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The Indie Musician’s Guide to SMS Music Marketing

The Indie Musician’s Guide to SMS Music Marketing

music marketing 101 Oct 31, 2021

SMS Marketing - Everything You Need To Know

Text message marketing can be a very effective channel for promoting your music. Music marketing through SMS can help you communicate with more fans, more quickly, and more effectively. As an artist looking to grow their fanbase, text and email marketing are two very effective forms of direct marketing. 

Social media allows you to post to your heart's content and see what happens. Alternatively, you can use text or email marketing to send your message directly to your audience. We’ve already done a blog post in the past about how to use email marketing, so this one is all about text (also known as SMS) marketing. 

Let’s dive in.


What is SMS Marketing


As the name suggests, SMS marketing is marketing your music through the 160-character channel of SMS. Usually, an artist is seen partaking in either one of SMS Marketing or Email Marketing. This is probably because both these forms of marketing are a bit personal, and will cause pop-up notifications on each subscriber’s device, except with SMS, where you have to start and finish your pitch within 160 characters, which drives a lot of indie musicians away from SMS.

Except they’re dead wrong! Because of one simple statistic.

SMS text open rates are as high as 98%, making it the highest of any marketing channel. In comparison, email open rates are usually around 20%. 

20% is a pretty good number when it comes to open-rates, but that compared to 98%? In today’s age, it does not make sense to not indulge in SMS Marketing.


Is SMS marketing better than email marketing?

It’s not a competition, folks; it is a collaboration! But here’s a few areas where SMS beats Email Marketing fair and square.

Faster open rates: 

Emails are generally opened within 90 minutes after they’re delivered. Texts usually take about 90 seconds.

Better deliverability: 

SMS messages are easier to get through to recipients due to one thing: the email spam filter. Most marketing emails go to spam folders. SMS spam filters are downloadable, but they aren't a default feature like they are for email, and most people don't use them.

Higher click-through rates:

A click-through rate represents the percentage of subscribers who open your message and click the link. As a result of SMS's shorter length, its average click-through rate is six times higher than email, at 19% for SMS and just over 3% for email.

No advanced tech needed 

An Internet connection is not necessary if you want to send a text message. Moreover, SMS recipients do not need smartphones to read them. If any of your fans still have one of those old brick phones, or a 15-year-old Motorola Razor, they can receive your texts just fine.


Getting Started: SMS Marketing Tools 


You’ll be needing 2 things to get started: An SMS Marketing Tool and a Smartphone. An SMS marketing tool is a piece of software that allows businesses (that’s you!) to plan and execute text message marketing campaigns. The marketing tool you choose will allow you to compose and send texts to your contact list via a smartphone app.

Great news is, there’s a sweet bunch of SMS Marketing tools to choose from to execute effective music marketing.

Here’s a few:

  • Podium
  • EZ Texting
  • Birdeye
  • ActiveCampaign

When choosing an SMS marketing tool, make sure you can use it to:

  • reach your fans by SMS messaging (duh)
  • give fans an option to opt-in (and opt-out) 
  • keep track of data and analytics like open rates and click-through rates for each campaign. 


How do I grow my SMS marketing audience?

Now that you’ve researched and picked out an SMS marketing tool, it’s time to create a campaign. But to create a campaign, you need some numbers to text to! Here are a few ways how.

  • You can collect numbers at a live show by asking attendees to give you their numbers.
  • Make use of a keyword campaign. Any good SMS campaign tool will allow you to use keywords. You can add your fans to your contact list by texting a word to a short numerical code. Entice them with an exclusive video or song. This can be especially useful at your gig: “Text “FREE SONG” to 55555 and we’ll send you an exclusive download link!”
  • Give away your CD and merch. You can add a lot of people to your contact list by offering to send them a free CD in exchange for just covering shipping and handling.
  • Set up a squeeze page: they “squeeze” information from visitors, a squeeze page is a page on a website that is specifically designed to acquire information — like a phone number — for something in return. This is done by focusing on the action you want the person to take and removing all distractions and other choices. Add a squeeze page to your website to solicit subscribers so they're the first to hear about new music, merch, tours, etc. As an additional incentive, you can offer visitors something free in exchange for their email address, such as an unreleased song or exclusive video.
  • Just ask. Put a call-to-action (CTA) on your website that compels fans to subscribe to your mailing list. Make the incentive that they’ll be the first to hear about any news going on, like new merch, show/tour announcements and of course new music!

As you can see, SMS can be used for a lot more than just sending funny memes to your friends. With the right use and judicious use, SMS can be a powerful tool for marketing your music and growing your audience. Here’s how you can promote your music on a budget.

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