Learn Why Text Messaging Marketing Works for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and Organizations
Small businesses often get left behind when it comes to marketing technology. Typically, this is because many marketing tools are inaccessible, too complicated, or too expensive.
But running a successful marketing campaign (digital or otherwise) doesn’t need to be complex or costly.
Why hire a graphic designer, build a complex email marketing campaign, set up Google ads, or even spend thousands of dollars?
You just need the right resources to get your message to customers in the most cost-effective and efficient ways possible.
This is why 53% of marketers now use text messaging to reach out to their prospects, leads, and customers.
In fact, small businesses and organizations are finding success with text message marketing because it:
- Increases reach and builds awareness
- Boosts engagement
- Makes it easy to personalize marketing messages at scale
- Saves time through automation
- And results in significant cost savings
We dive deeper into text message marketing for small businesses below. Keep reading for more.
1. Texting Increases Reach and Builds Awareness
Text messaging campaigns scale easier compared to email and voice campaigns. And it's this scalability that makes it perfect for growing your contact list and staying in touch.
Compared to voice, it's even easier to text 10,000 contacts vs calling a list of phone numbers.
There’s just one main scalability factor you’ll need to consider. What type of texting number do you want to use to send and receive text messages?
This is where it’s important to know the difference. Short code phone numbers are best for mass texting, whereas long code phone numbers are best for conversational messaging.
Short code vs long code text message marketing
The main difference between short codes and long codes is the type of number you’re texting from. Short codes are five of six digit numbers whereas long codes are always ten digits.
The ten digit numbers are the normal looking phone numbers. You’re already used to texting with these in real time from your personal phone.
Aside from how they look, there are only two major differences between the two. One is how many text messages you can send with either. The second is if the number supports two-way texting.
Many older messaging services allow businesses to text customers using shortcodes that only support one-way texting. But, more messaging services are starting to allow normal businesses to send bulk messages using a 10-digit phone number.
Five and six-digit short codes
SMS text short codes were at one point the only way to send bulk SMS messages. But that’s changing rapidly.
This is good news because short codes are expensive to register and relatively inaccessible for most small businesses. Plus, they don’t allow for two-way conversational text messaging - only one-way text blasts.
For more on this, we explain why some short codes are going away in 2021.
Ten digit long codes:
Ten-digit long codes (10DLC) are becoming the preferred way to send high volumes of text messages.
Of the businesses that text, 65% already use 10-digit long codes. This is because they’re cheaper and more accessible for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations.
It also means your business or organization can keep the same phone number you already use.
SMS services like MessageDesk will even text enable your existing business number so you can keep your voice provider.
2. Texting Boosts Engagement
What’s one of the reasons text messaging works for small businesses? 74% of customers respond to a text from a business within an hour.
Simply put: customers prefer the instant ease of texting.
Text messaging also makes your business or organization more accessible. Compared to email or voice, customers often feel more comfortable reaching out to your business via text message.
Being more accessible then keeps you front-of-mind when your customers need your service or product.
Of course, email is the logical starting point for engaging with customers and performing outreach.
But the average marketing email typically gets around a 20% open rate. Whereas texting can have up to a 98% open rate. Send a text and your customers are very likely to see it.
Of course, in order to text your customers and see high open rates, you’ll have to:
- Craft the right message
- Send it at the right time
- And ultimately grow your contact list
The good news is that you may already have a contact list without you even knowing it.
Here’s an example:
Are you using a POS (point of sale) system like Square or Shopify? You might have already collected phone numbers and emails from previous sales.
Note: If you aren’t collecting your customers' information, you should be. You can set up your website, point of sale, or your payment collection system to collect and store your contacts.
The information you collect could be as simple as a phone number and their name.
With more information comes more personalization and ultimately more engagement.
3. Texting Makes it Easy to Personalize Marketing Messages at Scale
Effective marketing is all about delivering timely, relevant information.
So, the more information you have about your customers, the more you can personalize your marketing messages.
Effective SMS marketing for small businesses relies on having contact information like "first name".
At the very least, your text message marketing database should consist of customer names, phone numbers, and customer interests. All of this is valuable information that can help inform your customer-centric conversational marketing strategy.
Text message personalization tags - like mail merge tags but for SMS
Advanced text messaging services offer dynamic tags. These can help you personalize your text marketing campaigns at scale.
Tags make it possible to say more than hello or hey at the beginning of your message. Instead, you can use personalization tags to automatically insert a customer’s first name into a message.
When texting customers “Dear Valued Customer” sounds impersonal compared to, “Hey there Ben”.
Simple gestures like these are all part of text message etiquette and can help you increase your sales.
4. Texting Saves Time with Automation
Texting a customer doesn't mean settling for a single burner phone and texting each one by one. The right SMS software for small businesses actually allows you to:
- Schedule bulk text messages
- Schedule texts for specific dates and times
- Set up an autoresponder with keywords
All of these automation features allow you to reach more customers at scale. This means spending less time marketing and more time making sales.
Scheduled text messages
Imagine scheduling all of your messages days, weeks, or months in advance. Or imaging having a messaging tool that automatically sends messages when you, your staff, or support team are unavailable.
The best SMS marketing software for small businesses enables you to do both of these things. Just set the exact time and day to send a message and that’s it.
With MessageDesk, you can even set a recurring schedule for regular messages like appointment reminders to further reduce your workload.
Autoresponders and keyword-based text message triggers
Autoresponders are "auto-replies". They’re the simplest, most common form of SMS automation. When someone texts a unique keyword to a phone number, they instantly get a text message back.
Autoresponders work great for opting people into marketing campaigns. When someone texts a keyword, they get added to a text marketing group of your choosing.
The more specific the group, the easier it is to provide more relevant follow-up information. Offers also become more relevant when they’re based on a contact's interests.
Here are a few examples of automated text message marketing campaigns:
- Scheduling a new product announcement
- Automatically sharing a new blog post or piece of content once it’s published
- “Text Keyword To” automatic reply promo messages
- Texting a link for text to give and text to donate campaigns for nonprofits and other organizations.
- Automatic “Happy Birthday” promotional rewards
Suggested Article: Guide to Automated Text Messages
Text message templates
Instead of retyping messages every time you send them, you can save templates and maintain consistency in your messages.
Templates also save time normally spent drafting new messages. They also enable quick responses to frequently asked questions.
5. Texting Reduces Your Marketing Costs and Overhead
Messaging rates vs costs of other forms of advertising
The average small business allocates around 9-12% of their total sales on marketing campaigns.
If your company pays around $29 a month for text messaging. And let’s say your company makes $750K a year in revenue. That’s just .0464% of your annual revenue.
This is what makes texting an effective, low-cost way to market to your customer.
The potential ROI on text messaging campaigns
A marketing firm recently reported a 500% return on investment with text marketing campaigns.
- High engagement: Text messages have a 98% open rate, 45% response rate and 3% spam rate. Customers are more willing to open and respond to a text message than emails.
- Fills communication gaps: Text messaging helps your business fill the gaps between emails and calls.
- Customer service: Personalized text message marketing allows you to deliver a personalized customer experience. You can also establish 1-on-1 conversations with a customer.
But before you start texting, it’s important to choose the right software. This can influence the success of your text message marketing campaigns.
Final thoughts and next steps
The best SMS marketing for small businesses is a scalable, affordable, and effective way to:
- Increase reach and build awareness
- Boost engagement
- Personalize marketing messages at scale
- Save time through automation
- And achieve significant cost savings