If you asked a group of marketers where in the digital marketing sales funnel they would place text marketing services, nearly all would place it at the bottom, as part of their closing or sales phase. At first glance, it makes total sense. SMS marketing places an offer in front of a customer with an imminent call to action such as “Come in today for a 50% off,” or “Download our special offer now.” It doesn’t seem to fit higher up in the funnel.
What those marketers fail to realize, however, is that SMS is a highly effective communications tool at every stage of the buyer journey. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t have a mobile marketing strategy for the rest of their funnel. Their lead generation is dominated by social media and SEO activities, while their lead nurturing activities tend to utilize email and landing pages. Very few have found ways to integrate one-on-one communications to develop leads and move those prospects through the funnel.
It’s unfortunate, because SMS business solutions can help businesses of all sizes build awareness around their products and services, and then nurture those in the funnel toward sales. All it takes, as we’ll see below, is some creativity and a deeper understanding of both mobile uses and the way consumers use their devices.
Building Awareness | Stage 1 of your digital marketing sales funnel
The key to successful SMS marketing at the top of the funnel is to remember that you don’t need to be the one to send out the SMS. Using tools like social media posts, you can drive your prospects to text you. This not only connects you with interested prospects, but it also builds up your mobile number database, which you can utilize later in the funnel.
Getting prospects to text you does require some creativity. You’ll need to develop an irresistible offer that compels the prospect to reach out to you. Ideas can include offers for mobile coupons, contest entries, or free video downloads to individuals who send a text. Those prospects receive a response from your system fulfilling the offer as they begin their relationship with your business.
Nurturing your Prospects
Now that you’ve started to build a relationship with new prospects, it’s time to gently move them through your funnel. Research indicates that consumers don’t want to hear from a brand more than twice a month, so every two weeks you can reach out to them and deliver information of value that will help them to connect with your brand.
These interactions must be thought through carefully. While you may be delivering a whitepaper or ebook to most of your prospects in the nurture stage, your SMS prospects are exclusively on mobile devices, and should only receive mobile-friendly content. An eight-page whitepaper with a 12-point font is probably not ideal for a mobile-viewing experience. Neither is a large sized infographic. Content should skew toward videos or podcasts that can easily be consumed on a mobile device.
Integrating SMS Throughout the Digital marketing Sales Funnel
Clearly, SMS marketing services have a place at every stage in the marketing funnel. Sophisticated marketers looking for a tool with high open and engagement rates would do well to build the high-performing text message throughout their awareness and nurturing stages of their marketing programs.