Don't sidestep text messaging in your campaigns
If you're a small business owner in Canada, by now you've probably heard of the importance of text message marketing, or SMS marketing.
SMS stands for 'short message service' and is a marketing strategy where you text your customers in order to bring in more business. There are many different ways to implement this strategy, to gain subscribers and to keep your customers coming back for more.
According to Big Fish Media, roughly 74 percent of Canadians have a mobile phone and 90 percent of those ages 18-34 use their phone for text messaging. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Macy's, Reece's, Starbucks and Coors Light all use some form of text message marketing in their campaigns.
Integration with Email Marketing
Canadian companies might also integrate email marketing in with their strategy.
While emails can be effective, most wind up deleted. Texting, however, has a 100 percent open rate. On most mobile phones, text messages must be opened in order to be deleted. If your message is short, easy-to-read and to the point, the reader will see get your message even if they end up deleting it.
The article "The Absolute Importance of the Useful Text Message" discusses the importance of engaging with customers through texting.
While some businesses might be hesitant to get on board in fear of their messages being viewed as spam, there are proper ways to go about SMS marketing that give your business credibility and help your business gain customers, rather than scare them away.
Tips on SMS Marketing
Among the things to remember with SMS marketing:
- Keep your messages brief - People are most likely not going to read a lengthy text discussing every item you have in your store. Instead, keep the message brief and strictly get the point across. Macy's sends a text out to customers when they have their "One Day Only" sale alerting customers of the discount and when the sale is taking place. The text is always brief and to the point.
- Offer your customers something - Sending a text to your customers with just your company name and the products you sell is a good way to get your message viewed as spam. Instead, offer your customers something - such as a discount or a free item. Most businesses run sales over holiday weekends. Text your customers a few days before the sales start to alert them of any deals or discounts.
- Text at the right time - If you run a restaurant, for example, and are particularly slow right after lunch, you could text customers offering a discount between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Also, never text in the early morning hours or late evening hours, as most people would view that as a disturbance to their day regardless of the discount you offered.
- Don't text too often -The industry you are in will affect how often you can text your customers. If you run a car dealership, for example, texting any more than once or twice a year might be viewed as a nuisance to customers since most people do not purchase cars every year. Department stores, restaurants and other shops that people frequent often are validating in texting customers once a week or perhaps even more. You'll have to test out a few strategies to see what works best for your business.
Ways to get people to opt-in to your text messaging services include offering a discount on the spot for signing up, sending out email and mail advertisements discussing your services or getting people to join through your social media pages.
Whether you've been in business for a while or you're a brand new start-up company, incorporate text messaging into your marketing plan.
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on a variety of topics including social media, small businesses and personal finance.