What Text Message Marketing Is and How It Can Grow Your Business

As mobile technology continues to evolve, SMS marketing, or “text message marketing” is growing at an exponential rate. SMS marketing is a way for small businesses to market to a highly targeted group of their customers by sending them text messages about sales, discounts, reminders, and more. Keep reading to learn more about how SMS marketing can grow your business.

Why SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is used by businesses large and small, from banks and restaurants to e-commerce companies and apps. These businesses use SMS marketing for security and identification purposes, appointment and reservation reminders, as well as marketing sales and discounts.

Text messages have up to a 98% open rate overall, with 90% of people reading a text within three minutes of receiving it. Email open rates typically hover around 20%. Unlike email, SMS marketing is not limited to people that have smart phones. This is also a more personalized approach, as it is permission based.

Over 75% of people say they wouldn’t mind receiving texts from a business after opting in. For many, receiving a text message from a business that they are loyal to is more convenient than receiving an email campaign. Many people naturally prioritize text messaging over email, as it is more personal and direct.

How Can I Use SMS Marketing?

Appointment Reminders

If you offer services such as grooming, walking, boarding, etc. use text communications to remind your customers about their appointments. You can include information about your cancellation policy, and a way for customers to reschedule or cancel if needed. Many people appreciate these reminders and this will cut down on missed appointments!

Exclusive Text Promotions

The easiest way to get your customers to sign up for your text message marketing list is to let them know that you send out exclusive promotions via text. This will build your list, and drive traffic to your store and/or online to your website.

Order Status Updates

Whether it’s a regular order or an auto-ship order, you can automate your texts to send notifications and order tracking numbers directly to your customers! This will make it convenient for them to find this information without having to dig through their emails.

How Do I Choose an SMS Marketing Platform?

There are many platforms to choose from when it comes to SMS marketing. Each platform has different features, so it is important to choose the best fit for your business. Check out Capterra’s SMS Marketing Platform Reviews to read more about the platform options out there.

When comparing platforms, make sure to look for a service that is easy-to-use, offers reliable support options, and is affordable for your business, but gives you room to grow.

How Does SMS Marketing Work?

SMS marketing is permission based, meaning your customers have to opt-in to receive messages from you. It is extremely important that you follow consumer privacy rules and best practices. Users must opt-in, have an easy way to view terms and conditions, and have a simple way to opt out if they choose.

Much of this can be automated through whichever SMS marketing platform you choose. Your platform will be able to help you navigate all rules and guidelines. Your customers will need to opt-in to receive your text messages by texting a keyword that you choose to a short number that your platform sets up.

You will need to let your customers know about your text message marketing program, so that they can opt-in to your list. You can let them know by word of mouth, and by sharing the information in your store, on social media, on your website, and anywhere you promote your business. Since SMS marketing is permission based, you will need to promote this so that customers sign up for your messaging list. Creating signage for your store, and training your staff to ask for sign ups during checkout are great ways to let people know about your text capabilities while they are in your store.

It is important to display all necessary information, including the following:

  • Keyword and number to text
  • State what they are signing up for (in most cases, promotional text messages)
  • Your business’ name
  • Where your terms and privacy policy can be found
  • Maximum amount of messages they will receive per month
  • State that standard messaging and data rates may apply
  • Keywords to cancel receiving messages, and for help

Check with your SMS platform on standard rules and guidelines. For more information on SMS compliance, click here.

What Are Some Best Practices for My Texts?

  • Text messages have a 160 character limit – so make sure to keep your messages precise and to the point!
  • All messages should have a call to action and bring value to your customers.
  • It is recommended to send no more than 4 text communications per month.
  • Text during normal business hours only.
  • Make your text promotions new and exciting.
  • Always follow SMS compliance rules suggested by your platform.

What About Email Marketing?

Email is continuing to grow as a marketing form as well! Email and text marketing both have their own places in the marketing world. With text marketing growing faster than ever, it should be used in conjunction with email.

Here are some helpful resources to help you learn more about SMS marketing:

SMS Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

6 SMS Messaging Tips for Your Marketing Strategy

The SMS Marketing Guidebook


Sources:

https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2017/33045/email-vs-sms-battle-of-the-heavyweights-infographic

https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2019/01/roi-showdown-sms-marketing-vs-email-marketing/

https://blog.rebrandly.com/text-message-marketing/

https://www.slicktext.com/sms-marketing-guide/

By Kelly Thomas