Your current and prospective customers spend a lot of time on their phones, so it’s logical for you and other small businesses to focus on different marketing strategies. Among the most popular now, depending upon the business, is text message marketing.
According to Business News Daily, text message marketing “is the ongoing process of communicating business news, sales, promotions or other relevant information” via short message service (SMS). This approach facilitates businesses in “getting as specific as possible and meeting your customers where they are—on their smartphones.”
Here are tips and suggestions for integrating text message marketing into your overall customer-acquisition strategy:
First, get consent.
More so than with other forms of marketing, SMS marketing depends upon obtaining a customer’s (also known as a subscriber’s) consent. If this approach holds promise for your business, you must first inform customers about your text messaging intentions.
To gain consent from subscribers:
- Outline how text messaging will benefit them.
- Provide an easy-to-complete opt-in form.
- Offer the choice to unsubscribe at any point.
Without their opt-in, you risk alienating prospects long before you can communicate the features and benefits of your products or services.
Customize your message.
It’s imperative that you avoid the one-size-fits-all approach with text message marketing. Remember, being specific offers the greatest chance of success in this field. For example, you could send a special deal or promo code to new customers, while for repeat customers, you can send a link to your customer loyalty program (with the promise of an exclusive deal in exchange for membership).
Send messages that have value.
Sending a text message just because you can isn’t an effective strategy. Instead, offer messages that carry inherent value to the subscriber, such as texts that:
- Update the status of an order.
- Mark receipt of the purchase of goods or services.
- Promote an upcoming sale or special event.
- Links to value-added content on your website.
By sending messages with a clear benefit to the subscriber, you sharply reduce the chances he or she will move to opt-out at a later time.
Have a clear-cut call-to-action.
Text messages must be brief (under 160 characters), and perhaps the most important part of any message is the call-to-action. As we have noted previously, the right call-to-action is “essential for virtually any marketing strategy.” Subscribers want to be “guided along their purchasing journey, so they don’t feel they’re wasting valuable time reaching the desired outcome.”
Elements of a strong call-to-action include a strong sense of urgency (“Click here for savings!”) and the use of action verbs (“Purchase now”).
Be ready to respond.
Unlike some other forms of messaging, people often respond immediately to a well-crafted text. “Quick response rates with SMS campaigns means that you’ll need to watch for fast responses,” advises Small Business Trends. In other words, “carefully monitor your inbox after sending out a promotion for 24 hours so you can be on top of any leads.”
Incorporate into a broader campaign.
Marketing experts agree that text messaging should never be employed on its own, free from other strategic marketing techniques and objectives. It will be more effective when incorporated into a broader campaign that includes email, social media, and other appropriate forms of marketing.
If you’ve not yet tried text message marketing, you may be missing out on a large, untapped audience of millennials and others who go first to their phone for information and purchasing decisions. It’s an important tool that can help loyal and prospective customers feel “tuned into” what your business is doing, and to make them feel you’re doing all you can to reach them where they spend the most amount of their time.
To learn more about effective marketing during these uncertain times, check out “7 Ways to Market Your Business for Next to Nothing.”