A message length set to 160 characters with no branding, no imagery, and no video doesn’t scream out as the most cutting-edge marketing tool. However, with so much noise and distraction from online marketing vying for customer attention, the humble SMS still holds the crown as one of the most powerful sales conversion tools for retailers this coming Black Friday event.
Whilst an SMS by its very nature is a simple, plain text message, building an SMS campaign to maximise conversion rate takes careful consideration and planning. The limited branding opportunities, short content length, and lack of engaging visuals, makes the SMS a fast to assemble marketing tool, but marketers shouldn’t underestimate the importance of properly planning an SMS campaign.
A company that knows a thing or two about SMS marketing is CM.com. For over 20 years they have been innovating the way in which companies interact with their customers, and their mobile marketing cloud offers conversational commerce across all widely adopted chat channels. But SMS still plays an important part of their service suite, sending 14million SMS messages everyday worldwide.
“SMS marketing is often overlooked by marketers when building a customer engagement campaign as it lacks the visually appealing marketing options that come with email, WhatsApp, and other social media messaging channels. However, when you dig into the metrics behind SMS delivery rates, open rates, and conversion rates, it still holds the mantle for being one of the most reliable marketing communication channels.” Commented James Matthews, UK & Ireland Country Manager for CM.com.
An SMS campaign facilitated by CM.com earlier this year for an online fashion retailer provides some impressive statistics. Of the 500,000 messages sent, 94% were delivered within 10 minutes, resulting in a conversion rate of 14%. Not only is this conversion rate very impressive, but the associated cost of sending SMS is low, enabling the retailer to enjoy a return on investment of 600%.
To build a successful SMS campaign you need to consider several key factors in your planning process. Assuming you have authorisation to send SMS under GDPR legislation, important focus should be put upon on 3 areas of the campaign structure. Firstly, the opening line of the SMS message needs to be clear, concise, and summarise why the recipient has been contacted. Often the first line of the SMS will appear in a summary screen even on locked phones, so getting the clear message of the campaign front and central is important to engage with the customer and set the scene for why they should open and read your communication.
Secondly, have a clear call to action that links directly from the SMS to your sales page or booking form. All too often marketers send messages without a direct link for the call to action, leaving the recipient to search for a webpage or link themselves resulting in rapid engagement drop-off. Ensure your call to action has a tracking mechanism so you can monitor your success metrics.
Thirdly, remember that SMS is instant, so timing is crucial. Sending the message at the right time makes a huge difference on open rate and conversion rate. Think carefully about the recipient when you set the time trigger of sending the SMS; will they be at work? Will they be in position to purchase? When was their most recent payday? What other factors might influence their purchasing decision which you need to avoid or be close to?
The upcoming event of Black Friday weekend is an excellent opportunity to market to your customers who may be looking for a bargain. Cutting through the noise and communicating via SMS can and should play an important part of Black Friday marketing initiatives.