SMS is an acronym for Short Messaging Service. A short message is also known as text message. According to Wikipedia, SMS was the most widely used data application at the end of 2010, with an estimated 3.5 billion active users, or about 80% of all mobile subscribers. SMS is one of the easiest ways to talk to friends, but it more helpful to business owners, because they can use it to communicate with their customers. The process of using SMS to communicate with people in order to increase sales and clientele can be known as text message marketing or SMS marketing. Employing SMS text messaging services for business is one of the best marketing tools. By taking advantage of the most popular form of person-to-person 2-way communication with long codes, these texting programs can attract new customers to your business, develop brand loyalty, and increase sales with higher retention levels, better service and Return on Investment (ROI).
The benefits of SMS for business
There are many benefits when a business decides to use SMS to market their products and services. The benefits of SMS for business makes it a great choice for any kind of business looking to reach out to more of its customers and to also attract new customers. Some of the benefits are discussed below.
High open rates
One of the biggest benefits of SMS marketing for business is the fact that texts are opened up to 98% of the time when received by your customers. According to a recent study, 98% of the text messages sent are opened and read within 3 minutes of being sent to the recipient. This gives SMS an open rate higher than all other marketing options. It is easy for marketing methods like email to get lost in a spam folder and it is simple for a customer to throw away a flier they pick up at the mall. But with the prevalence of mobile devices and the popularity of texting, text marketing doesn’t go ignored. More often than not, your customers will open that text and read its contents. If you want to find a way to reach your customers more consistently, give SMS marketing a try.
It does not cost much at all to send a text to a customer. Even when sending to a lot of people at the same time, the cost is not a problem. It is generally much more affordable when you compare it to other marketing options, such as buying an Ad spot on any social media platform. This makes SMS marketing a great choice for all businesses. Especially for businesses that are just starting out and are looking for a way to start marketing their products and services without spending too much money in one go.
Being able to present your business as mobile-friendly is incredibly important these days. More and more people are using their mobile devices to do things like shopping and browsing. You don’t want to lose out on that kind of exposure. SMS marketing is a big part of making your business mobile-friendly and can be a strong asset to your mobile marketing strategy.
Easily accessible by everyone
Because so many people have cell phones and other mobile devices these days, your customer demographic can widen through the benefits of SMS marketing. Instead of focusing on just one marketing strategy that might only reach one section of your demographic, SMS reaches everyone. As long as they have a mobile device that can receive texts, they get to enjoy the messages you are sending to them. Plus, with more exposure to your customers, the more you become a part of their world. With that kind of hold comes more purchases of your product or services. Constant communication with your customers is an easy way of maintaining a strong customer relationship.
Compatible with other marketing methods
SMS marketing does not have to be the only marketing method a business can employ. Businesses can use it alongside all other methods of marketing like email marketing, social media marketing etc. It can be a quick and easy way for customers to connect to your message. Businesses can send the link to their social media pages through SMS. It can be used to get more customers interested in your social media. Businesses can also offer discounts to anyone wanting to buy through their online website.
There is virtually no wait time when it comes to sending and receiving text messages. Once you press the send button, you can be certain that your customers will receive your message straight away, and you don’t have to worry about the strength of their internet connection. Because internet connection is not needed for receiving text messages. The benefits of SMS marketing really shine here because this method of marketing requires little prep time. There are no materials to gather or printings to wait for. There are no designs to complete or people to contact. The only thing you need to do is come up with your message and send it away to your customers. And, because we already know that texts are far more likely opened than emails, you can be certain your customers will see your important news as quickly as possible.
Strengthens Customer Engagement
SMS does not just give you the option to engage with your customers more. It can also give your customers a way to engage with you. It lets them feel that your business is more accessible, and when customers feel this way it makes them want to come back again. It makes your business become a part of their lives instead of being just “that one stores I go to sometimes”. Instead, you are there with them on their mobile phone, prompting them to remember you.
Option to Opt-In
It is always a good idea to give your customers an option. It is great to send out your mass text messages, giving your customers the latest news on your business ventures. Let your customers decide if they’d like to opt-in and it will let them feel more comfortable with your business as a whole. Plus, seeing how many customers opt-in to those updates can give you information that you can then use for later marketing strategies.
Customers Can Also Opt-Out
Giving customers the option to decline these messages, however, is perhaps even more important. If you keep sending out your texts, wanting to get an uninterested customer engaged, you could end up losing that customer altogether. It’s better to give them that option to opt-out of these mobile messages instead of driving them away. They may opt-out, but there are other marketing strategies that you can use for those types of customers instead. Also, it is in line with the regulations of TCPA. Businesses that refuse to give subscribers the option to opt out can actually face legal consequences
Flexible and Customizable
When it comes to the benefits of SMS marketing, one of the best is the fact that it is so versatile. You can mix and match text messages to fit with different things to help promote your business. You can announce a sale, give a temporary discount, reward loyal customers, promote a new product, share news, and more, all from SMS. It’s a great tool to have for any business, both big and small.
How Businesses send SMS
There is an easier and effective way for businesses to send texts to their customers, rather than sending texts to each customer individually, businesses can send promotional texts to their customer lists simultaneously using a bulk messaging platform like ExpressText. Access to the bulk messaging platform is supplied by the bulk messaging service provider, along with the keywords and short code numbers used to attract and communicate with the customers. The platform is a web-based application that can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device. Once logged into the platform, businesses upload the group(s) of customers to whom they want to send the promotional texts to, write the message and either send the message immediately or schedule the message to be sent at a time or date when it will attract maximum attention. The whole process requires no design or technical skills and takes just a few minutes to complete. However, service providers like Express Text have a customer support in case any user needs help while using the application. After each message has been sent, the platform reports on delivery rates and open rates and provides analytics such as spikes in engagement so that businesses can fine-tune future SMS campaigns. The platform also receives all replies to SMS marketing messages. The first stage of marketing by SMS is to attract many subscribers, and have them opt-in to the company’s marketing campaign. This is necessary because SMS marketing is a permission-based activity. Businesses are not allowed to send unsolicited messages to customers. The simplest way to attract customers is to promote a special offer that customers can only benefit from by texting a keyword. For instance, a restaurant might offer a discount by displaying this message on the tables for guests to see: “Text ‘FOOD’ to 29022 to get $10 off your next order.” In that example, ‘FOOD’ is the Keyword and 2902 is the short code. Once customers have opted in and given their permission to be sent marketing texts, businesses can promote their goods and services by SMS, invite customers to join SMS-exclusive loyalty clubs, or seek their opinions via polls and surveys. These interactions enable businesses to create relationships with customers, develop brand loyalty and increase sales.
In conclusion, for any business, marketing is the key determinant of its success. SMS for business is necessary in order to attract clients and customers, since it is a unique and creative method. Whenever a business is starting off, it needs to think about its marketing strategy beforehand. Initially, businesses tend to have lower budgets for marketing, therefore, they look for the cheapest and effective marketing technique. SMS is a very flexible medium.