We’re all competing so hard to break through the marketing clutter that we as marketers have formed around consumers, but what a lot of us don’t realize is the potential of highly underutilized marketing channels like texting for business.
In this article, I’ll be talking about what texting can do for your business as a promotional tool.
With a 98% open rate, texting for business has worked wonders for small business owners.
Here’s how you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy for notable results:
#1. Always ask for permission
This is the rule of thumb in texting for business.
Without the receiver’s consent, a business cannot send promotional text messages.
Yes, this involves the extra effort of getting customers to subscribe to your SMS campaign, but it makes texting a much less intrusive medium than other channels.
Your customers already see a lot of unwanted commercials – ads within videos on Facebook and YouTube, promotional phone calls about products and services they don’t really need and unwanted flyers stuck to their windshield.
However, with texting, only consumers who really want to stay updated with your brand will subscribe.
That is precisely the reason behind the 3000% Return on Investment of texting for business.
Yes, you read that right. That’s three thousand. It’s higher than any other digital marketing platform out there – which is exactly why you should take advantage of it.
#2. Sign up with the right SMS platform
The process of signing up with an SMS platform is pretty easy.
Most platforms require basic details about your business, a list of your contacts and your credit card details so that you can select and proceed with a payment option.
But how do you know which platform is right for you?
First, you need to determine a number of things – whether you prefer MMS or SMS, desktop or phone, features for your campaign, pricing options etc.
If you prefer MMS messaging, it determines everything for you, but I’ll be discussing that later on in the article.
Depending upon the size and culture of your business, you can determine whether handling your account is more convenient through desktops or personal smartphones.
For example, a big multinational company will employ a whole department and provide them with desktop PCs so that they can handle SMS campaigns and interact with customers via text during office hours.
It’ll even have enough resources to employ labour round the clock if it provides 24-hour customer support via SMS.
However, a smaller business, especially a startup, is most likely to have fewer resources and labour so it would be easier to access and manage its SMS platform account via phones.
This brings about the added benefit of allowing the business owner or manager to directly deal with customers via text.
Not a lot of platforms have their own SMS app, but you can check out ExpressText as it offers its own in-built app for convenience.
Moving on to pricing options; there’s a lot of competition out there in terms of SMS platforms so you’ll notice that many of the pricing options cost the same.
However, that’s the trick.
Find out the number of texts that each option allows you to send.
They may be priced the same, but you’ll benefit from the one with the higher amount of texts!
Lastly, you need to list down the features that you require for your SMS campaign.
Usually, it’s best to go with the platform that offers maximum features, but make sure it offers the ones that you essentially require for your campaign.
For example, there are a number of platforms don’t allow the double opt-in feature.
This feature requires subscribers to confirm via two channels e.g. text and email so that only the most interested customers opt-in.
If your company requires specific features such as this, make sure you check out the platform in detail to see whether it fulfils your requirements or not.
#3. Incorporate MMS into your campaign
Incorporating MMS is all about how much you can afford.
If you have the resources to invest in it, I’d say go for it.
MMS is very important in today’s marketing world because interactive platforms are crucial to break through the marketing clutter.
With live videos and voice interaction predicted to be the biggest marketing trends of 2020, you can take SMS up a notch with MMS.
Here’s how your texts will look like:
Did you read the text or look at the picture first? The latter, I’m sure.
It’s just how the human brain is made to function.
We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
Plus, you can pack so much into a visual; thus, effectively making your text message short and to the point.
However, there are two things you need to keep in mind when sending out MMS.
First, it takes longer to send out MMS. The average time is about 1 minute since your video or photo file will take longer to process.
However, this shouldn’t affect your campaign too much – it’s just that you’ll see responses a bit slower.
Secondly, MMS will cost you slightly more than SMS, but the difference really depends on each SMS provider.
Overall, MMS can be a great addition to your strategy and I have statistics to back me up on that:
Check out Twilio’s website for MMS. It’s also great if you need software for other trending marketing platforms.
#4. Advertise your campaign effectively
Since the hardest part about SMS Campaigns is convincing customers to opt-in, that’s where you need to put in the most effort.
Offer them an incentive to join your campaign. Trust me, that works like magic.
You’ve probably seen websites offering discounts or gift vouchers for visitors who download their app:
The same rule applies here.
Don’t limit yourself to promoting your campaign through SMS and email.
Utilise the power of the internet, including social media and websites, but don’t leave out the traditional methods of marketing.
I myself realised that while going through my Insta feed the other day and this popped up:
Raange is this great advertising platform based in Montreal, Canada.
But look at what they’ve done in this picture.
The poster provided customers with a $10 discount if they subscribe to the text messaging campaign, and that got the business 14 million subscribers on their email and mobile lists!
So what better place to advertise than the store where they’ll be buying the companies products?
I’d definitely subscribe to the campaign to avail the offer. But that’s the thing.
Your consumers will only opt-in to reap the benefits. After that, many of them will consider opting out, so you need to get creative to make sure they stay.
Always send short texts with relevant messages and exciting offers that will make your customers want to receive promotional messages from you.
Luckily, 54% of consumers want businesses to interact them via text so you definitely need to incorporate texting into your marketing strategy.
In fact, SMS is one of the only platforms that reach a mass audience, and yet, can be customised to each recipient.
A lot of SMS providers have software that automatically customises each text to the recipient’s name.
All you have to do is upload your customers’ information onto your account and the platform will do the rest. Here’s what your text will look like:
You’ll notice how personal the text message feels when it’s addressed to the recipient.
It gives the impression that the brand values each and every customer, even if the text messages are being sent out through automated software.
Many businesses schedule reminder text messages to be sent out a day before appointments to ensure maximum turnout and improve efficiency in case customers want to shift timings.
It sounds complex but it’s actually pretty simple.
All you have to do is type in a standard message and schedule it to be sent out on a specific time and date.
In fact, advanced software will even schedule texts itself as long as it has complete information about the date of the appointment.
#5. Create a sense of urgency
There are two crucial things that you need to keep in mind when conducting an SMS campaign – timing and phrasing it right.
If you get these right you can ensure maximum ROI.
The advantage that SMS has over other marketing platforms is that the message reaches customers faster.
Without the need for an internet connection, text messages deliver instantly.
And since the average person checks their phone about EIGHTY times a day (I can’t be wrong, the New York Post conducted a study), 98% of your entire audience will read it!
I already said that, but I possibly cannot emphasise this enough.
Here are the results of a study showing how quickly users opened and read texts:
So the idea is, you can take advantage of the immediacy of text and send out promotional offers at the last minute.
Currently, more than half of US consumers shop online, so if you send out a text at 10 PM about a sale that starts at midnight, your customers will most likely pick up their phones the minute the sale goes live and pick out their favourite items.
On the contrary, even if you send out a text a day before the sale, some of your customers may have already forgotten about it.
This works especially well with millennials since this generation is more comfortable with online shopping.
If your target audience consists of consumers aged above 40 (or what marketers call Generation X) it’s probably best to host sales in-store and send out texts at least 12 hours before the sale begins.
Apart from that, you need to create urgency by phrasing your texts right.
Include an end date for your sale, highlight the words ‘Limited time offer’ or use any such tactic to motivate your customers to avail the offer before it ends.
This is much more effective than simply stating that a sale has begun. With an end date in mind, customers will be sure to check out your products/services till the sale lasts.
Conclusion on texting for business
Texting for business is a highly profitable marketing tool, especially for small businesses that cannot afford to spend huge amounts of money on traditional advertising methods.
Yet, even the largest of companies use it, including multinationals.
The primary reason behind that is because of how effective it is. It provides benefits that no other marketing channel does, which is why it stands out from the rest.
Plus, as a consumer, I feel that texts are preferred over other mediums because they’re so short and straightforward.
Even if you don’t incorporate MMS, most consumers will take out the time to go through the 2-3 lines of a text message.
If you need to include additional details, you can always include hyperlinks to direct consumers to the webpage where they can purchase a product, find out more information, RSVP for an event or avail a discount.
There’s so much you can do with texting for business, which is why if you haven’t already incorporated into your strategy, don’t waste time and do it now!