How to Win at SMS Channel Engagement

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Did you know a recent study found that Americans check their phones 344 times daily, on average? That’s once every 4 minutes! It also means that an SMS from your brand can get your customers' attention every 4 minutes.

The Rise of SMS Marketing

The growing reliance on mobile devices has increased customer interest in SMS as a channel to communicate with their favorite brands.

According to the Customer Engagement Benchmarks Report, 2022, SMS is the fastest-growing channel among Americans over 45, with 26.4 percent preferring it over other channels to receive subscription renewals and reminders in the media and entertainment sector. This report also found that SMS is one of the preferred channels (25.8 percent) by Americans for getting shipping updates and alerts.

Why You Should Adopt SMS Marketing

As per The State of Insights-led Engagement Report 2022, SMS is the third most used channel by marketers in North America for omnichannel engagement, after email and chatting apps. The SMS marketing software space is expected to grow at almost 20 percent CAGR between 2022 and 2026, with North America contributing to 35 percent of this growth.

Along with this, here are more reasons why you must integrate SMS into your omnichannel strategy:

Easy setup and fast delivery. SMS requires little preparation, as the format is structured for relatively short messages. Also, quick delivery is the standard.

Promising engagement metrics. Various reports showcase that SMS open rates are as high as 98 percent, and the average SMS CTR is 30 percent

Growth in subscribers. SMS opt-ins are the most organic way to grow subscribers and communicate with your customers without relying on third-party data.

Improvements in ROI. Customer engagement platforms that support SMS marketing have features such as the best time to send and the best channel to send, which allow you to maximize read rates, boost engagement, and ultimately increase your revenue.

Ways in Which You Can Leverage SMS for Your Brand

Here are some ready-to-use SMS campaign ideas that you can use for your brand:

  • Welcome messages that create better onboarding experiences.
  • Personalized promotions like notifications of upcoming sales and buy-one-get-one offers.
  • Geolocation updates when the customer is in-store or within reach of the store location regarding new offers.
  • Reminders about items left in a shopping cart to reduce cart abandonment.
  • Suggestions that drive cross-channel engagement, like installing a new app or signing up for email updates.

To know more ways how SMS marketing can be a valuable driver of customer engagement for your brand, check out The Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing.

How to Do SMS Marketing Well

To be successful at SMS marketing you must also be aware of all the considerations for executing an SMS engagement strategy, including opt-in rules. Here are some of the things to be mindful of when planning for your SMS marketing programs:

1. You can embed SMS opt-in messages on your website and mobile app through targeted drip campaigns while providing an easy opt-out option to subscribers. This will help your SMS list-building efforts and grow your audience over time, while following opt-in/out best practices. For example, HAIRtamin, a natural dietary supplement brand, features a website pop-up that offers an exclusive discount to customers who opt-in for its SMS service.

2. Customers can also be engaged at multiple touchpoints across online and offline channels, including billboards, television, print, SMS, Email, app, and website, to create an unforgettable experience for your customers.

3. Find a reliable customer engagement platform to help you with A/B testing and successfully implementing your omnichannel customer engagement strategy. This will ensure you send brand communication to your customers at the best time and on the best channel (even if it’s not SMS).

4. Configure two-way communication to ensure the brand communication is conversational and not a one-way street. For example, Lowe's, the home improvement retail chain, helps customers communicate with the brand through a series of FAQs and answers, allowing them to resolve their queries and make informed decisions.

5. Make sure you personalize and send highly relevant messages to the intended recipient. Customize text messages based on the subscriber’s name and customer journey. Also, add a link to a previously searched product, an item left in an abandoned cart, or a successfully delivered order and build retargeting campaigns as needed.

6. Don’t forget about MMS. MMS doesn't follow the standard 160-character text limit and allows you to engage your customer with interactive content such as images, videos, and GIFs. For example, Ralph Lauren uses GIFs in its MMSes to elevate customers' shopping experiences and promote its ‘buy online and pay in-store’ offering.

In a Nutshell

The state of customer engagement today is mobile, and SMS as a channel has enormous potential if done right. If you want to reap maximum benefits from SMS marketing, the key is to incorporate it into your overall omnichannel strategy and create personalized micro-moments at every customer touchpoint. This will directly impact customer retention, leading to an increase in customer lifetime value and revenue.

Meagan White is the vice president of marketing, North America, for MoEngage, a leading customer engagement platform. She is passionate about helping B2B and B2C brands craft thoughtful, creative marketing strategies and campaigns.

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