For many retail organizations, SMS for business plays a significant role in their mobile marketing activities. Walmart, the Ford Motor Company, Pizza Hut and Dunkin´ Donuts all complement their mobile marketing activities with SMS for business because of its broader reach and high levels of engagement.
However, it is not necessary to have a commercial empire the size of Walmart in order to benefit from SMS marketing for businesses. Many local operators have also discovered that SMS for business is one of the most effective ways to engage with communities, attract new customers and increase sales.
Indeed, it is not even necessary for businesses to operate in the retail industry - or even be a commercial enterprise - in order to benefit from SMS marketing. Event organizers, churches and political parties often use the same technology behind SMS marketing for businesses to manage delegates, coordinate ministries or “Get Out the Vote”. In fact, there are very few limits on how SMS for business can be used.
Why SMS for Business is an Effective Marketing Channel
SMS for business is an effective marketing channel because it is intimate and immediate. Among the younger generation, SMS messaging (58%) is a more popular channel of daily communication with family and friends than talking on the phone (49%) or messaging via social media (33%).
Nearly the entire population has access to a mobile device capable of receiving an SMS message - whereas only two-thirds have mobile devices that can receive Internet advertising or social media marketing - and research has shown that 93% of people keep their mobile devices within reach at all times.
Research has also shown that 94% of text messages are opened and read within three minutes of receipt. Therefore, almost as soon as a marketing SMS message is sent, the majority of a business´s customers are reading the message wherever they are, whatever they are doing. No other marketing channel is so effective at communicating messages.
SMS Marketing for Businesses is a Permission-Based Activity
The first stage of marketing by SMS is to attract customers and have them opt-in to the business´s SMS marketing service. This is necessary because SMS marketing for businesses is a permission-based activity. Businesses are not allowed to send unsolicited or spam message to customers.
The simplest way of attracting customers is to promote a special offer that customers can only benefit from by texting a keyword (for example “discount”) to a short code number (for example “313131”). When the customers send their texts, they are invited to opt into the business´s SMS marketing service in order to receive details of future special offers and promotions.
Once customers have opted in and given their permission to be included in a business´s marketing database, businesses can promote their goods and services by SMS, invite customers to join SMS-exclusive loyalty clubs, or seek their opinions via polls and surveys. These interactions enable businesses to create relationships with customers, develop brand loyalty and increase sales.
How Businesses Send Marketing Texts
Rather than send marketing texts to each customer individually, businesses send SMS marketing texts to their customer databases simultaneously using a bulk texting platform. Access to the bulk texting platform - along with the keywords and short code numbers used to attract customers - is supplied by a bulk texting service provider, who assigns each business with unique login credentials.
The platform is a web-based application that can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device. Once logged into the platform, businesses upload the group(s) of customers to whom they want to send an SMS marketing message, write the message and either send the message immediately, or schedule the message to be sent at a time or date when it will attract maximum attention.
The whole process requires no design or technical skills and takes just a few minutes to complete. After each message has been sent, the platform reports on delivery rates and open rates, and provides analytics such as spikes in engagement so that businesses can fine-tune future SMS campaigns. All replies to SMS marketing messages are also received by the platform.
The Benefit of Dividing a Customer Database into Groups
When customers opt into a business´s text marketing service, the bulk texting platform adds to the business´s database and places them in a specific group according to the keyword used to opt into the service. This makes it easier for businesses to manage their database of customers and send them SMS marketing messages that are relevant to their particular interests.
This process enables businesses to send certain groups of customers tailored promotions that can help develop relationships and increase sales; or, if a promotion is suitable for every group of customers, “select all”. This process also avoids the scenario in which customers opt out of text marketing services because they are receiving too many messages containing offers that are no interest to them.
Dividing a customer database into groups is a perfect example of how SMS for business can help maximize the effectiveness of bulk texting. Rather than sending a mailshot that may never get read, or a hit-and-miss Tweet, only customers who have expressed interest in a certain product or service get to hear about a related promotion. It is also a way of reducing marketing costs to the minimum.
Rules and Regulations Applicable to SMS Marketing for Businesses
There are a number of different rules and regulations applicable to SMS marketing for business that have been created to prevent unsolicited marketing and protect personal privacy. Most are contained within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and these have been condensed by the Mobile Marketing Association into an SMS for Business Code of Conduct.
Message carriers have rules and regulations applicable to SMS marketing for businesses. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) has published guidelines regarding the content of marketing messages and any the content of any attachments sent with them. For example, businesses cannot endorse drug use or pornography, or use language likely to cause offense in their marketing.
Bulk texting service providers also have terms and conditions with which businesses have to comply, and it is recommended that all of these rules and regulations applicable to SMS marketing for businesses are reviewed before sending marketing messages by SMS. Breaches - no matter how unintentional - will likely result in a termination of service, loss of customers and sales.
EZ Texting´s SMS for Business Service
EZ Texting has been providing an SMS for business service since 2006, and we have developed a number of features in our platform that simplify SMS marketing for businesses. Consequently, in addition to providing free keywords and a shared short code number to use in all our subscription packages, we have made it possible for businesses to create their own “Click-to-Join” widgets to place on websites and social media channels and attract a wider audience to their business.
We have also made it possible for businesses to create their own QR codes and to abbreviate website links to tiny URLs, thus saving valuable message space. Our research has found that an average of 29% of customers registered to an SMS for business service click on website links contained with SMS marketing messages, and that an average of 47% of those who click through subsequently make a purchase from the business.
The scheduling feature on our bulk texting platform has been expanded so that businesses can prepare recurring or drip-fed campaigns in advance, plus we have made it possible for sent messages to be saved as templates for future use. We even include a few sample templates on the platform to inspire businesses when they first subscribe to our SMS for business service.
Other features of our bulk texting platform include the option to personalize each message with the recipients´ names, the opportunity to send customers multimedia messages, and a poll builder to solicit customers´ opinions on any number of topics. EZ Texting can be integrated with a wide range of popular web applications, and we provide REST and HTTP APIs for businesses that want to build EZ Texting´s bulk texting platform into their own applications.
Try SMS for Business from EZ Texting for Free
Regardless of how much mobile marketing activity your business engages in at present, there is little doubt that it can be enhanced by SMS for business. However, rather than take our word for it, we invite you to try SMS for business for free by taking advantage of our “Free & EZ” plan. Our “Free & EZ” plan includes a free demo keyword, full access to our bulk texting platform and up to 250 free SMS marketing messages each month.
There are no contracts to sign, no credit cards required, and no requirement that you upgrade to a higher level of service at a later stage. To find out more about this opportunity, or to raise any questions about SMS marketing for businesses, do not hesitate to contact us and speak with one of our Client Success Managers. Contact us today, and your business could be enhancing its mobile marketing activities, attracting new customers and increasing sales in minutes.