Given that information, it’s not surprising to learn that text messaging is quickly becoming a hot marketing tool. A lot of businesses are considering text message marketing, which is also known as SMS (short messaging service) marketing, as a new way to retain customers.
For those curious about text message marketing, here are five frequently asked questions that businesses often ask before taking the digital plunge:
1. How successful is text message marketing?
Do you know anyone who doesn’t own a cell phone? He or she may out there, but it’s rare. Even your grandmother probably has a smartphone, or at least a flip phone for an emergency.
Consider this: 5.1 billion people out of the 6.8 billion on this planet own a mobile phone. Owning a cell phone is more important to some than oral hygiene – just 4.2 billion people own a toothbrush, points out Digital Marketing Magazine.
Now consider how quickly you respond to a text message. When a text message comes in, the phone beeps and you immediately read the message, right? Around 98 percent of text messages are opened, compared to email, which is read about 20 percent of the time. And don’t worry, there are laws everyone must abide by when using text message marketing. This ensures people don’t get “spammed” or receive unwanted texts, which we explain below in bullet three.
Of those who do opt in to receive text message promotions, they often take action. Responsys found in a in a survey that, of consumers who subscribe to mobile marketing from brands, 64% made a purchase because of a highly relevant mobile message. According to a report by ExactTarget, 91% of those who subscribe to a business’s text messages find them “somewhat or very useful.” Of those who don’t subscribe, the only reason being because the offer or content isn’t meaningful.
At Fivestars, we find that small businesses who send a highly relevant mobile promotion see an uptick in-store visits for by 70 percent.
Also, don’t exclude mobile app push notifications – This is still a form of mobile marketing and communication. According to Direct Marketing, “89% of millennials are likely to act on a notification received from their favorite brand.”
Do people even want to receive text messages from businesses? According to a survey from GE Capital, 4 in 10 respondent said they’d shop more at a retailer if it delivered offers via mobile.
2. Is text message marketing right for your business?
For most businesses, the answer is yes. Text message marketing is an affordable, effective marketing tool that’s become mainstream and desired by consumers.
Some businesses with an older demographic may be hesitant to try it, but a study shows 60% of 45-year-olds say they’re just as likely to send a text message, as they are to make a call.
The point is not to make assumptions about your audience. If you’re unsure, start talking to your customers about it and see if it’s something they’re interested in. Have cashiers ask at checkout, or email customers a quick survey.
3. Are there rules about sending text messages?
Yes. You might be surprised to learn there is an actual law that regulates text messages.
There has been a lot of confusion about the regulation of text messages, but in 2012 the Federal Communications Commissions removed all doubt by declaring text messages the same as an “automated call,” which are regulated under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The Act requires businesses to receive “prior express written consent” before dialing or texting consumers. Basically, that means consumers have to ask to be a part of your program, or “opt-in” as it’s called.
4. What kind of text messages are businesses sending?
There’s a lot of possibility with text message marketing. Here are a few ways that businesses are using this marketing tool to connect with consumers:
- Special promotions: Have a big sale coming up? If so, invite customers to stop by via text. Here’s an example from retailer, Kohl’s:
- Segmented deals: As with any list of contacts, you can choose to send a message to a specific group. Send VIP customers a special coupon or deal.
- Flash deals: Considering consumers read text messages so quickly, it’s the perfect way to tell consumers about a flash sale, or a deal that’s only around for a limited time.
- Event reminders: Remind customers about upcoming events at your business, such as happy hour, live music, a special trunk sale, etc.
- Behavior triggers: Send messages based on a customer’s behavior. If they haven’t been around in a while, send a “We miss you” message.
5. What’s the optimum text message frequency?
How often should you send text messages to your customers? Great question. You don’t want to bother customers, but you don’t want them to forget you either. So, where does that leave you?
According to a recent report from BlueHornet, 89.3% of consumers say 1-2 text messages a week is the right amount to stay informed.
Remember, you can send messages to specific segments. Just make sure each user only receives one a week.
Test the frequency out on your audience and see what works best.
Have any other questions about text message marketing? Let us know below in the comments – We’re happy to answer any questions.