SMS Marketing for Providers: Features, Implementation and Drawbacks

Claudia Reiners
May 11, 2022

SMS Marketing for Providers: Features, Implementation and Drawbacks

4bf428ed6af9ff680b7ac8b24b046f3d?s=50&d=mm&r=g Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

Quick delivery, wide reach, and higher conversion rates are just some of the features of implementing an SMS marketing strategy. 

In today’s digital age, almost every business has incorporated some form of email marketing into their strategy. However, there is opportunity to drive even greater revenue by implementing a robust SMS strategy.

Because of its significantly high open rate, SMS marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies used by businesses today. People spend more time looking at their phones than their laptops or print media. In fact, users engage with their phones on average 2,617 times every day.

While SMS can provide greater conversion rates, it is crucial to test and compare it against your other marketing channels. For example, SMS can be more expensive than email marketing due to cost per send, so it’s imperative to test both channels and find a healthy mix of the two. 

The power of SMS Marketing

Taking your current marketing strategy to the next level may be easier than you think. 

Utilising SMS marketing has shown to be an extremely effective strategy highlighted by its 98% open rate and countless benefits. It not only offers the opportunity to instantaneously communicate with your prospective students, it also integrates with other vital marketing channels, helping you learn more about your customers.

Here are some of its core benefits:

1. Instantaneous communication

When it comes to SMS, there is hardly any wait time. When you hit the send button, you can be assured that your message will reach your subscribers immediately. 

SMS involves little preparation – there is no need to gather materials or wait for printing. All you have to do is compose your message and distribute it to your consumers. And, because texts are considerably more likely to be opened than emails, your prospective learners will receive your critical information as soon as possible. 

With a read rate of 97 percent within 15 minutes of delivery, SMS is one of the most immediate channels accessible. You can rest assured that your time-sensitive communications will be viewed nearly immediately.

2. Higher conversion rate

Because more people are looking at their phones, the expected open rate for SMS is significantly higher than that of email, contributing to larger volumes of clicks.

On average, only 2% of links in emails are clicked.

SMS campaigns, on the other hand, have a 19% average click rate, making it one of the most effective techniques to generate leads online.

3. Integration with other channels

Although SMS is its own channel, it does not mean it should not co-exist with your other forms of marketing. SMS is best utilised when working in harmony with the other channels of marketing, such as email, social media, and other forms of digital marketing and content. 

For example, a prospective learner may be interested in a course but is not ready to enrol. Instead, this user might be prompted to subscribe to the email and SMS list, marking the beginning of their journey and engagement with your brand. From here, they might engage with your SMS content and be funnelled back to your website, increasing enrolment or enquiry conversions.

4. Customer retention

Customer retention ensures your existing customers are valued over the course of their journey. One of the greatest benefits of utilising SMS is its ability to retain your existing customers.

SMS allows you to communicate with a user post-conversion – whether that’s post-enquiry or post-enrolment. With an automated SMS journey, you can schedule particular touchpoints, including feedback surveys, birthdays or holiday offers, and other important events.

These touchpoints create a two-way, ongoing relationship with your users, ensuring they feel connected with your brand throughout their journey.

How to implement a successful SMS Strategy

In order to seamlessly implement an SMS strategy, it is crucial to incorporate your email marketing strategy. Although they are both separate channels, email and SMS should be used in a way that compliments each other.

Since SMS marketing has the potential to provide a substantial return on investment, it’s a great way to send out targeted offers, personalised updates, and other time-sensitive information. 

SMS marketing can also help you fill gaps in your emails.

Understanding the ideal use cases for email and SMS marketing can help you get the most out of both. Because their capabilities complement each other, effectively combining the two communication platforms can result in more successful campaigns and more engaged customers.

How to integrate email and SMS

  • Take the same approach to SMS as you would to email

    Like email, your marketing team will first need permission to send the consumer SMS messages. After this it is crucial to segment your recipients as you would for emails. If a prospective learner is engaging with or enquiring about business courses, it would not make sense to send them a SMS about beauty courses.

  • Leverage SMS for your email channel

    Take advantage of SMS’s small footprint to warm up your subscribers before sending a longer email. Increase your email open and engagement rates with a brief text message, alerting users to what’s coming and their next steps.

  • Match your tone of voice

    Ensure that your marketing material is aligned across different channels. When sending both an email and SMS to a prospective learner, ensure the message being sent is consistent and follows the same tone of voice.

  • Test and validate your SMS channel

    Undertake testing to figure out what works best for your target demographic. A testing framework can assist you in determining which types of messages are most effective. You may like to A/B test time of day, personalisation, language and tone of voice. After a series of tests, you’ll begin to have a strong understanding of the types of messages you should and shouldn’t send to your prospective students.

Considerations and drawbacks

Although there are benefits to implementing an SMS strategy, there are drawbacks to consider. 

Important factors to be considered by education providers are costs, the amount of content per text, the organisation of an SMS list, frequency and schedule of SMS and email sends, personalisation, and resources required to manage a new channel.

  • Character limits

    In theory, a single SMS message has a character restriction of 160 characters. However, message concatenation supported by most current phones and networks enables us to transfer and distribute larger SMS content.

  • Costs

    SMS can be a more expensive mode of communication. The fee might range from $0.025 to $0.08 per send, depending on the provider you select. While this may not appear to be a significant amount, large databases can become costly.

  • Organisation of SMS lists

    If you send an SMS message to your whole database and hope for the best, you’re likely to spend thousands of dollars and risk damaging your brand’s image and reputation. Your audience may become less receptive to your future communications as a result of this. Therefore, SMS databases must be segmented for optimal performance and targeting.

  • Frequency

    Due to the intrusive nature of SMS marketing, it is recommended that providers limit the amount of texts being sent. This is critical in the early stages of enquiry, as potential learners are more likely to opt-out of future messages. We recommend starting with 4 or 5 SMS messages each month or 1 to2 SMS messages per week. Test and track your progress, gradually increasing your frequency to 10 SMS messages each month. It is recommended that no more than one message per day is sent.

As your brand looks to target its prospective learners, it is critical that a multi-channel marketing strategy is being used with SMS as an essential component. 

Not only will positive results follow from implementing an SMS strategy, but furthermore your understanding of your current and prospective students will grow rapidly. With continuous testing and optimisation, SMS will change the way in which you communicate with your students for the better.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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