Today’s advertising and marketing strategies have changed a lot over the past few decades with the dawn of the digital age. Nearly 60% of people stream their television viewing, so costly TV commercials are ineffective. Satellite radio like Sirius XM had 32.7 million subscribers in January 2018, and music and news outlets through devices like Alexa make radio ads on local stations obsolete.

There are approximately 7.7 billion people in the world with access to 8.97 billion mobile connections, so what naturally follows? Text message marketing for small business and big business alike.

Businessman reading text message

Text Message vs SMS

The only difference between a text message and SMS (Short Message Service) is the number of characters allowed, which is limited to 160 per SMS. An SMS marketing strategy may be more productive because lengthy texts may not be read completely, which could result in your message/ad being lost.

Why Use Text Message Marketing for Small Business?

23 billion text messages are sent each day. There is an astounding 98% open rate of these text/SMS messages, and 90% of those are read within 3 minutes of being received. By converting to text message marketing, you can go from a small local market to reaching billions on a global scale overnight.

So, why should small business use text message marketing?

1. Win More Leads

As a business, your first goal is to draw more customers to your “door,” physically or electronically. Remember, over 20 billion text messages are read within the first 3 minutes of receipt. While you may not reach, need, or want that kind of volume, that’s still a lot of new potential customers you could be missing out on.

2. Centralize Interactions

This is SO important. You cannot have random employees sending out varying messages. A single platform like Podium can help you efficiently reach more customers, and these customers can then do some of the work for you by sharing or forwarding your message. Centralization also helps maintain a quick response time and accuracy in shared information.

3. Get Found with Reviews

Customer reviews will make or break a business, even reviews contributed by non-purchasing customers. If you do not respond in a timely manner or if they feel the information is misleading, it will result in a poor online review.

In 2017, Forbes online reported that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and those reviews impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions.

4. Convert to Customer

Getting the message out there is the first step, but converting those leads to purchasing customers is the crucial step. You need to grab them when they are on your site and do it as efficiently as possible. Their time is money, for them and you.

5. Capitalize with Collaboration

You should also choose a single platform that incorporates collaboration of your business team. You can include everyone, or create specific groups or task forces. Do not disqualify an employee or co-worker’s idea just because they may be outside of that particular area of your business. You will be amazed at the successful marketing ideas that may come out of shipping, or the incredible shipping ideas that come from your front desk.

6. Earn Repeat Customers

You want your text and SMS marketing strategy to not only bring in new customers, but increase your number of returning customers, and then have them turn around and create even more new and returning customers for you!

7. Gather Feedback

Learn what works and what does not by asking for customer reviews (which can build your review base), direct feedback, or sending out surveys.

How Does SMS/Text Message Marketing Work?

With the right platform, a text message and SMS marketing strategy can be very simple, as easy as texting a friend about a great deal! Understanding the mechanics behind text/SMS marketing is as easy as looking at the steps taken.

The Benefits of SMS/Text Message Marketing

If you do a pros vs cons list, the only main con of SMS/text message marketing is that there are some customers who prefer face-to-face interaction and do not want unsolicited messages. The major pro is that using a platform like Podium frees you up, as the business owner, manager, salesperson, etc, to continue building in-person relationships. Also, customers will usually have to opt-in to receive messages from you, so there should be little trouble with unsolicited contacts.

So what are the list of pros for using and text and SMS marketing strategy? It’s nearly endless:

  • Streamline marketing and follow-up
  • Quick (and sometimes automated) response time
  • Reach almost anyone, anywhere, at any time
  • Be proactive in your outreach
  • Continually build your customer base
  • Document conversations between your business and clients/customers
  • Real-time sharing of information
  • Virtual and augmented reality options available
  • Reach millions (or billions)
  • Customers can save a message and follow up when they have time (no store/business hours to restrict access)

Many social media marketing formats can also be used to schedule appointments/services, process sales, track invoicing, manage payments, and track the process of an order and share it with customers.

Business Trends

In these electronic times, keeping up with the latest trends is more important than ever. It seems that everything is faster these days, especially the dissemination of information. When it comes to the race for business success, the hare will probably beat the tortoise if they are using SMS and text message marketing.