Business Texting: How to Use Business SMS for Marketing
Short Message Service (SMS) solutions play a significant role in the mobile marketing activities of businesses of all sizes. Walmart, the Ford Motor Company, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin´ Donuts all complement their mobile marketing activities with business text marketing because of its broad reach and high level of engagement.
What is Business SMS?
Business SMS, or business texting, is using SMS messages, both internal and external, for your business. Examples include sending targeted promotions to customers, providing useful notifications and reminders, delivering customer support, recruiting new employees, and streamlining internal communication updates.
How to Use Business Texting
It’s not necessary to have a business the size of Walmart to benefit from business SMS marketing. Small and medium-sized companies can also use text marketing to engage with communities, attract new customers, and increase sales.
So how can you use text messaging in your business? Here are some examples of business texting tactics you can use to increase sales, improve customer service, and stay top of mind with customers.
Birthday & Customer Anniversary Messages
Birthday and anniversary greetings are a great way to build brand affinity for your business. Your contacts are usually in a good mood on these occasions, so tap into that goodwill and spread the cheer.
Advantages of Business Texting Anniversary & Birthday Messages
- Want to connect? Birthdays are a convenient way to reach out to your customer and remind them that you care about them with a personalized message. And your brand or business text message won't get lost in the long list of Facebook birthday messages
- A business text service like EZ Texting can integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems like Salesforce and automate birthday and anniversary sends at appropriate times and dates.
- Many businesses send customer anniversary thank you texts to show appreciation for their customers and remind them how long they've been meeting their needs.
Payment & Billing Reminders
Customers prefer online billing but may need a more attention-grabbing notice to remind them to pay their bills.
Advantages of Business Texting Payment & Billing Reminders
- If you are pitching business texting to your CFO, start here. Speeding up payments means better cash flow and a better business!
- Done correctly, customers LOVE friendly reminders that help keep them organized and give them the ability to take care of bills on the go.
Appointment Reminders & Scheduling
You won't be sending those billing reminders if your customers forget about their appointments!
Advantages of Business Texting Reminders & Scheduling
- Some companies rely on staff to make manual phone calls to remind customers of appointments but soon realize just how time-consuming (and expensive) that can be.
- Everyone loves texts! Your customers would probably prefer to receive a text rather than a phone call anyway, so automating those reminders through a business texting service is a great solution to consider.
- And, some contacts will want to schedule appointments by text, so give them that option.
Job-Opening Alerts to Job Seekers
The best talent doesn't stay on the market long. Employers want to make sure that those prospective employees apply as quickly as possible.
Advantages of Business Texting Job Alerts
- Offering a text alert to spotlight new job openings can speed up that process and help you get the best talent on board.
- Your business and your message will stand out from the crowd, rather than getting lost on overpopulated job boards like Indeed.
- You can also use texts to alert existing employees to new career opportunities or offer a reward for referrals that end up getting hired.
Text-to-Landline Customer Service
Texting can be an excellent way to enhance your customer service strategy. Many customers prefer to chat or text rather than call customer service.
Advantages of Business Texting Customer Service
- Business texting providers offer easy-to-use web browser portals for customer support texting.
- Providers like EZ Texting offer a mobile phone app to initiate one-to- one-to-one conversations, add new contacts, and reply to incoming messages or replies all from your mobile device.
- There is a good chance your contacts are already trying to text your landline, so make sure to tap into this opportunity to give your connections what they want. A business text messaging service provider will need to text-enable your landline.
One-Off Orders (Restaurants)
Some large restaurant chains have succeeded with custom smartphone apps for online ordering, but these apps can be prohibitively expensive.
Advantages of Business Texting for Restaurants
- Smaller restaurants use SMS marketing to promote new dishes and limited-time specials, announce company news, collect experience feedback, and take orders.
- You only have so much time to market your restaurant. You can start by simply creating promotional automated texts that you can switch out once a month.
Customer Preference Polls
Successful businesses keep their fingers on the pulse of customer demand to determine what they want and deliver it. But it can be expensive!
Advantages of Business Texting Customer Preference Polls
- Many companies use affordable texts to send text-to-vote SMS polls to gather these insights and segment their contacts by their interests for better personalization in the future.
- By determining which contacts prefer outdoor portraits to indoor, for instance, a photographer can text only the indoor clients with in-studio promotions.
Event Reminders, Updates, & Promotions
Event planners and coordinators are successfully using text messaging to engage and delight their attendees.
Advantages of Business Texting Event Reminders
- Event maestros send reminders before the event, updates in case of last-minute schedule changes, and gather feedback after the event ends.
- Other marketing pros are using text subscriptions for creative promotion during events.
- At the 2018 BroadwayCon, a digital marketing agency used a clever text messaging campaign to promote the new Mean Girls musical. After texting "fetch" to get the latest gossip, contacts received a funny selfie of the show’s star and subsequent "gossip" messages throughout the event.
Many companies are using texts to coordinate with remote workforces, as well as communicating with teams that are centrally located.
Advantages of Business Texting for Workforce Coordination
- Texts to employees work well for updates that need to go company-wide quickly, such as an office closure or other emergencies.
- Save money and time! Gathering the team for announcements can be frustrating and time-consuming, costly in terms of working hours.
- Need an agile workforce? Be a nimble communicator and staff shifts fast with SMS texting.
Creative marketers are conducting contests for increased customer loyalty.
Advantages of Business Texting Contests
- Participants can text a Keyword to your textable number to enter in the sweepstakes.
- Contests can be simple! For example, you might pick a random number out of a digital hat and send the winner(s) a prize that they can give to their father on Father's Day.
Get expert help from the professionals at EZ Texting.
How to Choose the Best SMS Platform for Business
Okay. You’ve decided that deploying an SMS solution for your business is an effective strategy to add to your marketing efforts. You’re ready to evaluate SMS platforms. But what are the criteria you should consider when choosing the best SMS platform for YOUR business?
Features You Can Use from Day One
- Reporting Dashboard: Does it have analytics to measure the performance of your campaigns and subscriber growth?
- Click-to-Join Widgets: Can you create “Click-to-Join” widgets to place on your websites and social media channels to attract a broader audience to your business?
- Tiny URLs: Are you able to abbreviate website links to tiny URLs, giving you the ability to track open and click through rates and more message space for marketing?
*Fun Fact: On average, 29% of contact clicks occurred on website links in SMS marketing messages, and 47% of click-throughs were purchased from the business.
*Source: EZ Texting Platform Data
With a scheduling feature, you can prepare recurring or drip campaigns in advance and save the templates you use for future use. Essential scheduling features should include the ability to:
- Schedule texts ahead of time, down to the precise minute.
- Set up recurring messages for automated marketing communications to stay top of mind.
- Change your mind? Edit scheduled texts or delete them before a scheduled send.
Bulk texting is terrific if you can personalize it. Your platform should include the option to personalize each message with the recipients´ names, the opportunity to conduct Multimedia Message Service (MMS) marketing, and a poll builder to solicit customers´ opinions on any number of topics.
Integration with Your Business Systems
Your platform should be able to scale by offering REST and HTTP APIs for businesses that want to integrate a bulk texting platform into their applications.
How to Get Started with Business SMS - EZ Texting Is Fast & Easy
Here are five steps to get started with business texting. We’re using the EZ Texting platform in this example, but this process will work no matter the platform you choose for business SMS.
1. Sign Up for a Free Account
Most bulk SMS marketing services offer free trials, which include a few credits to help you test their system. EZ Texting has a simple sign-up process. Once you create an account, you'll find a helpful tour interface that will walk you through steps 2 and 3 below.
2. Send Yourself a Test Message
There's something magical about seeing and hearing your first test text notification on your phone. That's the reason we made that the first step after account creation.
No matter which service you use, you should begin by sending yourself a test text. As you compose your message, look for options to use prebuilt templates organized by industry and the ability to personalize messages with information in the contact database.
It's also helpful to keep an eye on the preview pane to see how your text will look to recipients. Some mass text messaging platforms show a live preview which populates in real-time as you type out your message.
3. Upload & Segment Contacts
Now that you have a text marketing test under your belt, it's time to upload and segment your current list of subscribers. This can either be done by copy and paste or by uploading a spreadsheet.
Make sure to upload any contact information that you may use to separate your contacts into groups to send them relevant messages. Because text messages are more personal and demand attention from the recipient, it's crucial to ensure that your texts are on-topic.
If you send communications that aren't of interest to your contacts, they'll be likely to reply 'STOP' in a hurry.
Given the importance of relevance in text marketing, one of the essential features of a business text messaging app is segmenting contacts into groups.
You should also consider creating groups to segment contacts by purchase history, customer status, text marketing activity, or demographic information. Use a description for each group that is short and identifies the criteria for the contacts who are in it. Here is an example of a set of groups a marketer might use to get started with segmentation.
In EZ Texting, you can create as many groups as you like. New accounts are pre-populated with three groups: Keywords, Widgets, and Tests. The Keyword and Widget groups are used to separate contacts by the method they opted-in to your list.
4. Setup & Promote Keywords to Grow Your List
Text message marketing is a permission-based activity. Just because you have someone's cell number and email address, and they've given you permission to email them doesn't mean you have permission to text them. So growing your text marketing list deserves some thought. It pays to be proactive to get your subscription list off the ground and make sure your text marketing efforts deliver returns.
To begin, your first strategy should be growing your contact list by getting people to opt in. Begin by sending a Keyword to a short code. Keywords have to be 12 characters or less that customers use to join subscriber lists. Once you've set up your Keyword and autoresponder, promote your Keyword and opt-in incentive across all your marketing collateral. Best-practice examples include:
- Put it on in-store signage.
- Send it to your email contacts.
- Promote it on your social channels.
- Add it to your email signature.
5. Send Powerful Campaigns
Now that you have your account set up with groups and Keywords to grow your list on autopilot, it's time to start marketing.
There are several types of text message marketing campaigns available to you. Decide which campaigns will help you accomplish your business goals. Some options include:
- Text Reminder Campaigns
- Text Alerts
- Contact Birthday Messages
- Job Opening Alerts
- Discounts & Specials
- Order Confirmations
- Text-to-Vote Polls
When sending text message marketing campaigns, here are some guidelines to get you started:
- Don't Send Too Often
- Send at the Right Time of Day
- Keep a Consistent Brand Voice
- Include a CTA
- Mention Who the Text is From