It would not be farfetched to say that marketing can literally make or break a business. It is one of the most important factors and a key to the continued survival of your brand image. Marketing is how you attract your specific target audience and depending on you how well you do it, it can change everything.
But starting out, most small to medium-sized businesses won’t have a very large marketing budget, unlike the bigger organizations out there that can kick start massive campaigns with relative ease. And what they need, what you need, is to go with the smarter option even though it might not seem as lucrative as the others in the beginning.
Text message marketing has only recently become popular with several successful case studies that have made rounds in the relevant circles. It is especially pertinent today because of its simplicity, extremely cheap prices and ease of set-up which are usually things you wouldn’t associate with a marketing campaign as it is a lengthy and complicated process that costs tens of thousands of dollars.
What Does Your Business Need?
The first and perhaps the most important thing any business should figure out is what they hope to achieve. Who they want to target, why and how all come later.
For example, if you operate an online store that specializes in selling customizable home furniture, you must define the parameters of success for yourself before continuing any further. Would you consider selling a few pieces every day a success or opening your third storefront? Set milestones for your business to put everything into perspective and then look at marketing strategies accordingly.
For all up and coming businesses, there are a few basic things that they must do, and the first one is to create an online presence.
In recent years Social media has grown to be one of the largest platforms for new businesses to market themselves. It is generally free unless you want to expand and create ads for your business.
The first step is to create an online account on any or even all of the social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. The account’s name should, of course, be the same as your business. There you can post videos, pictures, witty comments and gather a following. Studies have shown that people are more inclined to buy from a business if they are following it on the social media.
Facebook is perhaps the most popular platform for new businesses as it allows them to create pages for its store, menus, help hold and manage events, and most importantly Facebook’s algorithm can target your exact audience, the ones that are looking for the same product or service you are offering instead of just randomly bringing in unrelated views that have no interest in anything you have to say.
And its different packages are tailor-made for businesses with smaller budgets. These packages can start for as low as $5-10 and go up according to the number of clicks the user wants.
These social media platforms are also a great way to communicate directly with your customers and interact with them by uploading interesting content on a regular basis. It helps capture and retain customer interest which is never a bad thing. As long as you keep posting, the business page will continue to show up on the page member’s newsfeed. Studies have shown that simply being ‘visible’ can lead to a significant increase in sales rather than forceful promotions. Many people appreciate this passive nature of business pages and many even chose to boycott businesses entirely if they are seen to be too aggressive.
Facebook now also offers businesses the ability to create pages where customers can leave reviews and feedback for everyone to see. These are a great way to gain free publicity as long as you are confident in your offerings. Word of mouth from such reviews always brings more traffic, sometimes even more so than the actual ads.
Your online presence will not be complete without an official website. Many people within the ages of 18 to 34 believe that a business does not officially exist without a website as it is what gives your business and brand its image and creates awareness for it.
The more bells and whistles your website has, the more impressed the visitors will be. It is relatively cheap to create one which is technologically advanced enough to portray your own image be it of sophistication, elegance or one that of enlightenment for advanced technology.
A good website should always provide some basic information that is pertinent to any potential customers. A brief introduction of your businesses and what it hopes to achieve in the future should be on the main page with a list of your products and services followed by any new offers or upcoming events. It should, of course, be user-friendly with simple and easy to understand design that is accessible from all mobile devices.
When you look at other marketing methods whether that is Social media, placement ads and billboards, or even email marketing, they all have some sort of requirement and limitation. For social media and email marketing it is the access of the internet at all times and getting past the many filters that are put in place to stop random ads from popping up. For billboards, ads and other placements be it on the TV or older mediums such as newspapers, they will only target a very small audience in very specific circumstances and situations.
For example, you can’t physically make someone look at the ad running on the TV or in the newspaper and most people will simply gloss over them if they don’t have a choice. These methods have a very real limitation that is extremely inefficient. But for Text-Based Marketing that does not exist.
Almost every person carries at least one cell phone with them. They look at them more often than their loved ones which although sad, is a fact nonetheless. Most texts are opened within 90 seconds of being received and with a read rate of 98%, none of these other marketing methods even come close when talking about pure exposure.
There are as many ways of using SMS marketing as one can think off. And probably the most creative example is Pizza Hut. Several years ago they started an SMS Geofencing campaign across the UK. Basically, whenever a customer entered a radius of half a mile of any one of the 340 Pizza Hut locations, they would receive an SMS promotion on their respective mobile devices informing them of the latest deals, sales and other new offerings.
This campaign ran for 15 months and in that time it was 142 percent more effective in increasing sales than the other more traditional channels. To be specific, it was 440 percent more efficient than TV ad placements and 260 percent more effective than online ads. These are undeniably outstanding numbers that could change the way you look at marketing as a whole.
Some other popular use cases for SMS marketing include:
Holding contests through text messages is not a new idea but one that is proven to be fruitful in its mission. You can often see radio stations holding contests where they ask a questions and listeners send in their answers from which a winner is chosen. The same concept can be used for businesses where they can send out promotional messages and the winner would receive a subscription to your service or a product.
You could even offer free samples of your product and services for a limited time to bring in new clientele and raise your brand awareness. Either way, you are able to get free publicity without even really trying and by the end will hopefully manage to gather a stronger following of potential customers that want to be included in any such future events.
Text marketing is extremely versatile in the sense that it can be used along with all other marketing strategies. It’s not an either-or situation and SMS marketing is cost-effective enough to not warrant an in-depth analysis before jumping in. You don’t need to sign a contract or deal with any legalese whenever signing up with a leader of the industry like Express Text. The entire process is streamlined to the extreme to make it as simple and painless as possible.
Once signed up, the contents of the messages can be adjusted at a moments notice. You can even share links of your other website, Facebook pages, Instagram profiles and other social media accounts within the text message without any restrictions from the service provider. This is not only allowed but also advised.
Unless you are doing something completely new and unique, whatever product or service you have is also probably being offered by a hundred other people. Which is why you need to do anything and everything you can to set yourself apart from the competition.
By adding visual elements to the SMS messages with emotes, emoji’s and even gifs which are very trendy right now, you can create your own identity in a saturated market and hopefully further supplement your brand image.
By using hard data filled with interesting facts about your business, numbers and percentages, by using statistics list of important and viable information that would raise interest in your product or service even if not your business directly, it can be extremely beneficial in the long-term especially under the right circumstances.
For example several fast food establishments like to share the number of calories and proteins that are in their daily food products as well as which ones are the most popular during certain days. With so many health conscious people on the rise, it is certain to bring in more traffic even if only to satisfy their own curiosity. Many of these would stay and perhaps even become lifelong customers.
That is just one way to catch and hold the interest of your audience by using numbers, all the while benefiting your business.
By now you must have heard about Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. SEO is a marketing technique which uses certain keywords and phrases in their own content. People search for these keywords and terms quite often and depending on how well you have implemented them in your own websites, blogs and social media pages, they would show up in Google results as well.
SEO is a huge field which takes a lot of experience and knowledge to pull off correctly, but is also one that is worth the trouble.
Unfortunately, there is no one-time marketing strategy that is able to push a business to the top of the ladder and keep it there.
At the end of the day, the end goal for every business is to make a profit, and for that continuous marketing efforts are necessary. They need to have a high return on investment and yet should not require the continued inflow of capital at every turn. They should cast a wide net and use commonplace modes of communication so as to reach as much of the population as possible.
For that, any of the above-mentioned marketing strategies will be successful but none more so than SMS marketing. A plethora of features such as Text Blasts, 2-way messaging, in-depth Contact management, Schedule messages and Web widgets just to name a few put text messages a step ahead of the more mainstream marketing methods such as Social Medi. It has an extremely high return rate with cheap basic packages and is practically custom made for those businesses that are just starting out and haven’t yet carved out their own identity.
For those that have already established themselves, Text-based marketing offers them even newer avenues to reach previously untouched market niches and further expand on their own idea of uniqueness.