Nowadays nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. With experts predicting that the number of people who have a smartphone will increase to 2.08 billion in 2016, this is a market showing no signs of slowing down.
But imagine if you could reach people on their phone, sending your message straight to their pocket and into the palm of their hand. Now that’s a really powerful way to connect with your customer.
SMS marketing does just this. The affordable and easy to use system is very different to the complicated Facebook algorithms or the mystery of getting to the top of Google’s complex ratings. For a small business, text messaging allows you to test direct marketing without the huge costs involved in some social media or email campaigns.
But what are the dos and don’ts of SMS marketing? And how can you get the most from your business text messaging? We’ve put together some tips to help you get the best from your text message provider.
1. Ask Permission First
This is the first point, because it is the most important. Before you come up with any strategy or plan to send SMS messages to your would-be customers, make sure they’ve given you their permission. This can be in the form of an opt-out system whenever a client hands over their phone number to you. If you start marketing to people who have expressly said you can’t text them, not only is it a waste of time because you are trying to engage with someone who will already be annoyed, but you could end up in hot water with the regulatory authorities.
Gathering customers’ data doesn’t have to be difficult however. The best way to collect phone numbers is to add the option into online enquiry forms or ask for it over the phone during sales calls. Basically any incoming enquiry into your business should be used as an opportunity to gain data from your customers. Or simply place an advert at your point of sale for your customers to subscribe by texting in – using a keyword you can automatically add those customers for a specific list for future broadcasts.
2. Integrate SMS Into Your Overall Strategy
SMS marketing is not something that’s just a standalone channel. For the best results, your text messages should mirror your other campaign messages and goals. If you have a particular push or USP to get across, think about how this can be integrated into your business text messaging as well as traditional marketing channels such as PPC, print and outdoor advertising. Not only will a seamless multichannel campaign have a better, more professional feel than a scattergun approach, but it will ensure your specific USP gets in front of as many people as possible.
Use campaign specific URLs to track how many people are actively clicking through to your website or landing page from a text message. Are there more people at particular times? Use all this information to inform your strategy – don’t be afraid to be flexible and make changes as you need to.
3. Add Value For Your Customers
So you’re sending out a text message to your customers – but what will make them actually click through to your website or landing page? Why will they buy your product over the competition?
This is where your content comes in. Within the 160 characters (or 456 using our linked messages) allowed in a SMS message, you have to craft a compelling message, offer something and also link back to your website. What is it your customer wants? Well, evidence shows that offers, competitions and just plain old free stuff works really well when you’re trying to engage people. Who will mind getting a text message if when they open it is includes a coupon for 20% off? Think of how you can offer extras to your customers. Customers are more likely to opt in to marketing if they are given something in return.
Giveaways and offers through SMS marketing can also create an “exclusive” feeling for your customers. By sending them offers and competitions directly, you can create the feeling that they are valued further strengthening the relationship and building brand loyalty.
4. Monitor Your Campaign And How Your Audience Reacts
Measuring how well your marketing is going is the bread and butter of most campaigns. By using analytics programmes you can see how many people received your messages, how often they click on the links or use the promotional codes and how many of them opt out.
By monitoring your campaigns you can also avoid any mistakes or problems. Perhaps you send a test batch of 50 messages to a selection of customers at a particular time and see a very high opt out rate. This means you can review the content, the offer and even the time you sent the message to see what it was that didn’t chime with your clients.
While not necessarily glamorous – testing, measuring and tweaking your campaigns can make a real difference to your ROI so take the time to get it right.
5. Is Your Website Optimised For Mobile?
The number of people accessing websites on mobile devices worldwide overtook desktops or tablets for the first time in 2014. This means it is more important than ever to think about how your website looks on different types of devices.
When you send out your SMS marketing, attach a link to a specific landing page or your website so your customers can get to the right place. But, here’s the important bit, if that link leads you to a confusing, jumbled page which is not meant to work on a mobile device then you may just end up losing the customer – even after all your hard work! Think about diverting people to mobile optimised pages. After all, when they receive a text it will be on their phone and you know for certain, unlike with email, what device they will be viewing your website on.
6. Scheduling Is Your Friend
As hard as we all work, no one can be everywhere at once! This is where scheduling comes in very handy. You can create your messages and then set the date and time they are to be sent. This is particularly useful if you are marketing across different time zones as you can plan ahead and make sure you are getting to people at the right times.
Hopefully these tips are useful to you and will help you get started in the world of business text messaging. Done correctly, SMS marketing can be a lucrative and effective way to communicate with your customers, build brand loyalty and create repeat customers.
If you need any help or advice in setting up your campaign, we’re always here to help – just talk to one of our friendly advisors on Live Chat.