Marketing Lists via text messaging campaigns are among the most effective ways of reaching customers and potential customers. With just your smartphone at hand, you can create enthusiasm for your products or services immediately. But the only way you’ll succeed at text message campaigning – which is known in the business and advertising communities as SMS, or Short Message Marketing – is to have a carefully-compiled marketing list.
First of all, what makes a text message campaign so helpful to small businesses? The main reason is that so many people will see the texts you send them. You could hang a sign in a store window on the busiest street in town, yet many people would simply walk right by it without noticing. In contrast, studies have shown that over 90% of people, as high as 95%, will open and look at a texted ad at once.
There are more benefits to text messaging ads, too. They’re friendly to the environment. They make your business seem cutting-edge, even ‘cool.’ They’re cheaper than many other forms of advertising – including TV spots and, believe it or not, traditional flyers! They’re interactive: people can respond to you right away with questions, comments or suggestions, and you can answer them right away. Perhaps best of all, people who are intrigued by your texts may share them with their contact lists via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thus, those people will do additional advertising for you, for free!
If you’ve just opened a small business, whether it’s a pizzeria or a garage or something else entirely, you’ll probably want to buy a marketing list – a list of potential customers – from a company specializing in such lists. But these lists may not include cell phone numbers, as there are laws around marketing to cell phones. So how do you get to your potential customers? You can email or call people and ask them to sign up for your text messaging promotions (to do so, they could email you back or text you a certain code.)
You can also get people to agree to receive your texts by including sign-up sheets on your website and social media sites, and by having your employees ask your customers if they’d like to receive texts. There are even iPad apps specifically designed to manage in-store sign ups and people like using iPads and tablets so it’s an easier way to get them to give you their information.
But to reiterate, you should never text a customer without their permission beforehand. An unsolicited text message can make customers feel violated, and rightly so. Plus, this practice probably goes against your carrier’s rules, and may even be unlawful where you live. Never pressure anyone to join your text marketing list, either, and instruct your employees not to pressure anyone. Further, there should always be a simple way for your customers to opt out of getting your texts should they change their minds about it.
In order to make more people want to be on your text message marketing list, you have to offer them incentives, incentives they can’t receive any other way. Maybe they get a special discount or coupon, or maybe an exclusive freebie – three slices of pizza for the slice of two, for instance – or maybe you’ll even set up special times during which they can come into your establishment, times when the place is otherwise closed to the general public.
Once you have a sizable text message marketing list at your disposal, the next step is to use it. Just remember that effective text messages are not always easy to create. DO NOT just throw something together off the top of your head. Rather, take care in crafting messages. Write out words and phrases as much as you can; try not to abbreviate even if you believe that a certain abbreviation or acronym is well-known. At the same time, use as few words as you can without sacrificing meaning. Use correct spelling and grammar. Don’t forget to provide the name of your establishment. (You might choose to include a link to your company’s website.) Most of all, there should be what advertisers refer to as a ‘call to action.’ That means you should provide a specific, attractive reason as to why the person receiving the text ought to get to your place of business as soon as possible. Don’t just say: “We have great prices on teddy bears.” Say: “All teddy bears are on sale, up to 50%, until tomorrow night.”
Once you get the hang of text marketing, you can start having fun with it. For example, you might set up a contest in which the tenth person to text you back receives a prize. Or if you own, say, an ice cream parlor, you could create polls to discover your customer’s favorite flavors. You might even set up a weekly poll in which you pit one flavor against another. Be creative!