Small Business Marketing

Why Your Small Business Needs SMS Marketing

Aug 06, 2021 • 5 min read
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      Odds are that you’re reading this article from your phone—or at least within arms-length of it. The average American checks their phone 160 times per day (or 10 times per waking hour). Texts, email messages, and other alerts ping away, pulling us away from work and our loved ones. Most marketers would kill to have the attention of their audiences so quickly and so regularly. 

      You can. 

      SMS marketing is an oft-forgotten advertising discipline. While it’s not as flashy or fun as social media or influencer marketing, it can be more effective than any other medium.

      Some marketers worry about the legality or limitations of SMS marketing, while others just don’t understand it. Regardless of where you stand on SMS marketing, it helps to understand it and how it can potentially help your business grow.

      Use SMS Marketing for Immediate Action

      Text messages are a great way to entice immediate customer behavior. Not only can you send a push notification directly to the palm of their hand, but they’ll typically respond or act within a few minutes to your message.

      “Emails can sit unread for days, phone calls can go unanswered, but text messages are almost always read immediately after they’re sent,” says Neil Patel on the benefits of SMS marketing.

      If you want day-of results for your sales or customer opportunities, consider using SMS messaging. One of the best examples of this is Chipotle, which sends text alerts for customers who enter “Guac mode” or when there are cool deals to take advantage of. If you weren’t thinking about Chipotle before you read the text, you are now. 

      Only Reach People Who Want Your Messages 

      The average person receives 126 business emails each day, with similar numbers for personal accounts. These emails often get filtered into the promotions tab of certain email accounts (or get ignored entirely if they are sent during peak times). 

      While people receive an equally large number of texts every day, they tend to prioritize texts much higher than email. In fact, it’s estimated that 90% of mobile users open and read text messages within 30 minutes of receipt.

      The other main differentiation between email messages and SMS texting is the unsubscribe feature. While email marketers tend to bury the unsubscribe function to the point where the FTC had to create guidelines for featuring it, texts come with clear instructions to end all communications. If your audience doesn’t want to receive your messages, they can text STOP and you won’t waste another text on them. 

      While email marketing can be useful in its own way, SMS texting offers different benefits such as immediacy and relevancy—which can be especially important to small businesses targeting local customers.

      SMS Marketing Is Trackable

      Today’s marketers are under more pressure than ever to perform and justify their advertising budgets. Buying a billboard is nice, but it’s hard to track the number of people who see it and even harder to measure sales based on awareness from that billboard.

      This difficulty—among other reasons—is why marketers have flocked to digital marketing channels like social media, SEO, and email in recent years. They don’t just value the reach of digital marketing, but they appreciate the visibility into data points surrounding their marketing investments.

      SMS marketing also allows in-depth insight into your performance. There are multiple metrics at your disposal to track campaigns and improve your performance. A few key data points you can track include:

      • Opt-in Location: How did people learn about your campaign and opt-in for messages?
      • Opt-outs: What percentage of customers opt out of your messages? 
      • Opens: What percentage of recipients open your message? 
      • Clicks: How many engage with the link or CTA provided?  
      • Time of Open: How long does it take to open your message?
      • Time to Action: How long does it take customers to buy your products or use your services after they open the message? 

      With these benchmarks, you can see how SMS marketing compares to other promotions for your brand. You can also set goals for improvement so more people engage with your small business over time. 

      SMS Marketing Is Getting Smart

      If you used SMS marketing in the past, it may be time to review the new tools that can improve your communication and drive better results. Today’s SMS tools use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve messages and audiences. With these systems, your SMS marketing campaign:

      • Will have multiple audiences that are segmented based on behavior (similar to email lists).
      • Will have improved copy as AI systems A/B test different ads against each other.
      • Can respond to audience behavior and adjust text frequency based on heavy users and light users. 
      • Can prioritize high-revenue products or messages to promote to users. 

      The best part is that this technology isn’t limited to major brands that can afford complex SMS systems. More SMS marketing software providers are developing AI tools and opening them up to customers. You can find the right service for your small business without having to pay exorbitant prices. 

      If you’re looking for a new channel to reach your target audience, consider SMS messaging. You can curate a list of engaged fans who will take action on your texts quickly. Try out these campaigns to see how your team and your customers like them. 

      About the author
      Derek Miller

      Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, the co-founder of Lofty Llama, and a marketing consultant for small businesses. He specializes in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing, and his work has been featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp.

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