Six tips to small business success in SMS marketing

Matthew Winters explores how your small business can use SMS marketing to its advantage.

By 2020, SMS marketing will have reached 48.65million users who have opted-in to receive business communication

By 2020, SMS marketing will have reached 48.65million users who have opted-in to receive business communication

SMS message marketing has become an increasingly popular communication channel. If you haven’t tried this yet, it may be because you have the wrong idea about SMS marketing. When used properly, SMS marketing allows for extremely precise targeting, and can be an effective tool to reach an elusive but lucrative demographic: the younger generation. If in doubt, just take a look at the stats:

  • 90 per cent of mobile phones are SMS-capable
  • The open rate of text promotions/offers is a whopping 98 per cent
  • 8 per cent of all texts are read within three minutes of being received

Granted, just because a message is opened and read, it doesn’t mean that your consumer is going to convert. To achieve success you have to be very particular about where these messages are going and how often you’re sending them to potential customers. If executed correctly SMS marketing has the potential to grow your business.

Here are six top tips to bear in mind when setting out to create an SMS campaign:

1. Be clear and concise

When it comes to the content of your messages you want to ensure you are clear and to the point. Any message that is over 160 characters will be broken up by the phone company into multiple texts, which could cause a variety of problems including making the entire message undeliverable and incurring extra fees for the business owner.
Make sure you include a call to action (CTA) so readers know what is expected of them and what steps they need to take next. A phone number or URL are great examples of effective CTAs.
Avoid slang, but be creative; you’re not the only business using SMS marketing so you want to make sure your texts stand out.

2. It’s all about timing

You definitely don’t want to send messages too early or late in the day, but you do need to make sure that you are giving your customers enough time to act on your message. After all, no one wants to receive a coupon after they’ve already made a purchase; consider writing the message in advance then sending it later.
Also, be sure to think about the frequency of your messages. You don’t want to overload consumers with messages so they get annoyed and start to ignore, or worse, delete them upon receipt. Most businesses we work with only send one text per week, some even as little as one every two weeks, and still get quite a few bites.

3. Variety is key

Always make sure you’re updating your messages. Unlike other tactics where you can send the same message twice (social networks primarily), you should never send someone the same text message twice. Change things up to keep it interesting.

It’s also important to make sure what you’re offering through SMS marketing is different to all other promotions you’re conducting. Consumers will have no reason to opt in to SMS if they can get the same deal through email or social media. It must add value.

4. Reaching the correct audience

SMS would not be successful if you didn’t have anyone to receive your messages. But, you can only send text messages to those who have opted to receive them. The best thing you can do is give your customers the choice to receive your messages by asking them during a subscription process online or asking them to text a certain term to your company number.
Be sure that you tell them exactly what they can expect from your messages. In the end, asking permission will help ensure that your messages are going to people who are interested and not annoyed.

5. Allow subscribers to opt out

By law you have to let people know how they can stop receiving your messages and this will only become more important with the introduction of GDPR next year. In most cases you can just put directions in your message. Something like ‘text STOP to opt-out’ works great.

It’s also very important that you monitor and analyse all of your results so you make sure you’re sending the most relevant information to a relevant audience. Keep track of metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversions, number of subscribers as well as those who choose to opt out of the service.

6. Be mindful of your database

Mobile phone numbers get changed and deleted all the time so it’s important you check regularly to make sure you’re sending your messages to the right people. This happens more often than companies realise! If your database is running low on contacts, make sure you’re advertising SMS on any and all promotional materials, both online and in print.

Company newsletters or flyers should include your shortcodes. Send them out via email, print them on business cards, and don’t be afraid to mention them verbally to consumers in store for example.

If your business requires a practical, easily implemented solution for connecting directly with a highly receptive audience, you couldn’t do much better than sending an SMS!

Matthew Winters is CEO of Veoo.

Further reading on SMS marketing

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards 2017, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!

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