Why More Small Businesses are Texting

Marketing e-mails stand only a 10 percent chance of being opened and read, but text messages are almost always viewed.
Co-Founder of SimpleTexting, SimpleTexting
December 07, 2012

E-mail marketing may be a tried and true strategy for small businesses, but mobile marketing is shorter, sweeter and, in some respects, much more effective. No wonder more small businesses are jumping on the texting bandwagon: Sixty-nine percent of small businesses recognize mobile marketing as key to their growth over the next five years, and 84 percent that implemented it have seen a resulting increase in new business activity. Texting excels as a marketing tool for two key reasons.

1. Your texts are likely to be read instantly.  Your customers are already texting, and there’s no reason why your business can’t be texting with them. According to the New York Times Small-Business Guide, 97 percent of all text marketing messages are opened and read. Email marketing is great, but with typical open rates hovering around 10 percent, it doesn’t come close to texting. An astounding 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of receipt. This allows you to market your small business in new and novel ways.

2. Texts are personal. When customers agree to receive your company’s texts, they’re welcoming you into an exclusive and intimate space normally reserved for friends and family. Your business isn’t a cold corporation—it has a warm and friendly personality that should come across in your texts.

Here are some strategies that our clients have found extremely effective.

Well-Timed Text Coupons

One of our favorite clients is an old-fashioned pizzeria. They came to us with a problem: Business boomed on weekends, averaged out at the end of the workweek and absolutely died on Mondays. 

So they reserved a keyword with us that customers would text to our shortcode, which is a five- or six-digit phone number just for texting, and started advertising it on their window and menus. Soon they had plenty of pizza-lover’s numbers.

Monday morning, the pizzeria was empty as usual. At 11:30, just before lunch, they sent a text: “Today only! Buy any 2 slices, get 1 drink free!” Soon a steady stream of customers started walking through the door—a big change from most Mondays.

As they’ve gathered more customer contacts, their texts have become more effective. They even ran a “text-2-win” sweepstakes—the prize being tickets to a college football game—to collect even more contacts. Now they have well over 250 customers just a text away whenever traffic slows down.

Reminders, Tips, and Alerts

Another client, a trendy salon, wanted to text appointment reminders to their clients. No-shows are a problem for many in the service-industry, and after importing their contacts, their texts proved an effective strategy.

The salon didn’t stop at appointment reminders—they started texting beauty tips to their existing clients as well. The tips, which included a discreet ad at the end, kept their salon top of mind while providing practical and entertaining information. They also began promoting special events, such as weekend and holiday sales, via text message. They even started messaging clients when they had openings to fill. All these tactics boosted efficiency by a significant margin.

With texting, quantity is the key. Two to four texts per month are considered to be best practice. Texting is a remarkably versatile tool that can tackle many types of tasks: appointment reminders, event alerts, coupons, polls, links to mobile websites and mobile apps, tips and tricks, contests and even SMS business cards.

Perhaps the greatest lesson we’ve learned from our clients is that each organization can use the texting platform differently to address unique challenges. It doesn’t matter so much how others have used this technology. With a technology this simple and flexible, what matters is how you can use text message marketing in your own business.

Read more posts about mobile marketing

OPEN Cardmember Gene Sigalov is co-founder of SimpleTexting, a text message marketing platform that allows small businesses and organizations to send targeted text message campaigns. Gregory M. Lewis is the copywriter and editor for SimpleTexting. 

Photo: Thinkstock