There is one space in my life that is still sacred – that hasn’t been polluted by marketing messages. It’s the only app on my phone where I allow sound notifications. When I hear it, I drop everything and look. It’s my text messaging feature.
I’m not the only one. You all know who you are – those of you who couldn’t LIVE without your cell phones.
Here’s the deal. Text messaging is a huge opportunity for small business owners. But if you make the mistake of pushing your sales messages onto your customers, you will annoy them, make them angry and lose them. No marketing tool is worth that.
My goal here today is to introduce you to the power of SMS mobile marketing and show you how to do it right so that you can continue to enjoy the high open rates and engagement that exist today.
Do These Six Things Before You Start Your Mobile Marketing Programme
You’re already getting tens of thousands of emails that go directly to spam. How would YOU like to have your personal text inbox filled with junk? You wouldn’t and your customer feels the same way. Use these ideas only with a solid plan in place.
1. Have a Stairway to SMS
This is where most businesses miss the mark when it comes to mobile marketing. They send out sales pitch after sales pitch without really considering what the reader wants. Your message has to have value to the reader. Once you’ve decided that SMS mobile marketing will be an enhancement to your customer´s experience, start small and work your way towards your customers viewing your text messages as a service rather than a sales pitch.
2. Get Permission First
Just because you have a customer’s mobile information, doesn´t mean they want you to market to them in that way. In a Small Business Trends article, Megan Totka says “Always get their permission before you send out any SMS marketing message.” Do this by having them opt-in to receive mobile marketing messages from you.
3. SMS with Purpose
If you want to stay in the good graces of your customers, then text message them the same way you might text message your spouse or child – with purpose; to communicate timely and important information that is useful. “Your dry cleaning is ready to be picked up” – that is USEFUL!
4. Integrate with Buying Experience
Make your mobile marketing relevant and connected to the customer buying experience. For example, if you had a retail store and the customer wanted an item in red but it wasn’t available, once it became available you could send them a text saying: “That red wallet you wanted is HERE! And here’s a 20% off discount coupon for the inconvenience.”
5. Adjust Based on Feedback
You must have in place a way to measure the results you are getting from your mobile marketing efforts. I’m not just talking about numbers. Start slow and small, then ask customers what they like, what’s missing, what would be MORE useful. Make your mobile marketing addictive and useful and not a nuisance.
6. Personalize Your Message
This isn’t easy, but it’s crucial to staying in your customers’ good graces. DO NOT spam them with vapid things like birthday messages. Text messaging is meant for meaningful information. So, what’s meaningful for THEM? Have a specific conversation with them around text messaging. “What is it that you’d like to be made aware of via text message?” Now they may say nothing, or stumble. Give them options: new merchandise, sales or events. ASK before BLAST.
11 Creative Text Messaging Use Cases
- Appointment Reminders. This is a common, ideal and wanted application for text messages. If you’re a service business, customers really appreciate reminders and confirmations.
- Reservations. Give your customers the ability to text for reservations. My hair stylist has this feature and I love it.
- Secret Offers for Insiders. Create customer lists by product interest and give those customers secret inside offers that you can only get via text.
- Notifications that Products Are Available. If you have customers who wanted a particular product that was not available, put them on a list and notify them when it comes in.
- Secret Events for Customers. Create exclusive events just for those customers who allow text messages from you. Feature new products and enhanced services that are not available at any other time.
- Have Sales Conversations. When customers are looking to buy, they have questions that require immediate answers. Text is the perfect way to close the deal
- Simple One-Question Surveys. Looking to make a decision on what products or services to offer? Text your customers a simple one-question survey. Don’t forget to thank them with a coupon or freebie.
- Customer Service. Get a dedicated virtual number so that your customers can reach you for immediate answers to their questions.
- Play Games with Regular Customers. You can attach files and images of featured products to texts and have customers find them for coupons or freebies.
- Activate Old Customers. If a customer hasn’t seen you in a while, you can send a single quick note: “Hey, we miss you! Here’s a good reason to come in and say hi!” and provide a coupon or free gift.
- Check in After a Sale. Ask your customer how it’s going about 24 to 48 hours after a sale. It’s the perfect opportunity to pre-empt problems or dissatisfaction.
Text Your Customers the Way You Want to Be Texted
With more than 90% of all text messages being read inside of three minutes, it can be tempting to flood your customers with sales offers. This would be a mistake.
Follow the golden rule of text messaging and play with these ideas.
BEFORE you blast pushy sales offers to your customers, ask yourself: “Will this help THEM? Is this something I would read and respond to from any other company?”
Use text messaging carefully and strategically and you will see happy, loyal and profitable customers.