SMS marketing is booming for musicians. Your Fans have smartphones and text messaging applications and are a new way for Artists to communicate with your Fans. Slowly, short message service — SMS, synonymous with text messaging — has augmented many Artist’s email marketing efforts. In this post, I’ll review how to integrate SMS into your email program.
SMS vs. Email
Email marketing is effective because it is a direct path of communications between Artists and Fans, and can include a lot of news and information. Many Fans receive emails on their smartphones, making the channel even more effective.
However, email has challenges that SMS does not. First, email senders face deliverability hurdles. Senders are at the mercy of large email platforms such as Gmail, Yahoo, and others that control the filtering or blocking of messages. Recent statistics show that 99% of email users check their inboxes daily, however a successful email campaign registers about a 20% open rate. Artists wait until a Fan checks their email inbox and then hope she reads the content.
SMS offers near-instant communication. Most recipients read text messages very soon after arriving. Wearable smartwatches mean text-message recipients no longer have to be near their phones. The immediacy and intimacy of SMS translate into a powerful way to connect with consumers.
Starting with SMS
SMS have lots of uses for lots of industries. It can help provide superior customer service. Two factor security authorization, and other examples including the hospitality industry confirming reservations and airlines updating passengers on flight status speak to the usefulness of SMS. For the music industry, immediate notification of shows, new music, merch to buy and engagement such as contests and surveys represent the usefulness of SMS for Artists.
The first step in implementing SMS is to confirm Fans want to receive those messages. Fans need to text you first, or fill in their phone number on a phone, before you can send them texts. And, there are rules for sending texts, like providing an easy opt out and providing help (all managed for you on the Adva Mobile platform.
Beyond transactional info, SMS can be an effective marketing channel provided, again, Fans want to receive the messages. Include SMS sign-up options at your shows, and on your website, with clear frequency expectations and instructions for opting out. Providing value in exchange for a phone number can improve sign-ups.
Strategies for SMS Success
Again, you need to be cognizant of obtaining express permission. The U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires businesses – that’s you – to receive explicit consent to send text messages. This is very different than email, where you can send an email (including spam email) and require the Fan to explicitly opt out.
Reintroduce your brand. Compared to email, there’s no “From:” line. Fans only see a number. Thus, it’s essential to make clear on every text message who it’s from. (The Adva Mobile service takes care of this requirement for you also).
Frequency. Typically, you send far fewer SMS messages than emails. Start with intervals between texts of at least 10 days. As with email, testing will determine the best frequency to minimize opt-outs and drive engagement. A good rule of thumb is to send a text once a month, and also when you have something important to say (like announcing a new show).
Be careful with your promotional messages. Don’t overdo it. A good strategy is to alternate between transactional (a link to buy something, for example) and promotional (a link to news, or new music or a video to check out). This will keep Fans engaged and reduce opt-outs.
A text is a personal form of communication for many, reserved only for special acquaintances. Fans that opt in to your text messaging WANT to hear from you. SMS complements email — increasing engagement, Fan loyalty, and sales.