• April 21, 2021
  • By Jason Smith, sales engineer, CallTrackingMetrics

SMS Marketing: How to Generate, Nurture, and Convert More Leads with Text Messages

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If you remember the era when people preferred to talk on the phone as opposed to sending a text message, then you likely also remember when Facebook was only for college students and the first-generation Apple iPod Nano was all the rage.

The point is: We have evolved drastically over the past several years and as our preferences change, so should our marketing strategy.

Text messaging is the No. 1 form of communication and for good reason; according to GSMA real-time intelligence data, 67 percent of the total world population own a mobile device. Tack on the fact that SMS messages have a 98 percent open rate and a whopping 209 percent higher response rate than email, phone calls, and even Facebook, and you’ll understand why marketers are quickly shifting to a text message marketing strategy.

With the statistics above, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize text message marketing strategies can assist in generating, nurturing, and converting leads. But what is important to note is how. Because, believe it or not, not all SMS marketing provides the same results. Let’s break it down.

SMS Marketing Lets You Meet Customers Where They Are

In its most basic form, a successful marketing campaign needs to have the ability to meet its customers where they are. With the high amount of open rates for text messages, having an SMS marketing strategy is likely a good first step. But meeting your customers where they are encompasses many different aspects: language, amount of messages sent, and so much more. The great news? SMS marketing allows you to segment your lists so that you are personalizing your approach to align with each different group of prospects based on where they are and their preferences.

For instance, sending emojis and gifs to customers over the age of 40 (and even that is a stretch) is likely not going to resonate as much with that demographic as it would for younger Millennials and our Generation Z consumers.

For text message marketing strategies to generate, nurture, and convert leads at the highest level, you need to know your customers, understand how and when they prefer to communicate, and segment your lists. Segmentation allows you to maximize and amplify your conversion rates by ensuring the right people are receiving the right text messages for them. Text message marketing services can help you segment your lists, customize the messaging, and, overall, streamline and maximize the campaign process.

It’s important to remember that in text message marketing, you are talking directly to the customer and reaching out to their personal device. This isn’t a broad billboard advertisement on the side of the interstate. Target your consumer through their preferred channel to yield the best results.

Determine the Optimal Timing for Text Messaging Outreach

Believe it or not, sending the exact same text at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. can yield totally different conversion rates. For each segmented group, the times they prefer communication may vastly differ, and as a result, by not working to align with the time in which they are most receptive, you may not see improvements in lead generation. Rule of thumb: studies show that 12 p.m. is the most common and effective time to send out a campaign message. Alternatively, Sundays are the least popular.

Now timing doesn’t just refer to the time of day, but also when to reach out and when not to. Are certain consumers experiencing a crisis, for instance, the detrimental storms in Texas earlier in 2021? Don’t be tone-deaf; temporarily cease your texts for those groups undergoing a known crisis.

Regardless of the timing you determine to be the most optimal for your prospects, make sure to add in deadlines or a time limit to take advantage of the offer. Creating a sense of urgency is notoriously effective in increasing overall conversion rates.

Marketers Should Avoid Cold-Texting, Opt for Organic List Creation

For marketers just beginning the SMS marketing journey, it may be enticing to purchase a cold list of numbers. While you may feel like you streamlined the process and are able to hit the ground running ahead of everyone else, it actually couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Cold texting is greatly ineffective and in fact it’s not permitted. The CAN-SPAM Act makes it illegal for companies to send non-requested text messages to cell phone numbers without prior consent or in the event of an emergency.

Legal or illegal, this won’t improve your lead generation. Instead, build out your list organically so marketers know from the beginning that the consumers on the list are actually interested in what you have to say and offer. Effective ways to build out your organic list is by incorporating opt-in opportunities on your other marketing assets such as your website, social media platforms, and emails. To take it a step further, you can also look into paid ads to raise awareness of your text messages.

An organic list for SMS marketing campaigns provides you the greatest chance to increase conversions. Why? Because your list is compiled of subscribers who are already interested in your brand, products, or offers; without that initial interest, enticing them to purchase simply through a text message will be increasingly more difficult.

Text Your Customers an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Use text message campaigns to provide your customers with an exclusive offer they can’t refuse. Unless you are a high-profile celebrity, generally your subscribers aren’t going to have much interest unless there’s something in it for them.

Leverage SMS marketing as a way to receive early access to products/services, exclusive deals or even free products. Let’s put it this way: Your text message subscribers are on the VIP list for your company. Incentivizing your prospects with perks helps marketers build their organic texting list much easier.

While providing perks for signing up is important, you need a way to keep subscribers from replying “STOP” to your messages after receiving the first offer. Offer promotions regularly to show that consumers should stick around. Likewise, it is important to be clear and concise about what you want the subscriber to do after receiving the text. If it’s hidden in a long text message and not clearly outlining what it is, you’re less likely to receive leads. Adding a call to action in every text campaign is key.

Text message marketing strategies have the ability to increase conversions and sales, but only if implemented correctly. By following these tips, marketers have a guide to success in SMS marketing; however, for long-term success leveraging text message marketing campaigns, we must track the progress of our efforts and be flexible to make adjustments based on our organization’s results. Text messaging is here to stay; marketers integrating SMS marketing now will be ahead of the curve.

Jason Smith brings more than 20 years of telecommunications experience to the CallTrackingMetrics team. As the sales engineer, Smith partners with both the sales and engineering teams to match customers with a customized solution to meet their business needs.

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