How SMS Can Help Your Local Business Optimise Your Local Campaign

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A wise man once said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” And that’s one of the great advantages of SMS: it’s completely trackable so you know exactly how your campaigns are engaging your opted in customers and clients.

And if you’re a small business, operating in a specific geographical location, then that local knowledge can be invaluable in targeting your campaigns to a local audience. If you’re a bespoke local kitchen fitting company – let’s call it Bespoke Kitchens – who wants to differentiate themselves from the bigger, generic, DIY stores then a well thought out, dynamic and targeted local advertising campaign should be one of the big guns in your arsenal.

And your best ammunition should be a fully integrated SMS campaign that contains your call to action and can be used with a wide range of printed materials that are ideal for targeting a local area.

Call to Action : Bringing print and SMS together

A local advertising campaign can be as large or small scale as your budget allows, ranging from flyers, promotional products and direct mail to online ads and billboards. The critical thing is that you include a clear call to action with a shortcode and keyword for users to reply to – for example:

Spring sale now on! Text SPRING to 87007 to opt in for 60% off your dream Bespoke Kitchen

But why SMS and not an email address or telephone number? Shortcodes and keywords are memorable and can deliver an instant reward in the form of information, a discount code or a voucher. SMS has high open rates, a great RoI and an over 30% conversion rate. In fact using SMS can even improve email open rates by 20% when you text and ask ‘have you read our email?’ It’s a direct, trusted and easy to use technology and your call to action will catch potential clients when they’re out and about with their smartphones within easy reach, already in the purchasing mindset.

Integrating your shortcode and keyword with printed local advertising will also help to build your SMS marketing list, and you can automate a message with terms and conditions and how to opt out when your potential customers reply to your initial advert. Compliance with Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) rules is essential but fairly straightforward, but it pays to get it right first time.

Think Local, Get Personal

Increasingly consumers are making the choice to shop locally, use local services and give something back to their community. As a local business with a bespoke service to offer, you want to demonstrate your commitment to providing an exceptional service for local people.

You can achieve a sense of connectivity and engagement with your customers and community in several ways. First, you can support local charities, and employ local craftsmen. Be proactive with your customers – text and offer them a workshop tour to see their kitchen being built, for example, and always use personalisation in your messages. For example, send updates on the status of a kitchen order including the name of the fitter who will be working on their installation:

This is Bespoke Kitchens. Your kitchen will be ready in 2 weeks

Hi Kate, John your Bespoke Kitchens fitter says your kitchen will be ready to install in 2 weeks

Personalisation is simple and free but it can make a difference to engagement and conversion when customers feel you are genuinely interested in them. Your client’s inbox is a very personal space and they’ve opted in to grant you access. Taking the time to use their name and craft a personal message shows courtesy and respect and differentiates you as a caring company.

Get Your Timing Right

SMS marketing campaigns stand and fall on the relevance, added value and timeliness of your interactions with your customers. You may want to establish from the start that you will not send more than X number of texts in any month – two to four is generally acknowledged to be an acceptable rate of frequency, and the ability to automate your texts can be extremely useful in keeping on top of your campaigns.

Frequency and relevance are very closely related. Your customers will be delighted to receive your communications if they find them valuable and useful, otherwise your communications will be treated as spam and your clients will opt out. Value doesn’t always come in the form of a voucher or code, but can also reside in relevant content and in tips and tricks, for example information on keeping your new Bespoke Kitchen looking beautiful or the best oil to use for a worktop.

If your business covers more than one area, you may want to segment your list according to demographics so the messages you send are of direct local value to that particular group. Finally, make your messages timely, and never text outside acceptable business hours. If you want to let a customer know that their kitchen will be ready for delivery on a certain date, let them know during daylight hours, not at 3am. The rule of thumb is if it would be disruptive to you, it’s disruptive for your clients.

The 5 Golden Rules of Keeping it Local

  1. Research the rules first and make sure you get an opt-in from your potential customers. Remember that once you have opt-in you’re not sending spam, but valuable messages your customers want to receive.
  2. Integrate your SMS call to action with your printed publicity materials and distribute them to local shops and businesses so they reach as wide a potential local audience as possible.
  3. Demonstrate your commitment to providing an exceptional service for local people through your actions – be polite and be personal in your SMS interactions and respect the nature of the inbox.
  4. Think carefully about your messages – are they relevant to your customers? Do they add value not just with codes or discounts but with tips and tricks and useful information? Do your messages reinforce why your customer was right to choose local?
  5. Provide your customers with the kind of bespoke support they could only get from choosing a local company.

Interested in seeing what SMS can bring to your own local campaign? Then contact us at FastSMS and we’ll walk you through your killer local SMS marketing campaign.

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