April 2018 Posts

Thinking Big: Why Text Messaging is Key to Small Business Growth

Thinking Big: Why Text Messaging is Key to Small Business Growth

It’s immediate, it’s considered more personal, it’s inexpensive and far more effective than email. Your key to better marketing is automating the use of text messages.

Which number appeals more to your marketing appetite: An open rate of 20% or 98%? If that bigger number is more to your liking, it’s attached to the results you can get with text messaging.

Text messages are read within the first three minutes of receiving the message 90% of the time. Used the right way, text messaging can be a powerful tool in jump-starting your small business growth. Here’s how:

Appointment reminders

Got an appointment-based business? Automated text message reminders can reduce no-shows by up to 40%. The benefit of text message reminders is that the investment in the automated platform quickly pays for itself by dramatically reducing the time and effort your staff must put into manual calls or emails to remind customers about an upcoming appointment.

The ROI calculation is easy to do. What’s the cost to your small business because of a no-show? Base that on the price of an automated text messaging service, while keeping in mind that you may be able to reduce this lost business by as much as 40%.

Orders and confirmations

What superpower allows small businesses to run circles around their big-brother competitors? Customer service. And, while emails can be personalized, they’re trumped by the immediacy of a short text message acknowledging an order and offering thanks. These order confirmation messages can be automated.

You can take this to the next level by allowing your customers to re-order using a text message. Get creative so you’re memorable. Pizza delivery companies, for example, have started letting their existing customers re-order their last pizza request by simply sending a text message with one character—the pizza emoji.

Surveys

Smart businesses know that an easy avenue to increased engagement and customer satisfaction is to ask them what they think about the brand. In these days of limited attention, it’s likely that you’re not going to get many participants if you send out an in-depth survey.

One email marketing company tells its clients to expect an open rate of between 15% and 20%. “However,” they continue, “not everyone who will open your email will participate in your survey. Therefore, you can expect the percentage of subscribers who respond to the survey to be even less than that.”

A better approach—especially remembering the open rates of text messages—is to implement micro surveys. A single question sent out as an SMS message, along with an easy way to select a response, can help you to engage customers and get necessary feedback. Plus, you can take the interactivity to the next level by offering to share the results of the micro-survey—especially if your answers are multiple-choice.

Text message and coupons

Which sounds like an easier way to get a coupon?

  • Follow a link to the webpage (which definitely should be mobile-friendly), sign up for an email newsletter, and then wait for the coupon to be delivered. But maybe not before jumping through a captcha hoop or having to confirm that you really did sign up.
  • Scan a QR code with your mobile device, and then receive a text message asking to confirm they want the coupon by tapping “SEND”.

Depending on the product or service your small business offers, the redemption rate for SMS coupons can be up to 10 times the average for a physical coupon. It’s also an efficient way to build a database for future text message campaigns. You know these are interested prospects because they’ve provided you their telephone number in exchange for the coupon.

Our scalable, two-way business texting platform empowers teams to make meaningful connections with prospects and customers without getting bottlenecked by the drawbacks and wait times of email.

Get started today with all the features you need to succeed with this special 14-day trial.

Owning Your Audience: How Text Messaging Helps You Overcome the Barriers of Social Media

Owning Your Audience: How Text Messaging Helps You Overcome the Barriers of Social Media

Because we’ve made our smartphones the device of choice, text messaging provides you with a messaging option that doesn’t have to navigate social media algorithms to get in front of your customers.

What’s up with that? You’ve connected with a customer on a social media network like Facebook or Instagram. They’ve signaled that they want to see and hear what you have to say. But now, whether you pay for it or not, social media network algorithms are deciding how visible to make your posts.

A single post on a social media network no longer instantly makes your message available—even to those who have specifically asked to see it. The “direct reach” to these important people hasn’t been disconnected, but it’s certainly now a convoluted route. If you want a direct connection that’s not at the mercy of being cut by social media algorithms, you need to switch to text message marketing.

By the numbers

Even the government is not immune to being distanced from users on social media. A recent article on a website for government technology reports that some government entities are reporting a reduction by as much as five times.

What are these algorithms doing, anyway? The major social networks don’t officially release all the details, and the algorithms constantly change. But, let’s say you want to reach customers who have opted to follow your Instagram account. There are seven key factors you have to juggle to make sure your message actually reaches them.

  1. How much engagement your posts receive
  2. How long your posts are viewed
  3. Who engages most with your posts
  4. The time of day you post
  5. The type of content you post
  6. How often your account is searched for
  7. How often your posts are shared as direct messages

It’s easy to see that this is all about engagement, but it creates a “chicken or the egg” situation because you can’t get engagement unless your posts are seen. Unless, of course, you pay for it.

A direct connection

You already know where your audience is, but it has become more important to know how your audience is getting there. From browsing the internet—including participating on social media—or communicating with friends, it’s by using their mobile device.

And, because we’ve made our smartphones the device of choice, this provides you with a messaging option that doesn’t have to navigate social media algorithms to get in front of your customers. It’s a direct connection. Here are the top four benefits to using text messages as a way to have direct access to your customers.

 1.   Visibility

Social media can get your brand in front of a wide audience, but in most cases, you’d rather have it seen by your target market. Even if you pay to post or promote it, you’re still a victim of social media algorithms. Plus, you still have to find a way to stand out and capture attention. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of posts, even if you are promoted. You get no special attention.

It’s a different story with text message marketing. You’ve got a direct connection and usually deeper attention. Your message has a tendency to be treated less casually by recipients than yet another notification from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter about a post. Many companies report higher visibility as a result.

2.  Connectivity

There’s a balancing act you have to accomplish with social media marketing. You’ve got to engage them without annoying them. Many companies judge their marketing content by how frequently it gets shared because we all love to pass along helpful or entertaining stuff to friends and loved ones.

What we don’t appreciate is coming across something we find interesting and want to follow up on, but we know we’ll probably never see it again when we look for it later. Yes, the social media networks have ways for us to save posts for later viewing—if we’re so inclined to figure it out. A text message, on the other hand, can’t get easily lost. We can quickly view it and decide to act on it later.

3.  Convenience

What we’ve always loved about social media is the ability to reach an intended audience quickly and easily with just one post. The social media platforms set up tools to make that possible, which means we don’t necessarily equate the same capability to text messages.

SMS marketing platforms offer this same powerful convenience—but with one important difference. You skip dancing with social media algorithms and connect directly with every single one of the people you set out to reach. Text messaging hands you more direct contact for the same effort.

4.  Cost

A standard Facebook post is free, as is a post on Instagram, or a tweet on Twitter. It costs you nothing to build followers or engage with existing customers. However, you first have to hope you make it in front of people’s eyeballs because of the growing number of prerequisites for your posts.

Facebook and Instagram ads and promoted tweets can be an expensive proposition. You’re paying for prominence, but you’re still fighting for attention as users scroll quickly to try to make it through everything that’s been recently posted in order to find relevant content.

Yes, you pay for business text messaging, too. But, when you consider the visibility and the direct connection, the return on investment is much higher. It’s possible that a single promoted tweet might cost you more than several text message campaigns—direct text messages free of competition.

Two-way business text message platforms are easy to use and don’t even have to be tied to your existing phone service. Find out more and start a 14-day trial.