You would be amazed to know that the average person receives an average of 42 text messages per day. And if we look at younger demographics, that number is even higher, with groups of teenagers averaging over 100 messages per day! And yet, businesses refrain from leveraging SMS marketing services to generate a significantly higher ROI.
Not only that but of those texts, 97% of them are opened and read. With numbers like this, it’s not hard to understand why business texting and SMS marketing have taken off in recent years.
If you are even on the lower end of these ranges, you are probably still familiar with SMS and texting for personal use.
In this in-depth blog post, we are going to take the knowledge you already have on texting and show you how you can turn the latest trend in marketing into success for your company.
As Julie Andrews said in the Sound of Music, the best place to start is at the beginning. In the spirit of this song, let’s start by taking a look at where business texting came from and how we got to this point where business texting is becoming a dominant force in marketing.
Where did SMS come from?
You may be wondering: “Where did SMS come from?”
Ever since the first SMS message was sent in 1992, the technology has been improving by leaps and bounds.
While messaging services like WhatsApp and GroupMe allow users to send messages without a cellular plan, the idea of instant messaging in this way is more popular than ever.
But, you are probably wondering:
“How did sending texts to your friends turn into the trend of mass text marketing?”
Simply put, SMS and business texting are taking advantage of four key elements that are perfect for business purposes. Those are:
- No internet required: SMS doesn’t rely on an internet connection.
- Speed: SMS is incredibly fast. Almost all text messages are delivered in 15 seconds or less, but the average is well below that.
- Reach: Business texting and SMS allow you to reach anyone with a mobile plan and device. This means that you have access to roughly 90% of the adult population at your fingertips.
- Devices: SMS can be used with any type of mobile device.
Each of these factors, but specifically no need for internet and no device restrictions, are the reason why SMS has higher engagement rates than email, Facebook messaging, or other programs like iMessage and Skype.
What is SMS Marketing?
Now that you have some background on SMS marketing definition and context for why business texting has become a popular trend, let’s talk about the uses of SMS marketing services for your business.
Here’s the deal: SMS or Text Messages are fast, efficient, and direct, there are a series of different business uses for them. Each of these uses can be broken down into two categories: automated, one-way texts and customized, two-way texts.
Automated, one-way text messages
By signing up to receive SMS messages when your bills are due or there is a needed action on your account, you can stay on top of your account and stay engaged.
Businesses should use this to engage customers and keep them up-to-date on time-sensitive activities. SMS opt-ins are not only required, but they are a great way to establish the type of relationship you want to have with your customers.
Opting in solidifies that they want to receive messages from your business, so make sure you are treating these customers right and only providing them with valuable, relevant information.
SMS Marketing Campaigns
By having your customers opt-in to receiving marketing messages you can reach them at appropriate times for your business. For example, a restaurant could send a text around 11:30 am to encourage the user to go to their establishment for lunch.
However, be aware that sending a targeted marketing message at the wrong time can turn off your customers quickly. Make sure you understand the timing of your message before hitting ‘send.’
Real-time info on request
Business texting allows you the option to send real-time information to your customers as they need it. For instance, a bus company could alert its customers to change routes and update times as they happen.
It gets better:
These are also helpful to the end-user, but you will be reminding them of who you are, so it can double as a marketing campaign.
Customized, two-way text messages
Salespeople have started to notice that traditional means of sales communication are no longer working like they used to. Phone calls, emails, and other channels are falling by the wayside. However, business text marketing strategies are rising.
Since not only does SMS have a 97% read rate, but a 35%-45% response rate as well. Your prospects are already on their phones. If you want to reach them, this is where they are.
In 2018, more customers than ever before prefer to have their support claims and questions done through SMS advertising. Since most of the messages for this can be created beforehand, this increases the efficiency for both the company and the customer.
Want to know the best part?
Not only can this help you to increase customer engagement and satisfaction, but it truly is a great way to help your customers out in a pinch. You can deliver how-to guides, advice, or simple things like password resets all directly to their mobile device.
Customer retention marketing and engagement is another recent trend that has begun to pick up steam. Instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, businesses today are shifting their focus toward taking care of the customers they already have.
And what’s the best part? Business texting is the perfect fit for this recent trend in marketing strategy. By simply sending a targeted SMS message ever so often, you can do more to keep your customers engaged than some full-fledged marketing campaigns.
Use SMS to keep your customers engaged, even if all that means is sending a ‘thank you’ message.
Another way to engage customers in new and exciting ways is with marketing automation, something that SMS fits well within. For example, marketers can set up a campaign well in advance and use SMS keywords to help their customers find solutions efficiently.
Simply allowing customers to text back HELP or INFO to receive additional information on their problem can make a difference between a satisfied client and a lost sale.
What’s the bottom line here? As more brands are getting involved in this kind of marketing automation, the capabilities of the program are only becoming more robust and powerful. By allowing users to better define their customer journey and experience, you can set yourself apart from other brands that haven’t discovered SMS marketing yet.
Not only is this a better way to reach your audience, but if you can provide value with it you will have to establish lifelong customer relationships.
Another advantage to working with SMS is how easy it is to incorporate it with a customer loyalty program. Many businesses now use customer loyalty programs to increase engagement with the company and repeat visits to the physical location. When you pair this with the potency of SMS marketing, it can be a marketing force to be reckoned with.
However, like any SMS campaign, there are a few best practices that can ensure your customer loyalty program is as powerful as possible. For instance, you can increase interaction with the program by giving your audience an easy call-to-action via text message marketing to get more of your customers enrolled in the program. The more they use it, the more they will come into the business and tell their friends.
Best Text Marketing Practices For Business
It is very important to know how to do SMS marketing and get the most out of it. While there are many best SMS marketing practices that we will go over in another article, we wanted to leave you with a few that you should always keep in mind.
- Communicate your intentions clearly and right away. Tell your contacts that you are going to text them. Your customers will likely be open to receiving texts over email, but only if you ask first!
- Don’t spam your customers. One of the reasons why business texting is so powerful is that there are stricter codes when it comes to sending texts over emails. Not only will your customers not appreciate your spamming, but you might have legal recourse as well.
- Avoid mass texts without purpose. While a mass text campaign might make sense every once in a while, less-frequent personalized SMS messages are likely to have a higher success rate.
- Through testing, find a sweet spot with respect to time to deliver messages to your customers.
- Deliver value. Before every text you send, ask yourself, “Does this deliver value to the customer?” Unless the answer is yes, DO NOT SEND THE MESSAGE. Only send target messages when it brings immediate value to the customer.
- Provide a way out. Sometimes customers accidentally sign up for texting or they realize that they don’t want to be signed up. Include an unsubscribe option with each text so that they have an easy time leaving. However, the best way to avoid this is by sending the right messages the first time.
While text message marketing for small businesses can be a powerful tool when done correctly, it can also be an efficient way to lose customers when done poorly. With wrong timing of sending messages, over-sending your brand-related SMS, lack of call to action, etc can hamper your SMS marketing efforts.
However, as long as you follow the best practices laid out here, you should be just fine. If you are a small business, then don’t hesitate to opt for some great SMS marketing service providers out there. With products like our own – Gleantap, many small to medium business owners are utilizing the power of SMS and seeing an effective rise in their ROI.
If you are looking to opt for one such product, give Gleantap a try.
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera