7 ways to grow your small business with text message marketing

Small business text message marketing

If you’ve decided to invest in text message marketing to grow your small business, you’ll want to make your time and money count.

It can be tough to know what to focus on, but fortunately, I’ve spent years in the text marketing space and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the misguided.

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I’ll give you the top tips and strategies my team and I suggest to business owners to get them on track to SMS success (plus examples that work in real life).

Build robust text subscriber lists

Of course, if you’re going to run a text marketing program, you’ll need someone to receive your messages. 

For that, you’ll need a strong opt-in method. An opt-in method is simply a way for your customers to join your text list. Some of the most popular tools for SimpleTexting users include:

  • Keywords – Keywords are words or phrases that new subscribers can text to your number to join your list.
  • Web forms – Web forms are forms you place on a landing page to capture subscriber information like phone numbers and names.
  • QR codesQR codes are scannable images that can be programmed to send new subscribers a text that allows them to opt into your SMS marketing program.

As you design your opt-in method(s), keep two very important things in mind.

  1. You must follow compliance regulations. This means identifying your brand and letting customers know how many and what kind of messages they can expect (among other things). Don’t worry if that sounds confusing. SimpleTexting released an easy guide on compliance
  2. You’ll need to advertise your opt-in method somewhere your audience will see it. Depending on the business you run, that could be your storefront, your social media accounts, your intake paperwork, your business cards, or anywhere else that’s highly visible.
Wanna join our text club - Terraclub
Wanna join our text club – Terraclub

This is an example from Fargo’s chill spot Wild Terra. We like it because it’s well-designed and eye-catching, and it tells new subscribers everything they need to know before they decide to sign up for texts from the brand.

Cultivate brand awareness

Not every text should be a sales pitch. It’s also helpful to tell your subscribers who you are as an organization as well as what you have to offer them, their needs, and their lifestyles.

Build fun and educational content into your text marketing calendar. These messages might include:

  • Helpful blog posts on topics relevant to your products or services
  • Video tutorials
  • Clips of podcasts you’ve been on
  • Inspirational or encouraging messages related to subscribers’ goals

These texts can significantly boost your brand reputation and maintain your subscribers’ trust.

Snapple Realfact Text Campaign
Snapple Realfact Text Campaign

Snapple is famous for taking this approach with its Real Facts campaign. Personally, I love these texts because they break up the constant flow of asks and calls to action in my inbox.

Share promotions and events

You can also boost attendance at sales and events alike using text marketing. 

Based on the most effective use cases I’ve seen, I recommend sending out at least one reminder about your big event or promotion the week before, and one 24 hours prior to your start time.

Be sure to include all the necessary details (like time, date, registration requirements, coupon codes, etc.). Then sit back, and watch the participants roll in.

We here at SimpleTexting have seen this strategy used to incredible effect by the Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF). 

The AHIF team managed to boost their support group retention numbers to 88% with reminder texts.

FabFitFun SMS Campaign
FabFitFun SMS Campaign

This example, though, comes from the quarterly subscription brand FabFitFun. I look forward to getting a say in what my delivery contains, but I never remember until I get this text.

Provide one-on-one customer support

While mass texts are one of the biggest perks of an SMS marketing platform, I’ll still call your attention to the perks of two-way messaging for functions like customer service.

After all, data from ZenDesk tells us that over half of consumers say they’d switch to a competitor brand after one bad customer service experience.

So, customer service from a real person with access to the customer’s details (like their name and the purchases or functions they’re asking about) is a must-have.

SMS from the car shipping company.
SMS from the car shipping company.

This text came from a car-shipping company I reached out to recently. The kicker is that I’d reached out before I moved which means I lost track of the task until they texted me. 

Plus, they knew my name, what I’d reached out for, and the make and model of my car, which tells me they were listening. 

Send important alerts and announcements

Need to let your subscribers know about a closure, schedule change, or emergency ASAP? Send a text blast. 

With mass texting, you can send important updates to hundreds or thousands of contacts in seconds, but if the announcement only concerns a portion of them, you can segment your lists.

Contact segments are simply groups of subscribers with something in common. 

You can set up segments for specific locations of your business, programs the subscribers take part in, or any other relevant criteria.

That way, when a certain location of yours closes unexpectedly, you can contact just the customers who frequent that location.

SMS flight arriving at BNA
SMS flight arriving at BNA.

For example, this text saved me a lot of time and trouble the last time I flew out of Nashville (spoiler alert: my flight was, indeed, canceled).

Gather feedback for constant improvement

To give your subscribers what they want, you’ll need to know what they want. How do you figure that out? Just ask.

Send out a link to a survey or set up a text-to-vote poll to give your subscribers the chance to tell you the types of messages they’d like to receive and to tell you what you can improve.

Brianna LaCaruba of the Franchise Brokers Association used this tactic recently and saw a 20% increase in survey responses following a big event.

SMS from FBA feedback survey text message
SMS from FBA feedback survey text message.

It also pays to find a text marketing platform that gives you access to your analytics so you can measure whether your messages are being opened and engaged with.

Automate routine messages

Putting all these things to work in your text marketing program may seem a little intimidating, but not to worry.

Services like SimpleTexting offer you the option to automate your messages so you can set them up ahead of time.

You can set autoresponders to send anytime someone joins your list, or you can schedule campaigns or two-way inbox messages to send at a specific time and date.

Some business owners even choose to integrate their texting platform with other tools like their CRM or e-commerce platform. This way, customer behaviors will trigger texts automatically.

Schedule SMS text messages
Schedule SMS text messages.

Scheduling messages is usually as easy as filling out a couple of fields before you hit send, and just like that, you’ve got your time back.

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