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How to Use SMS Marketing to Keep Your Brand in Front of College Students

By collegemktgrp | March 31, 2022 | Brands/Advertisers

The digital marketing space is a fast-moving environment. By the time your brand develops a unique way to cut through the noise, it can feel like every other brand is replicating the same strategy. 

When it comes to reaching out to college students, speed and convenience are key.  They’re busy and on the go, and are looking for information from friends, family, and brands on their smartphones. 

SMS marketing is proving to be one of the best and most reliable ways to successfully communicate with your target customers. It’s personable, direct, and gets your message in front of college students. 

By coupling a strong SMS strategy with your existing email marketing approach, you can elevate interest in your brand, drive sales, and continue to keep your brand relevant to college students. 

As you explore the many benefits of SMS marketing, consider which strategies work best for your brand — how you can be informative, helpful, and always promoting your brand to students. 

What Is SMS and What Are the Benefits of SMS Marketing?

Short message service (SMS) marketing is a form of mobile marketing where brands and businesses send promotions and other important information via text messages. SMS marketing has become popular among marketers in all sectors — it’s fast, dependable, and doesn’t get targeted by spam filters.

An SMS marketing message should be concise and straightforward, especially with its low character limits (160 characters is best practice). There’s also very little need for design, as most messages just feature text.

SMS text messages reach your audience faster than any Instagram post, TikTok video, or email. They’re also more likely to be opened than other forms of marketing — a whopping 98% of messages are viewed when received!

Best of all, your text message won’t end up in a spam or junk folder. SMS has strict regulations enforced by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Anyone you’re sending an SMS message to has already given permission to be contacted.

The opportunity for immediate engagement and the nearly nonexistent bounce rate make SMS an excellent complement to any email marketing plan.

How Does SMS Marketing Work With Your Email Marketing Strategies?

SMS is a powerful engagement tool for sending quick and timely messages to your customers. Combined with email, they create a consistent and powerful communication experience.

Because email and SMS marketing are both permission-based, your audience is more likely to include students who want to receive your messaging. 

Use your email list to build relationships, and your SMS list to secure conversions. As you design ads directed towards college students through both channels, tailor your language to reflect the purpose of your message.

Airbnb has mastered using SMS in tandem with their email marketing. They use email to send personalized messages to potential guests throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey. Once a guest has booked, they use automated SMS to elevate their customer service for both the guest and host.

Hosts and guests automatically receive SMS marketing communications providing them with necessary information about each booking. Both parties are kept in the loop throughout the process and given the opportunity to communicate with one another in real-time. 

By implementing an automated SMS strategy, Airbnb streamlined the rental experience, leading to more successful bookings. And this is just one type of SMS message your brand can use.

Pro tip: Use automated SMS messages to send a welcome series after they sign up for your newsletter to encourage new subscribers to further engage with your brand.

Other Types of SMS Marketing Strategies

There are several ways you can implement SMS marketing ideas into your brand’s marketing plan. Whether you’re offering students an exciting promotional deal, inviting them to engage with your brand through a loyalty program, or asking them to provide you with feedback you can use SMS marketing to engage with students often. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to provide students with customer service options, too!

Let Students Know About Promotional Deals

Consumers can be picky. And when it comes to Gen Z, these shoppers aren’t easily swayed by gimmicks. While text messages let students know of promotions flash sales immediately, you want to keep the frequency of your messages in check. 

If you are constantly sending discount offers, students may not buy because they know that chance will come back around again soon. You may lose subscribers if you’re overloading students with messages.

Limit your messages to holidays, special days related to your brand (your birthday or other milestones), or events relevant to specific regions.

Offer Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are all about making your customers feel special and valued. SMS provides the perfect platform for communicating with college students on a personal level. 

After a student signs up, send them an automated welcome series to immediately engage them. Easily contact your loyal customers by creating a list — send them special offers and discounts to make them feel special.

Ask Students for Reviews

Reviews are great for showing shoppers the high quality of your brand’s offerings. 

Create a list of subscribers who have purchased your product or service and ask them to share their experience. Once you’ve collected a solid pool of positive reviews, make them visible on your website so everyone can see them!

Offer Students Customer Service

Include some level of customer service in your SMS marketing plan. College students move quickly, and if they need a question answered they’ll want it done fast. Let them know you’re there and ready to help!

Use this strategy to send status updates on orders to avoid possible logistic problems.

Is Your Email Marketing Strategy Up to Snuff?

College students spend a ton of time online and on their mobile devices. By rolling out an SMS strategy that works in lock-step with your email marketing strategy, you can ensure higher engagement and more opportunities for conversions with your audience. 

This is also the perfect time to make sure your email marketing plan is effective in capturing the attention of college students and their parents. 

Explore new ways to revamp your email marketing strategy >

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