What is Text Message Marketing?
Did you know that 68% of consumers say that checking and responding to text messages is the activity they do most on their phones throughout the day?
In a time of extensive email marketing, social media, and various digital marketing methods, text marketing remains one of the most affordable and valuable strategies available to marketers and business owners.
As you get started with mobile marketing, there are two forms of text message marketing to know:
- Short Message Service (SMS): SMS messages support up to 160 alphanumeric characters. You can use SMS marketing campaigns for special offers, discounts, and mass text updates to customers notifying them of new products or more.
- Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS): MMS messages can equip multimedia such as pictures and videos. They are not limited to 160 characters. MMS text campaigns can be used to send more visual forms of content, such as promotional videos.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s review some of the main reasons why SMS messaging is so powerful and effective for home service businesses.
8 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Leverage Text Marketing
- Connect with your customers/audience immediately and personally
Consumers today want to feel more connected to businesses and expect them to be instantly accessible. Text marketing is a great way to personalize and reach customers in a way that strengthens your relationship with them. What better way to connect with a customer than directly through their cell phone?
- Gain and follow up with new leads
Getting a customer’s contact number is essential information. You can quickly grow and collect your leads, build a contact list of local customers, and interact with them through question-and-answer texts, appointment reminders, and more!
- Improve sales!
Text messaging has excellent open rates and, over time, can improve your sales and engagement significantly. In fact, 90% of consumers claim they prefer a text message over a phone call when it comes to a sale.
- Provide excellent customer service
If customers have an issue, they want to be able to connect with you immediately. Their mobile phone may be their go-to, and rather than a lengthy phone call where they may be on hold, they may prefer interacting through SMS texts. It’s your chance to provide amazing customer service on a mobile platform. Texting provides your business the opportunity to provide a 360-degree experience at the customer’s convenience.
Nearly 42% of business owners prefer SMS service as a marketing channel due to its cost-effective nature.
Unlike expensive social media ad campaigns, text marketing tools can be used to instantly connect with customers, all with a smaller budget!
- Texting is the most used mobile device feature
As stated, 68% of consumers say texting is their number one activity with their phones. Whether you plan to go with autoresponders for your SMS marketing, mass texting/bulk SMS, or drip campaigns, your customers will likely open and read your texts regardless of their nature.
In fact, text message marketing has a 98% open rate compared to 20% for emails. This is a testament to how much consumers are texting.
Suffice to say, text marketing is one of the most sure-fire ways to reach your customers immediately and directly.
- Most customers prefer text communications/marketing
When compared to phone and email usage, 66% of consumers lean toward mobile text messaging. This makes it a marketing medium that cuts through the noise and gets your message across to your customers more effectively.
Most importantly, you reach them in a way that they prefer.
Meet your customers where they want to be met. With an open rate of 98% and the amount of customers that prefer to be texted, there’s no reason not to implement text message marketing!
- Versatile and multi-functional
You can use text messaging marketing strategies at every stage of the buyer’s journey, be it to inform customers of promotional deals, new home services you offer, appointments, or changes in your pricing.
Its versatile nature makes it highly adaptable to your business needs and goals.
With its communicational nature, you can also use text message marketing as a way to start real conversations with your customers. This is something that is not as easy or achievable through email marketing or a social media ad.
Ways to Grow a Customer Database for Text Marketing
Incentivize sign-ups/opt-ins to text marketing
Like email marketing, where you encourage customers to sign up for an email list, you can incentivize sign-ups/opt-ins for your text marketing services.
Take a look at this example where Home Depot incentivizes its customers to sign up for its text marketing by offering a $5 coupon.
Your home service business can emulate this same strategy. Discover what you’re willing to exchange for text opt-ins, then start collecting those phone numbers!
Your business might offer a discount on its services or entice customers with exclusive information on sales and promotions. The possibilities are endless! Just make sure they bring your home service business the best value.
Share opt-in keywords or codes in email newsletters, social media posts, websites, etc.
Why not use every opportunity to get as many opt-ins as you can?
Combine your business’s ads with an opportunity to gain more text leads. It’s a win-win!
Pro-tip: Make sure your keywords are clear and easy to remember and type out. Customers appreciate the two-way conversation with SMS messages, and that is something you should look to maintain within your campaigns, even at the opt-in stage. In the above example, the company has chosen the word “ROOM” as its opt-in keyword.
Don’t forget to display your opt-in code or have a web page dedicated to capturing opt-ins on your website.
Make it easy for your website visitors to opt-in to your text marketing campaign so they can receive instant updates, more information, or connect with your business in real-time!
Display opt-in keywords or codes on all physical/paper marketing materials
You can also display your SMS opt-in keywords or codes on other print marketing materials.
Consider displaying your opt-in code or keyword on any print ads, brochures, business cards, and more!
By displaying your opt-in keyword or code on physical marketing materials, you can even grab the attention of passersby and chance customers.
This unlocks an entire pool of potential customers that happen to stumble across your physical marketing materials.
Develop and Deploy Your Text Marketing Campaign
Fortunately, text marketing campaigns are not too complex. The important factors to consider as you develop your campaign include the structure of the campaign and the core messaging/purpose you want to communicate.
Firstly, structure and develop your message.
Remember to keep the following tips top of mind for all messages:
- For effective messaging, keep it within 160 characters. Avoid lengthy messages.
- Introduce yourself/your business (a random message from an unidentified person is the quickest way to get deleted!)
- Use the customer’s name as a personalization technique.
- Provide a shortened link to where you are trying to lead them, if applicable.
- Include a clear call to action. Make the offer and any instructions straightforward to customers.
- If you are promoting a deal, include the expiration date and a link to the terms and conditions.
- Provide an exit route(i.e., a chance to unsubscribe). You can do this by sending a message such as “Text STOP to opt-out.”
- Use a disclaimer in cases where customers may be charged for incoming texts or data. For example, you could add a sentence that says, “Standard data rates may apply.”
Here’s an example text message for inspiration!
Once you’ve got your messaging down, it’s time to deploy your text campaigns!
Partner with a text marketing provider that can help optimize your campaign.
With Signpost, you can automate your text marketing campaigns and receive comprehensive support that will take your business to the next level.
Do’s and Don’ts of Text Marketing
- Do always get permission/opt-ins from customers first: Gaining customer permission is crucial with SMS marketing. This is where the concept of ‘opt-ins’ comes in. Even if you have a customer’s phone contact information handy, make sure you do not send them chain texts or bulk messages until they voluntarily opt-in for your SMS services.
- Do be personal and use the subscriber’s/customer’s name: Customers want to feel valued and treated like VIPs. A simple but effective way to do this is by referring to them by their first name. This will also help your message appear less like spam. When you intend a message for someone, that person will also be more likely to open it.
- Do be brief/concise with your messaging and shorten any URLs: The last thing your customers want to see is an essay in their inbox. SMS is meant to be for short-form messaging. Master your customer engagement through short but effective copy that grabs your customer’s attention and leads to conversions. Don’t overwhelm them with every single detail. Instead, provide a shortened link where they can find more information.
Here are just a few tools to help you shorten your URLs!
- Don’t use inappropriate text slang, symbols, and unknown abbreviations: You have 160 characters to make a great impression with your customer. Don’t ruin your shot using extreme texting abbreviations or jargon they might be unfamiliar with. That can lead to opt-outs. Keep your texts professional: They are representative of your company and brand image.
- Don’t send messages at the wrong time (too early, too late at night) and disturb customers: Texting your customers is a great way of connecting in real-time. With that being said, nailing the timing of your SMS messages is critical. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. For example, if you’re a plumber with a customer base that comprises retired or senior citizens, they are most likely to sleep early. Receiving promotional messages late into the night will rub off on them the wrong way. Get that timing right!
- Don’t bombard customers with an excessive number of texts: Frequency is just as key as timing. Every text message you send should have value. Remember, your customers opt-in for meaningful exchanges, not for spam-like messages that pester them.
Take Your Business’s Text Marketing to the Next Level with Signpost
Whether you’re just getting started with text marketing or you’re looking for new ideas to engage with local customers, we have you covered.
So, don’t put it off any longer! You’re just one SMS text away from reaching new heights!