Text messaging for business is here to stay, at least for quite a while. People are cranking out some 389 billion texts a month worldwide. And according to the research by SAP, only 17% of users find messages from businesses to be intrusive. So, despite the development of numerous messenger apps, SMS is still in the game.
How exactly can texting be leveraged by small business owners? The team over at TextMagic has assembled an infographic that sums up the basics for you.
1) Marketing and Promotion
Ninety percent of all text messages are opened within the first 3 minutes of receiving them. Therefore, you can use SMS for time-sensitive promotions, and if you already have an email campaign in progress, support it with texts.
Launching a loyalty program? Let your customers know by shooting a quick text. About to open a new store? Notifying customers via SMS might be the fastest way to get the information to them.
Planning a discount campaign? Turns out, SMS coupons and vouchers can be extremely effective. Their redemption rate is 10 times higher than that of a paper coupon; it’s way easier to lose a printed voucher than your phone with the text.
Texting is also an indirect way to increase sales, by reducing the number of no-shows. If you own a real estate agency, run a beauty salon, a physician practice or any other appointment-based business for that matter, you probably have experienced, or at least are familiar with this issue. Texts sent 24 hours prior to the appointment can dramatically reduce no-shows.
Remember not to overuse texting though. It has been proven that sending more than four messages a month can result in the growth of the unsubscribe rate. The best practice is one two texts per week.
2) Improving Customer Service
Keeping existing customers happy is another thing you can achieve with texting. A simple order confirmation shows a client you appreciate their business. A delivery alert or a booking status notification makes them feel in control of the services they have paid for.
Most users find the conversation history with a company stored over texts a helpful tracking tool, which they can turn to for important links or other information.
When writing a text, be concise, provide value and give clear instructions. Engage the reader from the start, and ensure that all the important details are included and accurate.
3) Getting to Know Your Customers Better
SMS can be a powerful tool to gain customer insights. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new ice cream line, and are on the fence about which flavor to choose, ask your customers. Shoot them a text that goes like this: “Help us choose new flavor. Text mango, wasabi, or pear to 222-333-3333.” Hesitant where to locate your new store? See what your customers think about it.
SMS surveys obviously have their limitations. You only have 160 characters to ask your audience a question; and it’s best to offer them specific options to respond, nevertheless, this kind of survey is cost-effective and great to use when you need the information fast. Thirty-one percent of customers respond to SMS surveys within 6 minutes. Hence, data can be available within hours.
4) Communicating With Your Staff
Due to its proven quick response rate, SMS is a great way to pass urgent information to your colleagues. Has your employee forgotten to sign an important document? Or maybe the location of today’s meeting has been changed? Notify your colleagues with a text. It’s also a quiet way of communication; employees can open a message even if they are in the middle of a meeting.
Texts work great for field staff as well. Your employee might be on the road or in the middle of their service, so it won’t be convenient for them to answer a phone call or read an email. They can read a text message once they have a free minute, and they don’t need an Internet connection to do so.
Consider using SMS for small retention measures like congratulating a colleague on closing a major deal, or sending them a dinner discount. These are the little things that make your employees happier with their workplace.
Increasing sales, improving marketing results and customer service, collecting consumer insights and communicating with your employees are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leveraging SMS for business. How can you harness the power of texting to grow and improve your business?