If you are a small-medium sized business owner, then you’ll understand the challenge of trying to balance your time between the many different marketing channels available to you. Finding the time to post relevant social media content, work on SEO, monitor PPC results and perhaps update your blog can be a big task, all whilst having a business to run. With limited resources, it can be a difficult process to determine how you should spend your time and budget, especially if you do not have enough data to determine what typically works the best.
A key thing to consider when determining your marketing strategy is that your existing customers are much easier to communicate with than those who do not know anything about your company. According to Marketing Metrics, selling to existing customers has a success rate of 60-70%, compared with just 5-20% for new customers. Furthermore, it is also much cheaper to communicate with existing customers. It costs companies approximately 5 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to a current customer. Of course, if you only have a handful of existing customers then this marketing strategy may not be applicable.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to communicate with existing customers is by using SMS marketing. To put it simply, SMS marketing allows you to send out personalised text messages to your customers whenever you have an important company update or an incentive to offer them, such as a promotional code. Using text as a marketing platform is an undervalued strategy by a large number of SME’s, despite the fact that it typically offers a great return on investment. There are many other advantages of SMS marketing that SME’s would certainly benefit from, which we can cover in more detail below.
A major advantage of SMS marketing is that consumer spending is rapidly shifting to mobile. Shoppers no longer have to switch on their laptop in order to make a purchase, they can do everything from a smartphone. At present, around 78% of the UK population owns a smartphone, peaking at 95% amongst people aged between 16-24. This should emphasise the power of text marketing because a high percentage of your customers will own a mobile phone. The benefit of this to SME’s is that texting gives you a way of getting your message out to almost all of your customers by using just one platform. In contrast, using email (low open-rates) or social media (customers must follow you) as an alternative may prevent you from getting the message out to as many existing customers as possible.
One key benefit of using SMS marketing is that you can send out a new text campaign in just minutes, ensuring that SME business owners can spend the rest of their time on other important activities. The reason why SMS marketing is so time efficient is that it only requires you to type out a 160-character message and then hit send after selecting which customers you want to include. There are no design or video costs required! Alongside this, text marketing is also time efficient because your customers are likely to open the text extremely quickly, with 90% of texts opened within 3 minutes. Therefore, you can feel confident that any time-sensitive messages will be seen by your customers very quickly. On the flip side, texting all of your customers at once reduces the need for you to call or text each customer individually, saving significant time.
Another reason why text marketing is great for SME’s is that it provides business owners with a lost cost marketing strategy. As mentioned above, there are no video or design costs involved in text marketing. All you have to do is write a 160-character message and hit send. Therefore, there is a low opportunity cost involved because the process from with creating a message to clicking send is so short. In regard to the actual cost, you can send a text message for as low as 1.6p per message. That’s a very cheap way to communicate with all of your customers at once, right?
Text marketing can provide SME’s with a competitive advantage because it allows for personalisation. This means that you can text customers on a first name basis whilst also categorising groups based on criteria such as age, gender, location, purchasing interests or any other data that is considered relevant to your company. This provides you with an advantage because it allows you to build loyalty and influence what customer purchases. Recent studies from Segment show that just 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalisation that they currently receive. Additionally, SalesForce found that 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised offers or discounts. Therefore, highlighting the opportunity that text marketing presents to SME’s in order to stand out from competitors.
One of the most common misconceptions of SMS marketing is that it is purely used to send out offers and promotions. However, that is not its only function. SMS marketing is actually a 2-way communication platform that allows you to talk to customers on a personal level. Some of the reasons why your customers may want to reply could be to book or cancel an appointment, inquire about a product or to make an order. A great example of this would be Empathy Wines, who only take orders via text orders. By allowing your customers to communicate via text, you are accommodating for a large percentage of your audience. Recent studies suggest that 75% of millennials would prefer to send a text than talk to someone. Additionally, the benefit of 2-way communication for SME’s is that due to limited resources, you may find it much easier to communicate with customers via text than to constantly answer phone calls which can take up much more time.
As mentioned above, there are a number of different ways that text marketing can be used. Here are just a handful of examples: offering promotions, announcing new products, running competitions, requesting feedback and order/delivery confirmations. Based on those examples alone, it is clear that SMS marketing is a very powerful tool that you have at your disposal. One benefit that helps texting to stand out against other marketing platforms is that you can use it for both personal communication with individual customers as well as providing general information that can be sent to multiple or all of your customers. Therefore, offering significant value to SME’s as it can help you build both brand awareness and loyalty amongst your customers.
Finally, SMS marketing offers great value because it is measurable. One of the big challenges in business is figuring out where your conversions are coming from and where to focus your efforts. With limited conversion tracking on certain social media platforms, this can sometimes be difficult. However, with SMS marketing you can track your campaign performance and find out information on things like click-through-rate, date and times of clicks and your message delivery success. You can then use these reporting tools to evaluate your first campaigns and then make improvements for any future campaigns. This is extremely invaluable for SME’s business owners because using the reporting tools means that you can determine how valuable SMS marketing is to your company and then either increase or decrease the number of campaigns that you send depending on your initial success.
Hi, I'm Jeremy, Head of Business Development at Reach Interactive. I have a background in international business and I love seeing how brands communicate with consumers on an international level.
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