SMS (short message service) marketing, or text marketing, is quickly becoming one of the most common and effective forms of marketing. Many small businesses have been reluctant to try it because they either don’t understand how it works, are afraid it will cost too much, or think they won’t have the time to manage it. But what we’ve learned about SMS marketing shows that it is a viable and valuable marketing option for virtually any small business or organization.
Cheap can sometimes be seen as meaning of little value or worth and that isn’t what we are saying about sms marketing, that is why we choose to use the words cost-effective. A lot of small businesses don’t have a large marketing budget; they simply don’t have the overhead or revenue to support a high-dollar marketing plan. However, business executives do recognize the value of marketing. Spreading the word about your business draws in more traffic, which results in more sales and an increase in revenue. The old adage, “You have to spend money to make money” is true.
What we have found is that for as little as $10 a month you can start your sms marketing campaign. If this draws in even 2-3 additional customers during your slow time every day, you will be making much more than what you spent on the initial investment. With text marketing, the potential for increasing sales at a much higher rate than that is not an unreasonable expectation. Don’t use the excuse of “I can’t afford it” for not using text marketing; every business can set aside $10 a month to use for marketing.
Maybe you feel like you aren’t the most “tech-savvy” person and the idea of marketing through a medium that you are not familiar or comfortable with seems overwhelming. While there are some differences in how individual companies format their text marketing platforms, in general they are very easy to use. Most mobile marketing providers will have an online dashboard or control panel that you login to from anywhere you have access to the Internet. From there it’s as simple as typing out a short message (standard sms messages are limited to a total of 160 characters), selecting a list of recipients you want to send the message to, and then clicking a send button, or setting a scheduled time for delivery of the message.
If you are worried about how difficult it will be to use, take a little time to talk to a few different companies, see if you can get a preview of the system and find out what support options they have available to help when you do have questions. Finding a company that has good customer support can make all the difference in whether you are successful with the service or not.
What do we mean by timely? The amazing thing about sms marketing is that it is virtually instantaneous. You don’t have to figure out weeks in advance what special you want to run so that you can prepare for the design of the mailer, wait for the printing, and then time the mailing so that it will reach your targeted audience during the specific time period you wish to offer the special. With text marketing, if you have a slower than normal week and you want to boost the number of people visiting your business that afternoon, you can login and immediately send out a special offer for anyone that chooses to visit your establishment and makes a purchase that day. Depending on your client base, how many people have opted to receive your messages (we’ll talk about that in the next section) your message could be in the hand of hundreds of people within a matter of minutes, or even seconds.
This is also a great way to send out reminders about appointments, schedules, events, closures, and other information that you need to get out to your contact list quickly. Research shows that the vast majority of the population has a cell phone and carries it with them nearly all the time. Text messages are generally read by the individual within a matter of minutes from when they were received by the handset.
Often small business owners worry about their messages being intrusive. They don’t want their marketing messages to become unwanted or annoying to their regular customer base. The great news is that all sms marketing through a short-code is completely opt-in based; every individual has to give explicit consent before they can receive any messages from you. They also have the option of opting out at any time.
The opt-in process is simple, you advertise and invite them to opt in by texting a keyword to the short code (a shortened phone number used for sms), usually offering some kind of incentive to do so, for example Joe’s pizzeria could say “Text Pizza to 12345 to get a free drink with your next purchase”. They could have this info on a place mat or table advertisement and then encourage servers and cashiers to point out the option when the person is ordering. Again, because it is virtually instantaneous the will immediately get the reward for opting in and you don’t have to worry about whether they will remember or think about doing it later. As soon as they text the keyword to the short code they will be added to your contact database. Simple. Effective.
ROI and Conversion
ROI stands for Return on Investment and conversion is the actual number of leads that turn into a sale or customer. These two terms coincide because a higher conversion rate generally means a higher return on the money you invested into your marketing campaign. The fact that text marketing is so affordable means it doesn’t take a high conversion rate to be able to make a return on your investment.
Text message marketing has very high conversion rates, especially in comparison to traditional forms of marketing. Although tracking conversion rates through text marketing can be difficult, it is estimated that the average is in the 30-60 percentile range. That is huge! Especially considering that most traditional marketing is much more expensive and has conversion rates in the single digit range.
Every business can use an affordable marketing option that has great returns. If you aren’t already using sms marketing, check it out today!