With 3.8 billion smartphone users across the planet and 95% of texts being opened within 3 min, it’s easy to see that text has taken over.
There’s never been a better time to help your clients add SMS to their email marketing efforts. And this guide will teach you how.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This guide is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice or a comprehensive summary of the law. You are encouraged to retain your own legal counsel to review this guide and assess your unique text messaging business scenario. In addition, a business can do many things, including use of the Podium system outside its intended use, which can give rise to liabilities beyond those addressed in this guide.
Why SMS Marketing?
As you know, research has shown that consumers aren’t as receptive to traditional marketing methods as they used to be. Local businesses need new methods to contact customers in a way that’s personal and provides real value to them.
With our catalyzed digital transformation, consumers expect a modern customer experience with communication that meets them where they are. They expect convenience, personalization, and real connection. That’s where text messaging comes in.
Text can boost your clients’ marketing efforts
You may notice that the majority of consumers still interact with businesses through channels such as phone call or email. That’s true. But it’s only because they think that’s how local businesses are set up to interact. Nearly 67% actually think being able to text businesses would increase convenience.
Think about it: if 98% of your clients’ customers check every text the same day they send it, there’s a huge opportunity to get ahead by text messaging.
The fact of the matter is that local businesses are uniquely positioned to win with SMS marketing. According to the 2021 Local Business Messaging Trends report, local businesses are situated to reach their consumers’ text messages inboxes more often than big-box chains and e-commerce players.
Consumers are 21% more likely to opt-in to local businesses’ text promotions over big-box businesses. And they’re 45% more likely to opt-in over online or e-commerce businesses.
Local businesses have an implied trust with consumers that they can use to collect opt-ins and then strengthen with well-timed, personalized promotions. This can lead to higher loyalty, more business, and more revenue.
SMS marketing and email marketing
Like email campaigning, SMS marketing uses a list of contacts, is trackable, and provides valuable insights into customer behavior. But it also provides accessibility and convenience that email can’t supply.
With the addition of text’s outstanding open and click-through rates to their email campaigns, your clients can significantly increase the visibility of their messages and expand the reach of their marketing.
40.5% of customers report being “likely” or “very likely” to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate. Messaging has become the inevitable next step when it comes to helping your clients connect with their customers.
Before sending their first text, your clients need to be aware of a few things. Text is more intimate—even more invasive—than other forms of communication. Text messages appear directly on a person’s phone whether they’re at home, work, asleep, awake, on a date with friends, or sharing a personal moment with family. Because of this, as well as certain applicable regulations, local businesses have an obligation to use messaging ethically and see better results when they do.
First, some myth busting:
SMS marketing always gets businesses in trouble. False.
SMS marketing laws are too complicated to understand. False.
SMS marketing is spam. False.
How do I message compliantly?
SMS marketing in a compliant way comes down to being transparent and only messaging people who have “opted-in,” that is, provided prior express consent to the sender. Noncompliance qualifies as spamming, which is poor practice and carries repercussions.
Not only does spamming severely damage customer relationships and trust, but it can also result in hefty fines. Campaigns above a 3% unsubscribe rate put textable phone numbers at risk with carriers. It’s crucial that your clients only message contacts who have opted-in to receive promotional messages from their business.
SMS marketing in a compliant way isn’t complicated—your clients just need to know what to watch out for and put their customers first. Rules and regulations vary according to the specific laws set forth by each state, country, or region of the world.
What are the rules?
In the United States, compliance involves abiding by the rules set out by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other similar regulations. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, was put in place to protect customers from spam, including unwanted calls and texts.
You can find more guidance on TCPA here.
Creating great text campaigns
When it comes to SMS marketing, generalized, one-way mass texts won’t cut it. Texts should be so personalized, conversational, and valuable that customers want to respond.
So what makes a compelling text? According to our research, customers want interactive texts sent at relevant times with content specifically tailored to their history with your clients.
Of the types of promotional messaging content your clients can send, consumers most want messages with incentives, loyalty offers, and updates on inventory.
And when it comes to messaging media, consumers are loud and clear. Did you know that over half of consumers are more likely to engage with multimedia messages? To increase engagement, your clients should make their messages interactive by keeping the links, GIFs, and pics (even emojis!) rolling. 😎🙌❤️😘
Do’s and Don’ts
The real goal is to give texts the feel and value of one-to-one interactions. There are a few specific practices your clients can keep in mind to achieve this.
- Address customers by name. Just because it’s not 1:1 doesn’t mean it shouldn’t sound like it. Your clients should use their messaging system to address each customer by name. Using a customer’s name in business conversation is crucial for human sound and feel.
- Identify oneself and one’s business. Identifying the sender of a promotion makes messages feel authentic and humanlike. In fact, 50% of consumers are more likely to respond to a text message from a business if they introduce themselves.
- Use conversational language. One of the biggest turn-offs with marketing messages today is that businesses sound like they’re shouting, “BUY NOW!” “OFFER ENDS TODAY!” To appeal to customers, your clients should keep messages light-hearted, short, and conversational—just like they’re talking to a friend.
- Include a CTA. If your clients miss the CTA, they miss the point of SMS marketing. Messages should include a direct call to action such as “reply back to message to get 10% off your next order!”, “check out our new inventory!”, “schedule an appointment!” or “stop by!”
- Drive urgency. Nobody enjoys feeling as if they’re about to miss out on a great opportunity. That’s what makes driving urgency such a powerful tool to boost conversion. This can be done by communicating the duration of a promotion —how long an offer will last—or by creating scarcity, “only ten left in stock!”
- Use slang. While slang (dang, freakin’, lit) certainly increases casual feel, it risks unprofessionalism and misunderstandings with customers. Your clients should also avoid wordplay, superfluous words, and anything that could be misleading.
- Forget to identify. Your clients should figure out how to do this creatively with each successive message so it doesn’t get old. They might try versions such as, “This is Stella at Oak & Table!” “We’re so excited that you loved your Oak & Table dining set.” “Hoping to see you at Oak & Table soon!”
- Send long messages. Whenever possible, your clients’ messages should be 160 characters or less. Messages above 240 characters risk being split by carriers and sent out of order, making a promotion unclear and confusing.
- Create friction. The goal should always be to reduce friction in messages, or make it as easy as possible for a recipient to take action. If your clients send out an SMS campaign announcing a new product, they should link out to that product information page. If they want their customers to schedule an appointment, they should insert a link to the scheduler.
- Use long links. Your clients shouldn’t let links eat up the valuable space in their messages. They can use third-party link shorteners or purchase an SMS marketing system that includes a native link shortener so customers can engage with them conveniently.
Common use cases
SMS marketing has a variety of use cases that can revolutionize the way your clients engage with their customers and drive revenue. Here are some of the most popular use cases and examples of how to use them in ways that convert.
1. Direct Incentives. This use case includes coupons, deals, and offers to promote certain products or services. It’s the most popular type of campaign SMS marketing.
2. Product Launch. This use case is designed to generate interest for new products and services.
3. Event. Event promotions are intended to generate interest or drive traffic towards a physical or virtual event.
4. Seasonal. Seasonal promotions are promos associated with the changing seasons and can account for anything around anticipated problems, wants, actions, etc.
5. Holiday. Holiday promos include promotions associated with a particular holiday or event like a birthday and often account for anticipated behaviors and purchases.
6. Referral. Messages with this use case require individuals to refer someone to be eligible for a promotional offer.
7. Reminders. Messages with this use case include notifications and alerts designed to remind customers of an upcoming service or appointment.
8. Educational. Texts of this category provide insights, tips, and advice on products and services.
9. General Business Updates. These texts communicate important changes in business operations.
10. Back in stock. These messages inform customers when their favorite products are back in store.
Using email to collect SMS opt-ins
Your clients should also consider using email to collect SMS opt-ins. Leveraging existing marketing channels to cast a wider net can be an SMS opt-in acquisition strategy gold mine.
If they can take advantage of their current marketing channels to reach consumers, they can gather more opt-ins by using the communication strategies customers are already used to.
Your clients can convert their email marketing contacts into SMS marketing opt-ins by sending an email blast prompting people to opt-in to promotional texts. Typically, this is facilitated by a URL link to the online sign-up page, which can live in either the email copy or in their signature.
Become a Podium Partner
With Podium’s suite of messaging tools, you can give both potential customers and current clients access to world class messaging tools that will help them grow their businesses. And offer an unparalleled customer experience.
Podium has brought incredible value to our clients and exceeds in terms of value, delivery of leads, integration options, and higher rankings. The platform is convenient and easy to use for both customers and clients.-Jessica Reyna, Marketing Director, Kill Your Competition, Marketing Agency
Why partner with Podium?
When you partner with Podium, you’re able to offer your expertise to more than 100,000 current Podium customers, add a powerful solution to your offering, attract more customers with innovative tools, and significantly improve client retention.
Give your clients access to a best-in-class platform.
Podium’s messaging tools are easy to use and take minutes to set up. They help businesses stand out on the sites that matter, deliver the modern journey customers are looking for, close deals, and drive repeat business. And they’re built to scale with you and your clients.
Integrate with your software.
Podium’s software works well with the software your clients already use on a daily basis—from popular solutions like Salesforce and Yext, to industry-specific solutions like ServiceTitan, Dentrix Enterprise, CDK, and hundreds more.
Podium empowers 100,000+ local businesses to elevate the way they do business through the power of text. Join the Podium Partner Program here, and see how Podium can help you and your clients do what they love to do. Better.