the new! Listen to the article
If email is the darling of enterprise B2B marketers, let’s call text – SMS – the deceptive underdog.
B2B marketers love to use email, and rightly so: Email engagement was the most quantitative measure of content marketing success during the first year of the pandemic, with 86% of B2B content marketers continuing to track it, as measured by content and marketing criteria. 2021 B2B Institute Content Marketing Report. For many marketers, email proves itself year after year.
But one thing that email can’t promote is the ability to draw attention to the message within seconds of sending. With SMS, you can.
83% of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them, according to research from OpenMarket. Moreover, 90% of all people read texts within three minutes of receiving them, and SMS boasts an open rate of 98%, according to research by Gartner.
As more and more companies are using texts as part of their marketing mix, is it time to take another look at the capabilities of SMS?
B2B companies can use SMS in many ways. However, keep in mind that as with email, there are regulations for texts. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires that people choose messages, and they should also be able to unsubscribe easily, among other guidelines.
Here are five ideas for B2B companies looking to communicate with their customers more successfully via SMS.
SMS Campaign 1: Status Update
Think of status updates as the equivalent of order updates for B2C companies. You can use scripts to inform customers of upcoming renewal dates, product updates, or upcoming important events related to their account.
This type of message can be informational and brand building.
SMS Campaign 2: Request Comments
Direct customer feedback is very valuable to marketers, but it can be difficult to obtain. Sending a text message after work has been done (such as a sale or service installation) is an excellent time to ask for feedback.
A quick text that contains a link to a survey (with details of how long it will take to complete it) can be effective. It takes less time for the quick comments option which allows people to reply via text messages with their instant comments.
Important: If feedback is requested and received, do something with it. Customers are likely to become upset if their complaints are not addressed quickly.
SMS Campaign 3: Thought Leadership
Text messaging offers a quick and concise form of communication. Naturally, tips are appropriate to present in this way, so driving through SMS makes sense. You can provide advice related to your product or service, and link it to your content marketing materials to get more information.
It may also be an opportunity to share an update on industry-wide situations. For example, if government-imposed regulations are affecting your industry and a new law is going into effect, it makes sense to text about it a few days before the change.
SMS Campaign 4: Brand Awareness
Content marketing materials should not only be shared via email and social media. A text message with a quick link and a short description might grab people’s attention the moment they receive it, making it more likely that they will not only be opened, but also read.
Even if the link is not clicked, if the text is opened – which it usually is – brand awareness can be boosted.
SMS Campaign 5: Exclusive Offer
People like to feel like they’re getting a deal, and texting can benefit from that — even in business-to-business marketing. Submit a text that offers current or past clients a free form, early access to a new product, one-on-one consultation, or other offer specifically relevant to your industry.
Doing so is an opportunity to build both brand awareness and brand loyalty, and is a win-win for marketers looking to nurture relationships and build new ones.
An exclusive offer can also give an opportunity to warm up cold strands. If subscribers have been in the system for a long time but haven’t converted, SMS may be a way to re-engage them and turn that cold lead into a hot one with a discounted subscription or a fee-waving text message.
Again, the targeted people must already be in the system for your company to use text messaging.
* * *
No matter what campaign you’re sending, customization is a great way to increase your open and click rates. This doesn’t just mean adding the person’s name: Personalize the message to an important event your customers have recently witnessed, like checking in after they recently installed a service, or thank them for a specific action they took, like signing up for another year with the service.
No matter which campaigns suit your business, SMS can be effective for B2B companies.
Text messages open a new stream of dialogue with clients, potential clients, and past clients that can lead to renewed or enhanced relationships and an improved bottom line.
More resources about SMS campaigns
Top 3 Considerations in SMS Marketing
How SMS automation bridges the gap between sales and customers and supports digital transformation
Seven tested ways texting can help your business [Infographic]