How Business SMS Drives Sales for Your Brand
Picture this familiar scenario. You wake up on Monday morning and check your email, only to find that your inbox has tens (or hundreds!) of unread messages. How many of these emails do you open, and how many go straight to the “junk” folder? Now let’s think of a different scenario. You hear a “ping” notification on your phone. How long does it take you to look at your home screen? How many of your phone notifications—personal messages, app updates, or business SMS—go unread?
Odds are that you read the phone notification, but not the email. The open rate for text messages is around 95% and the message is typically read within 3 minutes of being received. By contrast, emails have just a 20% open rate and a 22% read rate. What does that mean for your company?
The takeaway here is that business SMS is a must-have for organizations large and small. Since smartphones have become ubiquitous and the cost of texting is now included in phone plans, it has become easier than ever to use texting to drive business sales. Today, more than 5 billion people around the world have the ability to send and receive messages via SMS.
Texting for business offers the opportunity to increase sales and reach customers—but only if you do it right. Not sure where to start? Here’s your handy guide for using business SMS to engage your audience, deliver value, and drive conversions.
Determine why your business should send SMS text
91% of users who opt-in to receive SMS texts from a brand or company consider those messages to be “somewhat” or “very useful.” Before launching a business SMS campaign, determine how it will benefit your customers. Some of the best ways for businesses to use SMS text include:
Salesforce reported that 77% of consumers opted in to receive a brand’s SMS texts because they wanted access to coupons or deals. With business SMS, you can send a mobile coupon and drive customers to your website or brick-and-mortar location.
Engage in a conversation with your customers by soliciting feedback about their experience with your company. Your SMS text can include a link to a website survey. It can also be a series of brief questions that customers can answer by texting their responses (for example, “Y” for “yes” and “N” for “no,” or a numerical rating of 1 to 5).
Appointments and Reminders
Best for service-oriented businesses such as doctors and accountants, SMS texts can be used to confirm an appointment and send automated reminders. Customers can text back a simple “Y” to confirm or “N” to cancel, in a fraction of the time it would take to conduct a phone call.
Ever have customers call or email your company to ask where their package is? With business SMS, your customers can receive order and delivery updates in real time. This option is ideal for e-commerce.
While all SMS texts should deliver value, they do not necessarily have to save customers money or time. You can also use SMS as an educational tool. Text customers a link to a whitepaper or an invitation to a webinar that will share industry knowledge.
Stay in touch with your new contacts after an event. Send SMS texts afterwards with a thank you message and special offer. If you use OnSpot Social for lead capture at events, you can also enable the auto-responder to send SMS messages with coupon codes as soon as someone enters their contact information. Your new customer will receive their discount right away—while still at your booth! This is a great way to monetize trade shows or other in-person events.
Use SMS broadcast to reach many people at once
Imagine typing individual text messages to your contact list of hundreds or thousands of people. That would take forever! SMS broadcasts are a fast and effective way to send SMS to multiple people at once. Using a web-based service, you can create and send SMS broadcasts for everyone in a group, usually in a geographically-focused area or a segment of your contact list. An example of a geographic SMS broadcast would be Amber alerts or weather warnings issued by the local government, while an example of a segmented SMS broadcast would be a nonprofit sending an SMS request for donations to former donors.
Businesses can use SMS broadcast to share promotions and deals, let consumers know when a new item is available for pre-order, or alert customers about a change in operations, such as reduced hours on a holiday. SMS broadcast usually comes from a 5-digit number, as opposed to a 10-digit number. Only the sender/application will receive any replies.
Find the text app that works best for you
In order to make use of SMS broadcast or other business SMS capabilities, you will need a text app or web platform. There are many text app options out there, and it’s important to find one that suits your needs. At a minimum, your text app should have the following features:
- Connection to your CRM to follow the customer’s journey
- On-site lead capture capabilities, including SMS opt-in
- Engagement opportunities for in-person events
- SMS options for sending mobile coupons
- Robust text analysis
We recommend using OnSpot Social as your sales tool for texting. OnSpot Social is a one-stop shop for lead capture and customer engagement through business SMS, email delivery, social media sharing, games and contests, in-person surveys, and digital signage. You can also customize the interface to align with your branding, and engage with customers both in-person and virtually. This text app also integrates with platforms such as MailChimp and Constant Contact and can export lead information to Microsoft Excel for use in other marketing campaigns.
Conduct a text analysis to refine your SMS strategy
As with all marketing channels, it’s highly important to craft the right message and then analyze the results. How many recipients opened the message? Who opened the link or responded positively to the CTA? Did anyone unsubscribe? You may also consider conducting an A/B test to see which CTAs, messages, and times of day your customers respond to the best. OnSpot Social offers text analysis through its real-time reporting dashboard.
Adhere to all business SMS regulations.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the U.S. and GDPR in the EU stipulate that businesses must obtain written consent (an “opt-in”) from potential recipients before they send SMS texts. This means that pre-ticked opt-in boxes are not enough, and consumers must clearly agree to receive your company’s messages. Ensure your business SMS is compliant with the relevant legislation, based on your area of operation. Another benefit of OnSpot Social is that you can ask customers to provide a clear opt-in to receive text messages when they give their contact information to your company at a brick-and-mortar location, a conference, or a trade show.
Find an SMS group to share best practices.
Continuous education about industry trends, compliance, and best practices are essential. That’s why we recommend joining an SMS group or association to learn more about leveraging text for business. For instance, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) offers research resources, networking opportunities, and events related to all things mobile marketing. The organization has more than 800 members and publishes free resources on its website. MMA also has a dedicated mobile messaging committee to educate marketers about best practices for mobile messaging programs, including SMS. MMA also has an active presence on LinkedIn, and its group has about 250,000 members.
A number of other SMS groups on LinkedIn are also available, including All About SMS, SMS Marketing & Advertising, and Mobile Marketing & Advertising. You can also find more information about SMS groups and education through a variety of conferences and other industry events.
The versatility of business SMS is one of its greatest strengths. SMS text can be a standalone marketing strategy or used with other channels like social media and email. No matter the direction you take, your business text messaging strategy should focus on immediacy, relevance, and value.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive platform to aid in lead capture and marketing through SMS, email, social media, and in-person events, contact us for help getting set up or start a free trial of OnSpot Social.