As is the case with any marketing strategy, messages need to be received, seen and read, which is why the channels you use to reach your customers are key.

When you consider the average Aussie spends 5.7 hours a day on their phone and checks their phone on average 8 times an hour – that’s almost every 8 minutes – using SMS to communicate with your customer base seems like a no-brainer.

In fact, SMS is the only marketing channel with up to 98 per cent open rate, and with an average response time of just 90 seconds, it’s the most effective way to send time critical messages, promotions and alerts when you want to ensure that your information is seen and read by your intended audience.

SMS marketing allows you to communicate with your customers in the place where they are already consuming information and interacting; in-fact recent research revealed that nearly two-thirds of consumers would actually shift to a brand that provided text messaging as a communication option.

SMS is the perfect way to compliment existing marketing communications, such as social media, email, WhatsApp Business Platform, direct mail and search advertising to create a unified message and voice for your brand. 

SMS can help businesses in a wide variety of ways, from sending notifications, or alerts about sales/discounts, sending order/ shipping updates, to sending appointment reminders, conducting polls/surveys, or even sending thank you messages to customers.

So here’s how to maximise the use of SMS to get the best results:

Timing is everything

You don’t want to miss the mark when it comes to the timing of your message. Don’t like Mondays? Neither do your customers, or the weekend for that matter. SMS campaigns statistically perform worse on these days. Aim for between 9am and 12pm during business hours or between 5pm and 8pm for online browsing and shopping. 

Place your call to action at the start

It’s a good idea to put your most important details at the start of the message so that they can be seen within the preview text on your customer’s phone. Customers are more likely to see why you are contacting them and less likely to hit delete.

Don’t over communicate

Find the sweet spot for higher engagement rates. Sending too many messages will make your audience tune out, and not sending enough will mean messages lose impact/recoup less debt/cause more stress.

Get the message structure right

Stand out from the crowd by structuring your message and adding some elements of humour, empathy or personality. Doing so can go a long way to engaging your audience. Make sure you have a clear sender ID so there’s no confusion who the message is from and and always use good grammar and spelling to maintain credibility.

Get personal

Recent research has proven on average a personalised advert converts 10 times better than an unpersonalised one.

But modern marketing personalisation is about much more than adding a customer’s name to the top of an advert. By collecting relevant and up to date data, businesses have the opportunity to make recommendations, add context, cross sell, and tailor promotions to each of their customers’ needs. This in turn allows businesses to build stronger relationships and levels of familiarity with their customers.

Everything from ‘Thank you’ or ‘We miss you’ messages, to birthday or purchase anniversary promotions to VIP offers and back in stock alerts –  it all helps let your customers know you’re thinking of them. 

Jonathan Walsh is general manager for APAC at Esendex Australia.