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What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing (sometimes referred to as Bulk SMS) uses permission-based mobile messages that allows you to send promotional offers, updates, reminders or any important communication direct to a customer's mobile phone.

Although SMS is almost 30 years old, it is only now starting to become one of the top marketing channels due to its directness and the rapid growth of the mobile phone market.

What are the benefits of SMS marketing?

Here are a few compelling advantages of text message marketing and why it is one of the most effective ways to promote products and services:

SMS marketing response rates are higher than comparable channels

When it comes to marketing open and click-through rates are important metrics to pay attention to here are a few side-by-side comparisons to other advertising media.

Open Rates

Channel Open Rate
Email 24.79%
SMS 82.1%+

Click-Through Rates

Channel Click Through Rate (CTR)
Facebook ads 0.90%
Search ads 1.91%
Display ads 0.05%
Rich Media (video, audio, interactive etc) 0.1%
Email 4.19%
SMS 30%

No Ad-Blockers Or Spam Filters To Worry About

Banner ads are blocked by ad blockers and email specialists are always trying to avoid triggering SPAM filters and SEO's tend to worry about the next Google update that penalise and crush their website rankings.

With SMS there are no algorithm updates, SPAM filters or ad-blockers to worry about, it is a direct advertising channel that ensure your SMS promotions find their way to the subscriber's mobile phone.

It's Permission-Based

Permission-based marketing means that people have asked if you can send them SMS messages (they have to opt-in using a shortcode to receive marketing from you “text freecarwash to 9898 and receive a free car wash this Saturday”).

This means:

  1. You're marketing to a highly responsive list of customers that have asked to receive your promotions and offers.
  2. This keeps you out of any legal issues since you have user consent.

Less Competition

Unlike email or traditional marketing methods, there is a lot less “noise” inside a customer's mobile inbox giving your message a high chance of not only being seen but responded to once your message hits their inbox.

Build A Marketing Asset With SMS List Building

Every business should be actively engaged in building customer and lead lists because it means you're able to build your own captive audience that you can drive revenue from at the click of a button.

Like email, at the heart of every SMS marketing strategy are various lists which can be segmented and marketed to in different ways.

No Internet Needed

Online email and online advertising your customers (or potential leads) don't need to be online to receive your text messages, they only need to have mobile phone coverage and even if their mobile is switched off or they are out of range, as soon as they re-connect to the mobile network your message will hit their inbox.

Send Text Messages From Email

With email to SMS marketing you can send out SMS messages from your favourite email client or CRM.

Click here to learn more.

Send SMS from your PC (or anywhere)

With the online SMS platform you can send text messages from any device and any location as long as you have internet.

Some of our clients work in remote areas and have unreliable mobile phone coverage which makes sending SMS problematic but with an SMS portal they are able to send text messages to clients and customers within seconds.

Speed of engagement

90% of customers will open your message within 90 seconds of receiving it.

What about SMS marketing laws?

Australian SPAM laws can be found here.

Although you can purchase mobile phone numbers it is highly advised to avoid any shortcuts like this, by getting permission and consent from subscribers you will avoid any legal headaches.

How to start an SMS campaign

Creating an SMS campaign is an incredibly easy and straight forward process.

All you need to be aware of are 3 main elements:

  1. Keyword - this is a short phrase that tells people what the offer is about.
  2. Short Code - this is a unique number that people text back to your SMS inbox.
  3. Promote - SMS is an inbound marketing strategy (banner advertising is an outbound strategy) so it requires people to come to you which is why promotion is essential.

For example, a health club looking to generate new leads for their sales consultants may use the following:

Lose 7 kilos before summer! Text "7kilochallenge" to 99999 and receive information about our upcoming 7 Kilo Challenge Programme plus receive a 50% off coupon.

The health club would then promote this offer using as many of the existing marketing channels they have available for example: website, email list, POS, sandwich board, flyers get more eyeballs on the offer.

As soon as anyone texts the keyword: "7kilochallenge" to the short code: "99999" they are automatically added to the "7 kilo challenge" SMS list for the sales manager to hand out to the sales team to follow up with.

How do people opt out?

Opting out is easy, all the subscriber needs to do is reply with "OPT-OUT [keyword]" for example OPT-OUT 7kilochallenge.

Once a subscriber returns the term 'OPT-OUT' they are automatically removed from future messages.

How much does text marketing cost?

SMS marketing is incredibly affordable hovering around a few cents per SMS for a single 160 message.

Typically the higher the volume the cheaper the texts.

10 SMS marketing tips and best practices:

1. Gain Approval & Trust (Permission)

The stronger the relationship with subscribers, the easier it is to sell. However, before any relationship can develop you must establish permission to communicate.

SMS is an incredibly personal channel which means gaining permission to communicate is critical. Taking a permission-based approach also positions your brand as professional.

2. Add a sprinkle of personalisation

SMS is a personal channel so it's a good idea to try and send targeted and personalised messages this will lift response.

This is not necessary for every SMS campaign, sometimes you just want to tell them what the offer is.

Here are some ways you can personalise a text message:

  • Use their name in your message (don't overdo this)
  • Use offers that are the next logical step based on what they purchased before.
  • If they added something to their online cart, send them a message letting them know you've kept it aside for them and make an offer to get them to buy.
  • Send them information based on their specific interests.

Some companies build a buyer persona for each SMS contact group so they know the exact language and tone to use.

3. Increase Peace Of Mind (Include Opt-Out)

Showing someone that they can walk away at any moment brings about a certain peace of mind while also framing your company as professional. Include an opt-out trigger with every message.

4. Improve Relevancy (Segmentation)

Google was built on relevancy and a great way to improve relevancy with your online SMS marketing is to ensure you have clearly segmented lists. Segmenting your lists either by product category, demographics, customer needs etc. helps improve conversion and response rates because it forces you to speak to common themes which that list cares about.

5. Increase Response (Create Buyer Personas)

For each customer segment, create a buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a fictional character that embodies the feelings, needs, wants, desires, frustrations, and fears of the people on that list segment.

Before writing an SMS or crafting an offer, imagine that the customer is in front of you, now imagine what would get that person to take the action you want them to take.

6. Stimulate Immediate Action By Using Urgency

It's a well-known fact that the fear of loss is at least 2 times greater than the feeling of gaining something. Urgency is a tactic used to create a sense of impending loss which when used correctly results in higher response rates.

7. Reduce Unsubscribes By Making Offers Exclusive To SMS subscribers

Since it can sometimes require a lot of effort to get people onto your SMS list, it is important that you prevent as many unsubscribes as possible.

A great way to achieve this is to use exclusivity. This means making offers that are only available through SMS this is especially worth doing if you find that the ROI is higher on your SMS list than your other marketing channels.

8. Strengthen Marketing Channels (Integration)

Want to improve email open rates on important emails? Send out an SMS to subscribers letting them know that you just sent them an important email.

Want to increase webinar attendance rates? Use SMS to remind them.

Want to recover lost sales? Send an SMS letting them know they have items in their shopping cart and let them know that you will keep their cart active with a special offer for the next 6 hours.

9. Connect Your Brand With Good Feelings (Value)

A good way to increase response from your SMS is to always think of the person receiving your message and look to deliver value every time.

10. Use To Improve Other Marketing Channels

We believe in having a fully integrated marketing strategy and you can use SMS's strengths to promote and boost the performance of other channels for example, you can send follow up reminders for upcoming events:

  • Sales appointments reminders.
  • Improve the attendance rate of an upcoming webinar.
  • Send out a “Did you see our latest newsletter?” SMS to improve readership of an important newsletter.
  • Recover abandoned carts for ecommerce.
  • Use it to improve web conversions by allowing visitors to ask questions in real time.

11. Test

Gaining valuable data feedback from your market is worth gold and the best way to get this data is to test. Test offer A against offer B. Test time of day, geo-location, urgency triggers etc.

12. Don't Text Too Often

With email and social media you can have a fairly high frequency of communication since people are more conditioned to receive more information on those channels.

SMS tends to have a low tolerance for high-frequency messaging.

It's a good idea to keep your SMS messages (promotional based) to no more than once per week but no less than once per month otherwise people will forget that they signed up.

This does not apply across the board however, every business is different for example, if you are sending important updates that require daily messaging or you offer daily coupons then subscribers will expect that.

It's good practice to send a ‘Welcome SMS' that tells the subscriber how frequently you will be messaging them and what they will get from you.

To start your SMS campaign simply click here and sign up for a free account (comes with 5 free SMS messages).

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A Standard SMS is an SMS message which contains no more than 160 characters. A standard SMS sent from your mobile phone also contains no more than 160 characters. SMS Papa allows up to 600 characters to be transmitted concatenated over four SMS. Each standard SMS is charged at the rate of one credit. CDMA, premium rate numbers and other non-standard mobile destinations may incur higher charges. If in doubt, please contact us.

SMS Papa adheres to the Anti Spam Act. Any user found using the service to send unsolicited SMS Text Messages will have their account immediately suspended without refund. Please refer to the terms of service for complete details.

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