Not long ago, receiving marketing messages on your mobile device would be considered obnoxious if not invasive. Nowadays, many businesses are using text messaging, or SMS marketing, to reach customers in real-time. Is SMS marketing right for your small business? Learn more about SMS marketing and see if it’s a tactic you should add to your overall marketing strategy.

What is SMS marketing?

target audienceSMS marketing means short message service marketing. This marketing technique uses text messages to communicate offers, updates, and reminders to customers. The most common uses for this kind of marketing are reminders for upcoming appointments or last-minute deals you may have signed up for, but there are actually numerous uses for SMS marketing which we’ll explore in more detail. Text messaging is a digital marketing strategy that helps build brand awareness on a more personal level directly to your target audience. Consumers must opt into your messaging before you begin sending texts to them.

Is SMS marketing effective?

When done correctly, SMS marketing can be highly effective. Consider these facts presented by KENECT:

  • Text messages boast a 98% read rate, with 95% being read in the first 3 minutes.
  • 75% of customers are ok with receiving SMS messages from brands.
  • 89% of consumers would prefer to interact with businesses via text messaging rather than a phone call.

Here are a few other statistics about text messaging:

  • The click-through rate for offer messages by SMS is higher by 9.18% compared to any other digital channel.
  • 60% of customers read texts within 5 minutes of receiving them.
  • 67 million Americans redeem coupons via their mobile phones.

As you can see, there’s a lot of potential!

How can small businesses use SMS marketing?

text messaging mobile friendlyAs we mentioned earlier, the most common type of SMS marketing people receive is reminders. While getting reminded about a doctor’s appointment is helpful, small businesses can take advantage of reminding customers via text of upcoming sales or sales that are ending soon, reminders that a coupon is about to expire, or a reminder about an upcoming event to attend. Whether you sell a product or service, reminders are a great way to dip your toe into SMS marketing. Here are a few other ways that small business owners can use text messaging:

  • Promotions
  • Coupons
  • Online review requests
  • Provide tips and advice
  • Ask for them to follow your social media channels
  • Encourage them to sign up for your email list
  • New product launch announcements

Here are a few more clever ways to use SMS marketing for your business.

How do you get started with SMS marketing?

marketing ideasFirst, it’s important to reiterate that consumers must opt into your messaging before you begin sending texts to them. Adding people to a distribution list without their permission is invasive and can get you in a lot of trouble, so don’t do it! Here are the laws regarding text marketing you should be aware of. That being said, the first step to getting ready for this kind of marketing is to gather client info with their consent to receive text messages from you. The best way to collect SMS consent and phone numbers from your subscribers is through an on-site form, like a popup or a sidebar form on your website. You can request email addresses, phone numbers, communication preferences, and other information from your customers easily while honoring their preferences. Make sure they have a clear way to unsubscribe if they change their mind in the future. Next, plan out the kind of texts you want to send. What are you promoting? Do you need to target a certain group (personalization is always better)? Will you be sending more than one text? Plan all of this out ahead of time, so when you get to the point of actually setting up SMS texting services, you’re ready. A small business marketing consultant can help you with this. Prepare your text and creatives just like you might if you were setting up an email drip series. Finally, choose an SMS marketing company to help you set up and manage the service. Here’s a list of the best SMS marketing companies out there.

If you’re ready to try a new marketing tactic, SMS marketing might be just the ticket! With a little planning and understanding of the rules of the road, text messaging can help you generate new business, grow existing business, and stay engaged with your target audience overall.

Patty Hughes
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