Other than a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer, what’s the one item every Millennial and Gen Z adult kept with them throughout isolation and the pandemic? That’s right – their cell phones.
Two years of a global pandemic that forced most Americans to isolate themselves away from loved ones and relegate social activities to text and video chat has made young people more attached to their cell phones than ever. In fact, according to a recent Klayvio study, 59% of Americans said that their cell phone was their lifeline during the pandemic, while 51% said they used text messaging more frequently in the last 12 months than any other form of communication.
With digital engagement at an all-time high, especially for younger consumers, it’s the perfect time to meet your customers where they are – on their cell phones. In this article, I’ll share why SMS is such a powerful tool for marketers, and how you can use effective SMS marketing to build brand loyalty with your Millennial and Gen Z customers.
What is SMS Marketing?
Short Message Service (SMS) Marketing is a type of marketing that allows businesses to send offers and promotions to their customers via text message.
SMS marketing is similar to email marketing in that messaging on both channels is usually short and concise to be easily scannable on mobile devices. And, unlike the other marketing tactics like commercials and Google ads, email and SMS are communication channels customers must opt into.
Think of it like this – you don’t choose to see banner ads, pay–per-click ads, sponsored social media posts, or YouTube ads—but if you’re on a company’s email or text list, it’s because you checked the little box that gives them permission to send you marketing messages via email and SMS.
When sending an sms message make sure to verify the phone number first. You can use a carrier lookup tool to verify if the number is active.
On the plus side, consumers who have opted into receiving emails and SMS messages from you are generally interested in learning more about your products and may be in the consideration stage of the customer journey. This is a good sign – don’t let the opportunity to give them a reason to buy from you go to waste.
What’s the Difference Between SMS Marketing and Email Marketing?
Email is still a key channel for most marketers, but it’s becoming harder and harder to catch your customers’ and prospects’ attention in their inbox. Many of your brand’s emails are likely sent to spam or filtered into your customer’s Promotions tab, and of those emails that actually make it to a customer, only 14.5% are actually read.
Text messages, however, are much more likely to be seen and read by your intended audience. And while a customer must opt-in to receiving text messages from your brand, SMS has a whopping 99% open rate, and 97% of messages are read within 15 minutes of delivery.
I’m certainly not advocating for brands to give up email marketing altogether – a good marketing strategy includes a diverse mix of channels and strategies. However, savvy marketers who are looking to appeal to Millennial and Gen Z consumers should consider email a powerful strategy for sending targeted, relevant messages to customers and prospects.
But before you send an ill-advised mass text out to your entire customer base, let’s go over the basics of what makes a good SMS marketing strategy.
How to Craft a Great Marketing SMS
Americans of all ages use SMS to interact with family and friends, and while 85% say that they’ve received texts from a brand, Millennials and Gen Z tend to prefer mobile marketing methods like SMS and social media.
So what types of SMS marketing messages tend to resonate with younger consumers? According to the 2021 US Messaging Engagement Report, the types of text messages people tend to interact with the most are:
- Coupons and promo codes
- Loyalty benefits
- Upcoming sales and special events
- Birthday deals
Everyone loves a deal, so offering customers a discount next time they visit your store or site is a great way to increase the chance that your message will be opened.
How Often Should You Text Your Customers?
Finding your brand’s SMS frequency sweet spot is key. According to SendGrid, 31% of American consumers would like to hear from brands about once a week, while only 15% said they’d be ok with their favorite brands texting them once a day.
Among Millennials and Gen Z specifically, most respondents said they’d prefer weekly texts from brands, while respondents between 25-35 said they’re more open to daily texts. There’s a fine line between keeping your business top of mind and pestering your prospects with constant texts. Text your customers too little and they’ll forget you exist, but text them too much and they’ll unsubscribe faster than you can say “BOGO.”
How to Write a Marketing SMS
As a general rule, aim to create SMS campaigns that are concise, actionable, and helpful for your audience. You only have 160 characters to convince your customers to engage with you, so be sure to use each of them strategically. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Identify yourself quickly. Your prospects shouldn’t be wondering if your text is spam.
- Create a sense of urgency. SMS messages perform best when they’re connected to a time-sensitive incentive like a surprise sale or promotion.
- Ensure that each text you send has a clear call-to-action. Let the customer know what you want them to do with the information you sent.
- Make it personable. You don’t want your customers to think a robot is texting them.
- Time it right. Send the text when your customers are usually on their cell phones and have time to take action. Avoid sending an SMS in the middle of the workday or at 5 am when your customers are sleeping.
Each industry and business will approach SMS slightly differently, but sticking to tried-and-true guidelines while you figure out what works for your business is a good way to ensure that SMS is helping your business rather than hurting it. Now that you know the basics of how to use SMS Marketing to build your business, you’re on your way to higher sales, more engaged customers, and more 5-star reviews.