Young people – and Gen Z in particular – have grown up with mobile devices. Using a cell phone to look up directions, order dinner, call a car, and book airfare has become as natural for them as breathing.
Business leaders often lump Millennials and Gen Z together when they talk about “marketing to young people,” but the reality is that these two generations are in very different stages of life. Most Millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are young professionals who are often married with children. Gen Z, on the other hand, is composed of people born between 1997 and 2012. Members of this generation are teenagers and college students – and they have very different needs and interests than their Millennial counterparts.
While most Millennials can tell you when they got their first cell phone and can still remember the sound of dial-up internet, Gen Zers are “digital natives,” or people for whom using technology is second nature.
Considering that there are 65 million Americans in the Gen Z demographic and 98% of them own cell phones, advertising to this huge audience via their mobile devices is a sure way to win. In this article, we’ll discuss how to use SMS as an effective marketing strategy for appealing to Gen Z consumers, and how you can use texting to build customer loyalty.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS is short for Short Message Service Marketing. Or in simpler terms, texting. Businesses use SMS Marketing to send offers and promotions directly to their customers via text message, usually with a specific call-to-action and a link to follow.
SMS is a powerful way to engage with younger customers because Gen Z Americans are much more active texters than older generations, and also prefer to engage with SMS and Social Media ads over other types of advertising.
Why You Should Be Texting Your Customers
Another compelling reason to use SMS Marketing is that, like email marketing, customers must opt-in to receiving text messages from your business. And if a customer has opted in, you can be confident that they’re interested in making a purchase, or at least in learning more about your products and services – and now it’s time to capitalize on that interest.
In addition, SMS has a stunning 99% open rate, and 97% of text messages are read within 15 minutes. So on the off chance that your customers don’t read the full message, they will likely still see the name of your business, and brand awareness is a benefit all on its own.
Ready to dive into the world of SMS marketing? Here are 10 strategies to help you craft compelling text messages that will make your customers want to make a purchase:
10 tips for SMS Success
- Be compelling. The types of promotional text messages that people tend to interact with the most are sales, exclusive offers, and discounts. Make sure that you make it worth your customer’s time to read your message and engage with you.
- Have a clear call-to-action. What do you want customers to do after reading your message? Shop your new collection? Take advantage of a holiday deal before it’s gone? Make sure to tell them how to take advantage of whatever deal you’re offering.
- Be targeted. Resist the urge to text everyone on your customer list. Be strategic about who you’re sending offers to and which segments of your audience your message is most likely to resonate with. Including your customer’s name in the message is also a great way to capture their attention and make it clear that you care about their needs and interests.
- Be concise. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, so use them wisely. The longer your message is, the more likely it is that your customers will lose interest before they actually get to your offer.
- Be timely. When you text your customers is almost as important as what you say in your message. It’s a wise idea to research peak engagement times for your specific customer base. If you market to young moms, don’t send a text at 8 pm when they’re putting kids to bed. If you market to professionals, don’t text them in the middle of the workday when they’re likely to miss it.
- Identify yourself. Your customer should immediately know who is texting them. Don’t get accidentally marked as spam because you forgot to include your company’s name in the message.
- Build trust. Avoid the bait and switch. If you offered a discount or promotion in the text, follow through on your website. If you use the promise of a sale to get clicks without actually offering that promotion, your customers will lose trust in your business and unsubscribe.
- Be compliant. Check your local rules and regulations about texting customers. Make sure you get opt-in permission before sending out an SMS and always immediately remove customer numbers who unsubscribe. If you don’t, you may end up paying a hefty fine of up to $500 for each SMS that violates regulations.
- Ask for feedback. SMS is a great way to measure customer satisfaction and gather details about past purchasing experiences. You can even embed short surveys into an SMS so customers can simply respond with the number that corresponds to their level of satisfaction. And don’t forget that texting is also an incredibly effective support channel!
- Don’t over-text. The SendGrid 2021 Messaging Engagement Report revealed that 35% of people want to hear from brands just once a week. Gen Z was slightly more open to twice-weekly messages than other age groups, with only 17% of them saying they’d be open to receiving marketing messages every day. It’s also a good idea to check with your legal team to see if SMS frequency is included in your regulatory rules, and of course, only text customers as often as they’ve indicated they want to hear from you. Annoying your customer base is a quick way to earn unsubscribes.
Now that you’re armed with guidelines for how to craft an effective Gen Z SMS marketing strategy, you can start engaging your younger customer base, boosting your sales revenue, and building your customer loyalty.
Author Bio: Meg Monk
Meg Monk is a writer and digital marketer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a B.A. in journalism from Brigham Young University, has over 10 years of professional writing and marketing experience, and currently leads content marketing at ujet.cx. Connect with her at megmonk.com or on LinkedIn.