Posted by : Amanda Stein Monday, July 15, 2013

SMS marketing is fast, cost-effective and personal – it's no wonder it's becoming increasingly popular with businesses of all sizes, but it's important to use it well. How does it fit with your business?

Of course, I think SMS is great tool for every business – I'm probably biased – the most important thing is to decide when, where and how.

It’s easy and convenient to use your mobile phone for everything you used to use your PC for i.e. email, with the number of smartphone users increasing this trend is set to continue. Consumers, however are used to receiving email marketing and are becoming immune it, there is no need to read them straight away and therefore they don’t get an instant response, if at all.

With a 98% open rate, SMS is clearly the most reliable way to ensure your message gets seen on a mobile device. So the question isn’t, is it right, but how could I use it?

You need to ensure your customers want to receive the messages; if you send an unwanted text you will do your business more harm than good. You can contact customers you’ve interacted with previously or let your customers opt-in to your mailing list to ensure good quality data - give your customers a reason to opt in – e.g. to receive special offers or join a ‘VIP club’.

Likewise, always provide an opt-out. It may hurt your pride if someone decides they’d no longer like to receive your offers, but it will hurt your reputation more if you don’t give customers the option. Don’t focus on the opt-outs, put your energy into providing irresistible offers to the customers who do want to hear from you.

Let’s look at a handful of ways SMS marketing can be used across a range of different businesses…

Fill in the gaps

Most restaurants or retailers have days which are quieter than others. If you have some empty tables or a slow day on sales, texting an offer to subscribers in the nearby area could turn it around in minutes.

‘Hello Julie, its Sam from the Ocean Restaurant, come and enjoy a meal for two tonight and receive a free bottle of wine. We look forward to seeing you.’

Lead generation

By advertising your text number on menus, posters, online or in store you can attract customers to text to join your database providing quality leads. Within seconds you’ve collected another contact who wants to know more about your products or services.

‘Text FOOD to 12345 to receive exciting updates, news and special offers’

Customer service

With increasing competition and tighter purse strings, ensuring your customers have the best experience with you is more important than ever if you want them to return. Demonstrate your excellent customer service skills after a stay in your hotel with a courtesy text encouraging feedback and enhancing the customer experience.

‘Mr Barker, we hope you enjoyed your stay at the Seaside Resort Hotel. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to improve our service in the future. Have a safe journey home.’

Booking confirmation

Confirm a package delivery, spa appointment or ticket purchase with a text. Not everyone wants to log into their emails and find that confirmation amongst all the spam emails, this way that all important information is available to them instantly and effortlessly.

‘Good news Lucy - your tickets have been booked. Simply show reference code FT340 at the gates. Enjoy the show!’

Organising events 
If you’re planning an important event; time is precious and ensuring people attend is a priority. Send directions or links to a map ahead of your event. If a schedule changes at the last minute you can update all attendees at the click of a button without the worry that they won’t see it in time.

‘Hello Mark, the Business Conference Centre is all set for your arrival. Click on the link below for directions. We’ll see you at 7:30! The Event Team. 

At just 160 characters long, SMS may be small, but is certainly powerful and a versatile tool for every business.

About the author:

Holly Barber is the Marketing Manager at FireText, we are always talking about SMS and we’re happy to discuss ideas on how it can work for your business.

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