What is SMS marketing? And why should you, as someone selling tickets to events and experiences, use SMS?

In this blog post, you will learn what SMS marketing is, common challenges associated with SMS marketing, and five reasons why you should invest in the channel. You will also get a bunch of examples and suggestions on what your SMS broadcasts can contain. Last but not least, we will include which headlines your strategy for SMS marketing should contain.

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is the mass distribution of SMS to a group of recipients, with the purpose of selling something. The SMS broadcasts can also contain pure information ahead of a hockey game, an event, or a visit to your ski resort. Moreover, you can send out SMS after the customer's visit with a link to a customer survey. Yes, the possibilities are many, and only your creativity sets the limits!

SMS marketing is similar to email marketing, but it doesn't require as much design and text. However, SMS requires that you carefully consider what you want to say, that you say it with a few characters, and that you do not abuse the channel. Just like with email marketing, it's important that you clearly understand which target group you are communicating with.

An SMS that alerts the recipient to temporary, time-limited promotions are a common strategy. Have you tried it?

Why is SMS marketing a good channel?

Of course, you too should use SMS marketing as part of your marketing strategy. The channel can be used for several different reasons.

Five reasons why you should use SMS marketing:

1. Strategically smart to use the channel

Today, most people have their mobile within arm's reach. And not only that, the mobile emits vibrations, sound signals, light flashes, and notifications. In other words, it's hard to miss an SMS that drops into the inbox, and strategically smart for you to utilize the channel.

2. SMS is a quick channel

SMS are hard to miss (but easy to message!), since the mobile is always with us and alerts us through notifications, sound, and light. This means that SMS is also a quick way to communicate. If you need to reach your customers and recipients with urgent or time-limited messages, then an SMS broadcast is the way to go.

3. More traffic to your website

With the help of SMS marketing, you can drive traffic to your website through, for example, campaigns and information. The more people who see your website, the more potential customers.

4. Opportunity to send offers

It works great to message recipients about temporary offers and time-limited campaigns via SMS. Yes, it's even really smart to do it if the discounts apply for a shorter period!

5. Opportunity to market events to your ideal customers

Do you have the ability to filter and segment your customers? Perfect! As a MarketHype user, you can base your recipient lists on event tags, previous purchase history, and geographical areas, to name a few examples. You then use the recipient lists to tip customers off about similar concerts, performances, and packages via SMS. Thus, you can reach your ideal customers through SMS marketing.

Common SMS marketing challenges

SMS is a fantastic channel when used correctly. However, SMS marketing can also present some challenges.

Here are four common challenges with SMS marketing:

1. GDPR – have your recipients consented?

When engaging in direct marketing, there are laws and regulations to consider. SMS marketing, which falls within the scope of direct marketing, is no exception.

So, what do you need to keep in mind regarding SMS and GDPR? Well, you need to ensure that:

  • The recipients of your SMS marketing have actively consented to receive marketing via SMS.

  • The recipients of your SMS marketing can easily unsubscribe from future SMS broadcasts.

  • Different countries have different laws regarding consent, unsubscribing, and privacy.

2. Limitations in format & length require a deeper customer understanding

Currently, your SMS broadcasts can only consist of text, links, and emojis. Additionally, there's a maximum number of characters per SMS to consider (max 160 characters per SMS). With limitations in the format and length of SMS broadcasts, you need to deeply understand your audience. What captures your recipients' attention and curiosity? What do they like? Which words should you use to engage them with your messages and content?

A tip here is to use a customer database. With collected data, you can analyze your customers, gain insights into who they are and what they like, and create segments based on demographics, geography, and purchase history, for example.

3. Fear of fraud attempts

Unfortunately, fraud attempts are not uncommon today. There are those who reach out via email, phone calls, Messenger, and SMS to deceive recipients out of money. SMS containing unknown links can, just like in other channels, arouse suspicions. If you use SMS marketing, you should therefore understand the uncertainty and fear that can arise. You should take this into consideration when planning your SMS broadcasts.

4. A strategy is required

Surely you have a website? An Instagram account? Maybe an ad running on Google? Then you probably already have a good grasp on strategies. Or do you? If not, here's a sentence you are more than welcome to repeat a few times (either quietly to yourself or out loud so everyone can hear):

You need a strategy for your SMS marketing.

You need to clarify details such as what, when, who, and why. More information on what your strategy should contain can be found further down.

To summarize, the challenges include GDPR, content limitations, fear of fraud attempts, and a well-thought-out strategy for your SMS marketing to consider. But that's no match for you, right? Thought so! Let's now continue with some ideas and examples of content for your SMS messages.

What challenges are you facing with your SMS marketing?

Examples of content for your SMS marketing

You now know what SMS marketing is, why you should use the channel, and some of the common challenges involved. So, what should the SMS contain?

Of course, it's up to you to choose what your SMS will contain – and it also depends on what you want to achieve with the broadcasts. Here are seven tips, ideas, and examples to help you kickstart the idea workshop.

1. Tip off about tickets & events

Do you have a few tickets left for sale? Try sending an SMS to those who live within 0-20 km of your venue, park, or facility – perhaps the recipients can come in on short notice! You can also promote ticket releases to people who have previously bought a similar ticket, or suggest buying an annual pass or subscription.

2. Send time-limited discount codes

In connection with shopping holidays like Black Friday, Mother's Day, and Christmas, you can use SMS marketing to distribute temporary discount codes. Decide whether all recipients should benefit from the offer or if only the most loyal customers should receive it. It's perfect to think "Exclusivity, Scarcity & Urgency" here.

3. Provide the customer with information before a visit

Pre-visit SMS have a really high opening rate. Use them to inform about parking, wardrobe, and dining options, but also to send address details, links, and times for check-in or opening.

4. Remind about offers & options

With SMS marketing, you have the opportunity to remind about various options. To those who haven't yet booked a visit to the restaurant, you could, for example, send a friendly "Don't forget to book your table in the foyer – we only have a few left." To visitors coming with children, send reminders about face painting and child-friendly dining options instead.

5. Send important information that affects the visit

Sometimes a concert needs to be canceled or an amusement park closed. There could also be temporary construction affecting accessibility and guests may need to leave early. Or a water leak causing issues. SMS is then a perfect channel to use to notify visitors about important information, as the channel is fast and missed by few.

6. Send a birthday greeting

To strengthen the relationship with your customers, you can send birthday greetings via SMS. The most optimal way is to send them as automations. A greeting with a special offer for the birthday person is a simple thing that is appreciated by most.

7. Collect feedback through customer surveys

Want to find out what your visitors thought about their visit to the museum, arena, or adventure park? Then send out a link to a customer survey via SMS. Also tell the customers why they should fill in the survey and how it helps you.

An SMS that welcomes the visitor and provides the recipient with information, is an example of how you can use SMS.

Design a strategy for your SMS marketing

Ready to start? Almost, just almost! However, before you craft that message, as mentioned, it's good to develop a strategy for your SMS marketing. The following headings fit well in such a strategy.

1. Goals & purpose

What do you want to achieve with your SMS marketing? Increased sales, customer loyalty, or brand awareness? Or something else? The goal can, of course, vary from SMS to SMS, but try to define your purpose for using the channel.

2. Segmentation, target audience adaptation & relevance

How can you tailor your SMS to the recipient? Being relevant in your communication is of utmost importance to not be perceived as unreliable or intrusive. The risk of the recipient choosing to unsubscribe from future SMS broadcasts is also smaller if you adapt them to your target audience. Your strategy should therefore contain information about which segments and target groups you want to reach with your SMS marketing.

3. What do you want to say? Keep your SMS short!

Since SMS is a quick channel, you should make sure to keep your SMS as short as possible. Ideally, they should be a maximum of 160 characters long. Also, use a link shortener if you need to include a link.

Usually, you can see in your SMS service how many characters you've written and how many SMS they've collectively created.

4. Avoid fluffy SMS – get to the point!

An SMS of 160 characters requires you to be brief and concise. The message should be clear and easy to grasp, so make sure to focus on how you can deliver value to the recipient.

5. Use clear Call-to-Actions (CTA)

What do you want the recipient to do after reading your SMS? Include a clear and persuasive CTA in every SMS to encourage the recipient to, for example, visit your website, take advantage of an offer, or participate in a contest.

6. Frequency & timing

How often should you send SMS marketing? And what time of the day? Since an SMS reaches the recipient relatively immediately, consider how often and at what times you should send SMS to not be perceived as intrusive. Most people sleep at night, so sending your SMS in the middle of the night is probably a bad idea. But, everything depends on who your target group is, the content of the SMS broadcast, and your purpose – as always.

7. Measuring & optimizing

How are your SMS broadcasts performing? Make sure to follow up, for example, click-through rates and discount codes that you use in your SMS, to see which SMS yield good and less good results.

8. Channel simultaneous visibility – use more channels than SMS

SMS marketing is indeed a top channel. However, you get the best effect if you use several channels in combination with SMS, like organic posts on TikTok, email newsletters, and advertising on Instagram. The potential customer needs to be engaged through various touchpoints before they act on your marketing. Therefore, think about how you can combine SMS with other channels.

9. And hey, don't forget GDPR!

As mentioned, you need to ensure that your SMS marketing complies with local, current laws regarding privacy, such as GDPR. This includes handling personal data, ensuring the recipient has truly consented to SMS marketing, and respecting wishes for unsubscribing.

Make sure to follow up and measure your SMS marketing.

Summary: SMS marketing

What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is the mass distribution of SMS to a group of recipients, with the purpose of selling something. The broadcasts can also contain pure information, customer surveys, and birthday greetings. SMS marketing is similar to email marketing but differs in format and speed, among other things.

Why use SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is a good channel for several reasons:

1. It's strategically smart to send SMS because the recipient rarely misses an SMS.
2. SMS is a quick channel – perfect for when you need to reach the recipient more immediately.
3. You can drive traffic to your site with SMS.
4. You can send time-limited offers and campaigns.
5. You can promote ticket releases and events to your ideal customers.

Common challenges
There are a few things that are good to know before you start creating SMS. You need to consider the following:

1. SMS falls within the scope of direct marketing. Therefore, you need to be aware of GDPR, ensure the recipients have actually consented to SMS marketing, and that they can unsubscribe from your broadcasts.
2. Limitations in the SMS format and length require a greater understanding of your audience. What and how should you write to capture the recipient's attention?
3. The fear of fraud attempts can make it feel unsafe to click on links and similar in your SMS.
4. You need to have a well-thought-out strategy for your SMS marketing to succeed.

Examples of content for your SMS
SMS can be used in a myriad of ways. In this blog post, we highlight seven examples that you can do through SMS:

1. Tip off about tickets and events.
2. Send time-limited discount codes.
3. Provide the customer with information before a visit.
4. Remind about offers and options.
5. Send important information that affects the visit.
6. Send a birthday greeting.
7. Collect feedback through customer surveys.

Design a strategy for your SMS marketing
For the best results, you should develop a strategy for your SMS marketing.

1. Goals and purpose – Why should you use SMS marketing? What do you want to achieve?
2. Segmentation, target audience adaptation, and relevance – How can you tailor your SMS to the recipient?
3. What do you want to say? Keep your SMS short, preferably under 160 characters.
4. Avoid fluffy SMS – get to the point!
5. Use clear Call-to-Actions in your SMS to encourage the recipient to the desired action.
6. Frequency and timing – How often and when during the day should you send SMS marketing, to not be perceived as intrusive?
7. Measuring and optimizing your SMS marketing – Follow up on how the SMS performs!
8. Channel simultaneous visibility – Use more channels than SMS to achieve the best effect.
9. Don't forget GDPR! Keep an eye on current privacy laws, personal data, and consents.