Using Text Message Marketing to Grow Your Business

How to Write SMS Marketing Messages:

  1. Be brief
  2. Use targeted messaging
  3. Include a call to action (CTA)
  4. Limit message frequency
  5. Leverage personalization
  6. Watch your timing

Americans are increasingly connected to digital information while on the go via smartphones and other mobile devices. Pew Research found that 97% of Americans now own a cellphone, 85% of which are smartphones. And 68% of surveyed American adults spend an average of 3-6 hours per day on their mobile devices.

Alongside mobile, SMS text messaging has continually increased in popularity over the years, with the number of text messages increasing by 1.5 trillion messages between 2017 and 2020. This heavy use of text messaging makes it an obvious way to communicate with your existing and potential customers.

In fact, your customers want to receive text messages from you. SMS marketing statistics indicate that 83% of customers wish to receive appointment reminders via SMS, 54% prefer text promotional messages, and 66% would like to receive service SMS notifications. So why not give your customers what they want?

Let’s take a closer look at text message marketing and how to leverage it to go about fulfilling your customers’ needs.

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What is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing is the practice of using SMS messages to communicate directly with existing and potential customers on their mobile devices, enabling you to reach your customers more quickly. Texting is an excellent supplement to email marketing because of the comparatively higher open rate.

One of the reasons text marketing is so popular is that it allows you to meet your audience wherever they are with personalized messages. SMS marketing can be used for communicating business news, sales, promotions, and other relevant information to your business’ audience, directly on their mobile devices. This helps you separate yourself from all the marketing noise on social media, and to build brand awareness on a more personal level.

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Benefits of Text Marketing for Small Business

Business text messaging is an effective and desirable way to communicate with existing and potential customers that offers a wide variety of benefits, including:

High engagement rates

Recipients of SMS messages are more likely to open and respond to them in a timely fashion. Consider the following text marketing statistics:

    • 90% of people open a text within 3 minutes
    • Texts have a 98% open rate compared to an open rate of 20% for email
    • SMS messages have a 45% response rate compared to a 6% email response rate
    • Response times are 60 times quicker for text messages at 90 seconds versus 90 minutes for email

Boosts revenue

Nearly 96% of marketers using text message marketing say they brought in more revenue. The same report shows that eCommerce marketers generated an average of $71 for every dollar spent on text campaigns. One way that these marketers are attaining these results is by using an automated text message “welcome series” for new customers.

Facilitates customer service

SMS doesn’t necessarily always consist of bulk text messages. It can be used for customer service purposes as well. SMS live chat facilitates convenient two-way conversations with customers wherever they are. Plus it makes it easy for you and your staff to respond to customer inquiries on the fly.

Cost-effective

Business text messaging is cost-effective to use, especially if you are starting on a small scale and unlimited text messaging is included with your business phone plan. But even when you are ready to expand to bulk text messages, using a mass texting service is typically no more costly than a mass email service.

Easy to write

Writing an SMS for marketing is easier to write than email outreach marketing since there are fewer elements to consider and shorter overall messages. Due to the higher open rate of text messages, you don’t even have to be concerned with creating a perfect subject line to encourage recipients to open your messages.

SMS message

How SMS Marketing Works

Like all campaigns, text message marketing relies on your customer database. As you interact with your customers, try to gather names, cell phone numbers and other key information such as geography, customer category, and customer interests. This data can be acquired during the sales process by having potential customers opt in through various means. These can include channels such as email, links on your website, mailing list signups, or by promoting a phone number for prospects and customers to opt in for receiving text messages from your business.

The more information you have, the better you can segment your audience and send them more personalized messages. This enables you to create more meaningful connections with existing customers, and to engage with potential new customers.

Popular uses of text message outreach include:

    • Delivery status
    • Purchase receipts
    • Special offers
    • Discount codes
    • Appointment reminders
    • Secondary messages following download of mobile app or other interaction

If you plan to send automated text messages or bulk text messages, you need to select a text messaging platform that meets your business needs. Once you’re armed with a platform and your database of customers who have opted into your list, it’s time to create your campaign.

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Setting Up a Text Message Marketing Campaign

Before initiating your first text campaigns it’s essential that you get permission from everyone on your list to send SMS messages to them. This is not only a simple courtesy, but it is also a legal requirement to avoid violating Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.

Once you have gained your customers’ permission, confirm that your messages are consistent with your brand messaging and offer added value to the recipients. Sending off-topic, annoying, or intrusive messages can lead to a lot of people opting out of your list. On the other hand, SMS campaigns that are on-brand and perceived as highly valuable to your audience helps build trust and keeps your offerings top-of-mind with your customers.

If you choose to send bulk text campaigns, you may choose to use a mass texting service or one of the many available texting solutions for the actual transmission of your messages. SMS marketing software often provides both data collection and message sending features, acting as an all-in-one marketing automation service for text campaign creation and results tracking.

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How to Write Text Messages to Grow Your Small Business

Business texting is different from personal texting. Here are some rules to keep in mind to ensure you get the best results from your text message marketing efforts.

1. Be Brief

Although you may be in the habit of regularly sending longer personal text messages to friends and family, your customers only want to receive infrequent, brief, single texts from you at one time. Get straight to the point and limit your message lengths to 160 characters or less.

2. Use Targeted Messaging

Segment your list and create targeted messages specific to each group. This approach increases the odds that each message will resonate with the recipient and inspire the desired action.

3. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)

Don’t waste the time of your customers and prospects by sending them text messages only to say hello. Every message you send to your list should have a specific purpose and include a call to action. This allows customers to easily act on the message if inspired to do so. Using a branded link in your message is a great way to include a CTA and save on character count.

4. Limit Message Frequency

Although you may be in the habit of regularly sending longer personal text messages to friends and family, your customers only want to receive infrequent, brief, single texts from you at one time. Get straight to the point and limit your message lengths to 160 characters or less.

5. Leverage Personalization

As with content marketing or email marketing, text message marketing is better received and generates better results when personalized for the specific audience. Include customer names in their messages and direct them to products and offers that are most likely to appeal to them. This boosts engagement and builds trust.

6. Watch Your Timing

You’ll increase engagement and response rates by texting at times when your audience is likely to read the message. Consider schedules and time zones when scheduling bulk messages.

For example, sending messages during lunchtime is a good option. But don’t schedule them for the middle of the night. If your recipient doesn’t have their phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode, you risk waking them with a message notification. This is sure to make them unhappy, potentially causing them to unsubscribe from your list.

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Business Text Marketing Best Practices

Here are some business text messaging best practices to keep in mind as you kick off your texting campaigns. These are sure to boost your success.

Request Permission

Where it used to be common to spam people with business texts, it is now illegal. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it’s against the law to send texts without explicit consent. Otherwise you risk violating FCC rules which carry significant fines and other penalties.

Making the effort to get permission from customers or leads prior to sending text messages to people on your list ensures your messages will be well received. Plus, getting permission prevents you from irritating recipients who don’t want to receive them.

Provide Value

Don’t waste your customers’ time by sending them messages of little value. Each communication you send should answer a question, offer helpful advice, and build trust & credibility in your brand. Include links to resources for existing customers will improve their experience with a product they have already purchased from you. Or you can share testimonials with them from happy customers if they are currently in the process of considering another purchase.

Other valuable content includes appointment confirmations, invitations to upcoming events, and delivery or service updates.

Avoid Abbreviations

Despite the character limitations of SMS messages, it’s best to avoid using abbreviations or too many emojis. Write out what you mean in clear language instead of using common texting shorthand like LOL or LMK that’s used in personal text messages. Otherwise, you risk confusing or potentially frustrating your customers or prospects.

Again, the caveat here is if your audience is particularly tuned in to that kind of informal language, in which case it may be appropriate to speak to them with more abbreviations, emojis, etc.

Respect Customer Preferences

Regulations require that you not only get permission to send text messages to your audience, but also designate that you must provide them with an easy way to opt out. Once they request that you stop texting them, it’s important that you honor their request and remove them from your marketing text list. Otherwise, you risk damaging a customer relationship and violating FCC regulations.

Don't Mislead Recipients

Include essential details when sharing special offers, such as minimum purchase requirements or other restrictions. Failing to do so can result in frustrated or disappointed customers who click through for a deal to learn the offer isn’t what they expected. The result is lost sales and customers who feel they have been misled, potentially damaging their trust or perception of your brand.

Only One CTA per Message

Text messages are inherently short, so use the real estate wisely by focusing on only one offer, event, or request. This means limiting each message to only one call-to-action and one CTA link.

Always Include an Unsubscribe Option

Here are some business text messaging best practices to keep in mind as you kick off your texting campaigns. These are sure to boost your success.

Identify Yourself

Remember to identify yourself at the beginning of each text. This provides added context, increases the odds of recipients acting on your offer, and prevents them from marking your text messages as spam. Identifying yourself in each message helps to boost the overall success of your campaigns.

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Turbocharge Engagement and Grow Your Customer Base with Business Texting

Text message marketing is an excellent way to engage existing and prospective customers. It boosts customer loyalty and helps you grow your business by developing closer relationships.

Start by building your text messaging list and getting permission to send text campaigns to your list. Create your first campaign by writing short, engaging, personalized messages to targeted segments of your audience.

Now you can get a virtual business phone that includes unlimited text messaging from mobile and desktop devices. Sign up for a 7-day free trial of LinkedPhone and see what a virtual number can do for you!

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A special high five to Margot Howard for her outstanding research and contributions to this article. We love working with and supporting like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about business success strategies. Thank you Margot! ❤️

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