The ultimate guide to SMS marketing at Christmas and beyond

Christmas might be the “most wonderful time of the year” for consumers and families, but it’s also the busiest period for marketers in most industries.

It has been predicted that Brits will spend a combined £40 billion in December and every business wants its share of this huge pot. Retailers need to pull out all the stops to ensure that their products end up in Santa’s sack. Restaurants and entertainment venues have to do their utmost to make the most of the Christmas party season. It’s an all-out war to try and grab the attention of consumers.

Now more than ever, it’s important for marketers to do what they can to ensure their brand stands out from the noise.

Why should businesses use bulk SMS at Christmas?

SMS marketing is widely recognised as proactive method of getting messages across to consumers – whatever time of year it is. The ability to send bulk SMS and reach customers somewhere as personal as their mobile phone is something which a lot of businesses are already taking advantage of. It’s an opt-in platform, much like email marketing, and this gives brands an opportunity to reach consumers who are already actively engaged with their business.

Research suggests that bulk SMS marketing messages are over four times more likely to be opened than marketing emails. In fact, 98 per cent of SMS marketing messages are opened by consumers, and the majority of them are read within minutes of being received. At a time of year when consumers are being bombarded with commercial messages, it could certainly pay to utilise a marketing platform that ensures your message is seen.

Here’s another key reason to market to shoppers on their mobiles this Christmas: it’s the device they’re using to buy presents. In a survey conducted by Forbes, more than two-thirds of consumers said they would do some Christmas shopping using their smartphone this year. A separate poll issued by Tripwire revealed that 30 per cent of consumers believe their smartphone makes them more impulsive shoppers. Retailers can take advantage of this smartphone revolution by sending text messages in bulk with a link to their online store. The advertising-to-sale process has never been so short, which is great for those targeting impulse buyers.

How do you make the most out of your seasonal marketing campaign?

Ideally, marketers will have built up a strong list of SMS subscribers long before the festive season rears its head. Many businesses offer customers an incentive, such as a free gift or money-off voucher to do so.

To make the most of a strong mailing list, businesses would be well advised to adopt some festive generosity in their SMS marketing campaigns. Customers need an eye-catching deal not only to sign up for marketing messages, but also to remain engaged with the content they receive. This is especially true over Christmas, when so many businesses are keen to market their goods. Back up your fantastic festive offer with a convincing call-to-action and your customers could already be halfway down the proverbial sales chimney.

To ensure these curious consumers convert to contented ones, make sure your SMS sends them to a mobile-optimised website. Even during the season of goodwill, there are very few people who will remain patient with fiddly, slow-loading, unoptimised websites on their smartphones.

The key to a successful seasonal marketing campaign is to encourage impulse buying. A survey by the Money Advice Service found that 44 per cent of shoppers admitted they make impulse purchases at Christmas. Almost a third said they overspend because they are tempted by deals. To take advantage of this, create a fear of missing out within SMS copy. Consider making the deal only available to the first 50 claimants or maybe until the 12th day of Christmas. Exclusivity helps SMS subscribers act fast.

Text marketing – It’s not just for Christmas…

Businesses that adopt a festive SMS marketing campaign could certainly enjoy a prosperous Christmas – and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t continue into the New Year as well. It’s a platform which can provide enviable results all year round. After all, the January sales are just around the corner. Then it’s Valentine’s Day, Easter etc… Plus, we all fall into the same traps in January/February. We’re feeling a bit stuffed from all the indulgence, so join the gym. We’re feeling low, because it’s cold, so we decided to put a small deposit down on a summer holiday.

Marketers should take advantage of this, as mean as it sounds. Why not grab hold of those prospects while the impulse is there?

Whatever the target sector, if marketers can remain consistent with their messages, whilst continuing to provide useful offers, deals and advice, then customers will soon learn to look forward to receiving these communications – at any time of year.

A well-advertised SMS service should continue to attract greater numbers of subscribers, making it an increasingly invaluable tool for marketers as time goes on. Let’s not forget that it’s also one of the most cost-effective tools to market a business with, so there should be no financial fears about a subscriber list growing too large. Bulk SMS is such an easy platform to utilise as well. Essentially, you can send thousands of messages across the world with the click of a button.

If anything, SMS marketing is only going to become more beneficial for those using it in the future. Smartphones recently overtook feature phone sales for the first time, mobile web speeds continue to improve and the amount of money being spent on m-commerce continues to show no sign of slowing down. This should make it easier than ever to turn SMS subscribers into paying customers.

With this in mind, it’s difficult to argue against making SMS a top marketing priority.