The growing importance of mobile devices in everyday life represents a great opportunity for businesses as well as a challenge. Unlike television, radio, and the internet, advertisements on mobile devices have yet to perform very well. But this doesn’t mean that businesses have no efficient way to take advantage of cellphones. If an organization sees that traditional advertising doesn’t work on their mobile audience, then it’s time to use one of things that makes cellphone’s untraditional to market on the platform. That thing is text messaging. SMS marketing is an effective way to reach customers on mobile devices and build brand loyalty.
Understanding SMS Marketing
Put plainly, SMS marketing, or text message marketing, works by having an organization send text messages concerning a business to people who signed up to receive such messages. The messages can be discount codes, marketing messages, or even news updates. Since the people signed up to receive these messages, they are key target audience who will be more receptive to the content than the general public businesses market to on other media platforms.
SMS marketing has some of the same advantages as social marketing. Just as social media use is the most popular application of the internet, text messaging is the “primary activity of mobile users”. So it makes sense to market to people through their text messages.
Benefits of Retail SMS
Using text messages for business marketing has many inherent benefits. In the United States, nearly the entire adult population has a mobile phone. According to recent research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 91 percent of American adults have a cell phone. All cellphones have the ability to receive text messages, whereas only smartphones can go online or use social media. Though not everyone chooses to receive text messages, people who do open them more than 95 percent of the time and usually within 15 minutes. And one benefit that text messages have over social media, is that people always have their cell phone with them.
Recent research has shown that consumers have an increased interest in opt-in text message marketing. According to one report, the number of people opting in to retail messaging on mobile devices is expected to grow by more than 30% in the next two years.
“Given the central role mobile plays in our lives, it’s likely consumers would expect brands to communicate with them via this medium – and our research bears this out,” said Rob Townsend, who is part of company that conducted SMS marketing research.
SMS marketing also helps build brand loyalty. It’s a very personable way to communicate with customers and this may help a business stand out from the competition. Also, depending on an organization’s demographic, SMS marketing messages may even resonate better with the audience than social media. For example, teenagers text more than anyone else.
Implementing an SMS Strategy
Even when people recognize the potential of SMS marketing, many business owners are wary of the idea because they think it will be expensive or time consuming. This doesn’t have to be the case. While some organizations have very complex text message marketing campaigns, just sending daily specials to people who sign up to receive them is a simple but impactful way to include text messages as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
In fact, the only things you need for SMS marketing is a place for people to sign up and a program to handle sending the messages. Setting up registration can be easy. Put a link to the registration form on the company’s website and social media, along with a physical registration at the store when possible. This ensures that the most loyal customers of a business get a chance to see the registration, as they are the ones most likely to sign up for SMS messaging.
The biggest potential expense is software. For obvious reasons, businesses can’t just use a regular cell phone to send out mass text messages. There are many different web-based and traditional computer programs that can handle the database and send the messages. Each of them have a variety of features and pricing plans so it’s worth it to check them out. For anyone looking for the cheapest solution, try Wiggio. It’s completely free to send messages to a group, though it lacks many of the specialty options that some marketers want to use in text message campaigns. For all the bells and whistles, here’s a link to a list of good programs.
As has been shown in several articles on this blog (here, and here), the mobile market is a growing niche that businesses can’t afford to ignore. Just because traditional advertising has yet to think of the best way to advertise on phones, businesses can still use them as a tool to form a better connection with their customers. Not only is text messaging popular, but it will bring customers to the door. And with marketing that works that well, who needs advertising.