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Updated Dec 13, 2023

9 Reasons to Try Text Message Marketing for Your Small Business

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst

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Text messaging isn’t just a convenient way to chat with friends; it’s also a powerful mobile marketing tool for small businesses. The vast majority of Americans own a cell phone, and most use their phones to send and receive text messages, also known as short message service (SMS) messages. More importantly, cell phone users are more engaged with SMS messaging than they are with other mobile marketing avenues, like email or social media. This direct line of instant one-on-one communication between customers and brands is a powerful marketing tool that all small business owners can and should utilize.

Benefits of text message marketing

Text message marketing benefits entrepreneurs in many ways, especially when well-devised marketing strategies and effective campaigns are put in place. Here’s a look at some of the advantages text message marketing could give your business.

Builds an engaged opt-in aupdience

Text message marketing requires customers to opt in and choose to receive messages from your company. That means your target audience must sign up to receive messages about deals and promotions. Opt-in marketing has big benefits for businesses. One is that consumers who receive your messages are already heavily invested in your brand or product; otherwise, they wouldn’t have signed up. Another is that you won’t waste time or money bothering customers who aren’t interested.

Did You Know?Did you know

It’s almost impossible to divorce SMS marketing from traditional advertising because you must first rely on web, email and social media ads to build your SMS contact list.

Allows disinterested users to opt out

Customers are able to opt out of your marketing texts if they are no longer interested. It’s the law, so the best marketing tools make it easy for customers to unsubscribe. Believe it or not, this is one of the key benefits of text marketing. A customer getting an onslaught of texts from your business might grow annoyed with your company and choose not to buy from you. In this case, accept the opt-out and, after some time away, try appealing to these customers via other routes. [Read related article: SMS Marketing Best Practices: Text Message Marketing Do’s and Don’ts]

Improves customer engagement

If you’re like most consumers, you probably can’t wait to read a text message when it arrives in your inbox. In fact, recipients read the majority of text messages within just a couple of minutes of receipt. Consumers have grown accustomed to their email inboxes being flooded with spam and unwanted advertising, and many consumers don’t check their accounts for new messages more than once or twice a day. SMS inboxes, by contrast, are largely reserved for messages that demand immediate reading.

This phenomenon has obvious benefits for business owners. Not only are the consumers on your SMS contact list willing participants in your promotional campaign, but they’re almost guaranteed to read your message right when you send it. SMS marketing won’t get your promotion in front of as many eyeballs as other modes of advertising, but by delivering your messages directly to engaged consumers – and getting them to read those messages quickly – you get great bang for your buck. [Looking to make the most of your campaigns? Here are some text message marketing tips to guide you.]

Much of the appeal of SMS marketing is its brevity, both for the advertiser and the consumer. Unlike lengthy email promotions, SMS messages are generally just one or two sentences long, sometimes with a link to a website with more details about the promotion. Consumers are very likely to read entire messages, simply because they are so short. SMS messages can also be read at the consumer’s convenience, so they aren’t as intrusive as web pop-ups or telephone calls.

The brevity of SMS messages also benefits the small business owner who is short on time. Planning and deploying a promotion via SMS is quick and easy and requires much less upfront planning than traditional advertising.

Promotes interaction with customers

An interactive SMS promotion is a good way to make your message fun and engaging, and there are plenty of ways to do it. Posing your message as part of a poll or survey encourages your target audience to read more closely and become active participants. Offering up a toll-free SMS reply option is an extra incentive for users to engage with your brand. Meanwhile, including a link to an entertaining video or images with more details about your promotion encourages users to investigate further. Not every cell phone has the ability to connect to the internet, but as smartphones become nearly ubiquitous, business owners would be wise to consider including visual and interactive elements in their SMS marketing efforts.

Reaches a wide demographic

Pretty much everyone has a mobile phone these days, if not a smartphone, so text messaging casts a wide net. In that way, it resembles email marketing – almost everyone has an email address now – but texts often feel more urgent than emails.

Think about it: Doesn’t a text directly to your phone number, which only so many people know, feel a lot more urgent than an email? This text-based urgency can help keep your company and its offerings on your customers’ minds. It also means that you’ll stand out from the pack, as promotional content is far less common in someone’s texts than in their email inbox.

Integrates with other marketing channels

Text marketing integrates seamlessly with other marketing software. These integrations can help you make the best of your other marketing tactics.

For example, if a customer visits your website and leaves an item unpurchased in their cart, you can follow up with a text that is sent automatically via your marketing automation platform. That text might be the reminder your customer needs to make the purchase.

Strengthens customer loyalty

Customers might be used to their email inboxes piling up with marketing emails. The novelty of delivering personalized content and discounts via text can help you build an especially strong bond with your customers.

Email inboxes are often divided into primary, social and promotions tabs, with marketing emails getting lost in the clutter of that last section. Phones have no such divisions for incoming texts. This means that when you send a customer a text that starts by advertising a loyalty reward, they’re virtually guaranteed to see it. If the offer is something they value, you are on your way to gaining that customer’s trust, because they will recognize that you are messaging them only with content they deem valuable. This can lead to them becoming loyal repeat customers.

Studies have found that customers who receive marketing texts open them 97 percent of the time. No, this statistic doesn’t mean that customers click on the links in your texts every time, but it’s better than your marketing email getting lost to bulk deletion or clogged inboxes. It’s perhaps the most compelling benefit of text marketing.

The best text message marketing services

Here are some great options for some of the best text message marketing software platforms as you get your first campaigns rolling or look at making changes to better accommodate your goals.

  • EZ Texting: When it comes to putting out an attractive campaign, EZ Texting is our pick. Shutterstock integration puts glossy within your reach with the high-quality images you’ll have to choose from. Coming across in a more visually appealing manner can also include shortening links, which EZ Texting allows users to do easily. Read our EZ Texting review to learn more.
  • SimpleTexting: If you need a little guidance on customization, look no further than this service. Customers who commit to a plan with a certain number of messages each month can communicate with a dedicated account manager on strategy. Read our SimpleTexting review to learn more.
  • Textedly: If it’s scalability you’re after, Textedly is the service for you. Upgrade plans seamlessly when you need to with 12 pricing options. This means you’ll be able to budget realistically when the number of texts you send out each month begins to multiply. So, check out our Textedly review and pick a plan that makes sense for your text growth!
  • TextMarks: And when support is what matters to you, TextMarks is the way to go. This service is especially great for beginners, who may need to reach out with questions as they get their first campaigns started. Company reps use a variety of channels to help set up the service software and help users troubleshoot along the way. Start the research process for your text campaign questions by reading our TextMarks review.
Key TakeawayKey takeaway

Text message marketing services vary in their offerings, so it’s best to go into the process of choosing one with your top values in mind.

Text message marketing can be an effective tool

If you decide to begin the process of integrating SMS into your marketing regimen, figure out what’s most important to you, whether it’s reaching a wider audience, interacting more with customers or creating loyalty. Once you have a plan, there’s a marketing service available that can help you reach your goals. Setting your intentions and using a service that supports your needs and values means you’ll be passing on your newfound knowledge to your customers and improving your interactions.

Elizabeth Crumbly contributed to this article.

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Max Freedman has spent nearly a decade providing entrepreneurs and business operators with actionable advice they can use to launch and grow their businesses. Max has direct experience helping run a small business, performs hands-on reviews and has real-world experience with the categories he covers, such as accounting software and digital payroll solutions, as well as leading small business lenders and employee retirement providers. Max has written hundreds of articles for Business News Daily on a range of valuable topics, including small business funding, time and attendance, marketing and human resources.
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