How to Use Text Message Marketing in Your Small Business

Text message is the most preferred form of personal communication among consumers in the United States. So if you’re a small business owner, why not connect with your customers through the mode of communication they use the most? Text message marketing could be the ideal way to promote your products and services and provide timely updates.

Yet businesses are often nervous about using text marketing, perhaps afraid of coming off as invasive or pushy. But as with any other form of communication, the trick is providing value. If customers feel that your messages are valuable to them, they won’t mind hearing from you.

You can use texts to market your small business, as well as provide a more useful and engaging experience for your customers when they visit you in person. Here’s how to use text message marketing as a small business.

How to write compelling texts for small business text marketing

If you’re using texts as a marketing tool, the first step is to master the art of writing texts. Texting as a small business is different than texting your friends or family: you’ll want to adhere to certain guidelines to get the best response possible and not turn your customers away. Here are the basics:

1. Keep your messages short

From both a technical and creative standpoint, your texts shouldn’t run longer than 160 characters. What you want to say should fit within one standard text message, and get right to the point.

2. Segment and keep consistent and relevant

For your text marketing strategy to be effective, it needs to be relevant to the recipient. Just like with email marketing, you can segment your recipients and send them highly targeted and relevant messaging that will appeal to them. For instance, loyal customers may get exclusive deals to entice them to come back while older customers may get senior discounts.

text message marketing for small businesses

3. Every message should be a CTA

Don’t ever text your customers just to say hi—they get enough of that from their parents. In text message marketing, every text should be sent with a targeted and direct purpose. It should also have a clear call to action related to the purpose of the message. Without a CTA, customers have no way of acting on the message.

Since there is a character limit of 160 on text messages, it’s best to use a branded link in your messaging. When you use a branded link, it acts as the CTA as well. Check out how mobile phone provider, 3, uses branded links in their text message marketing to encourage customers to renew their phone plan. 

text message marketing

When you use branded links like 3 does, you’re able to develop trust with your audience. This is because customers are more likely to click on short links with your brand name, rather than generic ones. In fact, simply using a branded link in your small business text message marketing strategy can increase click-through rates by up to 39%.

Since the goal of your efforts is to motivate your audience to act, the link is the most important asset. Use a branded link, so that the customer immediately understands what the CTA is and what it is promoting.

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4. Don’t overdo it

Text message marketing can be effective, but don’t come off needy or desperate for attention: 2-4 messages a month should be your upper limit. You don’t want your texts to disrupt your customers so much that they find it an annoyance more than a convenience.

5. Personalize them

As with most marketing content, it’s better to personalize your text marketing messages when possible. Use software that allows you to input customer names or point them toward products they’ve bought in the past.

6. Time it right

Send your messages at a time when they’re most likely to be read. This may be obvious, but that means don’t schedule them to arrive in the middle of the night. Midday, around lunch, is a good bet.

5 text message marketing ideas to add value

Before you start sending out any messages, make sure they’re the right ones. Let’s run through five text message marketing ideas that will make an impact on customers and keep them on your list.

1. Send exclusive discounts and deals

Coupons and codes for deals are a no-brainer for text message marketing: For customers, they are easy to redeem and even easier to keep in their texts app until the time comes to utilize them. For businesses, the promise of exclusive discounts could be enough to entice your customers to sign up for your marketing texts. Don’t forget to follow through by offering discounts and deals exclusive to your SMS subscribers. Here’s an example from Mae Jean Vintage.

2. Deliver sneak peeks into upcoming products

Speaking of exclusivity, you can use your texts to deliver to loyal customers a first look at upcoming products or services they’ll love, or big sales they should look out for. Build excitement from the ground up by texting this news rather than blasting it on social media.

3. Target past customers with news of new products

Has it been a while since a customer has visited your page or made a purchase? Use text marketing to target past customers and remind them to come back. Let them know that new products—related to ones they’ve bought in the past—are available and give them a reason to make another purchase. This will also help keep your business top-of-mind during busy shopping seasons.  

4. Remind them of an appointment or reservation with confirmations

If you own a restaurant, hair salon, or other small business where reservations or appointments are common, help your customers out by sending them an automated reminder text. They’ll be much less likely to miss their date with you, and you’ll come across as helpful rather than overbearing.

5. Dispatch alerts or notifications about orders

Customers often get worked up about whether their purchase will arrive when it’s supposed to, especially around the holidays. Allay those fears by sending regular updates about the status of their order, from the time they place it to when it arrives at their doorstep.

Get more value out of text marketing

Text messages combine all the best things about modern communication and content marketing delivery. Your messages are guaranteed to reach customers quickly; they can (and should) be short and to the point, and they drive customers where you want them to go without a fuss. Use this power responsibly and you’ll see engagement soar with strategic text message marketing.

Guest author: Eric Goldschein, Staff Writer at Fundera

fundera guest author eric goldschein

Eric Goldschein is the partnerships editor at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions. He covers entrepreneurship, small business trends, finance, and marketing.





Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • Text message marketing
  • Marketing for small businesses
  • Marketing strategy for small business
  • Small business strategy


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