SMS campaigns continue to be a dominant force in the digital marketing world. And with the industry set to reach more than $70 billion by 2020, that momentum is unlikely to fade anytime soon. The low costs and minimal barriers to entry make it an attractive option for all marketers, regardless of their preferred niche or specific experience.
That said, you can’t start an SMS campaign out of nowhere and expect to be successful; there’s significant competition for your target demographics, and if you fail to stand out or build your campaign on a poor foundation, you might not get the strong ROI you’re hoping for.
Thankfully, there are some easily accessible ideas that can get you started—even if you’re new to the game.
General Sources of Ideas
First, let’s take a look at some general places where you can do research and explore new tactics, to generate new ideas on your own:
- Your industry. Take a look at your own industry, and some of the competition within it. How are companies like yours using SMS marketing? If you need help here, Slick Text has a fantastic guide on SMS marketing ideas for several industries, from restaurants to schools to marketing agencies.
- Historically successful campaigns. You should also look outside your industry to some of the most successful SMS campaigns of all time. Tatango has a number of cases studies from some of the top brands in SMS to review here.
- Customer feedback. You can also get ideas for your SMS offers by listening to your customers. Are they providing you feedback on your current efforts, or are they requesting more functionality in a specific area, like better discounts or a more thorough confirmation system?
If you’re struggling to come up with something on your own, try one of these prompts to get started:
- Announce your best offer. One of the simplest starter ideas is to broadcast your best product or service offer to your customers; this is ideal if you’re just starting out, since it will prime people for what to expect from your brand. Use a single sentence and a single price to entice customers, and make sure to link back to your site.
- Gauge customer interest. If you’re using a platform that allows you to monitor and measure your customer response rate, you can use an SMS campaign to gauge customer interest (and segment your audience). Send an engaging conversational message and see who responses—those who do will be more valuable audience members than those who don’t.
- Advertise a special promotion. One common strategy is to send a text with new and/or temporary promotions, such as sitewide free shipping. Mention an expiration date to add a sense of urgency to the message.
- Integrate a social campaign. By embedding links in your messages, you can link your SMS campaign to specific tweets, posts, or even your basic profile pages. Tying together these two campaigns can be a powerful way to get more eyes on your best content.
- Integrate a direct mail campaign. Direct mail may seem obsolete, but it’s reasonable to expect a 35 percent ROI or more—especially when you combine it with a digital marketing channel. Send customers a text that they have a special offer waiting for them in the mail, or use a direct mail piece to have customers sign up for your SMS campaign.
- Provide reminders. If your business sets appointments or otherwise integrates some calendar functionality, use SMS to provide reminders to your audience.
- Relay confirmation texts. You can also set up SMS texts as automated confirmations for specific customer actions; for example, you can notify customers that their monthly payment for your service has gone through.
- Send periodic tips. You can also send regular tips (such as weekly or monthly) to your customers, especially if your industry is information-hungry. For example, if you run a health-conscious restaurant or a gym, you could text your patrons weight loss and fitness tips regularly—and integrate the messages with your blog.
- Run a short customer survey. As long as you keep them short and easy to respond to, you can also use SMS to launch customer surveys. These are valuable opportunities to get feedback on your business and your marketing strategies—even your SMS campaign itself!
These ideas aren’t meant to guarantee your campaign a positive ROI, nor are they intended to be used as the sole basis for your SMS strategy. Instead, they’re meant as a jumping-off point for novice SMS marketers who need something to start, or a refresher course for experienced SMS marketers who need to inject new life into their campaigns.