-in to receive text messages from you. You can use a double opt-in process using an SMS short code, a 5-6 digit number, to simplify the double opt-in process for your customers.

Provide a clear and straightforward way for SMS subscribers to opt-out, typically in the form of a simple "STOP" reply command or an unsubscribe link. You should also be transparent about the frequency of text messages they can expect and stick to it.

As your SMS subscriber list grows, you may have difficulty managing it manually. Several tools and platforms like Mailchimp can help manage contacts, segment lists, draft and schedule messages, and ensure compliance with regulations.

While SMS offers a direct route to your customers, its limited character count poses a challenge. Every word counts and the message needs to be concise yet impactful.

Crafting an effective SMS marketing message can make the difference between an engaged customer and one who opts out. Here are a few tips to help you create compelling messages:

  • Keep it short and sweet: With typically just 160 characters to work with, brevity is key. Avoid jargon and be direct in your messaging.
  • Create urgency: Phrases like "limited offer" or "today only" can push customers to take action immediately.
  • Include a clear call-to-action (CTA): Be explicit in what you want the receiver to do. Whether it's "Shop Now," "Reply Yes," or "Visit Our Store," make sure the action is clear.

For example, let's say you're an e-commerce business promoting its flash sale. You might use a text message like this: "Flash Sale! 50% off select items until midnight. Shop now."

Meanwhile, if you wanted to target a specific customer, you might use "Exclusive for you, Sara! Free shipping on your next order. Use code SHIPFREE at checkout."

Just as with email marketing, personalization can elevate the impact of text message marketing campaigns and increase customer loyalty. Addressing the subscriber by name or referencing a past purchase can make the text message feel more tailored and special. Segmentation can further refine this approach.

For instance, if you have a list segment of customers who frequently purchase skincare products, an SMS about a new skincare line or discount on their favorite products can be more effective than a generic text message.

Conversely, for a segment that's been inactive, a special "We Miss You" discount might re-engage them.

Another emerging trend in SMS marketing is conversational SMS. This approach enables two-way messaging between the brand and the customer.

Rather than just sending out promotional content, businesses can engage in real-time conversations, address queries, and provide immediate assistance. It creates a personalized experience, making the customer feel valued and understood.

Time and frequency of SMS campaigns

One of the most critical components of an effective SMS campaign is the timing and frequency. Getting this right ensures your text message is seen, welcomed, and acted upon. SMS marketing strategies also consider the perfect moment to send appointment reminders, ensuring higher attendance or product purchase rates

Unlike emails, which can be checked periodically, SMS messages command instant attention. Most texts are read within just a few minutes of receiving them.

To leverage this immediacy, respect your customers' boundaries and avoid early mornings and late nights. Instead, stick to sending text messages during regular waking hours.

You should also consider peak activity times. Depending on your business, times when people typically shop or engage with your kind of service might be ideal. For instance, lunch hours or early evenings may be effective for retail promotions.

How often you send your SMS messages is just as important as when you send them. The ideal frequency can vary based on the nature of your business and the preferences of your audience. However, as a general rule, you should limit the frequency to about one or two texts a week to stay top-of-mind and avoid overwhelming subscribers.

Remember, every SMS is an intrusion into your customers' personal spaces. While they can be effective, overuse can lead to fatigue, with higher opt-out rates.

To avoid overuse and spamming your customers, only send text messages that offer tangible benefits or value to the recipient, such as exclusive discounts, important news, or a special event. You should also allow subscribers to customize how often they hear from you or what kinds of updates they wish to be notified.

Drive sales with SMS

SMS offers a unique opportunity to drive sales through real-time, immediate CTAs. Flash sales, limited-time offers, and exclusive discounts are a few of the most popular SMS strategies for promoting products and services.

The immediacy of SMS makes it perfect for time-sensitive promotions to create urgency and spur immediate action.

At the same time, you can reward SMS subscribers with special deals that aren't available through other channels. This adds value to your SMS subscription and encourages more sign-ups.

Promotional SMS can also be used for new product launches, allowing you to announce new products or services directly to your most engaged customers.

You'll also need to consider your call-to-action to craft the perfect SMS marketing message. CTAs must be clear, direct, and compelling. Given your limited character limit, CTAs must also be short. You should also consider where you're ending subscribers.

For instance, if you're driving traffic to your website, you should ensure the landing page is mobile-friendly since most people will access it via their smartphones.

Your SMS marketing strategy should be dynamic, evolving based on the feedback and metrics from previous campaigns. Understanding the impact of your SMS campaigns allows you to track specific metrics that give insight into the effectiveness and areas of potential improvement. Key metrics to track for SMS marketing campaigns include the following:

  • Open rate: While text message marketing typically enjoys high open rates, keeping an eye on this metric ensures that your text messages remain effective and aren't being ignored.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): If your SMS contains links to promotions or products, engagement metrics like CTR can provide insights into how compelling your CTA was.
  • Conversion rate: Beyond clicks, how many of those led to the desired action? Conversions could be a sale, sign-up, or another defined action.
  • Opt-out rate: Monitor how many subscribers are choosing to leave your list after a campaign. A sudden spike might indicate that a particular message didn't resonate or was considered intrusive.

Using SMS marketing examples from successful campaigns can be beneficial to understand what resonates with your target audience. Monitoring these metrics can help inform your strategy while highlighting elements that worked or didn't.

Mailchimp has integrated SMS tracking to provide insights on the above metrics, along with others. Our analytics tools offer a comprehensive view of SMS campaign performance, allowing for continuous optimization.

With the data at hand, businesses can refine their SMS marketing strategies. For instance, SMS messages sent at a particular time of day may perform better, or certain types of offers resonate more. By leveraging this data, you can craft more targeted, effective text campaigns in the future.

Future trends in SMS sales

SMS will continue to adapt and evolve alongside technology. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) may play a more significant role in SMS marketing as time goes on. They can provide predictive insights on customer behavior, allowing for even more personalized text messaging.

Additionally, the integration of e-commerce platforms and payment gateways directly within SMS interfaces could streamline the shopping experience, making it more seamless than ever.

Mailchimp can be an invaluable tool for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve in SMS sales strategies. Our suite of marketing tools is continuously evolving, offering integrated solutions for SMS marketing, analytics, and more.

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