Business text messaging has been growing year over year. In 2020 alone, business messaging traffic hit a staggering 3.5 trillion with over 90% of these messages being read within 3 minutes of being received. And this is just a conservative estimate – the true number is likely much higher today.
With such high engagement rates, it’s no wonder that businesses are turning to service SMS to reach their customers. Text messaging for businesses offers a customer experience that fits with modern lifestyles where the average American spends nearly 4 hours on their smartphone each day.
Knowing all this, it might seem like a no-brainer to start using SMS for your business. But before you do, there are a few things you should keep in mind. To help your SMS marketing plan succeed, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts for using SMS for your business.
But First, The Benefits of Business SMS:
1. Reach Your Customers where they are
Over 90% of Americans have their phone within arm’s reach 24/7. This means that your customers are always reachable through text messaging. A well-curated and executed SMS marketing campaign can help you reach your customers anytime, anywhere – which is a huge benefit if you need to communicate time-sensitive information like offers or sale alerts.
2. Increased Engagement and Open Rates
Unlike emails which may take days before getting opened (if they get opened at all), the majority of text messages are read within minutes of being received. In fact, the average open rate for SMS marketing is a whopping 98%! This makes text messages one of the most effective ways to reach your customers and get your message across.
3. Improved Customer Retention
A happy customer is a returning customer. By using SMS to keep your customers in the loop about your business, you create a better customer experience and improve retention rates. In fact, according to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Not only that, but text messages also provide a two-way communication channel between your business and the customer which also bolsters loyalty. This way, customers can reach out to you with any questions or concerns they may have – and you can address these issues quickly and efficiently.
4. Flexible Messaging Options
Text messages offer a wide range of potential uses for businesses. From sending surveys and appointment reminders to thank you notes and everything in between, the possibilities are nearly endless. This versatility makes SMS a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes in nearly any industry.
5. Cost Efficient
Another advantage of text messages is that they are very cost-effective, unlike other customer outreach methods such as direct mail or radio ads. In addition, there are no monthly fees associated with text messaging services – you only pay for the messages you send.
This low cost makes text messaging an attractive option even for businesses on a tight budget or those who are just starting out. And with the high engagement rates of text messages, you can be sure that your message will reach your intended audience leading to high ROI for your SMS marketing campaigns.
Mistakes That Businesses Make With SMS
Business text messaging is as delicate and precarious, just like other marketing channels. One mistake could mean the failure of your campaign and a loss of customers.
You see, since it is direct messaging to recipient’s phone numbers, there is a personal connection that has been created. You, therefore, must make sure that you don’t disrespect this personal connection that you have created. To make sure that doesn’t happen, here are a few mistakes to avoid when using SMS for your business.
1. Don’t Bombard Customers with Messages
Sure, you must accurately time your messages to create a sense of urgency in the customers. But that doesn’t mean that you start bombarding them with several messages in a day. That is a sure recipe for disaster and will see your customers unsubscribing from your messages in droves.
Your service SMS must deliver value, real-time benefit, or be an exclusive offer that’s only available to people who opt-in. If you don’t have any of those, don’t send the message.
2. Don’t Include Too Much Information in One Message
The beauty of SMS is that it is short and sweet. It doesn’t have the luxury of space that emails have. You, therefore, must make sure that you don’t include too much information in one message. Get straight to the point and leave out all the fluff. This way, you will avoid confusing your customers and ensure that they get the message loud and clear.
3. Don’t Forget the Call To Action
Your SMS should always have a call to action (CTA). This could be something as simple as prompting the customer to visit your website or store. Whatever the case, make sure that your CTA is clear, concise, and easy to follow.
4. Don’t Forget to Segment Your Contacts
Creating a segmented list before you start your SMS marketing campaign is a crucial step that should not be overlooked. This will ensure that you send the right message to the right people at the right time. Some good segments include VIPs, engaged subscribers, repeat customers, inactive subscribers, etc.
Failing to segment your contacts see you sending irrelevant messages to people who have no interest in your product or service. This is a sure recipe for disaster and will only serve to frustrate your customers.
5. Don’t Use Too Much Industry Jargon
One mistake that many businesses make is trying to sound smart to their customers by using too much industry jargon in their text messages. The problem with this is that not everyone is familiar with the jargon. This means that important information may fall through the cracks.
To avoid this, always use simple and easy-to-understand language when sending out your SMS messages. This will ensure that everyone gets the message, and you don’t end up frustrating your customers. After all, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
6. Don’t Send Automated Messages
Customers can tell when they are receiving an automated message. This is because most of these messages sound robotic and lack the personal touch synonymous with SMSs. Tailor your messages to sound as personal as possible to avoid turning off your customers.
Best Practices for Using SMS for Your Business
Here’s a list of best practices to ensure you keep your business texting professional and effective:
- Enforce customer opt-in and opt-out options
- Keep your messages short and succinct
- Use professional language and avoid using slang and abbreviations
- Always provide value to the audience
- Segment your contacts to create value
- Schedule your messages in advance and maintain cadence
- Proofread your messages
- Include a call-to-action
- Make sure your messages are mobile-friendly
- Test, test, and test again before sending
- Monitor and track results
- Most important, shop around to find the right business text messaging solution for your business.
Wrapping It Up
When used correctly, business text messaging can be a powerful marketing and customer engagement tool. Text messaging for businesses is hyper-effective, cost-efficient, and easy to scale. With best practices in place, you can be sure your business is getting the most out of SMS.