SMS Marketing is one of the most hotly debated topics amongst marketers. Some people see it as a very successful way of reaching customers, allowing for high open and engagement rates, but many others also report that it comes with high opt-out numbers and doesn’t actually drive sales.
Unsurprisingly, this is because customers also seem split on the issue. Some people report liking it when companies contact them via SMS, while others feel more protective of their phones and would prefer to receive email marketing instead.
Here at WithWine, we’re not firm believers in SMS marketing, particularly not in the wine industry. Overall, we think that it is much harder to run a successful campaign and the time it takes to set this up is not worth the results you are likely to receive. This is because it is often impersonal and better used for mass marketing, the exact opposite of what we think should sell wine!
But, if you’re considering introducing SMS marketing, here’s what we think you need to know.
Why SMS Marketing Fails
It’s Got a Bad Reputation
Think about how many spam texts you’ve got in your life. Your customers have also experienced that many. If you don’t have a strong brand presence or connection to the customer you are texting, you run a very real risk of being lumped in with these unsolicited messages.
It can be Seen as Invasive
For many customers, particularly older ones, there is the feeling that their phone is still personal and that text messaging is a communication tool between friends and family. If a business enters that space, these people will feel as though it is an invasion and not interact with it.
You Need to Communicate More Information
170 characters is not a lot of space to tell your customers everything you need them to know, particularly when you also need to include a CTA and opt-out info. If your message is even the slightest bit complex, it may be better served in an email campaign.
You Send Messages Too Frequently
Customers are used to receiving emails from companies and this is reflected when people report being happy to receive an email a week from businesses. In contrast, the standard advice for text messages is to send only two a month. While this statistic may change in time, right now you have fewer consumer touch points through SMS.
Opting Out is Too Hard
Permission is particularly important when it comes to SMS marketing. Not only do customers need to opt-in to receive messages, you need to make sure they can stop receiving them easily. All your messages should include clear instructions on how to do so to make sure you don’t irritate your customers.
However, that doesn’t mean all is lost! While there are many reasons that SMS marketing shouldn’t be high on your list of things to try, there are also some places where it can be an invaluable tool.
When Can SMS Marketing Work
With more and more customers shopping online, managing shipping and delivery expectations is one place where SMS shines. From providing customers with tracking information to letting them know their package is due for delivery that day, the near instant nature of the medium can help to make sure your customers know what is happening and can even improve your customer service.
Whether it is a text to your wine club members to remind them they need to select their wines for the month or to attendees of an upcoming event, SMS reminders can be extremely useful for both you and your customers. Because they are read at such a high rate and receive such high engagement, for something time sensitive like reminders they can be a perfect way to impart small amounts of information and encourage action.
Exclusive Sale Invites
Many companies have success with using SMS to drive traffic to sales and promotions, but in the wine industry, this is less proven. However, if you are looking to try this, it’s wise to send it to your most dedicated customers only and phrase it as an exclusive offer.
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