Short message service (SMS) marketing is the practice of using text messages to convert leads and keep potential customers engaged. Data from Podium, a marketing and communication platform, shows that text messages have an open rate of 98% overall and that on average, 95% of messages are opened within three minutes of their receipt.
Podium’s research, as indicated in a recent webinar, also indicates that SMS marketing is the most-effective communication channel for local businesses, making it one of the most cost-effective marketing campaign solutions. SMS marketing (texting) is also trackable and provides valuable insights into customers’ behavior through instant communication with them, and can lead to increased revenue, Podium says.
To get started, Podium says you need to use messaging ethically, following applicable rules and regulations. Doing this means only messaging people who have “opted-in” by providing consent for you to send them your messages. It also means abiding by rules set by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which was put into place to protect customers from spam.
Podium says these are do’s and don'ts of text messaging customers:
- Mention your business name.
- Alert the customer about possible messaging fees.
- Include an opt-out option.
- Send messages during business hours.
- Use simple, conversational language.
- Provide specific and relevant details to the demographic you’re targeting.
- Respond quickly.
- Address your customers by name.
- Be personal. Consumers crave personalization in brand interactions.
- Anticipate customer wants and needs.
- Keep messages to 160 characters or fewer.
- Send text messages too frequently.
- Ignore opt-in and opt-out rules.
- Use slang.
Podium suggests you maximize your opt-ins at multiple touchpoints during your customer’s buying journey. There are several times where collecting an opt-in is natural and might even be expected, such as while talking to the customer online, when asking for a customer review and when it is time to discuss payment. Opt-ins are important when growing your contact list and your ability to nurture those contacts into transactions.
“Contractors that are using text message marketing are using it in many ways. I think the most important way is for follow-up communication—to stay in front of their customers,” said Sydnee Olsen, chief revenue officer of Hook Agency, a contractor-focused marketing firm. “Especially with internet leads, it’s very important to get to the customer as soon as possible, so they don’t move on to the next company. Having automated texting is imperative for speed to lead.”
It’s also good too, Olsen said, to send reminders for inspections and appointments so there are fewer no-shows.
Another way contractors are using SMS is for reviews, Olsen said. There is different software, like SignPost, that helps with the automation. But again, staying in front of your customers and directly asking for the review is the best way to go about it.
Olsen recommends all contractors use text message marketing because it’s a quick and easy way to stay in front of your customers and potential clients and can help you gain more business.