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Written by
Katy Ratican
18 May 2021
4 minutes
What is SMS marketing and why do small businesses need to be using it?
Fast, affordable and effective: SMS marketing allows businesses to send messages to customers via text. Find out why small businesses need it in their arsenal
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Email's been the darling of small business marketing for years now.

And for good reason…

It offers instant access to your subscribers’ inboxes, is cost-effective and is a great way to promote products, build your brand and cultivate trust.

However, what if there was another more effective tool that offered each of those benefits and added some of its own?

Enter SMS marketing!

Text messages may have been around forever and a day, but they’ve made an almighty comeback in business circles in recent years. Want to find out all about SMS marketing and why small businesses need to be using it?

Keep reading.

What is SMS marketing?

Sometimes referred to as ‘mass texting’, SMS marketing’s the practice of reaching out to your audience via text message.

Similar to email, you might be promoting products or services, sending useful updates, handling customer service issues and/or striving to build trust with your audience. Unlike email though, your messages don’t get lost in their inbox or sent straight into a spam folder never to be seen again.

It’s just like receiving a text from a close friend or family member.

Your SMS marketing messages appear on their smartphone screens, attracting their attention and encouraging a response. In turn, you enjoy sky-high open rates and a multitude of other advantages.

What are the small business benefits of SMS marketing?

Still unsure whether or not to commit resources to text messaging services? Here are the main benefits of SMS marketing for anyone who needs more convincing of its efficacy:

Amazing open rates

Remember the good old days when your emails enjoyed open rates as high as 70, 80 or even 90%? Fast forward to the present day and you’re lucky to hit 20.

Such low numbers make it a real challenge to generate conversions and reap the return on investment (ROI) you need.

Leverage SMS marketing though and this unfortunate state of affairs flips on its head. Once you get the all-important opt-in from a customer, you can expect open rates in the region of 98%!

Instant results

People don’t just open text messages.

They open them fast. In many cases, it’ll take a few short minutes for the majority of your audience to read the message.

Compare that to emails, which can go unread for days (if they’re opened at all)!

There are numerous reasons for this.

First, people are hooked to their phones and check them regularly throughout the day. Second, anyone who owns a mobile is accustomed to receiving texts. Not only do we see them pop up on our screens, but we’re also more willing to read and respond to them.

Cost-effectiveness

Thanks to the advantages we’ve discussed so far, SMS marketing offers small businesses impressive bang for their buck.

After all, for a nominal fee (paid to the SMS service), they can reach their entire audience fast and achieve incredible engagement. That’s a winning combination in terms of ROI - especially compared to other channels.

Take social media, for example.

On a platform like Facebook, you’re in a battle against the algorithm to display content to your followers. Only by paying for expensive digital ads can you attain reasonable levels of exposure.

Ease and convenience

Producing ads, emails and social media posts often involves a big investment of time and energy. You have to write the copy, create compelling images and then send/publish the final product.

Then, after all that effort, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the results you wanted.

By contrast, SMS marketing couldn’t be easier.

Whether you’re trying to boost sales, generate hype or engage your audience, you’re only ever sending a few short lines of text. Furthermore, the results are almost instantaneous. And, to top it off, most services allow you to conduct each part of the campaign (from creation to tracking) via desktop.

Personalisation

Personalisation’s crucial to small business success these days.

Why? Because consumers are tired of generic marketing campaigns. They want relevant, useful recommendations from brands they know, value and trust.

You’ll be pleased to hear that text marketing helps here too.

For one thing, you can segment your customer list and send specialised messages that are relevant to each group. For another, you can build rapport through dynamic fields (for example, addressing people on a first name basis).

Throw in the power of writing each SMS in your unique brand voice and you’re well and truly onto a winner.

In summary

Businesses are always on the lookout for new and effective ways to attract the attention of their target audience. Sometimes, though, the best methods are the oldest. Case in point?

SMS marketing.

Although text messaging has been around for decades, it’s seen a recent resurgence in popularity among savvy marketers and small business owners. If you want to connect with your customers, give SMS marketing a try - you’ll be impressed with the results.

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