Ask most individuals and they will tell you that they generally use SMS messaging for personal communications. For B2B marketers, this single assumption often leads to this powerful channel being completely ignored. Whilst it may be true that most messages sent by individuals are indeed personal in nature, this is not necessarily the same for messages they receive. Read on to learn why SMS messaging has huge potential in B2B marketing and how to use it to increase ROI and engagement.
Business SMS messaging versus email
When it comes to reaching out to businesses, the favoured form of communication for years has been email. So just how does SMS cut it against its biggest rival? Let’s look at the figures. Of course, one of the main attractions of email is that it has an unlimited character count, can be styled almost however you wish with a minimum amount of effort and is easily tracked using widely available tools, so that you can be sure of how many people have received, opened and responded to your campaign. All good so far, click-through we hear you say. But it is perhaps these tracking tools that provide the biggest argument against email’s effectiveness – According to reporting by mailchimp, the average open rate for most sectors is typically little more than 20%, whilst the clickthrough rate is an average 4.2%.
So how does SMS messaging compare? Although the character count for an SMS message is considerably limited in comparison to email, it is still more generous than many believe. Whilst an individual SMS message is limited to a maximum of 160 characters, in reality messages of up to 456 characters can be sent using tools such as the cloud-based messaging service provided by Fastsms. The messages are simply broken up on sending and recompiled seamlessly on receipt. Provided you are succinct, this is more than enough to create meaningful messages that include clear calls to action.
In terms of access to SMS messages, 93% of the UK population now have access to a mobile phone, and typically open close to 100% of text messages received, usually within 90 seconds.click-throughrate for SMS messages is 19% – nearly five times higher than email.
Finally, it is worth considering the cost element. Most B2B users perceive email as a free channel. Whilst there is no direct cost associated with sending an email, it is worth bearing in mind that there are still indirect costs. For example, there is a cost associated with maintaining the server infrastructure to provide the business with its email service. Then there is the cost of mailing lists which companies often purchase. SMS, on the other hand, is actually one of the cheapest forms of B2B communications based on the per-unit cost.
B2B SMS messaging – the basic rules
The key to successful B2B SMS Messaging is to follow some basic rules. Let’s take a look at some of these in more detail.
Because people tend to be alerted to every single text message they receive at the moment they receive it, it is essential to be sensitive to the time you choose to send. This is especially important for B2B messaging. As a simple rule, ensure your messages are restricted exclusively to business hours. A good guideline would be between the hours of 9am to 5pm. In contrast to B2C marketing by SMS, it is also advisable to avoid lunch time as recipients are less likely to act on the message during their break from work. Naturally, bank holidays and weekends are better avoided too.
Just like email, taking the time to research the rules can save you from running into potentially costly problems further down the line. One key difference between B2B and B2C SMS marketing is that in the B2B sector, unsolicited messages may be sent to corporate subscribers without them giving their explicit consent. However, the obligation to offer an opt-out remains. It is important to bear in mind that it is the responsibility of the sender to ensure that they are messaging corporate subscribers, so due diligence is important. A sole trader may present themselves as an established business but receive communications to their personal mobile phone as an individual. There are also other regulations that apply, such as those set out in the Advertising Standards Agency’s CAP codes.
It works both ways
In order to make the most out of B2B SMS marketing, it is worth setting it up as a two way channel that truly enables you to track clients’ behaviour and collect valuable data for future marketing. Two-way messaging is straightforward to set up, and simply requires the use of a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN) or a shortcode. A VMN allows you to receive an unlimited number of messages, and can be integrated into your CRM system for maximum convenience.It also allows you to use keywords and filtering to manage responses.
A shortcode offers most of the advantages of a VMN, but allows your clients to respond with a simple and memorable 5 digit code instead of a traditional 11-digit phone number. Shortcodes are highly suited to building brand identification or for specific campaigns. The cost of a shortcode can be reduced by renting keywords on a shared shortcode.
Click here to read more about VMNs and shortcodes.
The synergy factor
With today’s advances in both SMS messaging and smartphone technology, SMS messaging can be combined with other marketing channels to create real synergy. URLs for landing pages, blogs, e-Commerce sites, surveys and more may be included in SMS messages. Third party url-shortening tools can help with this. Shortcodes, on the other hand, are ideal for adding to print media and online CTAs. Seen as a part of your wider marketing strategy, SMS text message marketing is a low cost opportunity to increase ROI and build engagement with both potential and existing clients.
At Fastsms, we pride ourselves on offering the very best in customer services and some of the UK’s best priced business text message bundles. Whether you are completely new to SMS marketing or an experienced user, out team have the knowledge and experience to help you unlock its full potential for your business. To learn more about how we can help your business to grow with SMS messaging, call now on 0800 945 5305.