Small Business Owners: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Text Message Marketing

I can hear you groaning. Text message marketing is yet another digital marketing technique that you, as a small business owner, just shouldn’t ignore. It’s like having a website or using social media. But before you start thinking about how unproductive your business’s Facebook page is and quickly dismiss text message marketing as another time and money waster, you might want to read below.

If you use it correctly, text message marketing (also known as SMS marketing) can be a really powerful, low-cost marketing tool that can bring your business instant results.

The Benefits of Text Message Marketing

SMS marketing has many advantages over other forms of digital marketing, such as email and even social media. Below are a few of the benefits of SMS marketing:

1.100% Delivery.

Texts always hit their targets.Text messages go straight to your customers and deliver at a rate that approaches 100%. On the other hand, marketing emails can be intercepted and deep-sixed by spam filters, or intentionally directed by readers to junk email accounts. Tweets and posts (even sponsored ones) in social media accounts can still get lost in a users’ activity streams.

2. 97% Open Rate.

In its small business guide to text message marketing, The New York Times referred to text messaging as the “closest thing in the digital marketing world to a guaranteed read.” Why? Marketing text messages get opened by 97% of recipients. According to recent research by the Pew Research Center, “Some 72% of adult cell phone users send and receive text messages… Fully 87% of teen cell users text. Teens text 50 messages a day on average, five times more than the typical 10 text messages sent and received by adults per day.” Add to this the fact that users have their cell phones with them an average of 16 hours a day; some even sleep with their phones. Sleeping with an iMac or ThinkPad? Not a chance.

3. Immediacy. 

Text messages are read instantly; 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes. That means you can more or less decide exactly when your customers will read your message. That’s just not something you can do with other marketing mediums, such as email.

4. An Audible Call to Action. 

Even when you’re in the next room, you still know when you receive a text message. That’s because text messages audibly alert phone owners the second they’re received. On the other hand, social media updates and emails are quietly funneled into Inboxes and activity streams where they get can quickly get buried.

5. Less Competition.

Even though SMS marketing has been a buzzword for the past couple of years, it is still a relatively new marketing channel, and for as many small businesses who have jumped in, there are many, many more who haven’t. In other words, now is the time to get in and establish methods that work for your company and your customers before things get too noisy.

6. Low Cost. 

Once you get the hang of it, SMS marketing is a low-cost, yet absurdly targeted marketing technique. Texting can cost as little as 3 cents per delivery and an SMS blast can be sent out in a matter of minutes.

Tips for a Successful Text Message Marketing Campaign

Now, you might think that all of this is impressive, but how do you reach the customers you really want and ensure that your SMS campaigns are successful? In one sentence: you want your customers to opt-in to your texts, and you want to return the action with some really great, exclusive offers. Here are some quick tips to consider:

  • Make sure your customers know about your SMS campaign in the first place.

    Even if you are sending out some really great offers to your subscribers, if you don’t make enough effort to promote the SMS campaign, you will have no one signing up. Add your text message marketing call to action to your existing marketing materials, put a sign up in your store, and have your employees tell every customer about the new campaign.

  • Immediately reward your customers for signing up.

     If you want to build up your subscriber list fast then offer customers an instant discount or coupon, such as 10% off on their next purchase when they opt-in.

  • Think about timing.

    With SMS marketing, the fact that messages are sent and received instantly should influence the time of the day and the day of the week in which you choose to send out a SMS blast. You should also refrain from sending out too many texts. Usually, 2 to 4 text messages a month is a good balance.

  • Offer some good, exclusive  rewards.

    Make sure the deals and promotions you are sending out are something of value to your customers. “Buy One Get One Free” deals and discount coupons tend to do the best with this medium. You should also make it a point to to send out offers that only your cell phone subscribers can receive. This is another way of rewarding their involvement and making them feel special.

  • Watch the wording.

    Skip texting lingo and slang, such as “Gr8” and “UR.” Keep the message focused and direct, and remember that you’re limited to 160 characters. A good example of an effective text message would be: “Buy a sandwhich, get a FREE coffee. Today Only. Use coupon code FREECOFFEE at the register.”