Text messaging for small businesses is on the rise as entrepreneurs look for new ways to market their products and services in a mobile-connected world. But is text message marketing right for your business?

Read on to learn what text message marketing is and how you can work it into your marketing strategy.

What is text message marketing?

Text messaging for small businesses involves sending promotions through SMS directly to a customer’s mobile phone after the customer has opted to receive the texts from the business.

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The way this works is simple: A small business owner will enable a 5- or 6-digit phone number known as a “short code” that can be used to accept text messages from customers. Customers will then text a specific keyword to this shortcode to opt-in to receive messages from the business. Promotional messages will be sent in mass to all opted-in customers through a text messaging service the business owner enlists.

Why should small businesses use text message marketing?

There are many benefits to using text message marketing:

Mobile-friendly: Five billion people have a mobile phone connection, says VentureBeat. Text messaging for small businesses are one of the best ways to reach busy customers with mobile dependence.

Short and sweet: It can take five seconds or less to scan a text. It can take 15 seconds or more to read an email. Your customers will probably see and act on your texts faster.

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Instantaneous: Data shows that 82.1 percent of smartphone owners open all the texts they get, most within a few minutes of getting them. This behavior means increased open and response rates and fewer unread messages.

Builds customer loyalty: Sending regular and engaging text messages earns the devotion and the business of your customers.

Boosts sales: When customers respond to a call-to-action in a text, you increase your conversions. You boost your sales when these are revenue-generating conversions.

How can a small business use text message marketing?

The best way to get started with text messaging for small businesses is to sign up for a text messaging marketing service, such as EZ Texting, SlickText or ProTexting. These services let you track and grow a list of opted-in customers and set up shortcodes, keywords and the content of the messages that you want to send them.

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You should customize the content of these messages to elicit the desired action. Routine communications sent out via text include polls, surveys, coupons, reminders or news about sales or contests. Whenever you have a promotion to send out, you can have the service automatically blast the messages to all opted-in customers.

Be sure to choose a text service that can handle delivering messages in mass to the number of subscribers you have. You also want a service that can grow as your subscriber count grows.

What other rules apply to text message marketing?

Help grow your database of text message subscribers and boost sales by following these do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t go lax on the laws: The government has put in place laws to prevent unsolicited text messages to protect the privacy of users and prevent spam. The most notable is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This law passed in ’91 discourages people from contacting people in mass via mobile phone without their consent. Under the law, unconsenting individuals who are contacted by mobile phone have the right to seek damages for the violation. Always get the permission of customers before texting them to avoid legal troubles and fines.

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  • Do remind them of mobile carrier costs: It has become standard to include a disclaimer in text marketing messages that “message and data rates may apply” to the messages the customer sends and receives.
  • Don’t overdo it: Sending your customers more than four texts per month will only turn them off of your business. So will texting them during evenings or weekends. Aim to send no more than two to four texts per months and always schedule text delivery within business hours.
  • Do give them an out: Include clear language at the end of the text that spells out which keyword to use to stop receiving messages.
  • Do add value: Every message should have a clear purpose. Identify that purpose and then craft relevant and on-brand text message content written in simple, relatable language.
Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari is a freelance technical writer and small business owner whose insights have appeared in diverse digital publications. She has a passion for leveraging technology to reveal simple solutions for everyday business finance complexities. Visit www.scribmint.com to learn more about her work.
Manasa Reddigari

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