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Overhaul Your SMS Marketing With These 4 Genius Tips Text campaigns can pay huge dividends in the new decade.

By Mark Daoust

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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This year marks the start of a fresh decade, meaning it's a blank slate, so why not jazz up your marketing mix? What you've been doing is getting results, sure, but don't you want to go farther?

Let's forget about social media likes and blog impressions. It's time to get serious about engagement, because that's what's going to grow your business. Not all digital strategies, like paid ads or email, are made equally. In fact, one of the most effective digital-marketing strategies going forward is SMS marketing.

Why SMS?

It's true: SMS marketing earns four times more revenue than email, and it costs much less. Plus, texts have a 98 percent open rate and get three-to-six times more engagement than other marketing campaigns. Still not convinced? Here are the three most important reasons your business needs to use SMS marketing starting now.

1. You'll stand out.

Instead of competing with other advertisers on Google or Facebook, SMS marketing allows you start a conversation directly with your customer in a distraction-free environment. To be clear, other marketing initiatives, like paid ads or email, aren't wrong. They have a place in your strategy. The problem is that everyone else has the same idea as you, and businesses bombard customer inboxes multiple times a day. Translation: Performance drops a lot when you're competing for space in customers's clogged inboxes.

SMS marketing isn't as saturated. You don't have to compete for a customer's attention. Only interested customers are going to opt-in to your SMS list anyway. They're giving you a direct line to communicate with them in an exclusive environment that few brands can penetrate.

SMS also makes it easier to sign customers up for your list. Mobile-only popups on your website can auto-populate a customer's phone number, which means they tap to subscribe, visit their inbox immediately to double opt-in and they're on your list. It removes a lot of the friction that decimates email-marketing ROI.

Related: Here's Why SMS Marketing Is the Best Idea Ever

2. You can match customer expectations.

Entrepreneurs often think they'll bug their customers if they do SMS marketing, but as long as you follow a double opt-in approach (which is the law), you ensure that only interested customers are on your list. And since SMS marketing is consent-based, you're reaching customers in the most convenient way possible. If they subscribed to get your updates, it means they want to communicate with you this way. Texting isn't spammier than email. If anything, it gives customers an improved experience that encourages engagement.

3. It's affordable.

Unless you're buying a list, email marketing is pretty affordable. Because of that, many entrepreneurs shy away from SMS marketing because they think it's expensive. But unlike email marketing, which can often have low ROI, text-message marketing trends positive. I have a friend who sees a $25 return for every $1 he spends on SMS.

SMS marketing costs depend on how many texts you want to send. You usually purchase credits to send SMS messages through a platform. That means you can spend as much or as little as you're comfortable with.

Four Tips for Better SMS Marketing

We know that SMS marketing is worthwhile for brands, but that doesn't mean you should dive in without a plan. You have to know how to wield it to get the best results for your business. So as promised, follow these for tips to max out your results.

1. Have decent site traffic.

SMS marketing works best when you have established web traffic. That's because SMS messaging happens at the bottom of the funnel; it's meant to pull users through to conversion with enticing offers or valuable content. You still need to bring in enough web users to bulk up your list if you want to see positive ROI.

Shoot to have at least 20,000 visitors a month on your site. This is what's going to build your list quickly and move the needle for your business.

2. Minimize friction.

Once you have a healthy amount of traffic on your site, make it simple for these visitors to subscribe to your SMS list. At this point, you want to minimize friction at every turn. Don't force customers to go through a four-step process just to subscribe; they don't have the time or patience for that. Follow this frictionless process to gain more SMS subscribers from your website:

  • Feature popups to your mobile users.
  • The user can then tap the popup to pull up their information. With one click, they send their information to subscribe.
  • They receive a message that they can click to complete the double opt-in.

This process eliminates fake numbers from your list and makes the double opt-in process as painless and fast as possible, meaning more people will happily join your text list.

3. Content matters.

Content is still king, even for text messages. Remember that your content can't be spammy. Instead of pushing customers to buy, buy, buy, you should deliver value. The goal is to start a conversation, not pressure your customers. Share interesting, helpful content like news, fun conversation-starters or information on freebies or discounts.

Don't neglect visual content, either. SMS is a fun medium through which you can send videos, GIFs and custom images to your subscribers. Jazz up your copy with visuals that get people's attention. Consider using tech like RCS to create an engaging experience for your customers within their native SMS application.

4. Nurture your relationships.

The final piece of the puzzle is to send SMS messages regularly to your subscribers. You won't get results if you're communicating with your list once a month; one or two times a week is best to get more engagement. In fact, this will actually minimize unsubscribes. If you text customers once in a blue moon, they'll forget they subscribed and feel caught off-guard from your message. Regular communication is best for customer relationships.

But you don't have to remember to send new messages every week. Any decent SMS marketing platform will let you set up automated SMS flows. For example, you can send a welcome sequence when someone joins your list. Or maybe you send over a how-to automation for a product someone just bought.

Related: 5 SMS Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

While other strategies should still have a place in your business, SMS marketing is the dark horse of digital marketing, allowing you to engage with customers and finally see a return on your budget dollars. The future is now, so get ready to hit "send."

Mark Daoust

Founder, Quiet Light Brokerage

Mark Daoust’s passion for creating sales agreements that benefit both sides of the table led him to create Quiet Light Brokerage in 2007. Guided by the bedrock values of honesty, integrity and transparency, Daoust built Quiet Light to help sellers of internet businesses. His own business recently was selected as the #1 brokerage for buying and selling websites valued at over $1 million. Quiet Light and Daoust are headquartered in Minnesota, where Mark sometimes gets to run home to help his wife teach a quick class to his four children.

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