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Text Message Marketing For Businesses – What You Need To Keep Customers Coming Back

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With people turning to cellphones as their main method of communication, mobile marketing is becoming more relevant than ever.

A survey by Salesforce has shown that the number of marketers who use mobile channels to communicate with customers has grown from 53% in 2018 to 69% in 2020.

Even with this rapid growth, 43% of those surveyed are still planning to increase their use of mobile marketing tools.

This shows that mobile channels, such as text messages, push notifications, and applications, are being used more frequently.

SMS marketing could be the tool you need to outgrow your competitors.

A survey by 3Cinteractive in 2016 showed that 48% of customers prefer to receive loyalty-related information via SMS than through other channels.

According to ZDNet, 80% of consumers wish they get more texts from businesses.

We’re not even talking about results yet, but these numbers are enough reason to learn how business text messaging can help your marketing efforts.

What is text message marketing?

Text message marketing is a way for businesses to promote their products to consenting customers by sending personalized text messages (or SMS) with a clear value.

If you want repeat customers, business text messages should be a part of your mobile marketing strategy. A well-put text message can help you increase brand awareness, engage with your loyal customers, and even grow your sales.

It’s the perfect way to communicate with existing customers, especially if most of them are cellphone users (which over 67% of the world population are, according to BankMyCell).

There are two kinds of text messages a business normally sends out.

  • Promotional texts, such as offers, discounts, and sale reminders
  • Transactional texts, such as appointment reminders, order confirmations, and account activity reports.

Some businesses use text messages to gather customer feedback and open an SMS channel for customer support, as the response rate is higher compared to other channels.

Depending on your business, the campaigns you’re running and the results you get will vary.

How effective is text marketing for businesses?

To see the impact of text marketing for businesses, let’s compare its average results with its closest, more popular relative: email marketing.

Text message marketing and email marketing have a lot in common.

You can access both via mobile, they’re sent to customers who opted in, and both are used to inform users.

But how different are the results you get?

*source: Hubspot, Tatango, 99firms, Gartner, Campaign Monitor, Point of Sale

At a glance, you‘ll notice that SMS marketing is much more effective than email marketing.

So, does this mean business text messages are better than email?

Yes, and no.

Compared to email marketing, SMS marketing is an excellent way to hit your customers with bursts of urgent information.

However, email marketing is a reliable channel if you need to inform your customers using long-form content.

While the results of a text message marketing campaign are staggering, it’s still not enough to hold up your business as the only marketing campaign.

Text message marketing flourishes when you use it in tandem with other marketing channels, such as email marketing, referral marketing, or loyalty programs.

Why should you send a business text message?

As you can see, SMS marketing has a delightful success rate.

If you’re a marketer who has struggled with meager success rates before, pick your jaw off the floor, and let’s find out how these astronomically high numbers are possible.

1. It’s sent directly to your customer’s inbox.

Unlike emails, which have to battle spam filters and competing newsletters, business text messages are delivered straight to your customers’ notification panel.

It’s delivered instantly, with a push notification, and your customers don’t even need to download an app to get updates.

Using text messages to relay urgent information about your business makes perfect sense.

Your customer’s phone is something they stare at often. The chance of getting their attention is much higher than emails, which people rarely check unless they really have to.

2. It’s interactive

Your exchanges with your customer are interactive and quick. Thanks to the push notification, people notice your messages quickly, hence speeding up their response time.

As it’s designed to be a 2-way conversation, text messages are the perfect channel to engage with your customers. Each party only gets 160 characters to say what they want, leading to a quicker sale and problem resolution.

3. It’s easy to set up and manage

Unless you want your thumb to fall off, using a tool to send bulk text messages for your campaign is the natural course of action.

An automated text marketing platform helps you manage tasks for your campaigns, such as tracking your metrics, adding autoresponders, personalizing your texts, tracking compliance, and eventually sending your messages.

Leading off these menial tasks to software lets you focus on what’s more important — nurturing relationships with your customers.

4. You’re talking to people who already care

You need permission from your targets to send emails.

Since they opted into your messages, it’s safe to say that you’re talking to people who are already aware of your brand AND want to hear about opportunities to purchase more from your business.

Sending relevant offers to people ready to buy makes it easier to produce a positive ROI.

5. It boosts the results of other campaigns

If you’ve been operating for a while now, chances are you have other marketing channels.

Adding business text messages to your army of strategies can help you boost the effects of your efforts, particularly with retaining and delighting existing customers.

Text message marketing is arguably the most intimate form of communication you can have with your customers, and a quick reminder to check out other marketing channels can boost your results.

While it’s an excellent channel to connect with loyal customers, text marketing for businesses has its disadvantages.

For one, it’s limited to 160 characters. And then there’s a strict law you have to follow, the TCPA, which forbids you from sending unsolicited messages to protect consumers from spam.

Despite its limitations, text message marketing is still a great channel to add to your toolbox. It’s all the more reason to combine business text messaging with other channels.

How do you create a text messaging campaign for business?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to make sure your first campaign is on the right track.

1. Create a goal

A successful campaign needs a SMART goal.

Running a campaign without a clear goal makes it harder to measure your success rate. With a goal set, you get clarity about the requirements you need to fulfill, and it gets easier to identify your mistakes.

2. Pick a mass text message marketing tool

Using a text message marketing tool takes a lot off your plate.

Find a provider that can help you not only with sending out bulk text messages but also with managing your SMS marketing campaign.

By automating your whole text marketing process, you can focus on optimizing your text marketing campaign to delight your customers and improve customer retention.

3. Check local guidelines

Rules regarding text marketing for small businesses vary for each country. Check to see that you’re not violating any rules determined by local authorities and what consequences you’ll face if you violate any.

If your targets live in the US, pay attention to the FCC’s guidelines, particularly the TCPA.

Here’s the gist for you: Always have written permission from your contacts before you send any promotional text.

However, transactional texts, such as order confirmations, appointment reminders, and schedule updates, are excluded from this rule.

This is a crucial step, as you’ll face a hefty fine later on if you violate the rules. Violating the TCPA can lead to a fine for up to $1500 for each message you send.

4. Gather contacts using opt-ins

The TCPA isn’t the only reason you need to ask for permission from your contact.

It’s a professional courtesy. It also boosts your ROI and helps you with your approach when you craft your messages.

Running an effective campaign becomes easier when you know that your targets are interested in your products and you have the data to help you create a relevant offer.

Use an opt-in campaign to gather consenting customers quickly.

You can gather contacts using a QR code, asking them to text a keyword to a number, or if you’re using online transactions, adding an opt-in at your checkout pages.

Here’s what you need to include in an opt-in text:

  • an explicit text stating your customer’s consent
  • an exit route for customers who don’t want to stay in your contact list
  • any terms or charges they need to know when they sign up to your list

If you’re interested in boosting your opt-in rate, you can also provide gifts for customers who signed up to your contact list, like a special coupon or exclusive content.

5. Segment your contacts

Personalization drives better results for many businesses.

By segmenting your contacts, you’re making sure that you’re targeting a specific target with offers you’re sure they would love. Personalization gets more results than blasting out a generic text message that resonates with only 1% of your target audience.

Having data like loyalty programs, past purchase history, and their interests also helps you design a much more effective campaign.

By only sending text messages relevant to your target customer, you’re saving resources and making your customers anticipate future messages.

6. Plan your texts

Planning the who, when, and what of your business text messaging campaign is a big part of it. Let’s break them down.

Who’s your target?

This is where the personalization you did earlier comes to play. It’s easier to plan a campaign when you know exactly who your targets are. The more data you have, the easier it is to pick a relevant offer.

What do you want to say?

What you say in a text matters more than you think, especially as you only have 160 characters to attract your customer’s attention.

When do you want to run the campaign?

Scheduling timely offers can help you drive up your sales quickly. For example, if you own a restaurant, blasting out a pre-lunch text message for a coupon can drive up your sales during lunchtime.

Other timely offers you can target include special events, such as holidays, birthdays, or even changes in seasons.

7. Track your metrics

Tracking your metrics is essential if you want to improve future campaigns.

By gathering more data, you get a deeper understanding of your customer’s preferences, which helps you design future texts so it produces better results.

What do you need to know before starting your first SMS marketing campaign?

Before sending your first text, here are some rules you need to follow to craft an irresistible message.

Rule 1: Personalize your texts

Personalizing doesn’t only help you come up with relevant text ideas, it also works great to catch your customer’s attention.

Greeting your customer using their names is a great tactic and can increase engagement up to 20%.

To save you from awkward mistakes, make sure your customer’s information is accurate and updated. It seems trivial, but sending out texts with the wrong detail will hurt your company’s image.

Rule 2: Identify yourself

SMS is an intimate channel.

Often, businesses forget that their customers also get a lot of messages during the day. They can’t keep track of every unknown number coming their way!

Identifying your business in your message proves your credibility and will get your messages opened much faster.

Use something your customers can recognize. If they know you by name, then use your name. If they know you by the name of your company, use your company’s name.

Rule 3: Percent, not dollars

This is a technique you should use when sending out discounts and coupons.

Hooking customers in with a clear value increases the chance of your coupons being redeemed.

Customers are thrifty. They love discounts, and they need to know how much they’re saving.

Make it easier to recognize the value of your deal by using percentages instead of prices. Not everyone knows your prices by heart, and even if they do, they still have to do some mental math.

Tip: When sending out offers, ones with 40% discounts or more are far more likely to excite your customers. Texts with less than a 40% discount get much less response.

Use offers like this to nudge passive clients and fill up your cashbox when business is slow.

Rule 4: Create urgency

Another tried and tested trick. It’s a technique you often see with deals.

Words like ‘limited,’ ‘today only,’ and (on follow-up texts) ‘ending soon’ are ones that get your customers so anxious.

The kind where they feel the need to buy from your business before missing the chance to save.

Limiting the number of purchases also works well with creating urgency, as it lights up people’s competitive spirit, and you get your sale faster.

How do businesses use Text messages?

Text messages are great if you want to interact with your customers and improve engagement. They’re also excellent if you need to blast short bursts of urgent information.

However, you can also use text messages as a channel to:

1. Attract past customers

Nudge past customers to win them back via text.

Any customers that haven’t been around for a while?

Shoot a quick text signaling you noticed their absence and offer an incentive to make a purchase.

It’s a highly effective win-back campaign you can use to regain past customers and grow the loyalty of your existing customers.

2. Build your reputation by asking for feedback

Feedback and social proof are necessary if you want to grow your business.

Shooting a quick customer satisfaction survey through text after an interaction with your customer yields a 22% response rate, double the response rate of surveys sent through email, as reported by Delighted.

Great responses?

Awesome, ask them to post a review!

Bad ones?

Still awesome, now you know what you need to improve in your business.

To boost your chance of success, offer something in return, like an exclusive coupon or discount.

3. Ask for referrals

There’s a reason referral marketing is the oldest technique in the book. Even today, word of mouth is still the most effective way to get new customers.

There are a couple of changes, however. Rather than waiting to get recommendations, you can get them yourself by asking for referrals from your loyal customers.

Offer a referral program to satisfied customers and create an army of brand advocates to help you get more buyers.

It’s a win-win-win.

You get more sales, your loyal customers get rewards, and more people can benefit from your products!

Great products and services + recommendations from people who love your brand?

Your marketing army is going to grow exponentially.

4. Promote coupons or services

Texting your customers about events, discounts, or coupons can boost your sales, keep your customers happy, and improve customer retention.

Offers and discounts delivered to your customer’s phone alert them of any opportunity to save money on their next trip to your store.

Exclusive coupons, on the other hand, are a great way to show your appreciation to loyal customers. They are usually marked with a unique code your customers can exchange when they visit.

Tip: combining text message marketing with your loyalty program to deliver the best deals to your best customers also helps you reward your customers appropriately.

How can Referrizer help?

Text message marketing is a simple and cost-effective way to boost your sales and connect with loyal customers. It’s a growing trend among businesses, and it’s only getting started.

Implementing the suggestions written in this article will help you launch your first successful SMS marketing campaign.

As we’ve said, text marketing campaigns are best combined with other campaigns, like email marketing, loyalty programs, and referral programs.

Integrating a text marketing campaign into your existing campaign is as important as planning the campaign itself, as a full set marketing strategy helps you get better results.

Referrizer combines local marketing tools into one platform to help you automate all your marketing efforts.

Referrizer helps you integrate your marketing campaigns so you can get the best results possible from your efforts. We also help you partner up with local businesses so you can grow your economy together.

Want to power up your business using the local community? Sign up for free to find out how we can help.

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