You’re probably aware of SMS marketing campaigns from big, national companies but have you ever considered incorporating SMS marketing into your own business plan? SMS marketing is now the fastest growing platform for marketing in Britain and it isn’t just for large companies. Small businesses can gain huge benefits from this direct communication form due it being relatively cheap to set up and its fantastic ROI performance. Did you know that 99% of texts are opened compared to just 30% of emails? It’s also been found that SMS marketing performs four to five times better than online advertising for creating brand awareness and increasing purchasing intent. If you’re looking to increase your marketing effort but keep budgets low, you really can’t ignore the advantages of this medium.
How SMS Marketing Works
Sending mass text messages to all your customers isn’t as simple as texting them from your personal phone. SMS messaging software allows you to upload your customers’ contact details, schedule messages and some even have the option to categorise your contact list for more tailored messages. Popular services include EZ Texting, Text Hub, and Mobile Storm.
Like email marketing, there are rules and regulations that you should be aware of before getting started. Unless your messages are purely informative, you are required to gain explicit, prior consent before sending marketing messages to your customers. You must be very clear on what the client is signing up to receive and you must also include an opt-out option for customers who no longer want your messages.
7 Ways to use SMS Marketing
1. Job Completion Notifications
One of the most common purposes for SMS marketing is to notify customers when their order is ready to collect. A text message is much more appropriate for this than an email because a customer will receive that message immediately rather than waiting until they sign in to their email account. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, it takes roughly 90 minutes for people to respond to emails but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message. Job completion notifications would be very useful to clients who need a quick turnaround as they will want to know as soon as it is ready.
2. Exclusive Discounts
Did you know that coupons from text messages are eight times as likely to be redeemed as coupons received through emails? Just like you would in an email, you could text discount codes to your customers which they can then use online. Or, if you don’t support orders online, you could simply ask them to physically show you that message on their phones next time they come into your store to make an order. These could be discounts that you’re offering all your customers but if you offer discounts exclusively to your SMS subscribers, it could persuade others to sign up too.
3. Last Minute Reminders/Offers
Another benefit from the immediacy of text messages is that you can remind customers about offers right up until the last minute. Emails can remind customers as late as the final day but if people only read their emails late at night then they might miss it. You could also put on flash sales, perhaps only lasting a day, and let all your SMS subscribers know about it.
4. Reviewing Orders
It’s always good practice to follow up on orders after they’ve been completed. You can make sure there have been no issues for the client and find out if there’s anything you could do better next time. Doing this via SMS means you’re much more likely to get a response. Simply send a series of simple questions which customers can respond to with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or give them a scale and ask them to text back with a number on that scale. For example, you could ask “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being very happy and 1 being very unhappy, were you satisfied with the speed of delivery on your order?” Remember that text messages have a 160 character limit so you have to keep your questions concise.
5. Customer Surveys
Just like when asking customers to review a recent order, you could send out general customer questionnaire every now and then to all your SMS subscribers. Not everybody has the time or wants to fill in online surveys but a series of texts with quick, one word replies is much easier for your customers to deal with. In fact, Cellit has found that “SMS produces engagement rates six to eight times higher than retailers normally achieve via email marketing when used for redemption, data collection and brand awareness.” So if you’re looking for some customer feedback, SMS is the way to go.
6. Promote New Products or Features
You don’t always need to have a promotion going on to get in contact with your customers, sometimes you just want to keep them updated with what’s going on at your store. URLs sent via text message have higher click-through rates than links sent through emails. If you’re offering a new product or want to highlight a campaign you’re running, you’re more likely to get through to people using SMS marketing than with email marketing.
7. Share Regular Tips or Facts
Previously, we’ve suggested starting a blog to provide valuable content for your customers and to drive more traffic to your website. But blogs take time to write which you might not have. Weekly tips sent via SMS could be a time-saving alternative that still allows you to add value to your customers. Share tips on how to arrange images for print, or design techniques, or marketing advice – anything that your customers would benefit from knowing!
If you’re still not convinced that SMS marketing will work, there are plenty of alternatives you can try. Subscribe to our Digital Marketing Guides to receive weekly lessons sent direct to your inbox.