The truth is, text messages (also known as SMS messages, or “Short Messaging Service”) still have a lot of potential for small business marketing. Mobile apps and social media are great, but there’s something very powerful about being able to contact customers directly via a well-placed text message.
Small business owners who want to reach customers in a way that cuts through the digital clutter should consider trying something “old” that is becoming “new” again – a text message marketing campaign.
You can use texts to send highly personalized and relevant messages, offer discounts or special deals, and even send location-specific texts to reach people where they live, work, and shop. This is what makes text message marketing such a great customer loyalty channel to generate repeat sales.
"Here are 5 key takeaways that open the door to explosive growth with the power of text message marketing"
1. Support and integrate with other channels
It is important that all channels work well together within the marketing mix and SMS is no exception. SMS is a great standalone channel, however it also has the ability to enhance and support other marketing mediums, such as social media and email.
As well as being great on its own, SMS can also function to enhance and support other popular mediums among consumers, such as social media and email.
For example they can serve to remind customers to read an email sent by a brand hours or even days before. A simple follow up SMS asking “have you read our email?” can help increase email open rates by 20%–30%.
Use SMS to augment multi-channel campaigns. Brands today are using multi-channel messaging strategies for their marketing campaigns, taking advantage of all the ways consumers look for and process information. The personal nature and accessibility of the mobile phone number makes it the ultimate ‘get’ in consumer data.
Every phone today is SMS capable right out of the box, and SMS has a 95% open rate. To that end, every marketing campaign should include an SMS call-to-action. For example, append an email offer with a method for consumers to sign up for mobile coupons. Use SMS as an additional entry mechanism for a Facebook competition. Use SMS in store to facilitate loyalty program signups or to send an app download link.
2. Make your local advertising actionable.
If you advertise locally, through a community newspaper or radio spots for instance, add an SMS shortcode and keyword offering special offers or discounts. i.e. Text “GOLF” To “55678” It’s a great way to generate responses and track the effectiveness of your offline marketing channels.
Instead of relying on customers to call in to a phone number or visit a website, merchants can make it easier to respond to ads via SMS and then track responses to each keyword on the back end.”
3. Provide in-store recommendations to customers.
Businesses are providing better customer experience in-store by offering them ways to easily access more detailed product information, discounts on specific products and product recommendations through SMS. For example, in an auto parts store, customers could text or enter data into a loyalty tablet with their car make and model to a keyword displayed in the store aisle, and get back the recommended part number they needed to purchase.
"SMS provides another way for marketers to implement in-store targeting that doesn’t require customers to download an app."
4. Utilize opt-in loyalty lists.
Businesses must have mobile opt-in SMS loyalty lists that work both nationally and on a store-location basis. Twenty percent of customers drive 80% of sales, and that 20% will likely opt-in to receive mobile offers.
"Even relatively small lists can drive significant sales, because they keep the store top-of-mind with their best customers."
5. Customer follow-up
Once a customer makes a purchase you can offer a series of follow-up messages that could include thank you, more information about usage, warranty reminders and add-on offers.
Key Takeaway: There are many opportunities to easily explore marketing via text messaging and now is the time to start building those lists and campaigns as more and more of your customers and prospects grow to expect this kind of interaction.