For years, businesses have searched for ways to inculcate their brand, products, or services into the personal lives of their customers, and to create touchpoints wherever those customers are.
Billions of dollars are spent every year on print advertising, billboards, radio, television, and the Internet. Marketers practically shout at the corner of every street in the hope a potential customer walks or drives by, but never know for certain if their message is heard—or more importantly—acted upon.
Believe it or not, the first text message was sent out more than 20 years ago, its originator unaware of how this simple text message system would forever change the way we personalize and target customers. As businesses attempt to make more money while spending less, text message marketing for small businesses or large may be better suited than other forms of advertising to achieve this goal.
Before we cover some of the important reasons to adopt text message marketing, let us look at some of the statistics around text marketing:
- In a survey in the USA, 82% of people say that they open every single message they receive throughout the day. The number suggests that people might forget to open their email, but it is rare for them to forget about seeing their text messages.
- Another interesting statistic shows that 43% of consumers stated they have proactively texted a business. The response rate from consumers is phenomenal and it is a must for small businesses to leverage text message marketing in 2021.
- 50% of consumers mentioned that they would opt into an SMS loyalty program if they are offered some sort of deals and offers. Another great way to provide offers to customers and increase customer retention with time.
Hundreds of such interesting facts around SMS marketing will state how important it is in today’s day and age.
And yet many businesses refrain from leveraging it. If you are reading this and thinking to apply the marketing strategy, then you shouldn’t hesitate to start immediately.
The Personalized Channel
The figure below presents the average cost per thousand (CPM) numbers for a few different media types.
At first glance it would appear that billboards, radio spots, and magazines present better value than text message marketing; however, the calculations of CPM can be misleading. CPM is based on how much advertising costs to reach 1,000 people. Let’s look at billboards.
The value of billboards is calculated by multiplying the daily traffic volume by the number of days the billboard will be posted, divided by 1,000, divided by the cost of the monthly rent. Magazines and newspapers, on the other hand, are calculated by the cost of the ad, divided by the circulation, times 1,000.
But neither of these calculations—billboards or magazines and newspapers— take into account how many drivers or newspaper subscribers viewed the ad. Since the dawn of smartphones, most people today are looking at their phones while driving. Forget the billboard; we just hope the drivers see us ahead of them. Forget watching the commercials.
Unless it’s the Super Bowl, most people are looking at their mobile devices, not your three-million-dollar-plus spot. Here’s where personalized engagement comes into play. Traditional media, as calculated above, can’t provide the opportunity for direct, individual, two-way communication with the consumer.
But text messaging, also known as SMS, can. The direct, individual nature of the business SMS platform makes it innately personal, even intimate. Our phones are so personal that studies show the number one item husbands and wives refuse to share is their mobile phone.
SMS Marketing For Small Business – Easy and Quick Way to Communicate
According to a November 2017 Pew Report, 81% use SMS (97% of 18-29 year-olds and 92% of 30-49-year-olds). These numbers blow away every other form of marketing or advertising available today. Americans prefer coupons via text. In a study conducted by the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA), one-third of Americans would rather receive offers via text.
Receiving offers by way of email came in at 21%. Approximately 11% preferred mobile apps. In addition, 63% of marketers cite “immediacy” as the number one benefit of using SMS campaigns, followed by high open rates and low cost. You can see why I believe consumer attitudes are not only changing but evolving with technology
Outbound or Inbound
Some marketers may put social media and text message marketing in the outbound marketing category. And, sometimes, they would be correct. For example, some companies use text message marketing exclusively to push deals and offers. The problem is they don’t allow for communication.
This is homogenous to getting an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Everyone receives the same offer, the same deal, and no one is made to feel special. Text message marketing, at its core, is about more than shot-gunned deals and offers. Why? Your offers are personalized and your deals are based on targeted demographics.
Texting customer surveys and polls convert the marketing channel from outbound to inbound. The opportunity for two-way communication with your customers can make the outbound-to-inbound switch happen in your business.
Immune to stricter regulation
When Facebook changed its algorithm in 2015 to favor more video content, a lot of new media creators such as Buzzfeed and BusinessInsider switched to creating more video content to share on Facebook. What they did not realize was that Facebook never reported the actual engagements on video.
Facebook faked certain metrics to attract more advertisers to the platform. Eventually, by the time this news leaked, it was too late and most of these companies had invested a lot in the video.
Over the next year or so, the Facebook algorithm would change again and leave thousands of employees in these new media organizations jobless, simply because they were overly dependent on one platform – Facebook
Text message marketing is not controlled by a single platform, just like email, it has retained its independence for a long time. This makes it a reliable, long term investment you can bank on without worrying whether a sudden change in regulation will affect you
Make personalized and exclusive offers
Text message marketing allows you to share personalized messages and offers to your customers. Since the open rates are high in case of messages, people will be happy to see your offers. And when the message is personalized, you can imagine the level of happiness.
One can argue that people might open the message and forget about it. But here’s the catch. Make your message personalized and also add an interesting call to action to prompt the reader to respond to your message.
At Gleantap, our clients have wittnessed a surge in their response rate when they add a call to action within the offer message.
Create a sense of urgency for the readers
When customers find an irresistable offer, it’s a human tendency to not to let that go. And if you create a sense of urgency, your customers will not want to miss out on the offer before its gone.
But how do you create a sense of urgency within the text message? Your focus should be on highlighting the offer without revealing much of the information within the text. Let people browse the link you share and take the action accordingly.
It is very important to communicate your offer through some creative copywriting. But also make sure to keep your offer interesting. More often that not, people fall for the words. And if they find the offer on the landing page not that great, they drop off.
Ask questions via message
Your customers can be your biggest critics. But only if you ask them the right questions. Everytime your customers make a purchase, send them a survey link to get their feedback.
It can be as simple as asking their purchase experience. If people like your product, 63% of people willingly take out time to give feedback.
And if you consider their feedback and implement the changes, the customers feel privileged and important. They tend to trust your brand and become your repeat customers.
Use text message as a follow up to email
As we mentioned earlier, the open rate for text messages is more than as compared to email. To counter the lower email open rate, text message marketing for small business comes handy.
When it’s time for your email follow up, only this time shoot a text follow up and help your customer learn about the email you had sent earlier.
People see their text messages and if you communicate the message correctly, they will want to check the email you had sent. Small businesses do not leverage the SMS marketing and undermine its value propositions.
Look for message delivery time
Whenever a new customer ops-in for your messages, you should be thoughtful with your delivery. While it is necessary to message customers regularly so that you remain on top of their mind, you don’t want to send to oversend them.
Also, you don’t want your messages not to be opened or ignored because of the wrong timing.
Start small with fewer messages per week. Send your strongest communication, welcome message or an offer first so that, customers look forward to seeing more of your messages. Once you find a sweet spot for timings with your customers, you can increase the frequency of communication accordingly.
Integrate SMS marketing with other marketing channels
Today, it is very easy and cheap to put your brand in front of your prospects and existing customers. But, it is the true for your customers too. When you are creating a marketing strategy for an upcoming event or a sale, always include SMS marketing in the bucket of channels you target to promote.
Integrate text marketing as a part of your omnichannel marketing strategy and share the same communication of your overall marketing campaign.
As we know, omnichannel marketing allows you to connect with customers on the channels they spend their time. There’s a better chance of moving customers through the leads or sales funnel if they see your messages on different platforms. It establishes a good brand recall and increases the chance of people to take an action.
Text message marketing for small businesses is under used. Many owners are aware of this medium and yet shy away from executing it. But it is ease of accessing messages and short communication that make SMS marketing successful. With some great statistics favouring it, businesses should start to leverage this form of marketing before it gets mainstream.
If you are looking to up your text message marketing game, give Gleantap a shot and experience increased ROI right from first month.
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera