SMS marketing can be an easy and inexpensive way to stay in touch with your customers. SMS — also known as Short Message Service — marketing is when you send a text message to your customer database in order to tell them about your service or product. Various sources will tell you that a majority of people now own cell phones and that text messaging is prevalent among those who do. Usually SMS marketing is a means to get your customers through your door — physical or metaphorical — in order to purchase your product. SMS marketing can be tricky, so it’s important to have the right people helping you along the way. As you get started with SMS marketing, here are some basics to think about.
Get customers to grant permission
Given the laws about soliciting people via cell phone — including by text — it’s important you ensure your customer signs up to receive your texts. One of the best ways to do this is to provide an incentive like a chance to win an exciting new piece of technology or a gift certificate. Provide the number for your customer to enter the contest. Be sure to let entrants know that entering the contest also grants their permission to receive further text messages from your company. Although some consumers utilize unlimited texting plans, others do not and will want to know they will be charged a fee for receiving your texts. Be frank but friendly; letting customers know pertinent information upfront will decrease the likelihood of angry customers blocking your texts in the future.
Keep customers engaged
Offer your customers promotions to entice them to continue receiving your text messages. Give them a certain percentage off by entering the code given in the text message. You could offer a bonus item to the first ten people through your door the following day. If you’re a company that gives out free samples, considering including some kind of giveaway with orders, whether placed in person or online.
Know your customer and your product
It’s important for you to understand when your customers will be free to check their texts and respond to your message. If you’re appealing to stay-at-home parents or foodies who plan meals at the start of the day, considering sending a text in the morning about a dinner special you’re offering. Tantalize customers when they are likely to be hungry and looking for options. A late afternoon text can prompt action from a customer willing to stop by your place of business on his/her way home from the office, whether s/he’s picking up dinner or popping into your store to pick up a sweater on sale.
Use SMS marketing timing to your advantage
If business is slow, use SMS marketing to boost your sales. The message you send will get to your customers in a matter of seconds. Use that window of time to offer deals or discounts to customers who buy from you within a certain time frame. Be sure to be clear on the details of the offer, such as noting your offer is only good on the following Monday — not every Monday.
Be prepared for customers to respond
Once you have appealed to customers and you begin attracting business, make sure you’re able to provide what was offered. If you offer a buy-one-get-one special, have enough of that item to get through the promotional period. If you’re asking your customer to click on a link in a text message, ensure the link works so the customer can get to your website. Make sure the customer has a good experience so they will continue to receive the SMS marketing messages. Customers who have to jump through hoops just to save a small percentage off the regular price might not follow through if completing their purchase becomes an ordeal.
Always give your customer a chance to opt out of receiving text messages from you. Every message you send should include instructions on how to stop receiving messages from you. Ideally, you’ll never lose any customers, but making it difficult to stop messages — no matter how interested the customer was when s/he signed up to receive communication from you — will only result in bad word of mouth that can affect the rest of your customer base.
SMS marketing is one of the easiest ways to stay connected to your customers. It’s crucial to get permission, respect your customer’s privacy and make it easy for them to both contact and shop with you. Happy customers breed positive feedback and return business!