By Kalin Kassabov
SMS (text) marketing has been around for a while now, but the field is always evolving. Since I founded my own SMS marketing company in 2010, I’ve seen many important changes in the way SMS campaigns are run. Just as importantly, I’ve watched the industry grow by leaps and bounds as mobile technology has spread quickly around the world. This means that there’s more potential now than ever before to reap the advantages of SMS marketing.
One of the things I frequently tell clients is that they don’t have to think of SMS as a replacement for their other marketing activities. In fact, some of the best results I’ve seen are from businesses that incorporate SMS into their overall marketing strategy. Text marketing can complement other strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and email marketing.
How to Integrate SMS Into Your Marketing Campaigns
Nowadays, smartphones and mobile devices have become an increasingly popular way to access the internet. People use them not only for phone calls, but also to access social media sites, check email, and of course, to send and receive text messages.
Because phones are now such a ubiquitous part of modern culture, they can be integrated with your other marketing efforts. SMS marketing offers many apps and services that make it easy to connect text marketing with other platforms, such as:
- Capture emails: You can use an app that lets you capture email addresses via text. This gives you another way to build your email list and power your email marketing campaigns.
- Social media: You can use SMS to get more social media followers by running contests and sweepstakes that are promoted by both social media and SMS. For example, people can enter text-to-win contests by texting a short code. Place the short code on your Facebook or Twitter, making it easy for your followers to enter the contest. You can also do it the other way around—send your SMS contacts texts about a contest you’re running on your Facebook page.
- App downloads and website traffic: Use text marketing to direct people to download your app or visit your website. By delivering a direct link to download on the app store, people can immediately download it instead of having to search for it.
- Live events and offline marketing: SMS is also a powerful way to boost the effectiveness of your offline marketing campaigns, such as sales and special events held at a retail store. The traditional practices of putting up billboards or hanging up flyers can be enhanced and modernized by using SMS or QR codes that let people enter your contest or join your list instantly.
Enter the New Wave of SMS Marketing
As I mentioned, SMS marketing has changed quite a bit in recent years. When I first entered the field, SMS was a new concept and involved lots of experimentation. Early text marketing suffered some of the same flaws as early email marketing, such as sending messages without permission, or creating lists that were not well targeted.
We are now entering what I see as the second wave of SMS marketing. Here are some of the characteristics of this new and more powerful wave.
- Building targeted and segmented lists: The key to successful SMS marketing, which holds true for all types of marketing, is to send messages to the right audience.
- Developing good timing: You want to send messages consistently, but not so frequently that it becomes annoying. You also want to identify the best times of day and days of the week to send messages. This is another area where testing and analytics helps you become more effective.
- Integrating SMS with your other marketing efforts: As discussed, you should look for ways to make text messaging fit in seamlessly with your overall marketing strategy.
- Creating compelling offers: One of the benefits of SMS marketing is that there are many ways to provide value with your messages. Contests, promo codes, and giveaways encourage people to respond to your texts and check out your offers.
While SMS marketing is no longer new, you still have plenty of time to benefit from this industry’s new wave. There are now more ways than ever to make text marketing a powerful component of your marketing mix.
Kalin Kassabov is founder and CEO of ProTexting.com, a fast-growing, enterprise-level text message suite of services.
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