The most effective inbound marketing campaigns take advantage of multiple channels to reach their prospects (email, social media, etc.). As technology advances, additional marketing channels arrive on the scene, with the ability to make a big impact on your marketing efforts—especially if you are an early adopter.
In this blog, we’re going to examine one of those newer channels: text message marketing. If this isn’t already part of your marketing plan, read on to learn more about its importance in B2B marketing and how to get started.
Why use text message marketing?
It’s no secret that people of all ages today are tethered to their cell phones. In fact, according to HubSpot, 97% of American business professionals are within 3 feet of their cell phone 24 hours per day, and look at it an average of 150 times daily. That constant connectivity creates a huge opportunity for marketers looking to meet buyers where they are at in fresh way.
Although text message marketing is in its early stages of adoption, there are already impressive statistics that support its effectiveness. HubSpot shares that text message marketing has 6-8 times more engagement than email marketing:
- 98% of text messages are read, compared to 20% of emails and 12% of Facebook posts. (Why? Text messages generally must be opened before they are deleted, making it easier to get in front of the prospect with your message.)
- There is an average 19% click through rate for text message marketing, compared to 4.2% for emails.
- The average response time to a text message is 90 seconds, where email response times average close to 2 full days.
Clearly, these numbers indicate a strategy that every business should at least consider and test. Of course, it won’t be appropriate for every market, but it can produce serious results when targeted at the right audience.
Text message marketing vs. email marketing
Last year, we wrote a blog about why text message marketing may replace email marketing, and how to prepare. It’s hard to say if this strategy will oust email marketing all together, but we think at the very least texts will become as influential and effective as email—or more.
If you think about it, marketing via text message is quite similar to email marketing in several ways:
- U.S. law requires some type of opt-in before sending marketing messages via text. Marketers must also include certain disclaimers (such as “message and data rates may apply”), as well as opt-out language in each text (e.g., “reply STOP to opt out of future messages”).
- Just like email, text message marketing is considered spam by recipients when it is unwanted and unsolicited.
- Also like email, when relevant, beneficial content is sent via text message, many recipients appreciate the information and find value, making it an effective channel for an inbound marketing campaign.
How to implement text message marketing
To get started with text message marketing, you need three things: a tool, a strategy and a list.
Let’s start with a tool to implement text message marketing. While you could send from a personal cell phone (just like you could send marketing emails straight from your personal account), we recommend finding a tool to handle it for you.
The right solution will help you keep your list organized, send messages on a schedule, easily get analytics and more. A quick Google search will reveal many available services.
Of course, when beginning any new marketing program, it’s important to think about the strategy behind it, rather than just jumping in. What audience do you want to reach? What kind of messages will you send? What will your campaigns look like?
You’ll want to consider time of day to send (during the business day tends to work best for B2B messages, but test on your audience), as well as the tone you use and the type of content you send. It’s also critical to think about the action you want your audience to take. It’s unlikely a B2B prospect will buy from a text message or two, so you will want to build trust with valuable content and use smaller calls-to-action (like downloading free content or signing up for a free trial or consult).
Finally, you’ll need a list of prospect cell phone numbers to get started. Just like with email marketing, building a list takes time, but it is certainly doable. Here are just a few strategies to start building your list of phone numbers:
- Promote your text message “newsletter” subscription on your website
- Promote via social media, webinars or podcasts, and encourage people to subscribe
- Offer something free for signing up, such as long-form content, free training or something else of value
With all these list-building strategies, it’s essential that you give potential subscribers a good reason to sign up. Let them know what they’ll receive and why it’s valuable (e.g., breaking industry news, educational content, how-to tips and tactics).
Are you currently using text message marketing for your B2B sales campaigns? Have anything to add to this article? Let me know in the comments section below!