How SMEs can use SMS in their Business Marketing

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As a small to medium-sized enterprise, you will always be looking for ways of expanding your marketing outreach and public relations efforts without too much additional cost to your company. Chances are your budget is tight and you are limited in the extent in which you can advertise too. That’s where SMS marketing comes in, offering a cost-effective and accessible solution that you can easily integrate into your everyday output.

Connection

One of the key benefits of using SMS messaging is that it creates a personal and intimate connection with customers. As a local or independent company, in particular, having this kind of connection with customers is of huge importance. You will want to build relationships with them beyond just creating sales. This is how brand loyalty develops and can be really critical in ensuring their repeat custom.

Open Rates

Alongside this is the success rate that SMS has in terms of open rates. Approximately 98% of all SMS messages sent are opened – this is in comparison with e-mail, of which only 20% get looked at. An open rate is crucial to the success of your messaging campaign; without it, the whole process will not be worthwhile. It makes perfect sense to follow through with SMS messaging when you can guarantee that such a large number of your audience will read your message – particularly as it ensures you will get a worthwhile return on investment.

Speed

It’s not just the longer time that people take to open e-mails that makes SMS highly valuable by comparison but also their response rate as well. On average, it will take an individual up to 90 minutes in order to reply to an e-mail. When it comes to text messages, however, it will take them just 90 seconds. This again improves how quickly and easily you will be able to build a relationship with your customers. Life is busy and, chances are, if they wait over an hour and a half to respond, they’re going to forget about what was said. With a text message, their feedback is instantaneous and you’ll be able to develop a quick rapport.

Engagement

SMS marketing is an engaging way of communicating, particularly due to the fact it is very short, concise and to the point. By their very nature, text messages cannot be waffling and verbose. When you speak directly with customers, you are giving them the most relevant and necessary information direct to their fingertips. You’re not trying to inspire them in the same way as with many advertisements which can be quite vague and open to interpretation or leave them to make up their own mind on your product or service. Instead, you are handing them key information directly. It allows you to create a quick and positive two-way road of communication between you and your client base.

Cost-Effective

SMS messaging is a particularly cost-effective strategy of communication and this can ensure you are able to produce high returns on marginal spends. When your budget is tight and you have limited funds, if anything, to spend on marketing, it is crucial that you can get the most out of your investments.

Targeted

What also helps in how successful SMS messaging can be for your SME business is the fact that you are able to target your marketing in a very specific way. As it is permission-based and works on an opt-in principle, you will have had to take your customers’ information directly from them in order to have them on your list. This means that you will have been able to get additional details about them at the point of collecting this information and can put their phone numbers into sectors or lists that are based on their demographics – for example, age, gender, location, job, and so forth.

This is a very useful marketing tactic and allows you to ensure that you are sending the most relevant information to your customers. This will guarantee you have the best return on investment and will also mean you can tailor your message specifically. For example, if they are in the age group that would make them pensioners, you could send out exclusive ‘over-60s offers’ or target your daytime offers towards them at a time when you know that they will be more active than your clients who work during the day.

Relationships

The fact that you will have secured the information from your clients directly also means you will have been able to start a direct and engaged relationship with them before you start your SMS marketing campaign. This gives you a direct advantage as it means you have already allowed them to see the ‘human’ side to your company and have got something to work from when communicating with your customers. It means you can start your messages with sentences that they can relate to – for example, ‘it was great to chat with you in our shop last week’ or ‘we hope you are still loving your haircut that our senior stylist provided to you’ – remember, personalisation is about more than simply using an individual’s name. Adding this extra layer of detail helps to cement that personal connection and makes them more likely to respond positively to your communications. As a small to medium-sized business, customer loyalty really is critical.

Less is More

Despite having this great connection with your customers, it can be easy to get carried away – especially if you see them often or feel as though you know them really well. It is important to remember that you are still operating as a business and being professional is crucial – both in the language you’re using (don’t veer into anything too informal) and in the frequency of your messages. Digital Marketing Magazine found that 83% of people are happy receiving two messages per month, but nothing more than this. Only 2% of people were happy to receive more than five messages a month. If you send anything too frequently, you run the risk of alienating or annoying your customers. In this case, less really is more – even if it is a cost-effective and highly efficient way of marketing your business. There is a fine line and one that needs treading carefully.

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