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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Text Messaging as a Business Tool

Ken Barber is Vice President of Marketing for mShopper.com

Text messaging is a quick, easy way to contact a large number of people at once. It can also be used as an interactive tool to engage consumers. This is a great tool for your business to take advantage of and, if done properly, can have huge impact.

Here are a few tips to follow.

Stay on your shoppers' radar

An occasional text with a spectacular offer or memorable message is effective at keeping your shoppers thinking of you — instead of your competitor — when they realize they need to make a purchase. mShopper research showed that just the act of sending text messages led to a statistically significant increase in mobile website sales, even if the shopper did not click the link in the text alert. You never know when a shopping need will occur, so why not try to be on their radar at all times?

Reward loyal customers with exclusive offers

Mobile shoppers love deals — the research shows it again and again. Just look at how Groupon used the mobile channel to grow its business. Text messaging is especially effective at delivering a massive discount (typically 50 percent off) to compensate for the personal nature of how the message is delivered. First, these deals can be delivered to a very large group faster than it would take to create and send a new email. Second, the business can be guaranteed that a large majority of recipients will see the message, and see it in fewer than 15 minutes.

Reward loyal customers with exclusive information

Mobile shoppers like to save money, but businesses cannot always afford to offer steep discounts. Text messaging can be used effectively to deliver exclusive (and therefore valuable) information such as details on an upcoming event, the release of a new line of products, a major company announcement, or a new celebrity endorsement.

Drive sales of limited quantity and limited availability products

Since 90 percent of text messages are opened quickly by consumers, business can run promotions where respondents need to act very quickly. Examples include messaging that "there are only 25 pairs of shoes left" or "you must respond in the next 2 hours to redeem this coupon." Companies that sell tickets to events should definitely use text messages to alert subscribers that "only 50 tickets remain" to their favorite event.

Reach customers at times that they are not typically near a computer

Text campaigns are especially effective when businesses want to reach consumers at times they are not traditionally in front of their computers. These include commuting hours, social hours, weekends and holidays. A coffee shop, for example, can send a text message alert with an offer between 8- 9am when people have coffee on their mind. A pizzeria could send out a text message offer at around 5 pm when people are leaving the office and deciding what to do for dinner.

Encourage interaction at live events

Many businesses spend a lot of money to bring their prospects or customers to an event. Why not add a level of interactivity by encouraging them to send an SMS to the show's organizers in exchange for something of value? For example, SMS can be used to poll the audience about an important topic and then quickly (and discretely) return the results. Event signs can drive attendee participation by asking them to text in a recommendation for the next song to be played, the answer to a trivia question or a photo of something they liked at the event. Even better, the business can follow-up by asking the attendee for permission to contact them in the future.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessNewsDaily.

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