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SMS Marketing – Modern and Effective

June 2021


When it comes to communicating about a brand, you may think of well-known tactics like SEO, social media advertising, and even traditional forms of marketing like billboards or TV ads. But your phone has more marketing power than you might expect — particularly in the form of SMS marketing.

SMS marketing, or short message service marketing, is a strategy that allows you to communicate with customers through text messaging.

While the idea of sending marketing text messages to your customers might seem a bit strange at first, this is an undeniably powerful strategy that can deliver big results for your brand’s bottom line.

Easy to Deliver and Open

Woman in winter coat smiling and checking SMS

One of the biggest advantages of SMS marketing is that it is a truly immediate form of advertising. An email could sit unread in someone’s inbox for days. In fact, one British study found that the average worker has a whopping 651 unread emails languishing in their inbox. Meanwhile, PPC ads (which show as paid placements in a Google search) generally average a clickthrough rate of about 2%.

Now, compare that to how we use our phones for text messaging. A 2019 study found that the average person checks their phone 96 times a day — or about every 10 minutes.

Generally speaking, we are much more likely to immediately read and respond to a text than we are an email. 90% of people read a text message within three minutes of receiving it.

These stats have a direct carryover to SMS marketing. Gartner reports that SMS marketing achieves “open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively — in contrast to corresponding figures of 20% and 6% for email.” That means a marketing message sent via SMS is far more likely to be seen by customers.

With SMS campaigns, messages are sent out and delivered instantly. But like any other marketing campaign, you have to use this solution in the right way.

How Do SMS Marketing Campaigns Work?

First, it’s essential to remember that you must obtain permission to message someone before sending them promotional SMS texts. It’s annoying at best and unethical at worst if you don’t get permission. Thankfully, you can build a list relatively quickly using existing email lists or by collecting signups through your website.

With a list in place, SMS platforms make it easy to write and deliver texts to your customers. You can send out general texts to everyone on a list, or personalize the timing of texts to be sent after a customer makes a purchase or performs another relevant action.

These tools also make it remarkably easy to track the results of your campaigns. You can see how many people opened the text, clicked on the link, opted out of messaging, and so on.

Of course, the content and timing of your messages will make a big difference in achieving the desired results. Schedule texts to go out in the late morning or early afternoon, when people are less likely to be bothered. Sending too many texts is also a surefire way to get people to opt-out of your list.

SMS marketing is also a “short and sweet” approach to messaging – typically limited to 160 characters. This means you need to think critically about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Branded texts should typically introduce the brand right away (so customers know who is messaging them), and include a link or another call to action.

To make the most of this limited space, be succinct. Get to the point. At the same time, try to avoid slang or abbreviations that could be misunderstood. Make sure to personalize your texts with words like “you” and “your,” and of course, always deliver value. If your texts are informing customers of great deals or content that they will actually be interested in, they are far more likely to keep opening your messages in the future.

A Darkroom SMS Case Study

At Darkroom, we’ve seen firsthand how implementing SMS marketing can give a campaign a big boost — as perfectly illustrated by our recent work for ProperLBC.

ProperLBC is a brick and mortar store located in downtown Long Beach that focuses on sneakers and street-wear culture. Despite having a large email list, they were still struggling to scale revenue — and Black Friday/Cyber Monday was fast approaching.

We used their VIP email list as the groundwork for launching an SMS campaign. For this campaign, SMS content focused on highlighting exclusive sneaker releases and new product arrivals, as well as providing informative content and info on other promotions.

Thanks in part to some SMS-only offers, we grew their SMS list size and overall engagement twice as fast as their email list. Customer lifetime value also increased with these loyalty offers. And we didn’t have to wait long to see these results — overall store revenue increased by 15% within the first 90 days of the campaign.

Darkroom and ProperLBC were thrilled with these results. But it is important to remember that SMS marketing didn’t act as a competitor or replacement to the existing email campaigns. Instead, it serves as an additional channel that keeps the brand’s VIP audience even more actively engaged with the brand.

Ready to Try Your Own SMS Campaign?

The most innovative brands aren’t afraid to try new methods for reaching their customers — and this certainly applies to SMS marketing. By giving more immediate, direct access to customers, you will be better positioned to build awareness and sell products.

If you need help getting your SMS marketing campaign off the ground, contact Darkroom today. Our team of experts will help you generate quality SMS content (and any other marketing materials) to deliver lasting growth for your brand.


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