By: EZ Texting
Regardless of your experience in business, you need a social media presence. Social media allows you to connect with potential customers, establish your authority in the industry, and improve customer retention all at the same time.
If you're not a social media maven, use these tips to start putting your business on the digital map.
You don't have to join every social network in the world to help your business succeed. In fact, if you're active on too many social platforms, you risk splitting your focus and giving each one halfhearted attention.
Start with one or two of the larger social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. From there, branch out into a couple niche social platforms. These sites aggregate users based on their interests, which could make them more valuable. You'll gain fewer followers, but every person with whom you connect will have a built-in interest in your business.
Follow the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule exists to prevent spam on social media and to help brands create positive messaging. Though it's not set in stone, it can solidify your reputation on social media and prevent you from alienating your followers.
About 80 percent of your content should focus on educating, inspiring, or entertaining your audience. In other words, it should contain no self-promotion. You could publish how-to tips, give advice, point readers to other people's content, or make an astute observation about the industry.
The other 20 percent can involve marketing your business. Use this content to announce product launches, link to your content outside of the social platform, encourage people to buy your products or services, and let your readers know about upcoming or current promotions.
Publish Valuable Content
You don't have to Tweet every 15 minutes or update your Facebook status twice an hour. In fact, if you only publish when you have something important to say, your audience will trust you to fill their feeds with useful content.
Plus, you can spend more time crafting your social media posts. The content that goes viral typically takes time to create, so don't rush the process. You might discover that thoughtful content spreads much farther and far faster than posts you rattle off in a hurry.
Did you know that three-quarters of Facebook posts contain images? There's a reason for that. Social media posts that contain images get shared more often and call attention to themselves.
That's why billboards work so well. We're automatically drawn to works of art, whether they're photographs, illustrations, or unique typography. You can use this tendency to your advantage.
Join a stock photography website or ask your in-house graphic designer to focus on creating imagery just for social media.
You might not get the hang of social media right away, but soon you'll grow to love it. The more active you become on your chosen social media outlets, the more visible your brand becomes.
You can also use social media to promote your EZ Texting campaign. Whether you're sending out special coupons or letting customers know about recent promotions, sign up for free and start connecting with your audience on a more intimate level.
By: EZ Texting
How can you keep your customers connected to your business?
Finders, keepers: you know that you need to find new customers, but how do you keep them once you've connected with those customers? According to the Harvard Business Review, "acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one." As a small business owner, you need to safeguard your investment in your customers. What are some techniques that you can use to increase customer retention?
1. Standout Employees
Your employees need to be trained not just to do their jobs but to excel at customer service. What does a well-trained employee know?
- How to ask questions to get information about customers
- How to answer customers' questions
- How to show authentic interest in customers' needs
- How to connect with customers who are upset
- How to interact with customers in person, on the phone, and online, and how these are different
- How to show expertise in an area, not just competency
Not everyone belongs behind a customer service desk or on the floor as a salesperson. Hire people who are naturals at engaging with customers so that you don't need to retrain or reassign grouchy or quiet staff.
2. Develop a Loyalty Program
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, "regulars can be the best word of mouth for your business." Treat your ongoing customers well, and they'll not only return, but they'll also bring their friends. Find out what products your regulars purchase and offer discounts or promotions on those products. Give them access to a loyalty program with exclusive promotions that they'll only receive when they sign up for the program.
3. Build Relationships Online
Social media is a way to cement your ongoing relationships with your customers. If you can get people to follow you on different social media platforms, you can use these venues to make offers, ask questions, and invite your customers to share their experiences. Sharing these experiences online can also connect you to other prospective customers, as customers mention your deals or share your quotes, ideas, and questions with others. Social media is also a way to learn about your customers' values and show how you share those values with your customers.
Connect with your customers through targeted text messaging
4. Develop Strong Communication Methods
How do you talk with your customers? Developing ongoing communication methods is a way to remind customers to return to your business and cement your relationship. It's also a way of becoming a trusted, reliable resource in your customers' lives.
Segmented email lists can help you communicate with a specific sub-group of your customers, offering them news and opportunities that suit their particular needs.
Blog posts connect you to interested customers and help your existing customers understand new issues in your field, establishing your business as an expert.
Did you know that more than 95% of text messages are read within 5 minutes of receipt? This far exceeds the open rate of an email, and you can easily customize and target your text messages as well. Whether you're sending your customers a reminder to complete an order or connecting with them about an upcoming deal, sending your customers a text message can be the convenient reminder that they need to engage with your business.
Are you curious to see how text messages can help you connect with your customers? At EZ Texting, we're here to support your customer relationships. Increase your customer loyalty through text messaging: sign up for free today.
By: EZ Texting
Offering mobile coupons to your SMS marketing program subscribers is a great way to encourage them to make a purchase. The important thing is to find a coupon that entices them to take action. If you are stuck for ideas, try one of the following common mobile coupon options.
Send your texting campaign subscribers a coupon for a free gift and see your sales go up.
The word "free" is a powerful motivating force. Even free gifts with small monetary values can have a significant impact on a person's decision to buy something from you. That is why it is so common for businesses to offer a free gift, especially one with purchase.
If you do offer a free gift with purchase, make sure that the math makes sense for your products. For example, if you are a business that sells high-end luxury items, then you might be able to give away a free gift valued at $50 on purchases over $200. However, if you are a bookstore, then you might want to give away a free bookmark or book light with a value of under $5 with any purchase of $15 or more.
The most important component of a free gift coupon is that the gift is something that your customers want. The monetary value is not the deciding factor. It is more important that it is something that they might have bought. This makes it feel even more like a deal when they get it for free.
Percentage Off a Purchase
Another common coupon deal is a percentage off of a purchase. This might be a blanket 30 percent off any purchase, or you might decide to make it more specific — such as 30 percent off of purchases of $50 or more. To determine the right amount, you need to know how much you can shave off of the price without sacrificing your profit margin. These types of coupons will bring in more business, which helps your bottom line. However, you do not want to give such a large percentage off that you ultimately lose money.
Conversely, you do not want to have a deal that is so small that people barely see it as worthwhile. Although you might want to save a 50 percent off coupon for certain times of the year when you are trying to clear merchandise, you also do not want to offer customers too little motivation, with just 5 or 10 percent off. Twenty percent is a good starting point for a strong coupon.
It is also beneficial to have an increasing percentage off based on how much people buy. For example, you could have 15 percent off of a purchase of $50 or more, and then have that increase to 25 percent for purchases of $100 or more. This type of coupon rewards customers for spending more money, which makes them feel like they saved more while helping you to make more despite the higher discount.
Dollar Amount Off a Purchase
A similar coupon is a dollar amount off of a purchase rather than a percentage. For example, you could offer $15 off of a $50 purchase. Some customers will see a dollar off as a better deal than a percentage, even though it is almost the same thing. If someone were to spend $50 at your store and get $15 off, it is a 30 percent discount. If they had a 30 percent discount and also spent $50, they would pay the same.
One aspect of this type of coupon that is nice is that the business typically comes out the winner. If someone has a $15 off of $50 coupon, then it is likely they will end up spending much more than just $50. This decreases their savings, but the customer still feels as though they got a deal. Therefore, at the end of the day, you have won in two ways, through a more beneficial customer experience and increased profit.
Move excess inventory with a special exclusive BOGO sale to your texting customers.
Another highly motivating coupon deal is buy-one-get-one or BOGO. This can be BOGO free or BOGO for a certain amount. Although buy-one-get-one-free is the more common deal, it is also possible to have deals such as:
- Buy one get one for $5 (or another amount)
- Buy one get one for half off (or another percentage)
Either way, this deal works well because it motivates the customer to buy more. They only get the discount if they buy in pairs. Therefore, if they want one thing, they will try to find something else to buy to get the discount. It is a great way to help move product at the end of the season while maximizing your profits on the sale.
These are the four most common types of coupons you will see in SMS marketing programs. You can easily take these formulas and create your own spin to it that resonates with your customers and reflects your business identity.
Sign up for free and see how well your customers respond to these mobile coupons.
By: EZ Texting
As someone involved in the marketing process for your small business, you probably hear a lot about how content is king. While this typically relates to longer form content, such as blog posts and whitepapers, shorter form content like text messages is also important to your business. Think of it this way: because you only have 160 characters to work with in a text, every single character that you use matters that much more.
Word Choice Is Essential
Take the time to cultivate strong content when you craft your text messages.
Across all marketing channels, word choice plays a key role in your success. The words you choose can change the tone and message of your content. For your texting campaign, the right words have the potential to affect the outcome of your efforts. After all, you do not have a lot of room to impart your message, so you have to choose the right words from the get-go.
Take for example the following two texts:
- Show this text for a free muffin with coffee purchase.
- Need a pick me up in the morning? Get a free muffin when you purchase a coffee and show this text. Act fast, this deal ends on [date].
They say the same thing. However, the second example has more character to it, so it may garner a better response from your subscribers.
To craft strong text message content, choose active verbs that motivate people to act. Include additional words to create a sense of urgency and make people feel like they are going to miss out on something important. Your message should also adhere to your overall brand tone and voice.
Find Ways to Motivate and Engage
An effective texting campaign drives your customers to take action. It also provides an opportunity to engage with customers. Often, the customer experience matters more than price and other factors when shoppers choose where to do business. Therefore, you want to find ways that enhance the customer experience as well.
How can you achieve this with your texting campaign? By providing the right content. Ultimately, you want to send out content that is:
If you focus on these elements when you develop the content of your text messages, then you will create a stronger campaign that helps you to reach your goals. What are some messages to which customers respond well?
- Appointment reminders
- Coupons and deals
- Event invites
- VIP access
- Customer service inquiries
- Polls and services
Although these types of messages inherently provide value and service to customers, you still want to be careful about what words you use. The right message will go above and beyond to engage with customers and give them what they want and need. However, the wrong word choice and message could lead to a lackluster response, or even worse.
An Important Piece of Your Brand Identity
The content you choose to send in your texting campaign needs to adhere to your brand voice and tone. This is another reason why it is important to focus on what information you provide, words you use, and message you send. Even something as simple as offering a deal or discount can either be dry or infused with your personality. For example:
- Shop our two-for-one sale. Hurry, offer ends on [date]. Click here or show this text in store.
- Time to refresh your wardrobe! Take advantage of our BYGO Free sale for a new style without breaking the bank. Click here or show this text. Ends on [date].
This is another example of how the same underlying meaning can be conveyed in different ways. Infusing your messages with personality helps to cultivate a relationship with your customers and adds another dimension to your brand identity. The content you send matters.
Texting and Content Marketing
Integrate your texting campaign with your other marketing channels for extra benefit.
Although texting in itself may not be considered content marketing, it can be easily integrated with your content marketing efforts. Marketing across channels helps you to cross-promote other content. For example, you can send a text message with a link to your online content. Online content might include a blog post, a whitepaper, a video, a social media post, or some other component of your digital property.
Although cross-promotion can help to increase the engagement with your potential customers, it's important to show some caution as to how often you share your other content via your text messages. Each channel should have its own unique identity. This gives people a reason to follow your business on multiple channels without getting bored.
Therefore, save cross-promotion for the most important digital content that you feel everyone needs to see. You can do the same with your other marketing channels in regards to your texting campaign. Occasionally, let followers of your digital channels know about your texting program through a blog post, a social media post, or some other type of content.
Even though you are only working with 160 characters, do not dismiss the importance of the actual content within your texting campaign messages. It provides additional ways to engage with customers and motivate them to purchase your goods or services. Additionally, your texting content helps you to develop relationships and enhance your brand identity. The words you choose ultimately have a lot of power in your program. So, even in such a short-form medium, content remains king.
Sign up for free and start developing strong texting content that will help you achieve your business goals.
By: EZ Texting
You began an SMS marketing program after hearing about all the lucrative benefits, including a high open rate and an impressive conversion rate. But are you doing all you can to optimize your program and achieve your small business goals?
As with most marketing mediums, you need to make sure to put in some extra effort to get the most out of text marketing. There are a few simple actions you can take to bring your program to the next level.
Making mobile shopping easy
Make it easy for your customers to make a purchase on their phone with a coupon you sent via text.
Many people use their phones as a shopping tool. Nineteen percent of Americans rely on their smartphones to access the internet due to having limited or no internet access at home. Even those who have multiple devices spend time on their phones comparing items and prices and making purchases. Therefore, if you have an online store, whether or not you also have a brick and mortar store, you want to make sure to make mobile shopping easy.
How do you do this? Two ways. First, you want to include a link in the text messages you send that opens relevant page on your website. For example, if you are highlighting a new product that you think your clients might like, include a direct link. If you are sending out a coupon or offer, make it automatically apply so that they do not have to go back and forth between the message and the web page to redeem their offer. Also, simplify the checkout process to minimize abandoned shopping carts.
You might be thinking: "I only have a brick and mortar store, so this does not apply to my business." Well, there are a few things that you can take from this and apply to your texting campaign. You can still share relevant links to your mobile-friendly web page or social media profile to increase engagement with customers. Many people also will search for stores while they are already out and about or look for information online while in a store, so having a mobile-friendly web page is always a good idea, even if you do not offer online shopping.
Leveraging mobile coupons
Many SMS marketing programs include mobile coupons in some form or fashion. They are important motivating factors for customers seeking a good deal. However, it takes more than simply sending out a coupon to harness the power of the texting offer.
Almost 90 percent of mobile coupon users will redeem their coupon for both online and offline shopping. Mobile coupons are easier to use since customers already have their phones with them. When you send a text message offer to your customers, it is the same thing. They will have their phone on them and can simply show the message at checkout or apply it when shopping online, as mentioned above.
However, this only works if it is easy for them to redeem the mobile coupons. Therefore, you must make sure that you reduce the risk that it will be troublesome to redeem. You can do this in a few ways:
- Train your employees
- Communicate with your staff
- Make it easy to scan at checkout or a simple code
- Be sure to code it into your point of sale system
Leveraging mobile coupons is not just about making it easy for customers to redeem them, although that is a major part. It is also about making them an attractive offer. You want to send out something that makes people want to head to your store to redeem it. There are a few common motivators for coupons:
- The right discount or offer
- Limited time
By including all three aspects, you create a coupon that people cannot refuse. Start by coming up with the right offer or discount, such as a gift, a percentage off of the purchase, or some other discount. It is beneficial to rotate your discount type so that people do not get bored.
You also want to make your coupons expire to motivate people to use them right away. In addition to including a due date, pepper your text with language that imparts a sense of urgency. Also, make sure that your coupon is not available on any other channel. You want to give people a reason to join your texting list and remain subscribers. Every coupon should also be unique so that people do not simply feel they can wait to redeem it when it shows up again.
Developing effective SMS marketing content
SMS marketing might rely upon 160 characters per message, but that does not mean that you simply send out a few words without putting any thought into them. It takes some time to develop the right message. Messages should:
- Convey your meaning
- Motivate action
- Engage customers
The right word choices help you to do this while staying within your character limit. Focus on one theme or subject per message to make it easier to craft a short message. Incorporate strong action verbs and include some words that add some urgency, as discussed above.
Get your team together to write relevant and valuable content that converts.
Also, keep your messages interesting for your subscribers. Add some personalization and personality, but always make sure to remain professional and adhere to your brand voice.
To optimize your content, be sure that you create a call-to-action. If your message is simply informational, then there is no reason for your customers to act. However, if you encourage them to take a follow-up action, then it increases engagement and the chance that they will take the next step.
Balancing message timing with an always-on society
People always carry their phones with them, checking them throughout the day. Some people even check their phones throughout the night for messages. As a result, text messages have an incredible 98 percent open rate, and messages are often opened within just a few minutes of receipt. It can be tempting to not worry about when you send your messages since people are going to look at their phones anyway.
However, you still need to respect your clients and their time. Just because they might check their phones in the middle of the night does not mean you should send messages at this time. Find ways to balance your timing with the concept of the always-on society.
To do this, consider the ideal times to send a text to your target demographic. Would they prefer to receive a text in the morning when they are eating breakfast, or would they rather receive marketing texts after work? Are they more responsive to weekday texts or weekend texts? A lot of this depends upon their interaction with your business, so you will have to review your analytics to determine the most effective message timing.
There are a few things that you can do to leverage the constant checking of phones without worrying about sending messages at an inopportune moment. You can share last-minute, limited time offers. For example, restaurants can send out a coupon for lunch just an hour before lunchtime to motivate people to choose their location for lunch that day. Online stores can have a flash sale in the middle of the day. Nightclubs can send out a text early in the evening to drive business when it looks like a slow night.
It might take time for you to find the ideal timing for your text messages. When you test times, always err on the side of respect. Avoid texting too late at night or too early in the morning. Beyond that, you just need to get a sense of your clients' schedules and habits. Then, you can decide the best time to send out messages to leverage a quick response.
Getting to know your customers better
To harness the benefits of SMS marketing, you must know your customers. The best content is highly relevant and of value to the recipient. It needs to be tailored and customized to their preferences and experiences. The only way to do this is to know your customers, their demographics, their habits, and their psychographics.
How do you get all this information? Well, there are a few ways to go about it:
- Conduct market research
- Talk one-on-one with customers
- Run a survey or take polls
- Look at your data collection across platforms
- Create one or more marketing personas based on your clientele
The more information you have about your current and/or prospective clients, the better your text message content will be.
Integrating text marketing across channels
Customers expect a seamless experience across all channels, including texting.
The best way to get the most out of your texting campaign is to make sure that it is part of an omnichannel marketing experience for your customers. Make it easy for people to engage with your business across channels, including email, social media, and texting. Promote your texting program through other platforms, but ensure you're offering original content and offers across channels.
How does this help your texting campaign? The answer is simple. Instead of duplicating your efforts, each marketing effort will complement the other. Sharing unique content across platforms ensures that people will have a reason to engage with your business on more than one channel.
These are just a few ways your small business can harness the lucrative benefits of text message marketing. Before long, you will see your program start to deliver the promised results, bringing you that much closer to achieving your business goals.
Sign up for free and get started on building a strong campaign to boost your business.
By: EZ Texting
In fact, 2016 saw an all-time high of over 7.8 million small and medium-sized businesses in the United States. And while each of those businesses may be small, their collective voice -- and the contributions they make -- are enormous. During Small Business Week, we recognize and celebrate those contributions and the passions that drive them.
Small businesses and the communities they serve support each other. Communities clearly benefit from having local businesses that are invested in their wellbeing. And 95% of small businesses generate sales locally, with 60% confirming that selling directly to their communities is a key element to their success. It's win-win.
But no one said it's easy.
There's a lot that keeps small business owners up at night. Amid changing business regulations and rising costs, small businesses -- just like their larger counterparts -- need to consistently:
- Attract new customers,
- Maintain and grow their existing customers, and
- Find and keep strong employees,
A robust communications strategy is key to conquering each of these.
Prospective customers need to understand the value of a business's products and services; existing customers need to know they're recognized and valued; and employees need to be kept in the loop with clear and transparent messaging.
All of these groups are inundated with daily messaging -- drowning in emails, distracted by phone calls. So how do the best performing small businesses cut through all that noise to really connect with their contacts?
When is the last time you ignored or missed a text message? Exactly. Fully 99% of text messages are opened, compared to 22% of emails. If you're relying on email, you're missing out.
We've got you covered.
While we can't rein in the rising costs of doing business, we can set you up for success with the most cost-effective communications solution available. Want some help getting started? Our team of Client Success Managers can get you on the right path.
Less worry. More sleep.
So join us in celebrating Small Business Week from April 30 to May 6. Share your story! Inspire others! And be sure to check out the U.S. Small Business Administration's free small business-related webinars for helpful insights and tips.
Thank you for all that you do.
Source: The Business Journals' "2017 SMB Insights"
By: EZ Texting
Text message marketing adds value to your business and can enhance the overall client experience. A better client experience often leads to an increase in positive word-of-mouth marketing, which can help you connect with new customers. To get the most out of this channel, it's important to be aware of the many different types of messages you can send to your clients.
Reduce no-shows by implementing text message appointment reminders.
If your business offers services to clients, it is likely that you have some type of appointment setup. Although appointments help you structure your schedule so that each client has sufficient time with your staff members, appointments also mean that you are left without business when clients don't show up. Appointment reminders reduce the number of no-shows, especially if you use the right communication channels.
Text messages have a high open rate and are often opened within a few seconds of receipt. This makes them perfect for sharing appointment reminders. You can send your reminders within 24 hours of client appointments, reducing the chance that someone's schedule will change or they will forget. You can also feel confident that your client will see your message. Text message appointment reminders can help you reduce your number of no-shows.
A good customer experience is a key component of your service business. Every interaction your business has with customers should help them in some way. Consider using your texting campaign to send out helpful tips that ultimately improve your customer service capabilities.
The content you share will differ depending on your type of business, but it might include information about your sales, service hours, appointment availability, and other aspects of your business. You can also simply send out helpful hints or tips. For example, salons may share beauty tips and mechanics may share auto maintenance tips.
Offers and deals
Offers and deals are often the first message type that businesses consider when developing a texting campaign. You definitely want to include them in your cache of message types, since 9 out of 10 mobile coupon users redeem their offers. Plus, offers are always a great way to boost business, since people are always looking for a deal.
Just be careful not to send out too many offers and deals. This may reduce the impact of your offers, since people will simply wait to use the next one, or the one after that. Find a balance between too many offers and not enough offers.
Your texting campaign can be used as a way to send basic information to your clients, especially about any events you might be hosting or changes to your business. These might include:
- Exclusive access
- New staff members
- Change in hours
- Opening a new location
- A fundraiser for a charity
- A community event in which you are participating
- Customer appreciation party
- A holiday party or other event
You can also consider developing a text-to-win contest for your clients. Simply choose a short code or long code and some contest keywords. Your clients can then send a keyword to your short code or long code to sign up to win something. At the end of the run, you randomly select a winner. For added impact, give everyone some reward for signing up, such as a discount on services or a small free gift.
Polls and Surveys
Text messages are a two-way communication channel, and it is important that you take advantage of that with your texting campaign. This is where polls and surveys come into play. It is easy to run a texting poll. You simply need to send out a question and a list of potential answers. These are keywords that your clients text back to submit their vote. Then, you see which word had the greatest response.
You can use polls as a guide to make changes in your business, or you can simply engage with customers with a fun poll. For times where you need more in-depth answers, it is possible to send out a link to an online survey for your customers to fill out. Just make sure it is mobile friendly.
Let your customers text you with problems or questions to improve your customer service.
Another way to take advantage of the two-way communication component of texting is to use it as a way to handle customer service inquiries. Often, customers prefer to ask questions via text message because it's convenient. Providing this communication option is a proactive way of creating a more positive experience for your customers. This increases the chance of a successful resolution of any issues.
Use these message types to create value for your clients. By doing this, you will create a program that improves the customer experience. Ready to get started? Sign up for free and try out one or more of these type of messages for your texting campaign.
By: EZ Texting
When clients miss an appointment, it costs your company money. You still have to pay for employee and operating costs, but you receive no revenue. Unless you overbook or have sufficient walk-in clients, you will find your revenue consistently taking a hit from too many missed appointments. One of the biggest reasons for no-shows? Clients simply forget about their appointment -- or they forget to reschedule.
By making it easy for clients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule appointments, you not only reduce your number of no-shows but you also improve your customer service. SMS marketing is a simple and cost-effective tool for appointment reminders. Almost everyone carries a cell phone, and most have it with them all the time and check it almost 50 times a day. Plus, text messages have an almost 100 percent open rate.
Your clients can confirm an appointment at any time from anywhere with a text.
When you send appointment reminders via text message, follow a few simple best practices to get the most out of the service.
1. Keep it Simple and Effective
SMS marketing gives you just 160 characters to work with, and this is perfect for an appointment reminder. You simply need to include the following information in your text:
- Reason for appointment
- Location if applicable
- Call to action
The client should already have some basic information about your company, even if they are a first-time visitor. After all, they did book an appointment with you! Therefore, get straight to the point and provide the information needed to remind them about their appointment and then motivate them to confirm it, reschedule it, or cancel it.
2. Make it Personal
Just because your SMS marketing messages are short and simple does not mean they cannot be personal. With an appointment reminder, it is easy to remain brief while imparting a personal touch that corresponds with your brand identity. For example, rather than sending a text that simply says appointment reminder for tomorrow at 5 p.m., you could write something like:
- Hi Mary, This is a reminder for your haircut with Beth on 4/6 at 3 PM. Please text YES to confirm or NO to cancel or call 555-555-5555 to reschedule.
If you were a client, which message would you prefer to see? Remember, every message you send represents your brand. Adding a personal touch demonstrates that you care about each of your clients.
3. Timing Counts
An essential component of the appointment reminder is timing. Send it too early, and you still risk people forgetting and becoming a no-show. Send it too late, and even if they cancel or reschedule, you are left with an open appointment with no client to fill it. The correct timing for your company depends on your services, your clientele, and how quickly you can fill the appointment. However, a good rule of thumb is to send it about 24 hours in advance.
You can play around with the timing to see if it works better to text the morning of the appointment or two days before, or any other schedule. By monitoring your program's analytics, you will see at what time led to the lowest number of missed appointments.
4. Consider Client Preferences
As with any aspect of your company, client preferences need to be front and center with your appointment reminders. Some of your clients might prefer to receive their reminders through email or phone calls, despite the ease of texting. Always cater to their preferences as much as possible.
When a client schedules an appointment, provide a list of options for appointment reminders and other communications they receive from you. For example, a client might check a box to receive text notifications, email notifications, etc. Keep your list organized so that you have a clear understanding of which subscribers receieve which messages, such as appointment reminders and transactional messages, and those who also wish to receive marketing messages.
5. Make Confirmations and Rescheduling Easy
Make it simple to confirm, and you will see your number of no-shows go down.
A client-friendly text message appointment reminder program makes it easy for your customers to confirm their appointment -- and to cancel or reschedule. Don't make your customers go out of their way to cancel or reschedule, as this may lead to no-show appointments. Instead, set up a way for them to easily text back to confirm, cancel, or reschedule.
The easiest way to do this is to have your clients text one of three keywords: Yes to confirm, No to cancel, and Reschedule to reschedule. Then, you will be able to check the response and mark it in your appointment book. Some programs will even automatically confirm or cancel the appointments for you. Rescheduling is a little more complicated, but you can still get it handled with an automated service. You just need to have someone monitor your rescheduling texts and either:
- Call, text, or email the client to find a time and date for the new appointment
- Have your clients include their requested new time and date in the initial text. Then, you answer back a confirmation or the need for a new time and date.
How you handle rescheduling is ultimately up to you. You can also just stick with two keywords for confirming and canceling, and then include your number for rescheduling, like the example above.
Appointment reminders are easy to create and implement with your SMS marketing program. Sign up for free and get started with your appointment reminders and other SMS marketing messages.
By: EZ Texting
Communication is key for any business. For those in the service industry, it is essential to develop a strong communication program for your clients. They expect the best from you -- and they will make their decision on whether or not to patronize your business based on their experience with you. Therefore, you want to make the entire experience, from initial contact to follow up, as seamless and client-centric as possible. One way to do this is through SMS marketing and communication.
Why Service Businesses Should Use Texting
Spas, salons, auto repair shops and other businesses in the service industry benefit from texting campaigns.
Several service businesses may benefit from running a texting campaign, including health care practices, auto repair shops, spas, salons and more. Text messages provide an avenue for easy two-way communication between you and your current, future and past clientele that also helps to drive business.
There are a few main reasons why you should implement a texting program:
- Customers want it
- High open rates
- Immediate response
- Simple, yet impactful
Some businesses have resisted using SMS marketing and communications out of fear that potential clients do not want to be contacted by businesses via text message. This is not true. A majority of consumers feel text messages are a great way to communicate with businesses.
SMS marketing statistics do not lie. Texting is a powerful medium with potential for a high impact. Text messages have a 98 percent open rate and are typically opened within just a few minutes of receipt. This allows for an almost immediate reaction from your recipients.
What's more, you do not have to worry about whether or not your clients have access to a text. More people have mobile phones than computers. Even though not everyone has a smartphone, the majority of mobile phones are SMS-enabled. Therefore, you will have a communication channel that includes everyone, with no worry about subscribers missing your messages because they do not have access to email or social media.
Text message marketing is a cost-effective solution that can be used in many different ways. You can use texting to share promotional materials, as a customer service tool, and more. With all of the capabilities of this medium, your service business may be at a loss without it. Service professionals can also use texting to do the following:
- Simplify the customer experience
- Enhance customer service
- Streamline communication
In the service industry, it is essential to create a stellar customer experience that stands out from the competition. Adding SMS marketing to your communications arsenal is a small change with major effects. There are many different ways that you can use it to enhance your service to your customers.
Types of Messages to Send
Now that you know it is a good idea to get started with an SMS marketing program for your service business, it is time to learn more about the types of messages to send. There are a few key categories of messages:
- Offers and deals
- Customer service
- Transactional alerts
- Appointment reminders
- Event reminders
- Polls and surveys
- Contests and games
Offer your customers more than just coupons and deals with your text marketing campaign.
Companies often focus on using texts to share offers and deals with customers. This is because customers respond well to these types of messages. However, you do not want to solely focus your efforts on sending offers and deals; instead, this should be one component of your overall strategy.
In addition to offers and deals, it is beneficial to use text messages as a customer service tool. Customers often prefer contacting businesses through text in order to handle customer service issues. By providing a convenient way for them to get in touch, you simplify the customer experience and lay the groundwork for a more positive encounter. You can also send your customers receipts and other transactional messages through text messages.
Additionally, your texting campaign can be used to send your clients information about your business, such as changes to your office hours. You can also have fun with your messages, sharing polls and surveys to learn more about your customers and their expectations and wants. The only limitation on what type of messages you send out is your creativity. A good rule of thumb to remember: only send things that resonate with your clients so that they remain part of your program.
In addition to the messages you send out to your subscribers, you also can use texting as a marketing tool. Simply add a keyword, your short code and short instructions to your existing advertisements. People carry their phone with them at all times, so no matter where they see your ad, they can send you a text to find out more information about your company.
Benefits of Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminders are one of the more popular text message options for businesses in the service industry. This type of message helps businesses in a few different ways:
- Reduce no-shows
- Improve customer service
- Increase profit potential
When a client misses an appointment, you lose money. This is because you retain your operating cost but will have no source of income for that period of time. Therefore, it is essential to reduce your number of no-shows. One of the biggest reasons that people miss appointments? They forget about them. That is why appointment reminders are so important.
So why should you use an SMS marketing program rather than email or voice calls? Because of the high open rates, and the potential for immediate response. People do not always check their email or listen to voicemail messages. However, they do tend to read their texts, which increases the likelihood that they'll remember their appointment with you.
Consider asking your clients via text message to respond YES to confirm their appointment, or NO to reschedule. This allows you to be more efficient while increasing your profit potential. Your clients will be more likely to keep their appointments, and you won't miss out on business due to no-shows.
When you implement an SMS marketing program, ensure that you remain compliant with communication regulations. As a service professional, it is even more important to adhere to guidelines to maintain a positive client experience.
One of the most important guidelines states that you must obtain written permission to text every person on your subscriber list. You can get this permission through:
- Opt-in texts
- Online forms
- In-person forms
When new clients fill out their paperwork, you have the chance to inquire whether they would like to receive text messages from your business. You can also add a text message CTA to your marketing materials encouraging people to opt-in to find out more about your company. However, you always want to send a confirmation text with program details to ensure that those who've opted-in actually want to sign up. They will need to confirm their opt-in before they can be added to your subscriber list.
Other aspects of compliance include:
- Retaining records for at least four years
- Providing opt-out instructions on a regular basis
- Not sending texts between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the client's time zone
Some service professionals might have to follow certain guidelines specific to their industry. For example, healthcare professionals also must consider certain patient privacy issues and other regulations. Be sure that you are aware of any communication issues that affect your industry.
Keep your customers happy by creating an SMS marketing strategy that follows established best practices.
In addition to specific regulations, there are also some basic best practices that you should follow with your SMS marketing program so that it remains client-focused:
- Limit the number of texts
- Text within appropriate times of day
- Focus on providing value
- Keep your content relevant
- Provide personalized and targeted content
The ideal number of texts you send out will depend on your program and the interest of your clients, but two to four messages per month is typical. Customers like to receive texts from businesses, but they do not like to receive them every day, and definitely not multiple times per day. Review your subscriber lists regularly to see if you are sending too many texts. How will you know? You will see an increase in your opt-outs.
You also want to send messages at appropriate times of the day. Avoid the early morning, rush hour and late at night. Focus on being respectful, and you will find a time that works well. This is another place that your subscriber lists will inform you of any problems.
Text message content also should remain relevant to your audience and provide something of value to them. You might only have 160 characters to convey your message, but that is sufficient to send information that they care about, such as a coupon or appointment reminder. You can also segment your subscriber list into groups based on different demographics and behavior patterns to create personalized messages that are even more relevant to your subscribers.
A good approach is to always put service first and then promote your business. Remember, you are in the business of providing excellent service to your clients, and your text message communications should reflect that. If you take a service first approach, then you will enhance your customer experience and reap the benefits of this lucrative marketing channel.
Sign up for free and start taking advantage of the many benefits of texting for your business.
By: EZ Texting
When social media first hit its stride, marketers became excited about the potential to interact with customers on a more personal level. Plus, they could increase organic traffic through utilizing the social network of customers. The social component of social media remains one of the main selling points of this marketing channel for businesses. Are there ways to gain a similar social benefit from other marketing channels?
With the right strategy, you can create social engagement with your SMS marketing program.
It is possible to run a texting campaign that creates social engagement for your company. However, this is only done if you do more with your message than simply inform companies or provide offers and deals. These types of messages have value; however, they will rarely lead to the same type of social engagement you can get from social media marketing. If you are looking to add some social engagement to your texting campaign, then focus on the following elements.
Polls and Surveys
One way to engage with customers is to run polls and surveys. This increases interaction with customers and makes them feel like you care about what they have to say. The right poll also gives them a level of connection with the company. For example, send out a poll to name a new menu item or product line based on the one with most votes. When customers see the item they chose implemented, they will feel as though they had a role in making it happen.
Polls and surveys do not need to simply help you to better serve your customers, although that is a significant component of their capabilities. They also can help you to facilitate more social interaction with customers. Occasionally, send out a poll to see what people like and dislike. For example, ask for people's favorite superhero or movie. When big events happen, such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl, get people to vote on who they think will win.
This brings the interaction with your company into a more social arena, something that they might talk about with their friends and family. The interaction is not directly tied to your company, but you ultimately benefit from the engagement and customer experience.
Games and Contests
Create games that get people excited so that they tell their friends.
Another way to implement social interaction with your customers is to run games or contests. This works similarly to polls. It is a way to get people to interact with your company that goes beyond simply shopping at your business or using your services. You can even create a game that ultimately provides them with more information about your goods or services.
For example, ask a multiple-choice question about your business or products. People can text in their answer. Then, you respond with the correct answer and some additional information about the product.
Instead of making the game specifically for your company, you can have an on-going trivia game with customers. You can raise the stakes by offering prizes for those who play. People love playing games, and the positive feelings they get from doing well in your quizzes will ultimately be associated with your brand, helping to increase customer loyalty down the line.
The right games or contests also have the potential to be shared with friends and family members, helping you to gain that organic reach that is so promising with social media marketing.
A texting campaign should never be considered as a one-way communication method. Texting is a two-way channel, and you need to be sure that you utilize it as such. Set up some keywords with automatic responses so that people can easily interact with you for additional information. Additionally, have someone monitor the platform and answer any inquiries. People like to use texting as a way to handle customer service issues.
When you implement two-way texting, be sure to:
- Respond quickly
- Be polite
- Remain professional
Depending on your industry, there might be ways to set up a two-way messaging system that answers customers' question about a wide range of topics not directly associated with your business. For example, if you sell computer goods and electronics, then you could operate a troubleshooting texting campaign that helps customers know when they need to get their computers fixed. If you work in the healthcare industry, then customers can text you about certain complaints to know whether or not they need to visit a doctor.
These additional services might not be as fun as a game or contest, but it does provide interactions with your customers that go a long way to building a relationship based on trust and respect. This, in turn, improves their overall experience with your company, which they will tell to their friends and family members. This raises your word of mouth referrals, the ultimate form of marketing.
Texting a Friend
Speaking of word of mouth referrals, another way that a texting campaign can create social engagement for your company is through texting a friend campaigns. One of the benefits of social media marketing is that customers can easily share with their friends and even tag them in a post. This introduces friends to your company, helping to spread the reach of your company.
A texting campaign has the potential to do a similar action through someone forwarding the text to a friend. Most smartphones have the capability to forward texts from one person to the next. This makes it easy for people to share deals, offers, information, contests and other information with their friends. Provide incentives for doing so, and see your texting campaign grow through social networking.
Add some MMS
Media in text messages is another way to increase engagement and shares.
Another way to interact with customers as a way to engage socially is to send them information that is simply fun for them to receive. This would be the equivalent of memes or pictures on social media. You have the capacity to do something similar with MMS messages. MMS stands for multimedia messaging service. With this, you have the capacity to send things like:
- Short videos
- Audio bits
With the right multimedia message, you have the capacity to create a viral text that goes from person to person. It also provides another way to interact with your customers in a more social way, rather than simply always sending them offers and deals about your business. There is one main downside, however: not every phone can handle MMS messaging, so you might lose some of your customers with these type of messages.
There are many ways to create a social engagement with your texting campaign. However, you want to be sure not to oversaturate customers with text messages just because you want to facilitate a relationship. Ultimately, you want to stick to a frequency that keeps with the engagement but also adheres to their preference. This is on top of the deals, offers, event reminders and other information you might text out.