SMS (Short message service) marketing refers to messages sent from businesses directly to their customer’s mobile phones. These messages can include text, images, videos, audio, or hyperlinks. More and more businesses are investing in SMS marketing in large part because text messages have a 99% open rate. Another great thing about SMS marketing is that it is much easier to launch an SMS marketing campaign than most people think. In fact, you can get started with just three easy steps

Sign up for an SMS marketing platform

This step is as simple as restructuring your advertising budget to set aside some funds to put towards an SMS marketing platform. An SMS marketing platform automates a lot of the process of sending text messages. It allows you the convenience of creating the message and setting the time that you want it to send. It automates opt-ins and opt-outs and keeps you compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Many platforms allow you to track various metrics as well so you can gauge how well your marketing efforts are working. If you’re going to do SMS marketing, you definitely shouldn’t do it without a good platform.

Get phone numbers

Of course your SMS marketing efforts will be for nothing if you can’t build, maintain, and grow a database of cell phone numbers. The TCPA prohibits you from sending marketing messages to consumers without their permission. That means you can’t buy lists of people’s phone numbers and just start sending them texts—at least not legally. The first way to do this is to start using your existing marketing channels like email to reach out to your most loyal customers and give them an incentive to sign up to receive your texts. If you want people to voluntarily sign up for your text messages, they need to perceive a value in it. Special deals, discounts, or coupons are one obvious way to do this but loyal customers may also find value in getting texts about new products/services or just being treated as VIPs. Another way to build, maintain, and grow your database of phone numbers that you can text is to work with your SMS marketing platform to create a short code (a five or six digit number) that people can text a keyword to in order to be automatically added to your texting list.

Create awesome content

Texting is different than email in that your customers will tire a lot more quickly of messages if they’re sent frequently. Most businesses send between 2 and 4 texts each month having found that much more than that will start to annoy people and lead to more opt-outs. Another thing that causes people to opt-out is the feeling that they’re just a number. If every text is an obvious attempt to sell them something, they’re more likely to opt out. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 50% of your texts be non-promotional. Things like appointment reminders, members-only deals, birthday wishes, and holiday messages are all great ways to make your customers feel important.