Text messaging isn’t just a convenient way to chat with your friends. It’s actually a powerful mobile marketing tool for small businesses!
SMS or text marketing allows you to directly connect with your loyal customers or even potential clients on their phones, giving you an intimate way to nurture them with real-time conversations.
Some of the biggest benefits of text marketing are the fact that it allows customers to opt in and out, it’s affordable, engaging and interactive, and you can cast a wide net with it, especially if you integrate it with your other marketing tools.
Text message marketing also feels more urgent to the recipient. They feel like they have to act quickly to take advantage of the text offer whereas they might let an email offer sit unread in their inbox for weeks. Studies have found that customers who receive marketing texts open them 98% of the time.
Your customers have a very personal relationship with their phones. Their phone are the way they engage with their friends and family, and they’re probably the first thing they look at when they wake up in the morning. Once your brand is invited into this inner circle, you can have a more personal, one-to-one conversation with your customer.
It can be challenging for marketers to get a compelling message across in 160 characters. You should make sure your message has a “hook” to get their attention and an “offer” for them to act quickly.
Your message should be relevant and connect with the end user. You want to get the point across quickly and use links to gather more information about them. An important mistake to avoid is assuming the customer knows who you are. Remind them who you are every time in case they don’t have your name saved in their phone.
A good practice is to send one or two texts per month — more than that and you risk annoying your customer. But how do you build up a list of phone numbers to send your texts out to? There are several ways you can do this:
- Use past customers. Make sure to gather information from anyone who has bought from you before. It’s best to get their name, phone number and email. You might acquire more demographic information later through surveys, but this basic information is a good start. Plus, if you ask too many questions right away, the customer isn’t as likely to fill out the information.
- Ask customers to opt into text messaging through your website. Many businesses will offer a discount code if you sign up for text and email alerts.
- Use social media ads. Create Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns that capture names, phone numbers and email addresses. A great way to do this is through hosting a contest or giveaway. You can build a list of thousands of names quickly by doing this. We create contests on Facebook and Instagram all the time for clients who need to build up a list quickly. We’ve gotten over 4,000 names in only 30 days by giving away free donuts for a year for our client, Sugar Llamas.
After you’ve gathered your list, make sure the first text you send out asks for permission to text them ongoing. It’s best to get a confirmation from them that they actually want to subscribe. A great way to do this is by asking them to confirm their opt-in with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ If they don’t respond, don’t text them again and take them off of your list. Since open rates for text messages are much higher than those for email, your unsubscribe rates will be higher, too. Don’t freak out when people unsubscribe to your texts — this is normal! You want your text list to be loyal customers who want your product.
You can also use text messaging for other parts of your business. It’s a great way to get feedback from customers. You can send them a survey and get great feedback quickly.
If you have an in-person business, you may want to send a text message right after an appointment. You’re already on the customer’s mind and if they had a good experience, they might re-book with you right then. If you work in the medical or beauty industries, it’s also smart to send reminders confirming appointments. This will reduce the number of no-shows and your clients will appreciate it!
Text marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective way to market today. It’s a simple way to connect with your customers on a more personal level — who wouldn’t want that?