Why You Should be Doing SMS Marketing Right Now

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Diverse people holding emoticon

What does your marketing mix include?

If you’re like most local businesses, you’re probably doing a mix of online and offline marketing. You might be engaging with customers on social media, hosting local events, blogging, and advertising in the local paper. Perhaps you’ve even targeted mobile customers by using Facebook’s “Call Now” button on your ads.

But guess what? There’s one thing that you’re probably not doing that could help you connect with customers when they’re most likely to stop by your business. And you might not even have considered it.

I’m talking about SMS messaging, more commonly known as text messaging.

More than 2.5 billion people worldwide own a smart phone that’s capable of text messaging. That’s a staggering number – and it begs the question:

Why aren’t more small businesses using text messaging for marketing?

Texting by the Numbers

Text messaging has the potential to be a marketing superstar for your business. To get an idea of just how effective it can be, check out these statistics:

  • 89% of people always have their smart phone accessible
  • 97% of Americans text at least once a day
  • Texting is the #1 communication method used by people under 50 years old
  • 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes of receipt

That last statistic is particularly important, especially when you consider that consumers open only about 25% of the emails they receive.

People send and receive text messages. They give them priority over other communication, and they spend more time texting than they do talking on their phones.

In other words, text messaging is arguably the best way to ensure that the people in your target audience read what you send them.

Advantages of SMS Marketing

You know people are likely to read your text messages – but what are the other advantages of incorporating text messages into your marketing mix? Here are five that I think are key:

  1. You can track SMS messages the same way you would any other marketing campaign using web-based tools like SlickText.
  2. You can collect data about your text list by creating interactive content that allows them to reply to your messages quickly and easily.
  3. Text messaging provides nearly instantaneous results and stats for you to use to fine-tune your campaigns.
  4. Text messaging can be casual and personalized with direct language and even emoji to build a relationship with the people you text.
  5. Text messages are a great way to connect with your audience when they’re most likely to be in your area or in the market for what you’re selling.

A good example of time-sensitive text messaging might be a restaurant or bar texting out a Happy Hour coupon at about the time most people are getting out of work. They might be planning to head out for a drink or a bite anyway, and you can provide them with a nudge to choose your establishment over others in the area.

How to Get Subscribers for Your SMS List

By law, you cannot send a text message to anybody who has not signed up for your list. That means that you must find ways to attract new subscribers. Here are some helpful suggestions to get started.

The first and potentially easiest way to find new subscribers is to add a cell phone field to your existing opt-in form on your website. You can include a message letting people know that if they choose to provide you with a cell phone number, they’re agreeing to receive text messages from you.

Another option is to promote your SMS list in store with large print posters, flyers and other print media encouraging your customers to sign up for exclusive discounts & offers.  Make sure to mention what some of those exclusive offers might be.

You may also want to send out an email to your current email list and give your subscribers a link to sign up to receive text messages from you. Here again, it’s a good idea to tempt them by letting them know you’ll be sending out special coupons and deals via text message.

Using these methods, it shouldn’t take you very long to build up a sizable SMS messaging list.

Tips for Successful SMS Messaging Campaigns

Text message marketing has a lot in common with other forms of marketing. To be successful, you must conceptualize a strong campaign based on your knowledge of your subscribers, create compelling content, and track your results. Here are some tips that may help you.

  1. Understand your audience. You may want to create a quick survey for your email list or social media followers to find out what kind of content they would like to receive via text message.
  2. Keep your messages short and sweet. People are more likely to read your messages if they’re brief and compelling. A good rule of thumb is to make them about the same length as a Tweet – no more than 280 characters.
  3. Offer mobile-exclusive deals to your subscribers. These might include exclusive coupons, discounts, and sales especially for your mobile customers.
  4. Use casual language that speaks directly to the recipient. Most important, use “you” and “your,” which underscore that the exclusivity of your list and make customers feel valued.
  5. Don’t be afraid to bring some humor into your texts. It’s a casual form of communication and people like to laugh – but of course, keep it PG-rated and steer away from controversial topics.
  6. Add a few emoji to your texts. People use them in their personal texts and they can add personality and fun to your marketing campaign.  
  7. Track your results and tweak your campaigns as needed.

Some text messaging providers to try include SlickText, SumoText, and SimpleTexting. You want a provider with affordable prices, an intuitive dashboard, and great analytics.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that if you’re not using SMS messaging to reach your audience, you’re missing out on a chance to build brand loyalty and increase your sales. Text messages are inexpensive to send and easy to write – and they can help you grow your business.

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