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SMS Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

If I were to tell you that there is a marketing strategy that has a 98% open rate by people who received it, 209% higher response rate than email marketing or Facebook, and 82% of people are sure-shot to reads its’ content, what would you give to have this kind of marketing?

Wanna know the secret? SMS marketing.

Yes, these numbers are true! SMS marketing campaigns have a 98% open rate from the people who receive it – meaning if you send SMS to a 100 person, there is a guaranteed 98 person who will open and read your message. Now, isn’t it exciting? In addition to that, more than 90% of SMS messages are read in up to 3 minutes.

An SMS marketing campaign is sending promotional or transactional messages for marketing purposes using SMS or text messages. These messages are mostly meant to communicate updates, alerts, or timely -offers to prospects who have consented to receive these messages from your business. 

So, what makes SMS marketing a solid marketing strategy? Everyone living in the modern age has their own mobile phone. In fact, 77% of Americans own smartphones, including 81% of American adults, and 47% say they couldn’t live without their devices. As long as you have their contact information and consent to receive a message from you, you are good to go with SMS marketing. 

How does SMS marketing work?

SMS marketing has two components: Shortcode and keywords. 

  • Shortcode – a five or six-digit number that acts as the phone number.
  • Keywords – Word that goes in the content of the message and signifies the campaign your customers are signing up for. 

Here is an example – you can tell your prospects to “Text CARDISCOUNT10 to 123456.” The shortcode is 123456, and the keywords is CARDISCOUNT10.

For you to get started, you need to hire an SMS marketing service – they will provide you access to a shortcode for your SMS campaigns. Then, you will have 2 option to go for to get a shortcode:

  • Share a Shortcode – Well, basically, SMS marketing services have one shortcode that is shared by all of their clients. If the budget is a little tight, this is the best option to go for, though it may limit your choice of keywords.
  • Own a Shortcode – The good thing about owning your own shortcode is flexibility in choosing your own keywords. Since you basically own the code, you own all the possible keywords as well. However, going for this option can be expensive ranging from 500$ to 1000$ a month.

Once you avail of the service of an SMS marketing company and get your shortcode, you will manage all your campaigns through an online dashboard. Depending on which company you choose, you can select from a variety of campaign management tools they have including analytics and reporting. 

How much does it cost?

There are 2 main costs associated with your SMS marketing: the sending fee and renting cost for keywords. Every company has its own pricing options, but typically is a monthly payment that includes a certain number of texts and keywords.

To give you a general idea, you might expect to pay between $0.01 to $0.05 per text message and $5 to 25$ per keyword per month. Top SMS marketing companies offer packages that include a fixed number of text messages and a fixed number of keywords for a flat fee per month. You can expect that it may cost you between $50 to $500 every month depending on your text volume, number of keywords, and other desired features. You just need to find the right company for you that can deliver your expectations, yet get the most bang out of your bucks. 

On the other note, when trying to decide which SMS marketing to go for, look for agencies that offer these useful features that can lengthen your options:

  • Multimedia SMS – This allows you to send more than just text to your prospects; you can add images, videos, or even sound for a more engaging customer experience.
  • Dripping campaigns – Just like email drip campaigns, but with the use of SMS. It lets you be pretty hands-off on your day-to-day campaign development once you’ve set them in motion and deployed them.
  • Polling and Voting – This feature offers a great opportunity for businesses to gain insight into their customers. It helps to geenrate high-quality leads and increase customer engagement.
  • Coupon codes – This is one of the best features of SMS marketing. Using text messages to deliver discount codes, coupon codes, and BOGO offers. It is one of the best ways of increasing your sale and brand awareness. 

Is it Legal?

To protect consumers from unsolicited text messages, SMS marketing is regulated under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. SMS marketing campaigns are governed by three separate statutes: The Federal Communication Commission (FCC), The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), and the Mobile Marketing Association. Your chosen SMS marketing company will help you comply with legalization issues.

Above all else, SMS marketing is a permission-based system. You cannot just send messages to users who have not given their permission to receive your messages. SMS marketing could be considered illegal if you have no prior customer consent.

Once customers have given you their blessing for your text campaign, you must confirm their participation for the next message, which also includes instructions if they ought to be removed from your campaign. 

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