SMS Messaging: Origins and Effectiveness
Believe it or not, text messaging has been around for nearly 30 years. But it’s more recently—and within the matrix of other messaging options—that SMS has come into its own. Compared with emails, content marketing, or other appeals, the strength of SMS marketing lies in its light footprint and its essential directness.
Much of this ties into our relationship with our smartphones. According to investment giant Morgan Stanley, some 90% of Americans have their phone within reach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s one of the reasons SMS messaging has an open rate as high as 98% (in some cases, even higher). Not only that, SMS is immediate. On average, people respond to emails within 90 minutes. For SMS, that drops to only 90 seconds. You wanted my attention? You got it.
The Reasons People Opt-In to SMS Messaging
Okay, we hope we’ve established the effectiveness of SMS marketing. Now let’s drill down into the specifics: Why do people sign up for SMS messages? How can you leverage this knowledge to build your customer base and be sure you’re giving them exactly what they want? Let’s run down the list.
Deals, Deals, Deals
The top reason people opt-in is also the most intuitive: As common sense (and market research) confirm, consumers, want something with tangible value: A coupon or a deal. According to the market research we just linked to, over three-quarters of those surveyed indicated that they expected a reward for their patronage.
Obviously, you can’t offer freebies with every single SMS campaign. But by remembering to reward customers’ initial interest—offering an attractive sign-up bonus, for instance—you can pull off one of the hardest tricks in marketing (and in life): Pleasing most of the people most of the time.
Along with attractive coupons and deals, contests and drawings are some of the major reasons people opt into SMS messaging. If it’s legal in your state, running a “text-to-win” promotion is a great way to boost opt-ins and build your base. Naturally, you’ll want to follow each entry with an automated invitation for the texter to join your list. Choose a (legally compliant) prize people actually want, promote the contest on social media and your other channels, and sit back and watch your list grow.
Make It Personal
As you know, over the long run your customer data list is one of the most valuable pieces of property you own. And one of its most powerful payoffs is the ability to send personalized messages based on customer preferences, purchase history, and habits. Are you offering a promotion on an edible you know they love? Let them know! The combination of SMS’s immediacy (and the enduring allure of a personal appeal) is a winning combination, and personalization is a major factor in SMS marketing’s overall effectiveness.
Stay In the Know
Given that an increasing proportion of dispensary sales are made on the go using mobile devices, sending updates to your service via SMS is an incredibly powerful way to keep your customer base informed and engaged with your brand. Especially in the age of COVID, sharing updates about expedited pickup and purchase options, delivery or extended hours is information your customers want to know. According to the market research, we quoted earlier, nearly half of surveyed consumers indicated that staying in the know was a major factor in opting into SMS messaging.
Effective SMS messages typically include some CTA, or “call to action.” The CTA is one of the basic building blocks of, well, nearly everything you share as a dispensary. Whether it’s implementing effective website UX, running successful email campaigns, or any other facet of your digital presence, mastering the art of effective CTA is a must. If this is a new concept for you, start the learning process here.
You can even implement CTAs in real life: Make sure your budtenders ask each and every customer to opt into your SMS list. Having a live human make the pitch—and explain the many real-life benefits they’ll receive in return—can be an incredibly effective tactic.
In Conclusion: Make It Meaningful
Admittedly, the phrases “text messaging” and “meaningful” may not make for the most natural match. That’s why it’s your job to make it so: Don’t share disruptive, trivial, or irritating content via SMS (or any other channel). Instead, offer people actionable information they can actually use. Whether it’s a coupon or a deal, a contest, a personalized message, useful information about your dispensary or your service, or something else your customers can actually use and benefit from, follow these guidelines and help make your SMS marketing program as effective (and lucrative) as it can possibly be!