How to Effectively use SMS Across Your Business

As we enter the post-pandemic period, the pace of life and business is getting faster and faster.

The return to busy schedules makes it more important than ever to receive accurate and relevant information quickly to increase our productivity

Amongst the daily hustle and bustle, we are inundated with advertising, marketing and communication across a plethora of channels such as print, media, emails and phone calls.

To achieve cut-through in this landscape, content, timing and delivery are key.

SMS communication is the simplest and most effective way to reach your customer with relevant content. With an open rate of 98%, and with 90% of messages read within the first 3 minutes of being received, sending SMS online has become one of the most effective marketing & communications platforms to be utilised by businesses.

SMS technology’s high conversion rates and ability to boost other communication channels, has made working with an enterprise SMS provider vital for any business in today’s climate.

Related: The impact of SMS on open email rates

Mobiles have become one of the biggest platforms for communication.

With over 5 billion people now with mobile phone connection, the number of mobile phone users has tripled over the past decade.

And we are more reliant on our phones than ever before; for finding information at the tap of a button, to ordering groceries, managing banking, and communicating with friends, family and businesses. In many ways, our mobile phones have become an extension of our physical selves, and we are spending much more time engaging with them than we think. In fact, a recent study found that consumers spend roughly twice as much time on their mobiles than estimated, and touch their phones up to 2,617 times each day.

It is therefore no surprise that SMS communication is on the rise. And even less surprising that more and more businesses are turning to enterprise SMS gateway as their desired choice of 2-way client engagement.

In fact, one of the biggest companies in the world, Coca-Cola, now spends roughly 70% of its mobile marketing budget on SMS services, with no signs of slowing down.

High engagement rates

Business text messages have a 45% response rate (compared to email, which has 8%). But more importantly, the engagement with these messages is also significantly higher than other marketing channels. According to a study by FunMobility, the average bulk SMS marketing click-through rate is 36%, while email click-through rates remain at just 3.4%.

Debt collection agency Time Warner increased late bill collections by 49% after implementing SMS online software in its business. These results were easily trackable and indicated that business SMS reminders were their most effective communication tool for increasing turnover.

It is essential to measure your marketing campaigns' efficiency in order to identify areas for improvement.. You can easily track your SMS campaigns through Google Analytics using our guide to view click-through rates for every SMS message you send.

Related: SMSGlobal's automatic URL shortener and how to enable this feature

Related: How to view MXT reporting for URLs and click-through-rates

Structuring your SMS message

Now that we understand the value and opportunity provided by SMS, let’s look at how to best utilise the communications channel.

With text messages limited to 160 characters, it’s essential to keep content short and sharp. Your message structure will differ depending on what type of SMS material you're sending; however, this is a good guide to how to construct a message:

1. Company name - If you have a Sender ID, your brand name will appear at the top of the message thread. Alternatively, you can mention it at the beginning of the SMS.

2. Customer name - Effective business SMS communications are about making your communications personal, so put your customer's name in the opening line. You can automatically generate names and other customer information using the merge send field on web SMS software, so you don't have to create thousands of different messages.

3. The offer - This is where you should highlight the value for your customers. An offer could include a special deal, promotion, flash sale or coupon details.

4. Conditions - You should let the customers know what they have to do to qualify for the offer, such as spending over $20.

5. Instructions - Make it clear how customers can redeem your offer.

6. Expiry - Put the expiration date of your offer here to create urgency and make your deal seem limited and unique.

7. Opt-out - To avoid legal penalties, you must include an opt-out option for your customers.

When & Why to send a Text?

The time you choose to send an individual or bulk SMS is crucial to the success and conversion rate.

Different business text messages have differing 'best times' to send.

Here is our breakdown:

Appointment SMS Reminders

Appointment reminders are a great way to keep your customers updated and informed about their upcoming appointments dates. They also help minimise the likelihood of ‘no shows’.

An ideal time to send the appointment reminder is 24-48hrs prior to the appointment depending on your business's cancellation policy.

For messages regarding subscription reminders, send the SMS well before the renewal date to help your clients manage their banking and payments effectively. This ensures that you do your part in assisting them in maintaining their service with you.

Using SMSGlobal's Enterprise SMS solutions, we give you the option to integrate and automate SMS appointment reminders within your CRM or use our turn-key SMS platform for instant messaging.

Payment reminders

Having to collect payments can be difficult for businesses. This impacts cash flow and can sometimes affect the dynamics of the business relationship.

When it comes to payment reminders, a subtle approach to advise customers about due payments is often best, especially if it is a first reminder. After all, it's highly likely that the customer has simply overlooked the payment. Trying to first engage with them in a friendly manner will, in most cases, increase success rates.

Sending an SMS payment reminder message is often an effective enough reminder, eliminating the need for follow-up calls, voicemails, and blocked calls.

General marketing messages

(Including SMS coupons, URLs to landing pages, opening hours, and loyalty program deals)

To increase the likelihood of a positive response to marketing messages, ensure they are sent at a time that is less likely to be disruptive, such as mid morning or early afternoon. Avoid sending messages early in the morning or late in the evening.

From research into best practices, we found the most successful time for general marketing messages is between 10:30 am, 11:30 am and 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm.

SMSGlobal tip: avoid sending your messages right on the dot. Try sending at more unusual times, such as 10:57 am so that your marketing message isn't overshadowed by others sent at the same time.

Automating your Short Messaging Service

An automated marketing process reduces staff costs, increases ROI, and improves workflow efficiency.

SMS automation is a no-brainer for all digital marketing teams; once the data is gathered in your CRM data fields, you can schedule an SMS for almost anything.

You can enjoy these same benefits by automating your SMS communication.

How to automate business SMS communication

SMS automation can amplify your business effectiveness by reducing the human elements required to set up and schedule your SMS burst.

Using our APIs or plugins, you can automate SMS messages within your business software.

SMS automation within your SMS software

Most SMS platform providers offer a feature known as keywords and triggers. With this tool, you can create an auto-reply for a specified keyword to set up a simple yet powerful automated workflow.

Keyword trigger responses are perfect for:

  • Managing your sign-ups/opt-outs
  • Accepting entrance into a text-to-win competition
  • Sending relevant deals or SMS coupons

Combining SMS with your existing CRM

To truly maximise your SMS automation potential, API integration is the ideal solution.

An SMS API key allows you to enhance your CRM tool with SMS automation capabilities.

Your options for SMS automation are dependent on your CRM and the product/service you sell. However, some possibilities include:

  • Sending welcome text messages after customers sign up for an account
  • Segmenting customers into different groups regarding the types of deals they'd like to receive and messaging accordingly
  • Managing your loyalty program
  • Combining SMS with other platforms such as email for a multi-channel marketing strategy
  • Introducing SMS as a part of your lead generation and nurturing techniques through SMS drip campaigns

Boost your other channels

Effective client communication can also increase interaction with other marketing touchpoints such as email, website, and in-store visits. Using a shortened hyperlink is a great way to direct users to your website. A simple SMS reminder saying, "check your email for important updates", can also increase your email open rates.

SMS can also be used as a method for distributing coupons or customer rewards, to increase in-store visits and purchases.

Skin care company, Kiehl’s, piloted a six month mobile marketing campaign with incredible results. Customers were able to sign up for the SMS campaign by texting KIEHLS to the short code advertised. They then received location specific offers via text. When the campaign finished, Kiehl’s learned that over 73% of the opted-in customers made a purchase as a result of receiving messages.

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A direct method of marketing

The effectiveness of business client communication is often dependent on how direct and purposeful it is.

One in five emails sent from a commercial address end up in the junk folder or are blocked entirely. By contrast, online SMS services can reach almost anyone with a mobile phone and are read on average within 90 seconds of being received.

Messaging applications such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger have also grown in popularity; however, these are not available on every device and in some countries.

The Ericsson Mobility Report found that 3.6 billion devices worldwide are non-smartphones. This means that nearly 50% of mobile devices cannot be reached through alternative messaging applications. Sending SMS online is a straightforward method; just type, and click send.

Related: 5 High Performing SMS Marketing Strategies

Final thoughts

SMS broadcast technology, such as an SMS gateway provider or an SMS text messaging platform, remains a simple, easy, effective and low-cost business communication tool.

In 2022, Mobile use has soared to an all-time high. As a result, SMS software has become a popular choice for businesses worldwide.

Text messaging's direct nature results in high click-through rates, which increases the success and conversions of other business channels.

To talk about your communication strategy, and all things SMS, get in touch with one of our SMS specialists.

Create your free SMSGlobal account and make SMS marketing tools part of your day to day communication channel.

We will give you 25 credits to start sending today. You'll be ready to Click send in no time.