SMS Texting is the most effective strategy to reach your customers directly

SMS texting

For a successful marketing strategy, you’ll have to choose the perfect mix of marketing channels that work best for your business and I am not sure if you’ve heard but SMS texting has been making waves.

Between different marketing platforms, SMS texting is a crucial one that not only effectively promotes your brand to customers but can also be used to promote other channels like email as well as interact with your employees.

Plus, it’s great for all kinds of businesses because it is affordable, it has a great Return on Investment and it’s extremely easy to manage.

This article is a complete guide for businesses that are unaware of the power of SMS texting as a digital marketing tool.

In other words, I’ll be telling you exactly how you can take advantage of it:

Getting started With SMS texting

To use SMS as a communication channel, the first step is to sign up with an SMS platform.
There are so many platforms out there which means you can easily find a platform that’s perfect for your business needs.

The idea is to check out the features as well as pricing to see if they match what you have in mind to conduct your SMS Campaign.

Most platforms will require you to create an account by entering basic details about your business:

Then, you’ll be asked to upload or manually add a list of contacts and lastly (unless there is a free trial) you can choose a pricing plan and enter your billing information to get started:

Each account/business is assigned a unique shortcode (5 digit number) or a long code (regular 11 digit number) which will appear on recipients screens when they receive a text.

With that, you’ll also receive one or multiple keywords depending upon your pricing plan which customers will send to you in order to subscribe to your campaign:

The above example uses a shortcode for their SMS Campaign.

Plus, offering incentives is always a great idea to get more customers to subscribe to your campaign.

As your subscriber list grows, the data of customers is saved in your SMS platform account and with the help of advanced features, you can personalise mass texts and track the performance of your campaign.

Uses of SMS Texting

The best part about SMS is that it has so many different uses that you can take advantage of.

However, despite its amazingly high open rates, SMS is one of the most underutilised channels with 61% of marketers still not making use of it – which means that you can use to get ahead of the competition.

Here’s how:

#1. Awareness and promotions

The most common use of SMS is sending out promotional offers to customers:

However, you need to take certain measures to ensure that it’s effective.

Always make sure that your text messages are short and to the point. None of your customers is going to take out the time to read long messages.

In fact, most of them will probably just read the message preview from their notification bar so you also need to phrase the first 2 lines of your text in a way that your customers want to know more.

Be creative and tap into their inner curiosity so that they’re motivated to read more and take action.

Secondly, it’s always a good idea to add hyperlinks.

Since a short text will only convey the gist of the message, you need to add a link for customers who want to avail the offer or know more.

Lastly, it’s extremely important to create a sense of urgency.

By adding an expiry date on your offer, you’re effectively prompting customers to take action as soon as possible (similar to the example above).

#2. Orders and updates

A lot of the times when you complete a purchase online, the website will ask you whether you want to receive updates via email or text.

I always pick the text option simply because it’s faster and more direct, which makes it easier for me to know when my parcel is arriving.

Plus, many times, courier companies will send you a code via SMS through which you can track your order by texting your order number to the designated shortcode or enter your order number online to track the parcel (this is usually for people like me who obsess over online orders and need to check on them every few minutes).

Normally, most businesses will update you every time there is a status change in your order, for example when it’s being prepared, sent to the courier, on its way and right to the end when it has been shipped:

As a business, if you constantly put in the effort of updating your clients at each step, they’ll feel more at ease and trust your brand which is extremely important considering the fact that customers often get scammed by fraudulent websites these days.

Plus, like in the example above, if the parcel has been shipped to the wrong address, your customers will know immediately.

Another thing you can do is take advantage of the opportunity.

Once you’ve notified your customers that the parcel has been shipped, ask them to rate it on a scale of 1-5 so that you can collect feedback to improve orders and shipments in the future:

#3. Reminders

Often when appointments are scheduled weeks or even months in advance, customers tend to forget.

There’s only a small percentage that would mark their calendars to ensure they remember.

So why not take on the responsibility of reminding them yourself instead of losing potential customers? At the end of the day, a higher customer turnout will ensure a higher number of sales.

Since 90% of texts are read within the first 3 minutes, you can take advantage of the immediacy of text and remind customers a day before so that they can make the necessary arrangements to meet you timely:

Notice how the client did forget about it which meant she wouldn’t have shown up without the reminder.

The best part is, one text costs a mere $0.2 dollars on average to send out (which is nothing compared to the return you’ll be receiving from your appointment).

Plus, most SMS platforms have software that can automatically send out reminder text messages if you feed them the relevant data.

Hence, the time, effort and cost to send out reminders are minimal which is why you should definitely incorporate it into your text messaging strategy.

Lastly, small businesses owners have the advantage of directly interacting with their customers due to a small customer base and a lower amount of orders.

With SMS, they can easily take orders and customise them to each customer’s individual needs; thus, instilling loyalty.

#4. Emergency alerts

On average, it only takes 1-3 seconds to send out a text. To top that off, most of your recipients read them within minutes – which makes SMS the best platform to communicate emergencies.

This is especially useful for larger enterprises that need to convey messages to a large number of people in a short amount of time.

One of the first things that business school teaches you is that larger businesses face the disadvantage of slower communication along the line of hierarchy.

Thanks to technology, that’s not the case anymore.

Suppose one of your warehouses got damaged due to a flood and you lost all your inventory.

Unfortunately, there was a large order due in the next few days so you need to take immediate action if you want to complete it. What do you do?

Send out a text message calling an emergency meeting of all important executives in half an hour.

You could also send out a text to all of your factory employees informing them of the situation and providing bonuses to those who work overtime to produce the required materials over the next few days.

The idea is, with a proper channel to communicate with your employees, you can ensure an efficient and smooth flow of operations.

Similarly, you can also communicate time-sensitive information to your customers as well, for example, an impromptu sale before a store shuts down or suspended operations while you shift store locations.

SMS emergency alerts are most widely used by government and other organisations to issue warnings to citizens about natural hazards or other safety concerns:

But as a business, you can take advantage of emergency text alerts to gain the trust of your customers and employees.

Banks and other security organisations make the most use of this feature of SMS as they can notify customers immediately at all hours via text if there has been a breach in their privacy or security of their accounts/belongings.

#5. Integration with other platforms

SMS is great for integration with other digital platforms.

Be it social media, websites, apps – you can basically integrate SMS with anything.

Suppose you just purchased a product through an app or website. They’ll confirm your order via text.

Similarly, wallet apps like PayPal and banks also use text to notify customers when a transaction has been made from their account so that customers can stay updated.

My personal favourite is QR codes. Hyperlinks in texts or MMS pictures of QR codes can be used to avail discounts, enter events and do so much more.

Plus, most retail brands have ditched traditional loyalty cards and shifted to SMS through which they add/deduct points via your phone number at each purchase.

This removes the hassle of carrying multiple cards in your wallet (which will no longer fit at one point) and creates ease for customers will shopping.

#6. Customer service

Did you know that 45% of people reply to texts from businesses and 56% of overall customers want to communicate with their favourite brands via text?

This officially makes text the preferred form of communication between businesses and customers.

Thus, you can ditch your call centre (which quite frankly is a nuisance to customers) and switch to 24-hour customer support.

SMS platforms like ExpressText that have mobile apps will allow your employees to interact with customers at any point during the day or night, no matter where they are.

Plus, you can integrate your SMS Campaign with chatbot platforms like Manychat for a smoother and faster automated communication process which reduces the reliance on employees.

The conversation above is an example of how automated chatbots can easily converse and solve customer issues without need for human interaction.

Without the need for an active internet connection, you can communicate with your customers within seconds to resolve their queries.

Conclusion

SMS texting has a lot of untapped potential that you can look into if you want to get ahead of competitors and increase your market share.

To make sure that your marketing strategy is effective, it is inevitable that you use other marketing channels as well, but the great thing about SMS is that you can promote these channels through it.

Incorporate the advanced features that your SMS platform offers and use the tactics that I’ve listed to ensure maximum Return on Investment.

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