For businesses of all sizes, Short Message Service (SMS) solutions play 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 mass text marketing because of its broad 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. Many local operators have also discovered that text message marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage with communities, attract new customers, and increase sales.
There are very few limits on how SMS solutions for business can be used. Innovative companies are using business texting to poll their contacts, remind customers of appointments and payment due dates, engage in customer support chat sessions, coordinate their workforce, run contests, and more.
SMS Solutions for Business Marketing
Deploying SMS solutions for business marketing is an effective strategy 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 American population has access to a mobile device capable of receiving an SMS message, and research has shown that 93% of people keep their mobile devices within reach at all times. Research has also shown that 98% 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 ensuring the message gets across.
SMS Marketing for Businesses is a Permission-Based Activity
The first stage of marketing by SMS is to attract contacts and have them opt-in to the company's text marketing service. This is necessary because SMS marketing is a permission-based activity. Businesses are not allowed to send unsolicited messages to customers.
The simplest way to attract customers is to promote a special offer that customers can only benefit from by texting a keyword. For instance, a retailer might offer an in-store discount by displaying this message near the entrance of the store: "Text 'DEALS' to 313131 to get $5 off your order." In that example, 'DEALS' is the Keyword and 313131 is the short code.
Once customers have opted in and given their permission to be sent marketing texts, 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.
To see more of the tools businesses use in SMS marketing, read The Features of Text Message Marketing Software That Can Revolutionize Your Business.
How Businesses Send Marketing Texts
Rather than send texts to each customer individually, businesses send SMS marketing texts to their customer lists simultaneously using a bulk texting platform. Access to the bulk texting platform is supplied by a bulk texting service provider, along with the keywords and short code numbers used to attract customers.
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. The platform also receives all replies to SMS marketing messages.
To learn more about what to look for in a great platform, check out The Best Bulk Text Messaging Service: 6 Features that Matter for Growing Brands.
The Benefit of Dividing a Customer Database into Groups
When contacts are added to the bulk text marketing list, either by texting a keyword to a short code, filling out a website widget form, or some other method, they should be immediately added to a group for proper personalization. This segmentation 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. This strategy also helps companies avoid the scenario in which customers opt out of text marketing services because they are receiving too many messages containing offers that are of no interest to them.
Dividing a customer database into groups is a good example of how business SMS solutions can help maximize the effectiveness of bulk texting while reducing marketing costs. When you send relevant messages only to contacts who are interested in them, you pay for fewer sends and get more out of those campaigns.
Rules and Regulations Applicable to SMS Solutions for Business
There are a number of different rules and regulations applicable to business SMS marketing that have been created to prevent unsolicited marketing and protect personal privacy. Most are contained within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and the Mobile Marketing Association has condensed these into a 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 Bulk Text Message Marketing Service
EZ Texting has been the business SMS solution of choice to over 50,000 companies since 2006, and we have developed a number of features in our platform that simplify SMS marketing for businesses. Consequently, in addition to a free 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 abbreviate website links to tiny URLs, thus giving you more message space for marketing. Our research has found that an average of 29% of contacts click on website links contained within 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 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 service.
Other features of our bulk texting platform 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. 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 integrate EZ Texting´s bulk texting platform into their own applications.
Integrating an SMS Solution for Business Marketing Mastery
In a digital marketing environment where prospects and customers engage with businesses in a variety of ways over long periods of time, it is crucial to synthesize your SMS strategy with the other marketing campaigns your team conducts.
Your text campaigns can work in conjunction with and cross-promote your other marketing channels, such as social media, email, print, and more.
We've developed a seven-page eBook with some tips to help you merge text campaigns with your other strategies. Download 5 Ways to Integrate SMS Marketing with the Rest of Your Campaign now to learn how to:
Boost conversions with effective calls-to-action Cross-promote your offers across channels Use unique content to make every medium valuable