To thrive as a small business, you need to attract and retain customers. But how do you grab the attention of your target market in a way that gets you the most bang for your buck?
Adopting a multichannel marketing strategy can be a great way to reach more customers. By establishing an integrated marketing campaign that combines channels like email, social media, online advertising, your website, direct mail, and SMS marketing, you can set yourself up for success.
While each of the channels we listed above can be effective, SMS marketing is the most underutilized. But, if used the right way, it can work wonders for your business.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS (short message service) marketing or text message marketing refers to sending short messages to customers on their mobile devices to promote your product or service. It’s important to remember that customers need to sign up—or “opt in”—to receive these messages.
Small businesses can use SMS marketing in many ways. You can send texts to announce a new product launch, offer discounts, provide updates on shipments of orders, and remind clients about appointments. Businesses also use SMS to collect customer feedback or provide information on changes in company policy.
As mentioned earlier, one of the key aspects of using SMS advertising is that it’s an opt-in service—in other words, you need to get a customer’s permission before you send them promotional messages. The upside of this requirement gives you a better chance of developing a more engaged audience, as everyone seeing your messages has chosen to receive them.
Examples of SMS marketing
Now that we’ve discussed what SMS marketing is, let’s look at some of the most common ways small businesses can use it.
Text message is a great way to set the tone with new customers. You can use a welcome message to greet new customers, provide essential information, and direct them to your website.
If you’re launching a new product or service and want to create a buzz around it, consider using SMS advertising. Sending a message to people on your list of recipients is an excellent way to generate hype about your new product and get people talking about it.
Here’s a critical SMS marketing tip: When announcing a new promotion or holding a flash sale, SMS marketing can help tremendously improve your hit rate. Your greatest advantage is that your messages go to people who have opted to receive them, so they already have a relationship with your company, which increases the chances of them buying from you.
When developing your SMS marketing strategy, consider adding personalization to messages. Customers appreciate when you take the trouble to address their specific needs and preferences. Remember that if you do something as small as including their first name, people are more likely to pay attention and take your desired action.
Text messages are an excellent way to reconnect with customers who showed an initial interest in your product or service but didn’t make a purchase. You can send an SMS to consumers who abandoned their carts, or ask website visitors to come back with a discount code. You can also request people who have made a purchase to write a review.
Want to learn more about your customers’ tastes and preferences? Conducting a survey is a quick and effective way to do it. Send your clients a survey link via text message—just remember to keep the message under 160 characters so nothing gets cut off or bumped to a second message.
You can use text messages to communicate with customers about service issues. A well-crafted and timely response sent through SMS can help answer a query quickly and effectively, not to mention reduce your call volume and save your support team some stress.
SMS is extensively used to remind people about doctor’s appointments and hospital visits. In fact, for many service industries, text messages serve as a cost-effective method of communicating with customers.
3 big benefits of SMS marketing
Small businesses have plenty to gain from SMS marketing. Here are three of the principal benefits.
1. Reach customers quicker
The message you create is sent directly to your customer’s phone. They don’t need to open an email or click on a link to read it.
2. People open text messages
3. You’re more likely to get a response
A higher SMS open rate translates into a greater response rate. That means more conversions for your business. If your call to action is to click a link, you’re much more likely to get a customer response by sending a text than posting on social media.
SMS marketing best practices
What’s the best way to get your SMS marketing campaign to succeed? Following these tips can be a good starting point.
Make sure you ask customers to opt in
Remember that you need to get customers to sign up for SMS marketing. An excellent way to get their consent is to ask them to join your SMS list when completing an online form. Offering special deals and discounts to people who sign up is also a good idea and very common in the retail and ecommerce industry.
Provide the opportunity to opt out.
A customer who has provided you with an opt-in consent earlier may no longer be interested in your product or service. You must give people the ability to opt out whenever they want. An excellent way to do this is to tell them they can reply with “STOP” to unsubscribe from your SMS advertising.
Start your message with your brand name
Include your company’s name in your message. It should be easy for a customer to understand who the sender is and what it’s about at a glance.
Mind your character count
Stay within the 160-character limit. Communication that consists of a series of text messages can be confusing and hard to read.
Time it right
Make sure that your text messages are sent based on your recipients’ time zones. Ensure SMS ads are received during the day while people are actively on their phones rather than when they’re sleeping.
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