Katy ratican headshot b w april 2021
Written by
Katy Ratican
17 May 2021
6 minutes
How and why text message marketing for small businesses got much better
Text message marketing is an invaluable asset to a small business if it’s done right. Here's why it's still a good marketing strategy and how to make it work for your business
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You don’t need to read an article to be told that digital marketing is where it’s at for small business and enterprise-level companies alike. All you have to do is look around you to see that your customers are constantly connected to their mobiles, from when they wake up until they go to sleep.

However, you may not know that open rates for text messages today are as high as 82.1%. That’s over three times the open rate for email, which hovers at around 24%. Read on to find out why SMS is more effective than most other forms of business marketing and how you should be taking advantage.

SMS isn't seeing the same advertising burnout as social media

The exceptional circumstances of a global pandemic mean that people have spent more time on their devices and screens than ever before. With so many businesses losing custom and being forced to close, they’re understandably ramping up their efforts in the digital space.

Unfortunately though, this naturally leads to customers drawing up the shutters and desperately defending their attention against the never-ending barrage of advertising.

Yet, in the age of information overload, your customers will still engage with SMS — more so than with any other medium. They may let emails sit for days before reading them and will ignore calls without a second thought, but they will most likely read your text messages immediately after you send them.

Why? Because they know it’s going to be a short, direct message with a clear purpose. While customers might be turning their back on social media adverts or painfully long email campaigns, SMS hasn’t suffered advertising burnout in the same way.

It's easier than ever before to get permission to text customers

SMS is undoubtedly an underrated medium for reaching your customers and clients. The only catch is that you have to ask permission first, though this is true for many types of marketing.

One way SMS for business has improved is that you can get customers to sign up to your text-mailing list at the tap of a button. For example, you can run an ad campaign with an automated two-tap technology that lets customers immediately opt into your text campaign.

Even without the advent of modern solutions, getting permission needn’t be difficult. As a small business, all you have to do is ask your customers if it’s ok to send them an occasional message when you collect their contact information — it can be as simple as getting them to tick a box.

SMS offers analytics as good as any other

SMS also gives you analytics comparable to any other type of marketing (or even better, in some cases). It’s easy to see who you sent your messages to, who opened the messages, whether they clicked on links and who ignored you.

If you were reaching out to customers to ask for a review, for instance, you would be able to see who responded and left you one. Having accurate analytics is always helpful so that you can measure what response you are getting from your efforts. It can also help you to follow up on any customers that didn’t leave their review yet.

You can get feedback almost immediately

It’s also so easy to get feedback from your customers via SMS. As soon as they read your message, they can quickly respond to questions and let you know what they think. You can give them the link to the action you are asking them to take, and if they have a smartphone, they can do it right there and then.

When you send an SMS message, it is delivered instantly. Using this strategy is fast and you can get responses from your customers the same day you send out your campaign. You’ll know within hours whether the campaign is going to be a success or not.

It offers personalisation, just like email or letter

When sending an SMS, you get the chance to customise your messages to make them more personal — just like with an email or letter. If your database includes names, you can add those too, but something as simple as adding ‘you’ or ‘I’ will help boost your engagement.

You can decide how far you want to take this when you collect their contact information. You should know their first name anyway; adding this small touch will make a big difference in the quality of feedback you receive.

Using your marketing powers for good

There are many ways that local businesses can use SMS marketing tools to help find more customers. One of the most powerful options is to use SMS to get more positive reviews for your business.

Search engines now rank businesses based on location. Companies like Google don’t know how good your business is, so they rely on feedback from the people who have used your services before. These reviews will determine how high you rank for your niche and how easy it will be for other customers in your area to find you when they search for a business like yours.

In addition to helping your rank, you will also look better to the searchers. We have grown to trust online reviews as our number one way to gather social proofing regarding the quality of service we receive. So more reviews help make you seem more popular, which will in turn actually make you more popular.

The key to running a campaign like this is to be friendly and not push your customers too hard. They were kind enough to give you their number and allow you to contact them, so don’t abuse the privilege.

Getting started with SMS marketing

A recent survey showed that 81% of consumers are interested in hearing from companies if the conversation is adding value or giving them a special offer. They were most interested in personalised messages that helped them grow their relationships with businesses.

Once you are ready to take the leap with SMS marketing, the first step is for you to find a partner. You should think about what you want to accomplish with your business and choose a tool that will help you get there.

If you aren’t the most tech-savvy, keep in mind that less is more. You don’t need a whole host of fancy features; just focus on a few key tools to get you started.

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