August 3, 2021

7 Tips for Integrating SMS Texts Into Your Brand Strategy

Image showing Black woman smiling at her smartphone

In 2021, 64% of consumers reported that an appointment reminder was the most valuable text they received from a business; in 2020, 82% of people said they open every text message they get, and 85% of consumers said they prefer short message service (SMS) text messages over a voice call or an email. SMS messaging is an integral part of multichannel marketing capabilities, but adding it in can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Fortunately, it’s easier to activate and integrate SMS across organizations and programs than you might think! Check out these seven tips for success. 

  1. Strategize. Consider your overall brand strategy. How, where, and when could SMS amp up your success? Consider the opportunities that exist in your current ecosystem to offer consumers the opportunity to opt into receiving SMS messages (beyond website forms). Patient support programs (PSPs) are one area where pharma could make greater inroads via SMS. A 2021 survey of 5,000 patients checking in for doctors’ appointments this spring found that only 3% were using PSPs, but not because they didn’t want to; 59% said they had little to no knowledge of PSPs’ existence!  
  2. Set yourself up for success. It’s critical to define campaigns and data strategy up front so that programs gather enough information to drive value. For instance, enhancing opt-in forms will ensure that you capture the information you need to meet your campaign goals. Do you want to send medication reminders by SMS? You’ll need to collect the right information to know the frequency and timing that they should be sent! 
  3. Check under the hood. You need someone who understands your complete tech stack, the processes and data flows that are involved, and the implications of integrating them, to be sure you avoid any possible negative implications of adding SMS into programs and procedures.  
  4. Use data to empower relevant experiences and drive impact. The more you know how to collect data well, the better your data will be. For example, using keywords can help you track and add subscribers to your program, and making the most of every opportunity to collect data can open new avenues to effectively execute your program. 
  5. Plan your paths. How would someone sign up? For instance, if a patient visits their doctor and receives a brochure about a treatment, perhaps they’ll text a keyword to sign up for messaging about this treatment. How will they opt in; confirm their age; etc.? Think through the message streams that they’ll receive, the frequency they’ll receive them, how you’ll work across channels, and how you’ll suggest next best actions. 
  6. Consider not only SMS … but MMS! Multimedia messages (MMS) enable brands to create a unique, personalized experience for users with versatility and support for a range of media formats. Audio and visual components can enhance simple texts, which can lead to higher engagement and increased responsiveness. Also, MMS can add another channel to the existing mix of SMS, emails, and social apps. It complements these services with another layer in a multichannel engagement strategy and provides a rich, audio-visual experience that some of the other channels can’t offer. Keep in mind, however, that not all phones are equipped to receive MMS, and that MMS messages are bandwidth-heavy.
  7. Measure the value you’re providing. Track how adding in SMS provides benefit to your website, email, and other campaigns with data and customer feedback.  

Intouch offers a Strategic SMS Playbook full of tips, templates, and expert guidance. It includes everything from getting started, to procuring a short code, to standing up your first campaign, and going forward – to make sure you have all your needs met and can roll out effective SMS programs simply and rapidly.

Contact your Intouch account team to learn more!