It’s hard to ignore the stats surrounding modern SMS marketing campaigns. Most business owners know that their target market groups are less likely to answer the phone (or even an email) than their forebears. Combine that knowledge with hard facts, and there’s no wonder SMS marketing campaigns are the fastest-growing marketing type out there. Nearly 90% of texters read their messages within three minutes, and SMS offers a 98% open rate. Add this to the whopping 75% of customers that want to receive special offers via SMS, and texting becomes the obvious first choice for marketing campaigns.
What is also evident as some companies grow and others falter is that not all SMS marketing campaigns are beneficial. Here are some ways to maximize ROI and ensure your next SMS marketing campaign helps your business.
Build Trust & Rapport Early
One of the most pertinent issues brands face when implementing SMS campaigns is acquiring customer phone numbers. Marketing of the past relied heavily on opportunistic encounters (think billboards, posters, etc.). The heavy lifting brands did for this type of marketing relied on researching consumer commuting & purchasing habits and cooperating with property owners to advertise in valuable places.
For SMS marketing campaigns, the biggest issue brands face is gaining the trust of their consumers. Consumers are statistically more likely to make brand decisions based on SMS marketing, but it takes more work to gauge the best way to ask for a customer’s phone number. We live in a time when a leaked number means – at best – daily spam calls. At worst, it could mean the identity theft of a customer, which creates personal problems for customers and potential legal issues for brands. Vital recently found that customers dislike disclosing their phone numbers so much that it can create a form abandonment rate of nearly 50%.
But if customers hate disclosing phone numbers, how do brands ensure they obtain that information for SMS marketing campaigns? The answer is simple: establish trust and rapport with customers early in the consumer-brand relationship, and build phone number collection into this trust framework. For instance, you may choose to collect phone numbers for callbacks and have an opt-in term for callbacks or make the opt-out wording in your terms and conditions clear from the start. Additionally, incentivizing opt-ins is a great way to show that by giving you something, you are willing to give them something back.
Security around phone numbers is also a personal issue for customers. However, brands can use this advantageously as an opportunity to build trust. Providing security methods like two-factor orientation can quickly showcase a brand’s commitment to their customer.
Make It Personal
Marketers know how to take a marketing campaign and make it personal. They understand that personalization involves knowing about a consumer’s personality and applying that to the marketing campaign. However, providing valuable content also means helping customers understand and solve their problems. SMS marketing campaigns have been undeniably helpful in this field. Modern customers like the ease, flexibility, and laid-back nature of SMS marketing.
But that doesn’t mean that all SMS marketing campaigns are created equally. For example, campaigns that leave a lasting impression can be perceived as more personal. That can make a massive difference in the success of a campaign.
Brands can’t easily pair their customers with personal shoppers or on-demand call center help. So, how can brands make these personalized marketing opportunities available on a wide scale? Artificial Intelligence has made an enormous difference and will continue to shape this area of marketing. Mitto is one of many omnichannel marketing providers aiming to update how brands personalize their campaigns. Ilja Gorelik, COO and co-founder of Mitto mentioned their AI platform’s operating structure in an interview with Martech:
“Our AI routing platform automatically adjusts for the optimal ratio between quality and cost and constantly improves with new inputs from our own Real Time Monitoring system that sends test SMS to a network of mobile devices to simulate the best routes and delivery rates in real-life scenarios. Doing this allows us to reach and change a route before customer engagement can be affected. AI powers all of this.”
Omnichannel marketing strategies that successfully use AI help brands keep interactions personal and positive.
Give Customers Choices
Customers get a lot of choices surrounding their brand interaction – but not all of them are those they necessarily enjoy. Regarding customer service communication, giving customers the choice of how to engage with their brands goes a long way toward maintaining a consumer relationship.
Marketing campaigns can get confusing because customers need help understanding what you’re offering and may see a choice, like asking for their phone number, as a limiting factor. In other words – they might see a brand asking for their phone number as a brand ensuring they will call you. When collecting something as sensitive as a phone number from a customer, build that trust and rapport mentioned earlier by offering them choices for the use of their phone number. Make it clear that they can receive information via call or text so they feel as though they have made an informed decision that allows them to receive the information they need in an easy & effective way.
Customers also want to utilize text messaging whenever they want, even on devices other than their phones. Omnichannel marketing tools allow brands to set up website features that let customers click to text using the consumer’s preferred A2P messaging app and a prepopulated phone number. That gives them a sense of security while allowing them to reach out on their own terms.
In his Martech interview, Mitto’s Ilja Gorelik spoke of the importance of giving customers choices and highlighting the importance of customer service. He emphasized the need to take an omnichannel vs. multichannel approach and highlighted how that would help with consistency and consumer choice:
“I am more concerned with educating on the importance of taking an omnichannel, not multichannel, approach. Brands need to speak to customers wherever they are – be it SMS, Chat Apps, or another channel – with a single consistent voice; otherwise, they risk losing them and their revenue. Therefore, seamlessly combining multiple digital channels will become a foundational element to unify customers’ touch points across all channels.”
Customer Service Should Still Be #1
AI application and personalization do create extraordinary results regarding customer engagement. However, the biggest driver of SMS marketing campaign effectiveness is, most often, customer service. Unfortunately, customers have some tall orders regarding brand engagement via text. According to a recent poll, over two-thirds of all surveyed customers noted poor customer service was more negatively impactful than a delay in product shipment. Compare this with a recent survey by Salesforce, where 71% of those surveyed indicated that they expected real-time engagement with brands.
It’s straightforward with this type of feedback SMS could be the perfect solution to common customer engagement pain points. SMS allows brands to communicate nearly instantaneously, over time zone barriers and over language barriers, to prevent poor customer service. And when it comes to global issues, texting provides consumers with quick and convenient ways to pay regardless of where they are located, including using PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
“Global brands have global customers, each interacting with brands slightly differently. Some prefer to interact with brands on SMS, and some on chat apps like WhatsApp and Viber. Some don’t have a preference; they want the ability to engage with a brand on whatever channel is most effective at that moment in time.”
Addressing global consumer issues, personalization, and security issues is a complex puzzle that doesn’t make brand marketing easy. But if the right SMS solutions can address all three of these issues, it can go a long way toward building customer brand satisfaction. Mitto’s SMS marketing tools address these issues and work toward improving the customer experience and the brand experience.