SMS Marketing Software Every Brand Should Be Using
What’s black and white and read all over? No, not a newspaper (who reads those anymore?). It’s your business SMS—if you have the right SMS marketing software to get the job done.
We’ve covered before how using mobile business SMS can increase sales, improve customer engagement, and drive conversions. With its reputation for open rates as high as 95% and 89% of consumers wanting to use text messaging to communicate with businesses, it’s no longer a question of whether you should be using SMS marketing software. It’s more a matter of how.
There are many SMS solutions out there to help your business reach customers. Some text marketing software only includes the SMS basics, while others offer multiple channels for a comprehensive marketing strategy. Feeling overwhelmed by the options? Here’s a checklist of some of the different features that your SMS marketing software should have, including some recommendations for platforms your organization can try for itself.
Group SMS Broadcasts
Most SMS marketing messages are sent through group broadcasts. This means that rather than send individual text messages to consumers, SMS software can send text messages to many people at once. Group broadcasts are particularly helpful for sharing coupon codes and promotions, or sending mass alerts such as when a retail store or restaurant moves to a new location. An added benefit of group broadcasts is that if a consumer responds, only the sender will receive a reply.
Almost all SMS software companies, such as Mozeo, offer a SMS package with group broadcast functionality. When sending mobile SMS messages to a group, definitely consider segmenting your list prior to deploying your SMS broadcast. Customizing the SMS message to be more relevant to a specific group of users within your list can lead to higher conversion rates.
Mobile SMS Short Codes
A short code is a 5 or 6-digit number that can send and receive mobile SMS. Mobile short codes are an excellent way to encourage consumers to “opt-in” to receiving your messages. They can also be tailored to your business. For example, if you run a pizzeria and would like customers to opt-in to receive delivery notifications, you can ask them to text PIZZA to the short code 55555. That means they have given you permission to send messages such as “Your order has been received,” “Your order is on its way!”, or “Your delivery is next.”
Along with OnSpot Social, other SMS marketing software companies like SimpleTexting and EZ Texting offer SMS packages with mobile short codes capabilities. You can work with a provider to determine whether you would prefer a dedicated vanity short code, which means you can choose the number you want (for example, 74992 would be “PIZZA”), or a dedicated random short code. Keep in mind random codes tend to be less expensive.
Integrate SMS Into CRM
Integrating text messaging into your CRM system to convert leads is a great alternative to just using email marketing. The advantage of connecting SMS online software to your CRM is that you will have a holistic view of the customer’s journey. This means you can better customize your messaging.
For example, if you run a clothing store and your CRM shares the detail that a customer wants information about women’s apparel, you can send a text message with a coupon for your new spring collection of dresses. You can also use your CRM to track a customer’s engagement with your marketing across channels and see if email, SMS, or print mailings have been most effective.
OnSpot Social integrates with CRM platforms, such as Salesforce, so you can automatically share contact information from one to the other. This also reduces the burden on in-house staff who would otherwise need to manually import and export contacts, or analyze customer behavior across a range of platforms.
Scheduling and Automation
Sometimes you will want to send an ad-hoc SMS campaign for sales and events. Other times, you will want to create a “drip campaign,” which is a form of lead nurturing that involves sending marketing messages at defined intervals. For both of these strategies, scheduling and automation are essential capabilities that your text marketing software should have.
Ad-Hoc Text Campaigns
Opening a second location in the town next door? Clearing out your winter inventory to make room for spring items? Chances are you will want to inform potential customers about one-off events, promotions, and or company news via mobile SMS. Schedule these ad-hoc messages in advance based on your sales and marketing cycle.
SMS Drip Campaigns
In a drip campaign, SMS marketing should work like an automated email series, based on trigger actions or time lapses. Think of the last time you signed up for an email list with a retailer. Did they send you a 10% off coupon good for one week or similar promotion immediately after you signed up? If you didn’t use the coupon within the first few days, were you sent a reminder email? SMS marketing can work the same way.
SMS marketing software should give you the ability to schedule mass broadcasts in advance, as well as automate messages to customers based on their actions. The benefit of this is creating a sense of urgency and “sweetening the deal.”
Compared to ad-hoc campaigns, drip campaigns are almost always automated. You can set it and forget it, giving you more time to focus on other forms of customer engagement. A bare-bones text marketing software like Enger will enable you to schedule SMS messages to subscribers for drip campaigns.
Other Automated SMS Campaigns
Is it a customer’s “anniversary” with your company? How about their birthday? There are multiple occasions when it would be appropriate to send an SMS with a special offer. If this information is readily available in your CRM (subscribe date, birthday, etc.), you can automatically send a text message. SMS software like TextingBase will automate messages for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
Polls, Surveys, and Sweepstakes
Your SMS marketing software should have the ability to send polls or surveys to consumers, as well as graph their responses on a dashboard. Not only will this method give your customers a chance to express their opinion and feel heard, but you can use the insights generated to improve your business offerings. For instance, an ice cream parlor can text its customers a poll asking which new seasonal flavor (pumpkin, apple spice, cinnamon, etc.) to feature during fall.
Sweepstakes work the same way. You can use sweepstakes as a lead capture tool (opt-in to receive mobile SMS and be entered to win a free toaster!), or as an engagement method with existing customers (receive an SMS message for a sweepstakes entry after every purchase).
OnSpot Social offers surveys, sweepstakes, digital games, and a Random Winner Generator, all of which can be used in conjunction with SMS to instantly deliver a prize to the winner through a text message. These methods are particularly effective for in-person events, with the ability to follow up with leads later through text messages.
Real-time delivery to impact customer moments
One of the biggest advantages of SMS marketing is its immediacy. A SMS solution like OnSpot Social offers opportunities to influence the customer journey in real-time. Customers can sign up for your SMS contact list in person and receive a welcome text automatically.
SMS marketing is also a great choice for sales teams to use in the moment. Suppose a sales rep is using the OnSpot Social app on their iPad as a sales tool for texting customers. The rep can select the digital content that they want to send to a lead/customer by answering a multiple choice question. Then the rep enters the customer’s mobile number and hits submit. Instantly that customer gets a pre-created text on their phone with a link to the selected digital content.
Talk about adding the “WOW” Factor to the sales call. Customers are blown away when a sales rep can deliver digital content directly to their phone instantly. OnSpot Social can be used at a variety of in-person events, such as trade shows, retail locations, or conferences. Here’s a short video on how it works.
Finding the Best SMS Marketing Software For Your Brand
Once you’ve determined how many capabilities you need for your SMS marketing, you can narrow your SMS software options. When considering price, remember that some SMS packages require you to pay per text message, while others are on a subscription model such as daily, weekly, or monthly. All SMS software platforms should also be accessible for configuration via desktop, tablet, or phone.
It’s worth considering using an SMS solution that can perform multiple marketing functions. OnSpot Social is an all-in-one lead capture platform that combines the best qualities of SMS software with additional engagement opportunities in-person and through email and social media. Start a free trial to see how it works.
What do you look for in your SMS marketing software? Let us know by leave a comment below.