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Getting the message across with text marketing

SMS marketingSMS marketing is growing fast. It’s direct, personal and if it’s properly targeted it can be a great way for small firms to communicate with customers. Kay Phillips of SMS specialists 24X highlights ways that texting can help you spread the word about your products and services

More and more companies are looking at their marketing strategies, their marketing budget and their target market and reassessing how to reach that market in the most cost and time effective method.

Consumers are a difficult bunch to reach — our lives are so busy that we don’t always have time to sit and read articles, emails or newsletters on a company’s offerings.

What the majority of us do have though are mobile phones — which we keep with us most of the day and night. SMS marketing, or text marketing, is a personal, direct and cost effective way to reach your target market.

Opportunities to text your customers

Take a restaurant that has a quiet evening coming up and wants to run a promotion to attract more diners. They have a database of all their clients’ numbers that they have collected from previous bookings. They go out with a single message to that database with a compelling offer. For instance: “Buy one meal get one free at The Bull on Tuesday please call Helen on 01222 123456 to book.”

Or take a plumber that wants to drum up trade before the winter rush with boiler services in the summer to spread his workload. He texts a message to his customer base offering 10% off if they have their boiler serviced before September. This way he can take on new clients as well as spread his work throughout the year. His message reads: “Book your boiler service before September and get 10% off call Steve on 01234 567890.”

SMS best practice

Building a database is simple but you have to be disciplined about asking for contact details including mobile phone numbers. So make sure you ask for contact details on the telephone, in person and on your website. Make sure you get permission from customers to use their details for marketing purposes and give them a simple way to unsubscribe from your marketing messages to ensure you do not fall foul of the Data Protection Act.

The key to a successful SMS campaign is simple:

  • Know who you are trying to reach.
  • Think about what you want to tell them
  • Be clear what you want them to do and give them a call to action.
  • Prepare the content of your text carefully.
  • If you want them to go to your website then include the URL in the message.
  • If you want them to call you then include the phone number in the message.
  • If you want to give them an offer, explain it in the message.

You can also brand your SMS messages to allow you to send messages from your company name, not just your number. This is a personal touch that can really impress your customers.

SMS is now being widely used and offers real opportunities for small businesses.

Kay Phillips is a sales manager at 24x, offering specialist mobile messaging solutions.

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