SMSes not only have 98% open and read rates but are also read within the first 90 seconds of the delivery. Clearly, SMS is a valuable communication channel for businesses and one of the most common uses of SMS is to run campaigns. (Source: CTIA & SMS Comparison)
In this blog post, we’ll talk about how businesses can leverage SMS campaigns to grow revenue and improve customer experience, complete with examples and templates. We’ll also cover how to choose the right SMS provider for your business. Feel free to jump ahead to any of the following sections:
- What is an SMS campaign?
- Why is an SMS campaign important for a business?
- What are the various ways in which SMS campaigns can be used?
- Effective SMS campaign templates and checklists
- What to look for when selecting an SMS campaign software?
What is an SMS campaign and why is it important for a business?
Business SMS campaigns are the most popular form of getting the news out to the customer base. It is a bulk and collective way of sending automated messages in a personalised fashion.
This campaign can consist of various levels of information that a business wants to convey to its customers. Transactional, promotional, transactional opt-in and high priority messages are the various types of business SMS.
How can SMS campaigns benefit businesses?
SMS campaigns are vital for businesses. As a matter of fact, 77% of consumers are likely to have a positive perception of a company that communicates via SMS. (Source: ebusinessinstitute) Here’s why it’s important for a business to leverage SMS campaigns.
1. Best in class open rates
An average open rate of 98% is what makes SMS one of the most effective communication mediums.
SMSes are convenient too, and it is one of the most preferred customer communication channels for customers. A study says, 75% of consumers are comfortable receiving SMS messages from brands as long as they opt-in to messaging. (Source: Marketingprofs)
On the other hand, customers too prefer texting the business rather than jumping on a call. 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service. (Source: Nielsen) This emphasises the importance of SMS software for an effective and preferable communication method.
2. Drives the best response
SMSes drive the best response rate amongst the communication mediums with 45% whereas email has a bare minimum of 6% response rate.
This also results in maximised engagement, where the click-through rates go as high as 36% whereas the CTR for emails hit just 3.4% (Source: Statista)
With convenience and time-sensitive information sharability, SMS happens to be the best platform for feedback, CTR of in-text links and URLs, etc
3. Speed and ease
Creating and sending out an SMS campaign is easy when compared to an email campaign. Email campaign depends on other parameters like proper HTML structure, sender ID not marked as spam, etc. It is not the case with SMS.
SMS campaigns are simple where the message is tailored and sent to the contact list on selection. The delivery rates are higher, delivery speed is less than 4 seconds and reports say that customers tend to open the SMS within the first 90 seconds.
Various sectors in which SMSes are used and the response rates within the first 15 minutes of delivery are as below:
Betting & Trading: 33%
Travel & Transportation: 54%
Finance & Banking: 57%
These multifunctional messages may range from
If you need to inform your customers or potential customers about offers or promotions you’re running.
Eg: 50% off all your grocery orders in the next 24 hours. Log in to http://promotions.com to avail this offer.
If you need to send alerts such as order confirmation, delivery alerts, etc.
Eg: Your order no %d has been shipped. you will receive this order by %s. Thanks for using our services.
High priority SMS:
If you need to send alerts that come or stand for only a stipulated timeframe.
Eg: 47260 is your OTP for transactions. It is valid for 10 minutes. Do not share your OTP with anyone
Transactional Opt-in SMS:
If you need to send messages that are not purely transactional but are sent to registered customers/clients.
Eg: Dear $, thank you for attending the conference. We look forward to having more of you.
What are the various ways in which SMS campaigns can be used?
The intent behind business SMS is not only to market new products and services but also to retain the existing ones in the most effective way.
1. Personalise deals/offers
Based on the customer’s buying/usage pattern, businesses can send out personalised offers to retain and opt-in for more services.
2. Issue resolution through SMS
Monthly check-ups through SMS campaigns can be initiated where customers can text back to the campaign text seeking a solution or could avail a call back easily. This negates the process of going through a series of IVR inputs or chatbot conversations.
3. Cross-sell and upsell
Learn and analyse customer habits over a period of time. Through personalised SMS, find opportunities and sell various other products and services apart from the ones customers already use.
4. Personalised greetings
Sometimes sending informational messages such as birthday wishes, yearly anniversary wishes since initiating business with the client can have a huge impact on personalised customer experience.
5. Send transactional SMS
Instantly intimate your clients whenever there is an activity with regards to your business. Say, order confirmation, delivery scheduling, tracking shipment through links, etc.
6. Promote seasonal and holiday offers
High priority messages with offers that last only for a period of time can be sent through SMS. These seasonal offers have high chances of conversion as customers anticipate it.
7. Surveys and feedback
To improve the internal operations, businesses can send out feedback messages where customers can express their satisfaction scores. This has a great effect on CX.
Effective SMS campaign checklist
An effective SMS campaign is supposed to meet certain set parameters which aren’t negotiable. Here are a few things to keep in mind before getting started with an SMS campaign.
Personalise as much as you could: Use customer’s name in your text communication to give them a sense of being remembered by the business. This goes a long way in terms of CX.
Have a clear call to action: It is important to convey what’s the intent behind the message. Customers wouldn’t want to spend time on something they don’t understand.
Schedule campaigns during the best hours: It is important to study the best hours during which customers tend to open or read an SMS. Prepare in advance and schedule messages accordingly.
Iterate and reiterate your copy: As a single text message couldn’t consist of more than 160 characters, it is cost-effective to get an intriguing and straightforward message across to the audience.
Work on your contact list before a campaign: It is important to make sure that messages aren’t sent to customers that have either opted out or no longer use the number. This negates faulty analytics and cuts cost and effort.
Offer opting-out in every outreach: Make it clear to the customers that your business is open to stop sending any form of updates to its customers.
Here are a few examples of commonly-used SMS templates:
What to look for when selecting an SMS campaign software?
A reliable service: The service provider should be able to provide robust and easily usable software which attains the industry benchmark delivery rates. In addition to this, negating downtimes as much as possible should also be a key parameter.
Scalable on the go: If your business sends out more than twice the volume of SMSes during certain seasons, your provider should be able to handle it seamlessly. Easily switchable and upgradable plans help businesses handle peak seasons/weeks.
Easy integrations: Your business might be working with various other tools and your service provider should be able to make integrations feasible with CRM and helpdesk applications.
Track and obtain analytics: The service provider should be able to collate all the SMS data and provide in-depth analytics. This would help understand what works and what doesn’t. Monitor real-time campaign performance.
Try Exotel’s SMS campaign software on a 7-DAY free trial, or request a demo on how to build an SMS campaign for your business.