When looking for SMS marketing advice you’re typically fed boring “insights” like:
- Keep it short (obviously)
- Don’t use text speak
- Give details
- Use a call to action
If you’re reading this post then I’m sure you don’t need someone telling you to keep your text message short.
Instead, you may be looking for some ideas that have you thinking a little differently about how to use SMS.
That’s the purpose of this post.
Let’s get started.
1. Use AIDA To Write High Performing SMS Messages
Get good at writing copy and you can make as much money as you like, the world of SMS is driven by words so it’s worth becoming proficient at writing good SMS copy.
The good news about sales copy is that they all use proven frameworks all that is required is to fill in the blanks, kind of like blockbuster movies (e.g. hero’s journey structure) or music chorus, verse, chorus, verse etc.
There are dozens of battle-tested sales frameworks that you can use to improve the response to your SMS promotions but the one I’ve found works best for SMS copy is the AIDA formula.
AIDA – Attention + Interest + Desire + Action
Attention: SMS already has attention built-in but using the recipient’s name is also a nice way to get them to open the message.
Interest: Your SMS should have something of high relevance to that particular person, hopefully you’ve segmented your list so you’re not sending out the same message to everyone – you can find this in our SMS Marketing Guide.
Desire: Connect what you are offering to an existing desire of that person. For example, if they want to lose weight [desire] for summer and you’re a restaurant then you may offer tasty, low-carb dishes. You may also include a special limited time offer.
Action: Tell them exactly what you want them to do.
Here’s an example of a real estate agent informing a potential buyer about a new opportunity:
Hey Julie, I have a client who needs to sell their home priced at under market value. I have 1 buyer who is interested. Reply if you’re keen to discuss. Jack.
Attention: Hey Julie,
Interest/Desire: I have a client who needs to sell their home [interest] priced at under market value [built-in equity].
Action: I have 2 other buyers interested. Reply if you’re keen to discuss.
2. Marketing Based SMS vs. Sales Based SMS?
With SMS you need to use the appropriate messaging for the job to maximise performance.
There are two types of SMS that you’re likely to send:
- Marketing Based SMS
- Sales Based SMS
What’s the difference?
It’s my estimation that companies spend 90%+ of the time sending sales based messages.
This is when you send a text asking for the recipient to buy something.
These are also referred to as promotional SMS’s.
A marketing based SMS is used to pre-sell or warm-up a customer before sending out a promotion to them.
How do you decide which one to use?
This is depends on the awareness level of your subscriber, are they:
- Aware of the specific product or service you are selling?
- Aware of the price of that product or service?
- Aware of the value of that product or service?
If the answer is yes, then the task is easy, you’re going to use a sales based SMS message which simply means telling them:
- What you’ve got
- How to get it
- Special offer (if any)
How would you use a marketing based SMS?
- Are you launching a new product or event?
- Do you have products or services that people don’t buy because they either aren’t aware of them or don’t understand the value of that solution?
In this case you would go with SMS marketing because you most likely need to warm people up and get them excited about the new offer.
Quick tips for producing an SMS marketing message:
- Use a two-step process i.e. SMS to article which goes into more depth about what’s happening.
- Engage emotionally and intellectually.
- Connect to their existing desires.
Here’s an example for a health club manager who wants to prime their members for an upcoming employee coming to their gym:
She’s coming! An expert in metabolic nutrition for fast body transformation is joining our gym! Check out her most recent client case studies website.com.au/fbt
- Who’s coming?
- What is “metabolic nutrition”?
- How have they helped their recent clients?
If the subscriber has never heard of metabolic nutrition before then they’re going to want to know more about what that is.
We also connect this new idea of metabolic nutrition to their desires (fast weight loss).
We have a message that is both emotionally engaging and intellectually interesting.
Then once they click through to the article they will learn more about it and you would of course have them opt-in to this list to get a heads up on when this nutritionist is available to take bookings.
3. Use SMS In High Impact Areas
SMS has a special ability that no other marketing tool has.
It is able to leverage one of today’s most precious currencies that companies spend a lot of money to get their hands on.
What is this currency?
Paris Hilton was known for charging nightclubs $100,000 just for her to show up for an hour…and they were excited to pay it.
Paris Hilton (at that time) had the world’s attention and she was able to pass that attention on to the nightclub turning it into the new “it” spot which drove media, paparazzi etc. which in turn temporarily had people queuing up around the block for hours to get in.
This is the power of attention.
This is why SMS is has become so popular with savvy marketers who understand the importance of being able to:
Get the attention of anyone in seconds and channel that attention on to an offer.
Think about areas inside your business where you can use that attention to help improve a specific goal.
Here are a few examples:
Increase Attendance Rates
Good for when you have a sales presentation, webinar or some other event where you want maximum attendance you can send out an SMS either the day before if it’s a live event or a few minutes before if it’s a webinar.
I used this for a company I worked with to ensure the highest number of people showed up to our training event.
Since we had a 20 person limit and each person was potentially worth $2,500 we wanted to use SMS to guarantee the recipient didn’t miss out.
Abandoned carts are a massive pain point for online retailers in fact in 2017 the average online retailer could expect to see up to 78.65% of people loading up their shopping cart and then ditching it!
If your store is generating $100,000 in sales it’s missing out on another $78,650 in potential revenue
If you could recover 10-20% of those missed carts that would be more than worth it.
Online retailers will typically use ad retargeting and email but the weapon of choice is SMS in fact SMS is considered 400% more effective than email 99% by ecommerce store owners.
Reduce Missed Appointments
If you have clients that need to book in with you to receive a service then you know how frustrating and also how expensive it is when a person doesn’t show up for their appointment.
It’s a double whammy.
You don’t get the revenue from the client but you still need to pay that hour to your employees.
Sending an SMS the day before reminds that client of the appointment and gives them the opportunity to cancel ahead of time allowing you to cover that space with another client.
Increase Client Retention
Losing a client sucks but most don’t know the damaging effect of losing clients can be here’s a graphic from groovehq that points out the revenue upside retaining a small percentage of clients.
There are plenty of areas inside your business processes where you can use SMS to grab attention and drive a specific action.
While sending an email will likely get overlooked, sending an SMS virtually guarantees that your message will get read and give you one last opportunity to re-connect and bring them back on board.
SMS is more than just a powerful promotional tool it can be woven throughout your sales, marketing, team and client processes.
Use SMS for high-impact areas where you need to drive a result.
Follow sales copy best practices when using customer or prospect focused messaging to improve the overall success of your campaigns and think about the level of awareness your customer or prospect has before sending that SMS.