Capitalism has taken over and its all about business, business, business! This generation has become highly career oriented which has led to a number of new industries popping up. And with that, the competition in each industry also rises. Another important thing is that some industries are so customer specific that they require a massive amount of research to find and target these customers as well as direct communication to better assess their needs. But wouldn’t that be too expensive? Fortunately for you, it’s not and that’s all because of SMS services!
Why choose a text message service for business?
The question is, what makes SMS the right fit for your business? The thing about SMS is, whether you have a small or big business, it’s effective either way. Small businesses can use it to directly interact with their customers through an intimate platform (that too at a very affordable price) whereas bigger businesses can use it to break through the clutter and reach an entire mass market through a platform where they can interact with each individual personally. It works for every industry and with the right tweaking to your business, you’ll be sure to generate a high amount of return.
Read: Business Marketing
How to get started
If you’re totally alien to the concept of text message services, there are platforms like ExpressText to help you get started. The process is really quite simple. Make an account on an online SMS platform, upload or add contacts to your account, type in a text message and hit send! ExpressText is the best option for you if you don’t know your way around text messaging services yet. It is very easy to use and offers help videos at each step. Moreover, it offers a variety of enhanced features that help improve the effectiveness of the text message service. Last but not least, it provides easy billing with no contracts so you can quit any time you want to. Oh, and ExpressText has an SMS application so you can easily access your account through your phone or desktop!
What is an SMS Campaign?
An SMS Campaign is nothing like a political campaign. It’s far from it. An SMS Campaign has two main components: a keyword and either a shortcode or a long code. A long code is a 10 digit number. It’s the regular phone number that you and I have been issued. A shortcode, on the other hand, is a 5-6 digit number that companies are issued by SMS platforms through which they contact their customers. Whether they use a shortcode or a long code, the process of SMS campaigns is the same. Customers are required to text in the keyword (a word or phrase such as SUB) to the number in order to subscribe to the SMS campaign. They can then receive promotional text messages. Also, if you own or manage a business, make sure not to skip this step as a text message service is permission based. Without the consent of customers to contact them, you open yourself to a lawsuit so make sure you follow this step and sign up with a professional SMS platform.
What does text message service cost?
The cost of text message services is fairly low, and that’s perhaps the biggest advantage you can get out of it. Texting is rated as one of the most effective marketing platforms and at the same time, one of the cheapest. You could send out 100,00 text messages for only $1500 via ExpressText! That means one text costs pennies on the dollar. Other SMS platforms like EZ Texting and SlickText also offer similar SMS rates but ExpressText is known for its highly economical payment plans.
Text Message Services for business include:
Promotions and Updates
The most commonly used form of text message service is marketing. SMS has high open rates and a good return on investment. It is also cheap and fast, so even freelancers and entrepreneurs can afford to market their business via text. It’s simply available to everyone! Examples of promotional texts can be ‘Visit our stores for the BIGGEST sale of the year and grab your favourite pieces before they run out’. This is the perfect example of a text that is likely to attract customers towards the brand for 2 reasons. Firstly, the sale sounds tempting and drives curiosity within a customer (even if the marketer is exaggerating). Secondly, even though no time limit is given for the sale, it creates a sense of urgency by telling customers that if they do not visit soon all the good items will run out. Thus, to be effective, a text message needs to phrased correctly i.e. it calls for action.
The balance between demand and supply has changed drastically over the years. Before, customers accepted whatever was offered to them by businesses. Now, there are so many options for customers to choose from that buying power and customer influence has significantly increased. This means every business has to put in the extra effort of keeping customers satisfied. One way to do this is via SMS customer support. ExpressText is one of the many platforms that provides 2-way communication so that customers and employees can easily interact. Customer support can be used for feedback, complaints and general information. In fact, unlike other platforms, ExpressText’s application allows businesses ease of use as customer representatives can interact with employees with their phones at all times. Faster responses indicate higher efficiency and better customer management as problems and queries are solved almost instantly. Unlike online customer support, SMS is faster because it does not depend on a stable internet connection from both parties.
The bad news is, keeping your customers happy doesn’t end after the purchase has been made. Customer support, product tracking and after sales services contribute majorly to customer retention. Fortunately, text message services make tracking easier as well. Customers can now simply text their Product ID or code to a given shortcode/long code which replies with the current status of their order. Tracking helps put a customer’s mind at ease and also ensures a smoother process as the product is received at the time of delivery. It also reduces the chances of customers getting scammed or liable to fraud as is the case with many online businesses. Thus, if you enable a tracking option for your online business, customers are more likely to trust your brand.
Why limit text message services to just marketing? ExpressText allows group communication via text and businesses can take advantage of this by allowing their employees to converse in groups. This can either be formal i.e. for work purposes or informal. Formal communication can be within departments between supervisors and subordinates or cross-department communication e.g. for a specific project. Informal communication can include events arranged by the business, co-ordinating working hours or even talking about what a co-worker ate that day! Allowing employees a platform that offers informal communication paid by the company can act as a fringe benefit of the job as well.
Safety and Security
The speed of text message services is why they come in handy for security purposes. When logging into apps that require high security, such as Find my iPhone and bank apps, two-step verification may be required. This verification is faster via SMS as opposed to email because unlike email, SMS does not require logging in or an internet connection. Thus, most individuals opt for SMS verification so that they can instantly access the application. It is also more secure as a mobile phone device is personal and a SIM card is restricted to one user only. Email addresses, on the other hand, can be accessed through multiple platforms simultaneously and can easily be hacked. Thus, SMS is the smarter, safer and faster option.
Your customers are gonna love this one! Isn’t it fun to enter an online contest for a chance to win free products from your favourite brands? Even if you don’t enter into the contests, who doesn’t want the free stuff? Contests are also a good way to boost a business’s marketing channels. In order to win free products or services, customers are usually asked to like social media pages and share them with their friends so as to gain further likes. Similarly, this can be used to get more users to subscribe to the company’s SMS campaign. Customers can be sent a text e.g. ‘To win FREE gift hampers, subscribe to our SMS campaign by following the instructions below and get 5 of your friends to subscribe to our campaign as well.’ This is a very effective way to boost SMS as a marketing channel. By providing a good incentive to customers, you are likely to yield positive results from the contests. Not only that, but you ensure that customer engagement with your business is high.
A lot of established non-profit organisations have resorted to text message service as a channel of communication to collect donations. If customers trust a well-known organisation, all they need is an easy method of payment. Wallet apps and QR codes can be integrated with SMS to make easy payments. Short links connect these two apps so that customers who wish to donate can directly make a payment. Less established NGOs can also use SMS as a platform to interact with individuals and convince them to make a donation. It’s convenient and customers are more willing to listen as opposed to long phone calls.
What better form of communication than SMS for emergencies? It delivers messages instantly and is very effective for the mass market. Suppose there is a fire on the 58th floor of a building. With so many levels, not everybody will have an idea of what is going on as they are too far below or above the crisis. However, an efficient method of communication such as SMS can be used to alert everybody at a moment’s notice so that they can evacuate immediately. You can’t call such a large number of people simultaneously and if you email them, more than half of them are likely to read it when it’s too late! Sending them a text message ensures that even if they are busy in meetings, a quick glance at their phones will make sure they get the message. They may not have been able to pick up a phone call during the meeting, thus rendering it ineffective.
All in all, text message service for businesses is an essential communication method for all purposes – be it marketing, employee communication or any other. It is what the customers want, and its what the businesses want. Did you know that people check their phones 85 times a day on average? This further proves that there’s no channel better than SMS to communicate through. Its the only communication channel that has so far reached the mass market and yet provides intimacy. It is also the only channel that reaches the masses effectively at a very low cost. Thus, text message service is an essential tool for your business.