For local, independent businesses, traditional forms of marketing can be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Moreover, it’s difficult to measure their performance. But with business text messaging, local businesses get an effective, easy and inexpensive channel to engage with their customers.
Maybe you’ve heard about business texts and have your questions. How does it help local businesses? Is business text messaging free? How can an independent business set up business text messaging?
If you’ve ever considered launching a text message marketing campaign, you’re at the right place. Here’s everything you wanted to know about business text messaging, starting with the most fundamental question.
Text message marketing is how a business can communicate to its customers through SMS. It can be used to announce offers, discounted sales, product or service launches, other business news and to receive feedback about any aspect of the business.
It’s different from personal texting as it’s between a business and a consumer for a commercial purpose. Through text message marketing, a business can send bulk messages to categories of consumers or personalised individual messages to customers.
Once people join a company’s SMS marketing list, businesses can segment them into various groups. This division could be according to location, categories of purchase, frequency of purchase, interests etc. Once a business develops this database, it can activate its text messaging.
On the one end, this will be triggered by actions of the business like new launches, offers or discounts. It can also be initiated with an action from the customer. For example, it could be a customer scheduling an appointment or buying a product or service, or showing intent to buy something.
Although business text messaging has sales and marketing objectives, the goal should be to build a relationship with the customer. For that, companies will have to gather as much data about the customer and their interactions with the business. Secondly, text messaging shouldn’t be initiated unless it’s relevant to the customer.
Although business text messaging has vastly improved, the last thing you want to do is bombard customers with unnecessary and irrelevant texts. That will force them to opt-out of your database, stop patronising your business and leave negative reviews online.
To begin with, you have to seek your customers’ approval for reaching them via text messages. This is a legal requirement in most countries and unsolicited messages can land businesses in legal trouble.
The next step is to segment the database into units based on their purchasing behaviour. Once that’s done, you can manage business texts at your end through software. This means that you’ll have to dedicate adequate resources to handle your business texts.
Or, you can reach out to a third-party service provider. With your database and marketing objectives, they’ll manage your SMS marketing based on the action points you provide. Either way, your primary goal should be to automate the procedure with little day-to-day interference on your part.
SMS marketing can only be fruitful if you abide by certain principles. Whether you manage it or outsource to a texting service provider, make sure that you keep in mind the following guidelines.
Be relevant: Only send messages when it’s relevant to the customer. This is why segmentation is of the utmost importance.
Be succinct: Keep your messages short and to the point. IF you’re thanking them for their business, don’t add bits about other categories or discounts.
Be friendly: Treat your customer not as a faceless entity but as a human being. Be warm, engaging and relatable.
Be judicious: Don’t overdo it. Just because they’ve given you permission to contact them via SMS doesn’t mean you have the right to send unnecessary texts and promotional offers.
Be curious: Learn from your SMS campaigns to know what works and what doesn’t.
Business text messaging can be effectively used to build brand awareness, increase the frequency of purchase and build online traction for your business. Setting one up and managing it isn’t too difficult either; all it takes is a bit of effort and imagination.
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