Enterprise SMS marketing: a playbook

enterprise SMS marketing

Text messaging is the communication channel of choice for businesses of all sizes looking to reach their customers exactly where they are. And it’s a win-win: Four out of five consumers say they wished businesses texted them more, and businesses get higher conversions, better responses and stronger relationships with customers, especially with enterprise SMS marketing.

Because 56 percent of consumers say they’d text your business more often if they had the chance, should you be giving that chance?

In this playbook, you’ll learn why SMS marketing should be on your radar (and in this year’s budget) if you’re a large company. You’ll also learn some of the best practices for great text messaging marketing and the key elements to look for in enterprise SMS marketing software.

 

Why enterprise SMS marketing?

Here are some of the benefits of using SMS marketing if you’re an enterprise business:

  • Preferred by customers
  • Better open rate
  • Better response rate
  • Better conversion rate
  • More conversational
  • Affordable 

SMS is preferred by customers: 85 percent of consumers say they’d prefer a text from a business rather than a call or an email, and 63 percent say they’d switch to a company that offered text messaging as a way to communicate.

Texts have a better open rate: Text messaging has a 98 percent open rate that outpaces all other channels. Email’s average open rate is only 20 percent by comparison.

Texting yields higher response rates: SMS has a 45 percent response rate. Compare that to email, which has just a 6 percent response rate.

SMS messages convert better: When a text message follows initial contact with a lead, conversion rates increase by up to 100 percent. Plus, customers who are texted convert at a 40 percent higher rate than customers who aren’t.

SMS means better conversations: 78 percent of people say they’d like to have a text conversation with a business. Text messages are naturally more informal, lending to a more personal connection with customers (which 64 percent say they want). The back and forth of texts also happen at more conversational speed, which is helpful, considering 82 percent of people want an “immediate” response when they have a question for a business.

Texting is affordable: Compared to call centers, where the cost of each phone call with a customer costs your business dollars, texts cost only cents.

 

Enterprise SMS marketing use cases

There are a number of ways to approach text message marketing at a large business. Here are some of the ways to use enterprise SMS marketing to your full advantage:

Have two-way conversations

Because 90 percent of customers say they want to provide feedback to brands, but less than 55 percent of companies actually give them that opportunity, businesses need to consider the text as a two-way conversation.

SMS is immediate and informal by nature, which inspires conversations that are two-sided, giving customers the voice they’re looking for and enhancing the customer experience. Of course, not all enterprise SMS marketing are executed on a 1:1 basis. But even segmented blasts can be highly targeted and — and this is the critical point — can allow customers to text you back. Leave the door open to customer questions and comments. As marketers today well know, inviting customer feedback has multiple benefits: first, it means the customer feels heard and that strengthens your bond with that customer. Second, it means you get valuable information about your product or service that you can turn into actionable data to make your business better.

Texting helps you achieve conversations that are two-sided. But why can’t email do the same? Because an important part of the conversational experience is timing. The back and forth of a text discussion is almost immediate compared to the glacial pace of email back and forths. Brands should take full advantage of the quickness of the SMS channel and have better two-way conversations with their customers and leads

Part of a multi-channel approach 

When assessing enterprise SMS marketing, it’s important to consider it a critical part of an omnichannel strategy. All the benefits of text messaging are especially compounded when it can be used in conjunction with email and phone calls and social media — if only to give customers more ways to get in touch with you. However, more isn’t always better, as sometimes having a multitude of channels with no defined strategy can lead to marketing waste. Finding the right combination of comms channels that work not just for your customers but for your employees is critical. 

For automated campaigns

Marketing emails are well known for their automation, and the same mentality can be applied to text messages. Drip campaigns are an enterprise SMS marketer’s best friend. Just like email, these campaigns send automated messages triggered by an action a customer takes — like filling out a form or watching a video. It’s a great way to guide leads down the funnel or welcome new leads with an approachable channel of communication, as long as you’ve already secured their opt-in status.

Automated SMS campaigns have a much higher chance of success based on average open and reply rates alone. Only roughly 20 percent of emails are opened, but 98 percent of texts are opened, and nine out of ten messages are read within the first three minutes. The probability that your customer will see your message is almost guaranteed with SMS — that’s a lot better than email, which comparatively looks a lot like throwing darts in the dark.

For content marketing

If there’s one thing marketers have learned about content marketing it’s that this strategy has few boundaries. What qualifies as content ranges from lengthy white papers and ebooks to short customer video reviews and Spotify playlists. If the content itself isn’t constrained by anything other than knowing what will delight your customers, why should the medium of delivery be constrained? Why stick to email or social media when a channel with near-perfect open rates can almost ensure your customers will see your content?

Beverage company Ghia used SMS to create "moments of delight" for customers. Ghia’s marketing team texted Spotify playlists to customers just because it was Monday. Customers raved about this move, and the response was immediate and positive.

Link: https://twitter.com/AjaSinger/status/1318334737015099398 

Targeted, personalized content that’s suited to your audience will always delight your customers. But imagine if you were using a medium that delivered it right to their hands. The average American checks her phone 96 times a day. That’s 96 opportunities every day to strengthen your customer relationships with fast, familiar enterprise SMS marketing.

For B2B

If you’re still of the mindset that SMS won’t work for businesses with B2B clients, it may be time to face reality. All customers — even B2B customers — text. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be capitalizing on SMS marketing just because you are marketing to another business. In fact, 80 percent of professionals use text messaging for business purposes already, so you’d simply be meeting them where they already are. 

As long as your message is targeted and appealing to the customer — just as it would be through any other channel — your chances are pretty good that your message will be seen.

For customer success

Customers have increased their expectations of customer service and customer success teams. As many as 93 percent of CS teams agree. Now that customer success falls under the purview of marketing more and more, using text messaging to connect with customers is becoming essential. SMS is fast, it’s convenient, it’s what consumers want. Texting your customers typically will only aid the convenience and ease of customer service and increase the chances of customer success. 

Texting can be used to enhance the customer experience at every turn, from text-based support conversations to order updates, reminders and confirmations (which is what 88 percent of customers would prefer anyway). And, more than half of consumers would rather you text them for customer support instead of call. Enterprise-level marketing teams need to give the people what they want.

 

Key elements to great enterprise SMS marketing

Text messaging is part of the suite of tools businesses need to fully engage customers and improve the customer experience throughout the entire journey. On the whole, customers want you to text them, as long as your texts are well targeted, hyper relevant and deliver real value. 

There are over 6 billion texts sent every day. It’s one of the most popular forms of communication today. Brands looking to enhance the value of customers over their lifetime are looking to texting to grow brand engagement with new and existing customers.

You know you need to be texting your customers, but do you know how to get started? If you’re looking for enterprise SMS marketing software, choosing a platform that works for your business is the first step. And it’s a big deal. The right text messaging service has the potential to lead your brand to a lifetime of effective business communication. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when determining which tool to use:

Functionality

Part of what makes an effective enterprise-level text messaging tool is the ability to deliver messages at scale. To do this, you need to make sure your team has the proper functionality in place. Make sure you choose a solution that allows your team to be more productive by automating some common tasks. These are the features that usually make it easier for teams to handle multiple conversations at once:

  • Shared inbox
  • Keyword auto-responses
  • Surveys
  • Template messages
  • Automated campaigns

Analytics

There are a number of revenue-building metrics you’ll want to keep your eye on to achieve outstanding enterprise SMS marketing. First, you should watch numbers on your unsubscribe lists. Just like with email, seeing your rate of churn will help you understand how to target your list better or improve the value of your text messaging campaigns.

You’ll of course want to watch your open rates, reply rates and conversion rates (which can be 40 higher with SMS marketing) to determine the overall ROI of your SMS marketing strategy. 

Another metric that is effective in SMS marketing is cost per contact. Determining cost per contact can tell you how much of your marketing budget is going toward each of your leads. With the right enterprise SMS marketing software, you should be able to bring this number down with an increase in efficiency. Text messaging, compared to email, means faster campaign responses and more immediate conversions. And, it can all be managed by your team from a centralized platform that’s easy to integrate with other software, so your marketing team can pass off leads to sales more quickly. More efficient marketing results in a lower cost per contact and more room in your marketing budget.

Integrations

Your teams use platforms to optimize almost everything these days. When choosing the best text messaging service for business, you need to keep those other platforms in mind. If your systems don’t integrate, then you’re causing more work for your team and all that optimization might start working against you. Better to choose a platform that integrates with the tools your team already knows and loves to use to make their jobs easier. 

Look for an enterprise SMS platform that integrates with Salesforce. You want to be able to text or call directly from a Salesforce record and automatically track all touchpoints within a Salesforce instance. That way, your sales team never has to leave the interface to track the interaction. The best text messaging services for business will sync contact data and customer fields to any new or existing records right in Salesforce.

Using Microsoft Teams to stay in touch remotely? Your SMS software should allow you to quickly and easily send and receive text messages, make phone calls and log activity directly from Microsoft Teams. You want to be able to see the two-way messaging history between your business and your customers in real-time, and you want to see a Teams notification when someone calls or texts your business so you can respond immediately.

The best enterprise text messaging marketing software should allow you to send and receive messages from Slack as well, and any replies can be sent back as text messages without ever leaving Slack.

Allowing your team to manage text messages exactly where they spend their time is the most efficient way to integrate this new channel. 

Security

You need to keep your business SMS messages secure while still being able to scale. Multiple two-way conversations happening at the same time will need some form of automation, which can make texting vulnerable. However, with the right enterprise SMS marketing software, you’ll know that your automated and manual conversations surpass the privacy and security criteria of SOC 2.

Overall, managing enterprise SMS marketing shouldn’t be that different from managing other types of marketing software. You should be able to control everything from your desktop, simply and easily, and integrate with other apps you use every day — like Slack, Salesforce and Microsoft Teams. Good-quality enterprise SMS marketing software will let you track the data from every text and campaign, just as you would for an email campaign, and plug that data right into your CRM. But, unlike with your email campaigns, enterprise SMS marketing yields much higher open rates and conversion rates. 

 

Ready to give enterprise SMS marketing a try?

Start a free trial to build your SMS strategy today.