Most small businesses face the paradox of needing marketing but not being able to afford it. If you're sinking way too much money into advertising that doesn't give you a good return on your investment, your small business may be in trouble. How can you afford to market if it's not bringing you the cash-paying customers that pay for it? A highly effective alternative to conventional (and costly) marketing is SMS, or short message service texting. It's a direct-to-consumer avenue of advertising that could be just the boost your small business needs.
Why SMS Is Good For Your Customers
Consumers are becoming pickier and pickier, and that's because they can afford to do so as more businesses open up around the world and on the web, just ready to service their needs. If one company fails them, for example, in customer service or delivering on time, there are other options they can turn to. This means you have to be an aficionado in catering to them so they know that they're valued, that they can trust you, and that your company won't let them down.
SMS can help get the message across that your small business is up to the challenge of providing exceptional service. It works for your customers because:
- They feel more personally engaged by your company, especially when you address them by name and are tuned in to their preferences.
- They're the first to know about new products, via your messaging.
- They can get discounts and coupons quickly and easily without having to scour the Internet or other websites (where you could easily lose them).
- Customers feel like VIPs with special SMS perks, such as exclusive discounts, just for replying to a message or texting back.
- They can give you direct feedback, making them feel like they have an important voice (which they should, as valued customers).
- It's easy for them to enter your contests and promotions with no fumbling on social media or fuss on their phones.
The SMS provider you work with will have options available that allow you to track and analyze the messages your business sends so you know how effective your campaigns are, almost as soon as you implement them.
Why SMS Is Good For Your Business
Because you've already spent so much on marketing that led nowhere, you need a fast and proven alternative, especially if your small business is struggling. Unlike other campaigns, where you depend on an outside agency to implement the most important elements of your marketing strategy, SMS allows you full control. It's quick to set up and you control the output, communicating what you want, when you want.
SMS is generally a good fit for any small business, whether it's retail, B2B, consulting or another type, for a number of reasons:
- SMS is cost-effective, especially when compared to hiring a marketing firm or endless spending on social media advertising.
- It boosts your customer relations image by making personal connections with customers.
- People open more texts than emails and are more likely to read through a short text, as opposed to a long, link-filled, slow-to-load email.
- You can remind customers of appointments and allow them to confirm or reschedule, and that could save your company a significant amount of money in lost revenue and time.
- Your reach is vast with SMS because most people have a cell phone, and over the half of the world's population is expected to be online by the end of 2018, with phone service leading the way.
- SMS yields real results for your business, with direct-to-customer contact, unlike other marketing methods that leave you guessing.
Especially if your business is new to the world, you need a fast and friendly way to spread the word, build the brand, and reach real people in real time.
How To Maximize The Benefits
Because SMS is marketing at your fingertips (literally), it's vital that you (or your marketing manager) understands the nuances and how to best put it to work for your small business. Although you could simply start creating messages and sending them out at once, a solid strategy should be created, along with taking other steps:
- Know the regulations guiding SMS, such as how to ask customers to opt in and how to protect their data and privacy.
- Build your opt-in list carefully to ensure that everyone on it wants to be there (which makes for far better results).
- Keep your messages fairly brief so they're never broken into two parts and your recipients aren't held up reading them.
- Send messages at the right time for a specific time zone, product, and customer to maximize the value of your messages.
- Advertise your SMS opt-in everywhere, from social media accounts to your website and business cards to conferences.
- Include more contact info in your messages, since you're keeping them short; you want customers to have a clear path to more information if needed.
As your business grows, so does your customer list, and keeping up with them can become more complex and expensive, depending on how your marketing strategy evolves. By that time, though, you're more than likely going to need to funnel profits into other crucial areas of operation; thus, remaining with your SMS campaign can be a long-term option, keeping costs down and communication with customers always open.
Learn more about SMS services for small businesses from a local provider.