Why “Customers Don’t Want SMS Marketing” Needs a Rethink

Why “Customers Don’t Want SMS Marketing” Needs a Rethink

When it comes to reaching consumers, marketers have a smorgasbord of channels to choose from. There are traditional options such as print, radio, TV trade shows, and direct mail, and newer options such as websites, blogs, search, social media, messaging apps, and email一you can even reach consumers in their on-the-road-navigation software. 

Why, then, would consumers be interested in yet another marketing channel?

Enter SMS (or “smart message services” AKA texting).

SMS has been around for nearly 30 years, and as such is one of the older communication technologies going. It’s stuck around, in part, because it’s immediate, useful, and inexpensive to deploy. It’s a direct way of communicating without too much disruption. Traditionally people have thought of SMS as a channel reserved for important or close communications between friends, colleagues, and family.

So, customers don’t want SMS marketing added to the mix…right?

The answer may surprise you. As it turns out, consumers are more open to receiving marketing messages via SMS than on many other platforms.

Here’s why:

Texting is Second Nature to Millions of People

According to renowned social science think tank Pew Research Center, as of February 2021, a whopping 97% of U.S. adults own mobile phones, and 85% own smartphones. And the gross majority of those people use their phones to text. No big surprise, right? Go anywhere, any time and you’ll see most people staring at a screen or tapping out a message. In short, using a mobile phone to communicate via text is second nature to millions and millions of people. 

And People Like Texting

It’s true. People like texting a lot. Turns out the immediacy of texting brings an urgency to communicating that email, social, and other messaging platforms can’t match. People tend to respond more quickly to a text, and respond more overall, much like answering a ringing phone. Have a look at a few stats:

People Engage with Brands on Their Mobile Devices Already

If you make your retail purchases from your mobile phone or tablet, you’re not alone. According to market and consumer data platform Statista, during 2020, nearly 51% of U.S. mobile phone users made at least one purchase on their mobile device一that’s about 168 million users!

And there’s more! Estimates for smartphone retail e-commerce sales are due to surpass a mindblowing $432 billion for 2022, nearly triple the $148 billion figure for 2018.

So basically, people actively engage with brands on their mobile devices already. Starting out the process with SMS marketing that’s also accessible on their devices, then, just makes sense.

SMS Marketing Requires Consent from Recipients (and Lots of People Have Given It)

Here’s something you might not know. If you’re a business, you can’t just start texting customers willy nilly. As with email marketing, there are rules and regulations in place that protect consumers from unwanted SMS marketing solicitations. 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CAN-SPAM Act require that recipients provide explicit consent to receive SMS marketing messages from a named business before any marketing message is sent. Enforcement is largely overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, though other stakeholders include the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) (who can suspend texting services to businesses) and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) (a key trade association). 

What does this all mean? It means that consumers must give their permission to a business before that business can legally send them a single SMS marketing message.

And guess what?

As of the end of 2020, over 48 million consumers have opted in to receive SMS communications from their favorite brands. Not only that, but 60% of consumers want to be able to respond to SMS messages they receive from brands, but only 13% of businesses provide the capability for customers to respond to their SMS marketing messages.

Seems like a missed opportunity, right? 

People Respond Favorably to SMS Marketing Messages 

The really good news for marketers is that people respond favorably to SMS marketing messaging. How do we know? Because

And here are a few additional stats you might  be interested in:

How to Include SMS in Your Marketing Mix 

So, this idea that customers don’t want SMS marketing simply isn’t true. In fact, we think the facts suggest the opposite. 

To make the most of your SMS marketing campaigns consider working with a partner like Salesmsg. Salesmsg is a premier two-way business text messaging software platform that enables you to easily send, receive, and manage SMS message conversations from a single dashboard. It also integrates seamlessly with more than 1,000 third-party apps, including popular CRM platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, and Salesforce. 

Salesmsg also offers basic and advanced pricing plans (both costing pennies per text message) that include a range of features, such as SMS broadcasting (up to 1,000 texts at a time), customer onboarding, and premier support.

Oh, and using a comprehensive SMS marketing platform like Salesmsg can also ensure your messaging is compliant with all the necessary rules and regulations. 

To learn more about how Salesmsg can help you craft SMS marketing that your customers will love, get in contact today.

Text us at (888) 409-2298 or start your free trial today

The Key to Getting Customer Feedback and Reviews Via SMS & Text Messaging

The Key to Getting Customer Feedback and Reviews Via SMS & Text Messaging

Customer feedback has the power to nourish businesses—strengthening their ability to attract new buyers through positive reviews, while improving products and services with feedback from the existing consumers that constitute their base.  

However, creating surveys and the messaging around review requests can be a time-consuming process. What’s more, the effort is only worthwhile if the reviews lead to an increase in conversion rates. The best way to ensure your efforts net a response is to communicate in a way they’re most likely to receive, open, and actually read. 

Business SMS is one of the best channels to engage with customers and inspire them to provide feedback about your products or services, customer service practices, and overall brand experience. The advantage of these two channels lies in both open and response rates. 

SMS Marketing & Text Messaging Answer The Call For Customer Feedback

These days, people are rarely, if ever, away from their smartphones. And when they do pick up their phone after any amount of time away from it, the first thing they do is check to see if they’ve received any messages or notifications. And the evidence is not merely anecdotal. Check out these stats:

According to marketing campaign management research, SMS boasts a 98 percent open rate. Engagement rates via business text messages are high, too, with a response rate of up to 80 percent. This decimates email, which has an open rate of 20-30 percent and a response rate of a paltry 6 percent. Not only that, 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three seconds. 

And it’s not only the open rate that benefits when businesses deploy SMS efforts. In terms of conversion rates, 32 percent of recipients respond to SMS offers, with texted coupons being redeemed 10 times more often than traditional coupons. Meanwhile, 29 percent of SMS marketing message recipients click on the links they receive, with 47 percent of those going on to make a purchase. That’s close to a 14 percent conversion rate. Also, research by Smart Insights shows that SMS-based surveys also enjoy high conversion, with 31 percent of consumers responding to the request to take a survey, often within five minutes of receiving the message. 

The Difference Between Customer Reviews and Customer Feedback

On the surface, it may seem like the two things are fairly similar: you’re asking for someone to provide a comment on the product and/or service they’ve bought from you…right? But the difference between reviews and feedback comes down to a simple distinction: visibility. While customer reviews are typically intended for publication for as wide of an audience as possible, feedback is the process of gathering in-depth information that your internal teams can use to identify pain points and flaws, and improve your products and processes going forward. 

That distinction also means you need to be careful about which consumers you’re targeting these requests to: given how important peer reviews are as part of the buying process, it’s critical that you have systems in place to only ask your happiest customers–a/k/a the “evangelists”–to provide them. One rule of thumb to keep in mind is that negative reviews will always find you while positive reviews, more often than not, have to be requested.


For feedback, meanwhile, almost the opposite is true: while it’s certainly worth asking your happiest customers what they love, many of your best insights are likely to come from those who haven’t had the smoothest experience. 

The Best Time to Send Text Messages & Marketing Surveys

Since you can count on 20 percent of consumers clicking on a link in a text message, you should consider sending messages at the best possible moments during the customer journey. 

Request feedback on a recent purchase or service. After a customer makes a purchase, suggest they sign up for your SMS or texting service. If they opt in, offer a short survey to rate their satisfaction. 

Request a review following positive feedback. When a customer has indicated a high level of satisfaction with their purchase and/or the service they have received, it’s a perfect time to follow up with a review request. Whether you’re linking to a review form on Google, Amazon, Yelp or your own site, there’s no time like the present. Even better, with a solution like Salesmessage, you can add an event trigger to automatically schedule this followup for you.

Request feedback after a text-based support session. Since the customer is already using a messaging service to communicate with you, this is the perfect time to ask for feedback about your customer service team. 

Send a more in-depth survey at a later date. Measuring customer experience long after they’ve made a purchase can provide valuable information. Sending a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey tends to receive high response rates when sent around two weeks after the customer’s journey is complete. 

Keep Your Text & SMS Messaging Professional

Even when writing in the shorthand often associated with text messaging, your style should always sound just as professional as your emails and other communications. It’s best to adhere to best practices when communicating through business texting and SMS surveys, no matter what stage of the buyer’s journey you find your customer. 

Here are a few quick points to keep in mind:

  • Stay on brand. Mention your company’s name. 
  • Be positive. Maintain a polite tone no matter the customer’s response.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Brevity will keep the conversation going.
  • Schedule text messaging. Stay consistent in messaging and marketing efforts. 
  • Proofread multiple times. Spelling and grammar errors could spell your doom.

Takeaway

Any text messaging marketing programs you deploy can have many benefits. While people have constant access to their email via smartphones, they still open text messages at a much higher clip. SMS plays a fundamental role in any marketing strategy—and it’s a role that will only continue to expand. 

The key to making all of this work is the ability to trigger messages automatically based on specific events, and to coordinate your SMS outreach with your other marketing channels. While Salesmessage integrates seamlessly with many existing CRM solutions, this functionality also exists natively within our platform, meaning you can easily filter customers while using out broadcast feature to target requests for requests for surveys, interviews, reviews and more. To learn more about how Salesmessage achieves this, and how we can help take your business texting to the next level, sign up for a free trial today.

A2P 10DLC – Everything You Need to Know!

A2P 10 DLC is upon us, and that’s good news

Follow me here. Nearly 49 million consumers opted-in to receive texts from brands as of late 2020. 82% of those consumers opened every single message they received. 

Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than email, phone, or Facebook, with 90% of messages being read in just three minutes. Clearly, SMS marketing is an obvious win for any brand wanting to connect with its customers.

But within this massive market, customers need safety and protection from unscrupulous marketers or scammers.

That’s where A2P 10 DLC comes in — one of the biggest changes in the industry’s history in the last decade.

In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this update, what it means for you, and what to do about it.

What is A2P 10 DLC?

Short for Application-to-Person 10-Digit Long Code, this is a system designed for business messaging where companies use local 10-digit long code phone numbers. 

Sounds technical, I know. But a 10 DLC number is really just a standard 10-digit phone number that helps support the high-volume messaging output that many businesses need these days. 

And it offers some key benefits for B2Bs. “Carriers’ A2P 10 DLC offerings provide better delivery quality and lower filtering risk than long code SMS of the past, using the same phone numbers,” Twilio A2P explains

There are two main purposes behind A2P 10 DLC. 

One is to create a higher level of trust and transparency between businesses and their customers. 

Companies register their brand with The Campaign Registry, letting them know who they are and what they’re sending through SMS. In turn, this helps protect users from spam, which is critical given texting spam complaints have increased 1.3x over the past year.

The other purpose is to accommodate the high volume messaging needs of modern companies. 

Up until this point, US long codes have been designed for person-to-person (P2P) communications, which are only capable of low volume messaging. But with this new system, businesses should be able to send far more. 

So, if you’re looking to scale and crank up your throughput, A2P 10 DLC is just the ticket. 

What do I need to do?

If you do not send any messages to users in the United States using long code numbers, you do not need to do anything.

If you send messages to the US, but you always send fewer than 3,000 messages per day to the US using 5 or fewer long code phone numbers you would need to register for a starter package. If you are an existing Salesmsg customer, we took care of that for you already.

If you send more than 3,000 messages per day or use more than 5 long code numbers for messaging to the US, you must complete the registration for a Standard package. If you are a Salemsg user, you can complete the A2P 10DLC registration in your Salesmsg account settings.

How does A2P 10DLC work?

There are two important requirements under the new A2P 10DLC system:

  1. Businesses must identify who they are to the carrier networks (Brand registration).
  2. Businesses must register what type of messages they are sending, i.e. notifications (Campaign registration). 

As a Salesmsg user, registration is done entirely through your Salesmsg account. We have integrated with The Campaign Registry (TCR) to meet the requirements of carriers while making it easy for businesses to onboard. 

Do I need to register? If so, what’s the deadline?

As of August 2, 2021, there is a deadline for completing registration before October 1, 2021. This requirement applies to all businesses sending more than 3,000 messages per day to the US, or who use more than 5 long code numbers for messaging to the US (regardless of message volume).

Dates and deadlines for business registration

September 30, 2021:

Registration deadline for customers using long code messaging in the US.

October 1, 2021:

There is a heightened risk of increased per-message carrier fees, as well as additional filtering for unregistered traffic, which could cause delivery failures.

AT&T’s Campaign-based fee schedule goes into effect for messages to users on AT&T’s network.  The per-message fees associated with unregistered SMS and MMS to AT&T increase. AT&T fees will vary from $0.002 to $0.004 per outbound SMS segment and $0.0035 to $0.005 per outbound MMS depending on your use case.

After the transition period ends, AT&T will increase filtering (blocking) of non-registered 10-digit long code traffic sent to users on their network.

What happens if I don’t register?

If your message volume requires you to register (see the thresholds described above) and you have not completed registration by October 1, 2021, your message traffic may be subject to heavier carrier filtering. Increased per-message carrier fees may apply to unregistered traffic after this date.

How does US A2P Brand registration work? 

When you complete your US A2P Brand registration, your Brand will receive a Trust Score from 0 to 100. This rating influences the maximum message throughput that will be allocated to each of your Campaign use cases (see below).

What is a Trust Score, and how does it affect me?

When you complete the registration of your Brand and Campaign(s) for A2P Messaging through the Salesmsg, that information is sent from Salesmsg to The Campaign Registry (TCR), a 3rd party at the center of this new registration system.

How do Trust Scores influence message throughput?

Trust Scores are grouped into three levels, from lowest to highest. Your Trust Score level, combined with your Campaign Type, will determine the message throughput that is allocated to your campaign use case.

Mixed / Marketing Use Cases: Message Throughput

Mixed / Marketing use cases can be registered for customers who want to send messages for multiple use cases from the same set of numbers, or for marketing. Different throughput levels are allocated for Mixed / Marketing use cases than for Declared use cases.

Please note, in addition to the “Mixed / Marketing” use case, there is a separate Campaign use case designated as “Low Volume Mixed” â€“ this option has a lower monthly fee than a standard Campaign but is fixed at the lowest throughput tier below, regardless of your Trust Score (0.2 MPS to AT&T; 2.2 MPS total).

Trust ScoreTotal SMS MPS toward major US networks*AT&T SMS MPST-Mobile SMS MPSVerizon SMS MPS
86 – 100180606060
66 – 8530101010
26 – 653111
15 – 25 (or Low Volume Mixed Campaign)2.2**0.2 (12 segments per minute)**11

What’s a campaign use case?

This represents a messaging use case, for example, sending account notifications or conducting marketing. In carrier terminology, these are called “Campaigns.” For more specificity, Salesmsg is calling them campaign use cases.

Do I need to buy new phone numbers to use this A2P 10DLC service?

If you are already using long code numbers, there is no need to buy new numbers. You will enable your existing numbers to use the new A2P 10DLC service by following the registration process.

What information is required for registration?

In order to register businesses, brands, and use cases, you will need information about each business and brand. The required info includes the business name, physical address, business type (LLC, partnership, etc.).

For customers sending fewer than 3,000 SMS message segments and MMS a day to the United States, you do not do anything since Salesmsg already has all your required information.

What pricing and fees are associated with the A2P 10DLC service?

For an overview of registration costs and per-message carrier fees associated with A2P 10DLC, please see below

Registration Fees

US A2P Starter Brand registration fee: $0

US A2P Standard Brand registration fee: $4 one-time registration fee – increasing to $44 on August 21st

A2P campaign use case registration fees:

Campaign use case typeCost
Standard$10/month
Low-volume* mixed use case$2/month
Special: Charity / 501(c)(3) Nonprofit$5/month
Special: Emergency Services$5/month
Starter$0/month

Starting October 1, 2021, T-Mobile will begin charging a one-time $50 campaign activation fee for each newly registered campaign (not including Starter campaigns). 

  • The threshold for “low volume” is fewer than 500 messages per day, or approx. 15,000 messages per month.

AT&T Carrier Fees

Fees effective for all long code messages to AT&T, starting October 1st:

  • $0.002 per outbound SMS message segment to AT&T
  • $0.0035 per outbound MMS message to AT&T

Fees effective for long code messages to AT&T after the transition period ends (date TBD):

Campaign use case typeAT&T long code outbound SMS carrier fee (per segment)AT&T long code outbound MMS carrier fee
Single-use, non-marketing use case$0.002$0.0035
Mixed or Marketing Use Case$0.003$0.0035
Basic / Unregistered$0.004$0.005

How long does it take to get registered?

Registration can typically be completed in a few minutes if you’ve already collected all of the required information. For example, if you are registering a US-based business, you should ensure you have your Employer Identification Number (EIN) ready when you begin registration. However, in the event that there is a discrepancy with the information you provide, a manual review may be required for Secondary Vetting which can take up to 7 days.

Is MMS messaging affected by A2P 10DLC?

Yes, MMS messaging via long code is subject to carrier fees as part of A2P 10DLC. We also expect registered MMS traffic to ultimately benefit from reduced carrier filtering. However, long code MMS messaging remains subject to throughput limits, due to limited carrier capacity. For high-volume MMS use cases in the United States, a short code is still the best option.

What message sending throughput (MPS) do I get?

Message throughput (MPS) will be allocated per registered Campaign Use Case. For many customers, A2P 10DLC will offer much higher throughput than the traditional 1 MPS for long code messaging, without the requirement of using additional numbers to get higher throughput.

How do these rule changes affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers? Should I switch to 10DLC?

These changes do not directly affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers, except for officially prohibiting shared short codes for all use cases except authentication codes. Details below.

Shared short codes will be banned (date TBD)

Dedicated short codes are still a great way to send high-volume A2P messaging in the United States. However, the use of shared short code numbers will be banned with the transition to A2P 10DLC. The only exception to this policy is shared short codes used to send 2-factor auth (2FA) or OTP codes only.

“Shared short codes” refers to short code numbers that are shared among multiple brands, for example, Shoe Company A and Beverage Company B sending messages via the same short code number. If you have purchased a short code number from Salesmsg and are using it for your own business and brand only, you are not affected by this change.

Under the new policy, a short code may be shared across multiple companies only for the purposes of sending authentication code messages, for example, “Your login code is 12345.” Any other category of messaging is not allowed on a shared short code.

Customers who are sharing a short code among multiple clients or brands for any purpose other than sending 2-factor codes (also known as OTPs) should completely migrate away from shared short codes.

Previously, the end date for shared short codes was identified as June 1. As of July 1, the end date for shared short codes is on hold until the successful implementation of A2P 10DLC. A specific date will be shared here when we have information to share.

Toll-Free SMS – no changes

US Toll-Free phone numbers are not affected by these changes. Toll-Free SMS is still a great way to send A2P SMS in the United States as well as Canada.

Is messaging to Canada or any other countries also affected by these changes?

No. Canadian mobile carriers may introduce registered A2P 10DLC solutions in the future, but at this time carriers have not announced any plans to do so.

How to Increase Ecommerce Conversions with SMS

How to Increase Ecommerce Conversions with SMS

If you’ve been in the ecommerce field for long enough to know how to Google “how to increase conversions”, you’ve no doubt seen any number of blog posts and ebooks all promising to help you do just that. Mostly, those posts have good things to say–albeit things that are probably a little obvious to most seasoned ecommerce marketers. Who isn’t trying to use better images and clearer descriptions? Who hasn’t at least played with the idea of offering free shipping to entice more of their users to smash that buy button?

But what if we were to tell you that the key to improving conversions isn’t just about A/B testing your product copy or cutting your margins? What if it’s about (whisper it) being in the right place, with the right offer, at the right time?

Need more specifics? Try this: most ecommerce sites aren’t leveraging the highest attention channel at their disposal. At all.

Given the site you’re on, and the title of the blog you’re reading, you don’t get any prizes for guessing that we’re talking about SMS. But take a bow if you already knew that 82% of consumers always read their texts–and 60% do so within five minutes of receiving them. That’s partly why the oft-cited stat of a 98% open rate on texts has held strong, even as SMS marketing has taken off in recent years.

Strategies to Improve Your Ecommerce Conversions With SMS 

Let’s get down to business: now that you’ve got the tools to find your ideal consumers at the exact right moment (the where and the when), it’s time to focus on the how. As in, how do you leverage this technology to deliver the results you want? Here are a few key ecommerce SMS strategies:

Loyalty programs

Whether you’re adding SMS options to your existing loyalty program or creating an SMS-only channel, there’s clear evidence that consumers are willing to trade their contact information for access to deals and promotions via text. Use cases can verge from simple SMS-only seasonal offers and flash sales to coupons for essential items that get delivered right when your customer’s last order is running low.

SMS Loyalty Program Text Message Sample

Deals & flash sales

Building on the loyalty program aspect, flash sales are perhaps the best use case for SMS messaging for many ecommerce sites. Injecting a sense of urgency and even gamification into your deals can help to nudge customers across the purchase line.

Sample text message for flash sale promotion

Abandoned cart followups

While it typically requires customers to be known and logged in to your site to activate, adding abandoned cart reminders and deals to your SMS outreach can also help to close more sales. That “hey you forgot something” email that your customers are so used to ignoring comes with a fresh urgency when the message is delivered to their text inbox–especially if it comes with an additional incentive such as limited-time free shipping.

Delivery/pickup details

OK, so getting a text about when your order is going to arrive, or where to pick it up might not be the thing that drives your first sale to a customer. But, done well, it is the kind of customer experience that will keep your customers coming back for more. And by “done well”, think more “here’s a message with a link to click that will allow you to pick up your product when you arrive”, as opposed to “this message confirms that your order will arrive on Thursday between 6am and 9pm.”

Live support on order issues

In that same vein, one of the most-wanted, and yet least-delivered-on use cases for SMS in ecommerce is the ability to access effective support in the same way that you’d check in on a friend who was late to an event: with a quick text message. While the person-power necessary to respond at scale to thousands of customers within a reasonable time frame can seem prohibitive, automation and chatbots can handle a lot of initial issues in exactly the same way as a phone tree (but much less annoying and time-consuming). And, with trained agents waiting to deal with anyone whose issue can’t be resolved with an automated response, the vision of an SMS-enabled order support process can be truly brought to life.

Conclusion

Harnessing the immediate reach and high open rates of SMS can be a critical tool in your ecommerce marketing strategy. Provided it is used appropriately, SMS is a powerful tool for improving ecommerce conversions and driving additional sales and revenue for your business. The key to it, as with all marketing communication, is not to abuse the trust that the consumer placed in you when they opted in to begin receiving your messages. That permission is the most valuable asset that a customer can provide; using it to provide relevant, timely offers and updates not only delivers on the reason they provided it in the first place, but helps to build the trust and confidence from those consumers that will keep them coming back time and time again–an outcome that should be the goal for almost any marketer.

How to Get Started 

Contact Salesmsg today to learn more about how SMS can boost your marketing efforts and help take your ecommerce conversions to the next level. 

Text us at (888) 409-2298 or start your free trial today.

The Benefits of SMS for Small Business

The Benefits of SMS for Small Business

In a world of nearly frictionless market access, consumers can change buying preferences with a click of the mouse or a swipe up the screen. Standing out in a crowded landscape of product offerings is hard enough for larger companies, but for small businesses with fewer resources, it’s extra tough.

For a company just starting out or any small business, achieving the right marketing mix with the optimal combination of effectiveness, cost, usability, and scale can mean the difference between thriving and closing up shop. And that’s where SMS comes in.  

Using SMS, or “Short Message Service” (AKA, texting) to send marketing messages provides small businesses a raft load of benefits that not only can enhance their overall marketing efforts but does so in a cost-effective manner that would make any marketing manager smile. Take a look.