SMS Marketing Guide For A Small Business
According to Statista, the number of smartphone users in Canada in 2021 is 31.88 million and is forecasted to reach 33 million in 2024. Meaning, if you want to reach a lot of people quickly to advertise your small business, the versatility of SMS marketing has good odds to work for you.
With these numbers in mind, check out this guide to SMS marketing below to help you get started using this growing avenue of text message marketing.
What is SMS?
SMS stands for short message service, also known as text messaging. It is a marketing technique that uses texting to inform consumers about anything the small business wants them to know.
This form of communication can be sent to a large number of people who willingly gave you their phone number. It could be a one-on-one conversation between customers and staff members or SMS messages triggered by the customer’s action. For example, if a customer made a purchase, they could get a text message with the shipping confirmation.
SMS marketing is desirable for almost any business because of its vast field of opportunities with quick and easy contact to consumers.
How Does SMS Marketing Work?
There are two main types of SMS marketing techniques a small business can use- campaign and transactional. Below is a breakdown of each to help you decide which one will best suit your small business objectives.
In an SMS campaign, sales and promotions are among the most common messages that companies send. These campaigns are a powerful strategy to get information out to your target since a majority of the population has a phone they are regularly checking throughout the day.
SMS messages and campaigns receive a 45% response rate from customers! This comes as no surprise because text messages create a feeling of time sensitivity. In other words, SMS campaigns inform people about a limited time to take action, and if anyone wants to take advantage of the offer, they act quickly. There’s no other marketing channel that creates such a strong feeling of urgency.
95% of texts are read within three min, whereas emails or regular mail could potentially never be opened. Something about seeing a ‘1’ next to the envelope icon on our phones makes us need to open it and see what’s inside; because of this, you can actually use text messages to point to other aspects of your campaign.
For example, sending a text message to remind people to check the Facebook page or check out the new YouTube video can be just as powerful. In addition, implementing SMS marketing in your campaign can help you boost the visibility of other mediums, including your small business site as a whole.
A transactional SMS is a text message sent to a consumer to help them along their customer journey. When customers have questions, they want answers right away. So, if your small business can provide solutions fast, this is a great way to build customer relationships. Nothing is more disgruntling to a consumer than needing help with an issue or needing more information and feeling like they need to wait forever for a response.
Transactional text messages provide customers with helpful information relating to your small business quickly.
How To Use SMS Marketing
Here are two lists of specific ways to use transactional and campaign SMS marketing for small businesses.
- Send exclusive deals
- Promote seasonal or holiday offers
- Send personalized offers
- Encourage people to follow you on social media and point to your social media marketing tactics (such as the various influencers you may have given discount codes too)
- Let people know about new products or collections
- Remind customers to check their email or to look out for other campaign mediums
- Help get access to accounts with one-time passwords
- Order confirmation
- Booking cancellation
- Schedule appointments
- Answer customer questions
- Shipping confirmation
- Payment notifications
Benefits of Text Message Marketing
If your customers are texting, then so should you! Text message marketing gives small businesses the perfect opportunity to connect with their customers on the devices they carry with them all day, every day. Here are some of the benefits of text marketing.
People’s phones are the very first thing they reach for when they wake up and usually the last thing they see before bed. So when a customer agrees to share their phone number with you, it’s an invitation to their inner circle. You now have an immediate connection with them and can have a one-to-one conversation.
It’s easy to track
With most SMS platforms, you can quickly measure the performance of each SMS campaign. Since text marketing is permission-based, you’re off to an excellent start. You know exactly who you are messaging and, because of that, you can capture highly specific data about your customers, including demographics, interests, purchase history, and more!
It can be precisely targeted
By reaching out to specific people who you know fit your geographic, demographic, or psychographic profile, you aren’t wasting your marketing efforts on people outside those metrics. In addition, you know everyone you’re targeting is already interested in your small business since they opted to give you their number.
It outperforms other channels
Since SMS marketing gains consumer attention immediately, it outperforms Facebook ads, email marketing, and push notifications. SMS marketing leads to higher engagement dates and enviable return on investment (ROI). Although SMS marketing outperforms other channels, it works even better when used in conjunction with email marketing, push notifications, and other channels as an integrated part of your digital and mobile marketing strategy.
Best Practices For SMS Marketing
Before setting up your SMS marketing strategy, be sure to check Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). It’s essential to be aware of these text marketing laws so you can avoid misusing SMS text as a marketing tool.
Here are some additional best practices for test messaging and SMS marketing:
- Timing is key. Consumers respond better when you are consistent with how often you send text messages. If they are too infrequent, they will start to forget about you, and the messages will appear random – making your consumer feel like they can’t remember why they signed up with you in the first place. Devise a timing strategy to optimize a response from your consumer
- Don’t text too often. Of course, keeping the first point in mind, you still don’t want to be texting your customer all the time. Anything over twice a month can start feeling like spam.
- Add an element of exclusivity. When devising your strategy, you want to think of ways to make your contacts feel excited to get a text message from you. Putting in an exclusive offer is a great way to do that.
- Make sure you’re responsive. By sending a text message, you are offering two-way communication. If you can text them, they should be able to text you back. If you become unresponsive, your contacts might start feeling undervalued. Of course, you can’t be sending text messages to everyone 24/7, but you can give your customers an availability schedule with the times of the week where you will be able to respond.
- Make it personal. SMS marketing is unique because it has the ease of a mass marketing campaign with the advantage of providing the feel of one-on-one communication. Successful text marketing campaigns capitalize on this. They utilize custom fields and segments to send more thoughtful and relevant texts to their valued subscribers.
- You need to have consent. You legally need someone’s permission stating they agree to this form and contact and your business sending them promotional and marketing messages.
- If you have disclaimers, add them. Your SMS messages should include any information covering limited deals and what is or is not acceptable to qualify.
- Provide contacts with a clear way to opt-out. It may feel counterproductive to give your contacts a way to opt-out, but this option does more good than harm. If contacts feel stuck with receiving unwanted messages, this will give your small business a bad reputation.
- Consider your length and language. Make sure your messages don’t feel like small essays. Instead, you want to make the text easy to read. So, you’ll want to ensure you’re catering the language to connect with your specific target profile, all while keeping it short and sweet.
Best SMS Tools
SMS marketing platforms have tools that will improve your SMS marketing strategy. Here are two examples of platforms with a wide range of features that can help small businesses of all kinds with their text messaging outreach.
- Sync MessageDesk with QuickBooks Online to automate invoice collection, facilitate payments, and send reminders to customers.
- Subscription and recurring billing, progress billing, automatic payments, payment plans, late fees, coupons, interactive customer portals, pass-through processing fees and many other features are all available to you with this application.
- Capture payments and auto start billing at contract with integrated eSign. See results/forecasts with MRR, AR & user reporting. Leverage data with email tracking & AI health scoring.
Armatic Technologies Inc.
- Armatic Technologies Inc’s robust rules engine dynamically assigns and deliver Email, SMS, Letters, Staff Notifications and Call Reminders. The use of these features can help reduce payment time by 40-60%.
- Armatic has a similar lineup of features as Message Desk with use recurring and progress billing, automatic payments, coupons, interactive customer portals, pass-through processing fees and many more.
- This service helps small businesses to capture payments and auto start billing at contract with integrated eSign. See results/forecasts with MRR, AR & user reporting. Leverage data with email tracking & AI health scoring.
Sync your chosen SMS tool with QuickBooks Online to get the most out of your SMS marketing. Business owners can save and send out text templates and payment reminders that will automatically sync with your business’s books. Start your free trial today to see how this quality software can benefit your business.
This article was originally posted on the Intuit QuickBooks blog here.