This is a form of direct marketing which involves a medium through which text messages are transferred from an online platform to users’ mobile phones. These messages are sent in bulk in order to improve efficiency and speed up the process. Businesses in the retail industry use this method to introduce and market their brand and products to consumers. SMS platforms such as ExpressText are affordable and convenient for businesses looking to send out promotional texts. The process of setting up and maintaining an SMS campaign is simple, yet very effective for long-term profitability. Here are a few text marketing tips for all kinds of businesses:
It seems simple but sending a text at the right time can make all the difference. It is best to send out promotional texts within or around working hours i.e. 9 am – 8 pm. Any text sent later than this can seem unprofessional, especially if the nature of the business is formal. However, there can be some exceptions for businesses that are open and providing services 24/7 such as restaurants. They can send text messages even at midnight which would initiate a positive response because who doesn’t crave fast food while working late at night? However, with most businesses, late night or early morning texts are considered disturbing and unappreciated by consumers, thus hampering the reputation of the brand.
As are hours important, so is the day. A text too early or too late can be rendered useless. Suppose your business has a launch event for a new franchise; you send out invites via text a month before the event. A likely outcome is that most consumers will forget about the event and miss it, thus reducing turnout. Similarly, if you send out invites just a day before the event it does not give potential attendees enough time to prepare for it or save the date. By that time they may have other plans or they may not be able to make necessary arrangements to attend. The question arises, what is the right time to send out a promotional text? This depends entirely on the nature of the business and the context of a situation. The average time to send out a text before a big sale, for example, is a minimum of 3 days up to 1 week. Similarly, for the birthday of a consumer, businesses can send out happy birthday texts within 24 hours of that very day. However, in situations which are more formal such as invitations to events, companies like to send out invitations as early as possible so that consumers can pay online to purchase tickets or RSVP to the event. A good text marketing tip for this is that in order to make sure consumers do not forget about the event, an event reminder text can be sent out a day before the event. Businesses can also use a feature allowing consumers to ‘save the date’ in their calendars. Most smartphones and high-end phone calenders show a reminder notification before any event. This way, the turnout of the event can be much bigger and better.
Types of texts
There are many different types of texts that businesses can send out to promote their brand. When the business is newly launched, it can send out texts to create brand awareness. A short text describing the nature of the business and contact details with perhaps a hyperlink (for consumers who want to know details) is a good way to go. When business is slow, companies can send out texts informing people of flash sales or discounts on both services and tangible products e.g. ‘Get 50% off on gym membership if you sign up today! This offer expires on Sunday’. To retain loyal customers, companies can send out texts with special offers just for them, or remain involved in their lives e.g. wishing them a Happy Birthday. When customers fill out forms, they usually write their personal details such as birth date, age, gender etc. This information is stored in a database and technology enables businesses to send out automated texts such as on birthdays. This makes customers feel like they are important to the business which in return leads to further purchases on their behalf. Moreover, technology also allows texts to be customised. While it takes only one click to send out a message to a large number of users, each text can be still be customised to every recipient’s name. This creates more intimacy and personalisation between the company and potential consumers, thus both attracting and retaining customers. Text messages can even be used to promote other methods of marketing e.g. email. Since statistics show that 73% of millenials open texts within 90 seconds of receiving them, it is proved to the most effective method of marketing. What better way to promote other channels than through SMS? Last but not least, the most common use for SMS campaigns is to send out frequent updates and offers to people who subscribe to them i.e. interested and regular customers. This helps them stay up to date on the location, contact details, menu, pricing and other details of the business. This sums up the most common uses amongst many SMS marketing.
How to make offers more appealing
The following text marketing tips are especially for those businesses who want to gain an edge over their competitors. The job of marketers is not as simple as sending out offers. They need to portray them in such a way that consumers are willing and able to avail them e.g. there is a big sale at a brand and they send out a text advertising that the offers last a whole month. The turnout may be high but it will probably not be maximised. The sole reason behind that is that it is not a limited time offer. Limited time offers are a very effective business tactic because it makes customers feel like they need to avail the offer as soon as possible because it is about to end. Even if they do not ‘need’ the product, they will still purchase it because they believe that they are saving money. For example, if McDonald’s offers a buy 1 get 1 free deal till midnight, people who may have been eating at home will decide to eat out. Similarly, short and to the point, texts are more effective because especially the millennial generation is not willing to spend time and effort on reading long paragraphs. Most people have short attention spans which means they will read only a few lines. Thus, promotional texts should have limited characters with only relevant information. Hyperlinks can be added for those consumers that are interested in details, without the text being monotonous for the rest of the consumers.
Perhaps the best part of contemporary marketing methods is that they can target smaller, more direct segments instead of the mass market. Technology and information systems collect data about each individual customer based on their likes, the links that they click on, their interests, hobbies etc. Since this information is available on the internet, it is easy to collect and store. Companies can use this to create smaller segments and then target those that are most relevant to the product or service that they are offering. This means reduced costs as well as a higher Return on Investment (ROI) since the business is targeting customers that are likely to be interested in the brand. However, smaller businesses usually do not have the resources to invest in such kind of technology. Still, they can segment their users based on age, gender, location, and other demographics. A company selling makeup or beauty products can target women, whereas a fast food chain can target teenagers up to 35-year-olds who are likely to enjoy eating fast food. Some businesses can even target different age segments, for example, a bookstore that sells a variety of books for youngsters, millennials, the working class and the elderly. Relevant text messages can be sent to each age group.