SMS and Push Notification Marketing: Is It Right for Your Brand?

If you’re like us, you’re subscribed to countless text notifications from brands. Whether these messages are used to give you a discount on your purchase or to send you updates, your favorite brands have your phone number. Countless companies have turned to SMS and push notification marketing as tools to engage with their audiences directly, but how do brands determine if these strategies are right for them? 

Let’s define SMS and push notification marketing, and explore some pro tips to figure out if these messaging strategies are right for your next campaign.

What is SMS and Push Notification Marketing? 

“Short Message Service” (SMS) marketing involves businesses sending text messages to their customers. There are typically two types of texts you’ll receive from businesses: 1) Transactional texts, like a shipping update or 2) marketing texts, featuring promo codes, new products for sale, etc. While transactional texts are more or less informational, SMS marketing texts can often be an effective way to ensure customers see your overall campaign message, prompting them to take advantage of an offer all from the convenience of their smartphone. 

Image from: MessageMedia

Push notification marketing on the other hand uses short, clickable messages sent to users’ mobile devices from via an app users have downloaded to their device. Push notifications can, again, include transactional updates and alerts. Marketing notifications, on the other hand, can include offers, product recommendations, new drops, and more. In-app marketing notifications can do anything from help increase app engagement to drive in-store traffic.

Image from: Appcues

One thing to point out before proceeding any further: You must have permission to send text messages to users. If you don’t, this could stir up future legal problems. Not only is SMS marketing regulated under US law, but texting without permission feels a little intrusive and maybe not great for your business’s image. Learn more about SMS compliance here. For push notifications, opt-ins are a bit different (depending on which device you use) as most apps will immediately prompt the user to receive these notifications when they open the app. 

Which is Right for Your Brand? 

Now that we’ve defined the difference between SMS and push notification marketing, as well as touched on opt-in requirements, it’s time to start thinking about if these messaging strategies are right for your brand. If SMS/push marketing seems right to you, consider the following: 

  1. Delivery Speed: While push notifications are faster than SMS messages delivery-wise, they both vary on the user’s internet connection and mobile network. Push notifications are delivered instantly, but can lag if the user’s device is not connected to the internet. SMS messages are sent using a mobile network and can be affected by data traffic, causing delays.  But overall, if your promotions or updates are time-sensitive, both options will ensure immediate visibility. 
  2. Message Length: Character limits for both strategies vary by the device type, browser, and operating system. So make sure you research what those limits are…but typically the shorter, the better. 
  3. Additional Information: SMS messaging allows businesses to include attachments, links, and images in their messages while push notifications allow for a preview of a graphic/image to lead users to the app. 
  4. Open Rates: The main difference between the strategies are the open rates. SMS messages have a whopping open rate of 98% and 90% read from viewers within the first three minutes of receiving the text. On the other hand, push notifications have an open rate of 20% as users are swiping the notification away to read later. 
  5. Cost: SMS and push notifications may have fees associated, so make sure you consider this when looking at your overall marketing budget. In the US, SMS messages cost between $0.01 and $0.05 per message, but factors like character count, media type, international rates, and more can impact the cost. If you’re seriously considering launching this type of marketing, messaging services like Twilio, Mailchimp, Podium, and Attentive are all great places to start your research.

Best Practices and Tips for SMS and Push Notification Marketing 

Now that we’ve listed some crucial considerations, check out these tips that will help you get the ball rolling with SMS and push notification messages to your customers to drive sales and boost awareness. 

1. Personalize the Messages:

Personalization goes a long way in making customers feel valued. You can do this by using their names, referencing past purchases, or even suggesting products based on their preferences. 

       

Image Credit: Logictracker

2. Optimize Timing: 

Timing is critical in SMS and push notification marketing. Send messages when your audience is most likely to engage (pro tip: it’s definitely not when they’re asleep). Track when customers use your product or service or use in-app send time functionality to determine the best time to message your audience.

Image Credit: The Los Angeles Loyolan

3. Keep the Messages Short: 

While there are character limits for SMS and push notifications, this doesn’t mean you have to max them out. Keeping messages concise makes it easy for customers to understand and act quickly. This makes their experience smoother and more satisfying, boosting the chances they’ll engage successfully with what you’re offering.

Image Credit: TechCrunch

4. Include a clear Call-To-Action (CTA):

Every message should have a clear CTA that tells recipients exactly what you want them to do. If it’s clicking on a link, using a promo code, visiting the app, or coming into the store — give users directions. 

Image Credit: SMS Archives

5. Monitor and Analyze Performance:

Regularly monitor the performance of your campaigns to asses what is doing well and what is not. Analyze metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Image Credit: Mailchimp

Conclusion

While SMS and push notification marketing can differ, both strategies offer brands a direct line to their customer. This type of marketing enables real-time engagement and allows for immediate action from users. To decide if these strategies fit your brand, consider your audience’s preferences and your marketing goals. Overall, it’s crucial to regularly test and refine your strategies to achieve the best outcome for your company. 

Ready to implement SMS or push notifications for your brand? Reach out to our digital marketing experts at Random here to get started!

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Banks 

Social media is a game-changer for banking brands, and it’s not just about sharing financial tips or company news. It’s about connecting with and converting followers into loyal customers. So whether it’s a community bank or a large financial institution, social media helps boost visibility in ways traditional advertising can’t. 

If you work for a financial institution, read on as we detail our guide for how you can turn likes on social media into loyalty in the real world. 

Why is Social Media Important for Banks? 

Before jumping into our guide, let’s first establish why social media is important for banks and other financial institutions to add to their marketing strategy. Having a strong social media presence is key, as it allows for a direct connection to customers, the ability to boost general awareness and highlight products/services/employees, as well as provides a platform for reputation management. Finally, social media provides insight into what customers are interested in, helping banks refine their marketing, and keep customers happy.

The Ultimate Guide To Social Media for Banks:

Step 1: Create a Strategy

Before you can start posting, having a strategic plan for how your content will come together is important. Start by establishing who the audience is, flesh out content pillars, and identify some measurable goals (often called KPIs, or “key performance indicators”) to create a strategy that will act as the backbone of what will end up being shared on social media. Ask yourself questions about why you’re using social media (To increase brand awareness? To improve customer service? To educate your followers on financial tips, promotions, and more?) and capture it in a strategy deck. 

Additionally, make sure you understand your audience. Learn about their preferences, wants, and behaviors to tailor your content effectively. You can do this by using tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook IQ’s Audience Insights, sending surveys, and more to gather the demographics and interests of your audience so you can cater your content to the right people.

Step 2: Create Content 

You’re probably thinking, “Obviously…but what kind of content do I make?” This is where the fun starts. You will want to make sure your content adds value to your audience as well as helps you meet not only the goals established in your social strategy, but the bank’s business goals as well. We recommend a good mix of educational content, customer testimonials, success stories, market updates, and promotional content that highlights the people, products, and services that your bank provides.

Using some examples from one of our clients, Comerica Bank, let’s explore some high performing content that will surely offer some inspiration.

Educational Content 

A major area of opportunity for banks is sharing educational content, largely due to the fact that finances can be overwhelming to a portion of your audience. Exert your expertise and share content like articles, personal and business-related finance tips, investing guidance, and budgeting advice, all with the goal of showing your followers that you are a trusted resource when it comes to these topics.

If you’re running a promotion for a specific product, but that product needs some explaining, create a social post breaking down A) what the product is, B) features of the product, and C) how the product can benefit the potential customer. Check out an example below for how Comerica demystifies what a “CD” (or “certificate or deposit”) checking account is, and how it benefits somebody that opens one. 

Customer Testimonials 

You can toot your horn all day long and let your customers know how great you are. OR, you can share authentic proof of your customer’s experience with your bank by creating social posts that feature customer testimonials. Testimonials from your patrons can help build trust with viewers by sharing real experiences with your bank. In other words, testimonials are proof that you are a trustworthy company bank to do business with. 

Check out this great example, showing a testimonial with a business that Comerica helped support during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Market Updates 

In the financial industry, one thing is for sure: Change is inevitable. Changes and updates in the financial industry are frequent, and often happen week to week, if not day to day. Posting regular financial market updates – featuring trusted individuals from your institution – helps engage followers while positioning the bank as a knowledgeable source of financial information. Market updates keep customers informed and enhance the bank’s reputation as an industry leader.

For instance, Comerica Bank posts an update with Bill Adams, SVP and Chief Economist,  where he discusses the weekly economic report. These are short, concise posts from an industry thought leader that give quick hit updates to an audience that likely does not have all the time in the world to read through long articles. Check it out below.

Promotional Content 

Promotional content plays a huge role in your social media strategy. Telling customers about your products or services helps create awareness of your offerings where you can show off your competitive advantage to other banks. Tell your audience what makes your financial institution so special. For example, Comerica Bank promotes their SizeUp service for small businesses to help them with research and planning tools. 

Step 3: Use Multimedia Content

Now that we’ve discussed some of the topics your bank can post about on social media, let’s dig into how to present your message. Enter: multimedia content.

Images and Infographics 

Using visual content is way more effective and engaging to viewers than text alone. It gives your audience something pretty to look at while learning complex financial concepts easily. For example, using a pie chart to show a breakdown of retirement investment options is a lot more eye-catching than text in a box. There’s a lot of user-friendly options to make these graphs than having to go through Excel. Some of our favorite design software chart makers are through Canva or Creative Cloud Express

 Graph Credit: Social Security Administration

Videos 

Creating short, informative videos about your financial offerings, services, and tips that feature employees, influencers, or customers, can catch and keep the attention of viewers longer than graphics alone. Content for your videos can come from stock footage, participation from bank team members, animations, events, and more. The possibilities are endless!

The best part is that editing and producing videos has never been easier. There are lots of video editing programs to choose from, such as Capcut, Canva, and Splice. Even better, you can edit a video directly in TikTok or Instagram and post it right away.

Why are we pushing video so much? These days, Instagram and Facebook Reels are getting top priority on the home feed because they keep users on the platform longer. Couple that with other video-friendly social apps like TikTok and YouTube – two platforms people are essentially using as search engines now – and the need to put video everywhere has never been greater. There are obviously some demographic platform preferences to consider, but if you want to reach, say, a younger audience with financial tips, you really should create that TikTok account.

Check out how Bank of America does it. 

Another way to  add value to your follower’s daily scroll is to start sharing links to blog posts and articles. Regularly share links to your blog posts and articles with useful financial tips and insights. You can even pair these links with eye-catching images to boost click-through rates. Below is an example of Fifth Third Bank posting an article celebrating two of their executives. 

Step 4: Highlight Community Involvement 

Customers want to see what you are doing for their community. It not only shows your initiative to help and give back but also says that your brand cares to make the world a better place.  

Support Local Businesses 

Highlight partnerships with local businesses and how you are helping them grow. This shows your commitment to supporting the community. For example, Comerica Bank partners with many local businesses and organizations to showcase how they are giving back.

Showcase Initiatives

Share posts about your involvement with community projects, charity events, or environmental initiatives. Comerica Bank prides itself on putting customers and the community first. They have numerous examples on their platform, such as when Executive Director, Mike Ritchie, talked with kids from COTS Detroit about finance and banking.  This strengthens their brand image and enhances engagement, check it out below. 

Step 5: Analyze Performance 

It’s all in the numbers. Monitor and analyze your social media performance to help refine your strategy to achieve better results. Track analytics such as: 

There are many tools that you can use to track your performance like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Google Analytics.

Photo Credit: Hootsuite

Ready to Turn Likes into Loyalty? 

Banks and financial brands can boost their image through strategic social media use.  Sharing helpful content, engaging with followers, using multimedia content, and highlighting community efforts can help build a strong online presence and earn customer trust. These days, investing in social media isn’t just an option but a necessity for businesses to thrive and connect with their audience. 

Ready to up your social media game? Reach out to our digital marketing experts at Random here.