For years, businesses have searched for ways to inculcate their brand, products or services into the personal lives of their customers, and to create touch points 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 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 business or large may be better suited than other forms of advertising to achieve this goal.

The Personalized Channel

The figure below presents the average cost per thousand (CPM) numbers for a few different media types.

Text Message Marketing For Small Business- CPM

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—billboard or magazines and newspapers— take into account how many drivers or newspaper subscribers actually 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 actually 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 business sms platform makes it innately personal, even intimate. Our phones are so personal, in fact, 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.

Text Message Marketing For Small Business

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, there are companies that 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 “do-not-reply@xyz.com.” 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 Buzzfeeed 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 so as 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

In an age where even social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter are struggling to retain users, Text message marketing for small business may be one of the most reliable channels available