- Although many consumers are stuck at home, mobile marketing is as important as ever.
- Mobile should be prominent in any marketing strategy because it is effective, flexible enough to work in the age of COVID-19, and easy to implement.
- Mobile should be considered a key part of overall business infrastructure.
In this post-COVID-19 era, our jobs as marketers are tougher than ever. Most of us are working remotely, and so are many of the consumers we aim to reach, many of whom are on increasingly tight budgets and feeling anxious about engaging with brands in-person at brick-and-mortar locations. As marketers grapple with how to reach customers in what is still a largely stay-at-home world, mobile marketing is as important as ever.
In fact, now is the time for marketers to take a closer look at mobile marketing, specifically SMS, not just as a channel, but as an integral part of their business strategy.
Mobile is everywhere, all the time
Let’s face it: we’re glued to our phones. According to Pew Research Center, 96% of U.S. adults own a cell phone.
Given the sheer size of this captive audience, marketers should put mobile first in all of their strategy and planning, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Mobile marketing takes many forms – including email, social media, and mobile app promotions – and one of the most effective among them is SMS.
Mobile is effective, flexible, and easy to implement
Mobile marketing, especially SMS, should be in the front seat of any marketer’s strategy for three key reasons.
First, it is highly effective. In fact, SMS is one of the most engaging and highest ROI tools in a marketer’s toolbox because it allows us to communicate through a device nearly every American owns, typically via concise messages of 160 characters or less.
Consumers open these messages at extremely high rates, often within just a few minutes of receipt. Plus, engagement rates for SMS campaigns are 150 times higher than email campaigns – and consumers redeem SMS-related coupons 10 times more than other coupons.
Second, SMS is flexible enough to help marketers in a variety of industries adapt to the age of COVID-19. In the financial services industry, as many Americans are keeping a closer eye on their finances than ever, SMS provides immediate notification of deposits, payments, and other transactions.
It also enables two-factor authentication to boost security and privacy. And in retail, SMS provides a trusted method for answering customer service questions and sending order confirmations for online purchases.
Third, SMS is easy to implement. Any company can quickly integrate SMS into their marketing processes by following a simple “crawl-walk-run” approach.
This starts with the basics, like letting customers sign up by texting a keyword to join. In the “walk” phase, marketers can introduce more complex activations, such as sending segmented SMS campaigns to loyalty members to boost engagement.
Finally, in the “run” phase, marketers might try sending a brief survey to customers via SMS.
At every step of the SMS journey, it is critical to continue testing, learning, and applying best practices (including, of course, gaining consent to contact for promotional reasons and avoiding “spamminess”).
Here are a few tips for marketers who are taking their first steps with SMS:
- Front-load your copy: Although SMS messages are 160 characters or less, consumers may initially only see the first 40-90 on their phone’s home screen or message inbox. Make the first few words count by leading with the call to action.
- Use triggers: With the power of automation, marketers can trigger SMS messages to be sent when certain events take place, such as an online order shipping or a new product becoming available. These triggers are a key reason why SMS is so efficient.
- Leverage data: CRM databases allow marketers to target SMS subscribers based on their location, proximity to specific stores, previous purchases, and more. The more personalized the message, the greater the odds the message will elicit action.
Ultimately, mobile goes beyond marketing. Due to its effectiveness, flexibility, and ease of implementation, mobile marketing strategies like SMS are key to overall business infrastructure.
In today’s challenging landscape, moving consumers through the customer funnel as efficiently as possible is paramount to business success. And whether those consumers are at home or on the go, mobile is perhaps the best strategy for engaging with consumers and moving the business forward.
Norman Guadagno is Chief Marketing Officer at Acoustic, the largest independent marketing cloud, and a member of the ClickZ Advisory Board.
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