SMS, technically known as Short Message Service, and simply known as texting, is used by millions of mobile users each and every day to quickly communicate everything from dinner reservations and doctor appointments to letting a teen update their parents on their whereabouts. Big businesses like retail and your favorite restaurants use SMS marketing to alert you of sales and 10% off your next burrito. The beauty of SMS marketing is that it is now dirt cheap for even the smallest of businesses and the results can be just as impactful as the big guys.
If you run a business with less than 10 clients, you may be able to get away with texting each client a separate text message when you have some update about your business. But what we’re talking about is using mass SMS marketing to communicate your message with hundreds or even thousands of clients simultaneously – setting up autoresponders when someone joins your SMS list and being able to track it. This ultimately builds better engagement with customers, helping your business grow.
A recent report claimed that some mobile users check their phone unknowingly up to 80 times per day. While I’m certainly nowhere near that rate, that staggering fact does partially explain why text messages have an open rate in the high double-digits (70-80%) compared to emails that can sit unread in an inbox for days with an open rate below 20%.
So what businesses can benefit most from SMS marketing? Typically service businesses where you have recurring customers that need your service several times a year, or even every month. But even businesses that sell you a one-time large purchase, like an auto dealer, have found ways to continually engage you by text – think oil change reminders and offers to trade in your vehicle.
Here are our picks for small businesses that can increase customer engagement and grow their client base through the use of SMS marketing:
CPAs and Tax Preparers – This type of business has clients that include individuals and business owners. While most only have to worry about filing taxes once per year, there are a lot of tax tips that people often forget throughout the year. SMS marketing is a great way to send tax tips periodically.
Real Estate Wholesalers – There are a lot of real estate investors in almost every city looking for the next great property to rehab and flip. Wholesalers who want to quickly alert their real estate investors about a new property they have under contract can definitely benefit from the speed of SMS marketing.
Local Restaurants – If you own a local coffee shop or cupcake place, you want customers coming back at least several times a year. SMS marketing is a great way to promote discounts to customers that join your exclusive SMS mailing list.
Handyman – If you run a handyman business then you clearly know that most homeowners often forget or don’t have time to do basic maintenance on their homes throughout the year. Reminders to check smoke alarms, replace the HVAC air filters and more can all be sent as part of a recurring SMS marketing campaign. When homeowners see your texts, they’ll be more likely to call you to finally fix something else that’s been broken in their home for months.
Fitness Coaches and Personal Trainers – This is an easy one. Most people are not self-motivated to work out on a regular schedule. Blasting your clients text messages once per week is a constant way to keep them honest about their workout routines.
Tutors – This one most people don’t think about. Maybe you offer SAT prep services to a group of high school students in your community. A great way to keep them fresh in prep for exams is to send out a new math problem each week or maybe send them to a web page with a new set of problems to solve each month.
Massage Therapists – People who have experienced the benefits of regular massage tend to go back, but sometimes life gets busy. Monthly health reminders and wellness tips will keep your clients engaged and they will in turn remember to make an appointment with you.
Hair and Nails – The plight women go through to keep “their look” should not be lost on anyone. However, there is probably not a woman on the planet who hasn’t gone longer than they wanted to just due to life getting in the way, once again. Hairdressers and nail salons can use SMS marketing to promote their discounts regularly, which is usually enough incentive to get people back in the door.
Auto Mechanics – If you run a local auto shop, the list of SMS reminders you can send to your client base is almost endless. You can text everything from winterization reminders, to safe driving tips. When something really breaks, drivers will be more likely to use your shop.
There are many more types of businesses that can benefit from SMS marketing, but hopefully this spurs some thoughts on how you can use this powerful tool to stay top of mind in a busy, mobile-driven world.
You can start your own SMS campaigns for less than $20 per month which gives you the ability to send a few texts each month. More than once per week tends to get viewed as spam, so you want to be careful in your text marketing strategy.
If you’re ready to start SMS marketing, a great place to visit is TXTsigns.com to learn more.
Welcome to StepChange (StpChg). A blog about financial empowerment. Get insights about how to start a business, entrepreneurship, investing, real estate, financial literacy, and more.