Considering all of the different digital marketing options small business owners have these days to promote their business, you might assume that SMS marketing isn’t as effective as it once was just a few years ago.
However, you couldn’t be further from the truth. SMS marketing campaigns still do surprisingly well in a world that’s saturated with social media marketing.
Specifically, local businesses can reap the potential benefits of SMS marketing since there’s little personalization required for regional marketing.
While the hype surrounding social media marketing is justified, SMS marketing has some surprising statistics that just can’t be ignored.
With that said, SMS marketing has a wide scope today and in the future. Below, we take a look at the benefits of SMS marketing, particularly for small to medium sized local businesses.
Why Tap Into SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing allows you to be right where your customers are the majority of their time – on their phones. It’s not only the most logical but also the fastest way to access your customers.
Experts at Forbes consider it to be the ‘tool of the future,’ and we certainly agree. Here’s why:
A cell phone user takes 90 seconds on average to respond to a text message. On the other hand, users take about 90 minutes to reply to an email.
While this alone is enough to demonstrate the efficiency of SMS marketing at getting instant engagement, marketers also need to keep the open rate in consideration.
Open rate refers to the percentage of texts or emails that the receivers open.
As compared to a 20% open rate for emails, 98% of the receivers open their text messages, making the letter a quick way to reach your customers.
Let’s say you’re a local bakery offering customized cakes for the holiday season.
SMS marketing is the fastest way to inform your customers about this offer. Meanwhile, email marketing is a slower channel, and the customer may open their email after the holiday season.
SMS marketing can help boost your email marketing campaigns too.
According to a Smart Insights report, sending a follow-up SMS like ‘Did you read our email?’’ can increase the email open rate by up to 30%. It’s a win-win on both sides.
SMS marketing yields a 45% return on investment when used solely and up to 50% when applied in combination with other marketing channels like email or social media marketing.
It’s also a great way to funnel a customer through your omnichannel marketing approach.
For example, as a local spa you could send out an SMS message to those who opted-in to receive notifications about upcoming specials on your massage packages.
The receiver will read your SMS and head over to your website to get information about your services.
They’re also likely to visit your social media pages to read reviews and see user-generated content, such as pictures and videos. In this way, SMS marketing can help bring traffic to other channels too.
Finally, they visit your business and signup for a massage. The trend is bound to continue into the future since 63% of the consumers still use their phone’s default texting app, and the number of people using SMS to stay in touch increased substantially in the future.
Considering this, 61% of the marketers intend to invest more in SMS marketing following 2020.
If you’re a small start-up or a home-run business, you may not have the budget for email or social media marketing.
Fortunately, SMS marketing is an affordable alternative that gets an incredible response from the customers without breaking the bank.
Many SMS marketing companies offer subscription packages costing $50 to $500, depending on the number of messages you want to send every month and the keywords you wish to rent.
More importantly, you do not need to hire anyone to create graphic illustrations, shoot videos, take pictures, as you would in social media marketing.
You can either write the SMS copy yourself or hire a copywriter based on your needs.
Most businesses prefer using SMS marketing since text messages incite a quick response. 26% of the businesses use text messages to inform customers about coupons and discounts.
Even better, they manage to reach 67% of the consumers, which is an impressive reach.
Another way for local businesses to leverage SMS marketing is to allow customers to make appointments through text messages.
It has worked in the past – 44% of the consumers schedule their appointments through SMS – and it’s bound to work in the future.
Having said that, 53.75% of the marketers and business owners consider fast delivery to be the most significant benefit of SMS marketing.
Thus, the sooner local businesses jump on board, the better it will be for ROI and customer engagement.
Future Trends in SMS Marketing
In the coming years, businesses will focus on interacting with their customers through SMS. The concerning fact of marketing called conversational commerce is expected to come into play.
Basically, it refers to having one-on-one conversations with your customers.
For instance, you can let them ask you for sizing, product recommendations, or compare product options through SMS.
Although it’s non-promotional, it helps generate revenue and bring more customers into the loop.
Links in SMS
Another upcoming trend is sending links through SMS. In fact, the CTA is associated with the link. For instance, if you’re a local hair salon, you can send an appointment form to the customers through SMS.
They can simply fill in the form to book an appointment for any service. Similarly, businesses will be sending links for promotional offers, their social media pages, contests, and websites.
Rich Communication Services Insert Maps
Rich Communication Services is a messaging technology that will allow businesses to add features like maps, videos, and chip lists into text messages.
For instance, as a local gym, you can send a map to your location to the target audience.
Similarly, local hotels and guest houses can send area maps to show customers the proximity of their business to nearby locations.
However, RCS is forecasted to become a trend later in the future since only 8.1% of the global mobile phone networks have adopted it so far.
Without a doubt, SMS marketing is one of the quickest and most effective ways to reach your customers. It’s actually the best when it comes to return on investment and open rate.
So, if you want to generate a high ROI and ensure a significant open rate, you should be writing the copy for your SMS marketing campaign right now.
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Charles Musselwhite is an author, speaker and co-owner of Musselwhite Marketing (est 2009) along with his wife Linda Musselwhite. Together they are “CaLM” (Charles and Linda M). Charles is an Ontraport Certified Expert and a previous DigitalMarketer Certified Partner holding several DM certifications.