SMS Texts on a smartphone

by Shannon Flynn

Due to the pandemic, small businesses are implementing new solutions to keep in contact with their customers. Local restaurants are nixing the classic mechanical beeper and texting customers instead when their wait is over. Shops are texting customers to let them know to pick up online or in-store orders.

More businesses are realizing the benefits of capitalizing on a long-established communication tool: texting. Though collecting customer information and adding phone numbers to a database is easy, it requires finesse and market research to understand how best to utilize SMS to speak your customers’ language.

5 Ways to Use SMS for Your Small Business

Innovative and engaging SMS usage for brands aids customer retention and helps build a communicative brand from which customers love to hear. First, we must understand texting etiquette, and here are the best ways to have proper texting decorum:

1. Determine a brand voice and stick with it.

It is critical to have a personality for your business, but be sure to still maintain a casual voice. Proper grammar and readability are crucial.

2. Avoid antiquated text-speak and abbreviations.

Depending on your audience, “btw” and “ttyl” may not be appropriate or wanted by your customers. If you are using abbreviations, consider whether they are relevant and well-known. The last thing you want is for your customers to not understand what you are trying to say. 

3. Study your audience to know their slang.

Maybe your audience is younger, and using slang like “lit” may be appropriate to connect with them in a more comedic way. If your customers are older, slang should be avoided entirely.

4. Limit emoji usage.

Just as you would not spam a social media post with excess emojis, it is good practice to do the same for text messages. Too many emojis could scare message receivers into thinking it is spam and delete it immediately.

5. Make links short and trustworthy.

If you are sending surveys or reservation links, the link should be too lengthy. Make sure the domain is recognizable so the customer does not have any hesitation.

Depending on your industry, it is easy to find creative ways to implement texting into your business strategy. The possibilities are endless, but speaking the language of today’s customers involves more than simple text construction — it is also about understanding their behaviors.

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Benefits of SMS for Customer Relationships

One of the ways that SMS provides relief for customers is that they have text proof of receipts, coupons, and communications with other staff. If there are complaints or complex requests, it helps communication on all fronts if shoppers can pull up message receipts easily. This minimizes frustration and expedites problem-solving by eliminating antiquated barriers.

Text messages also provide visual stimuli as reminders to your working relationship — and to keep spending money. This works on multiple fronts, such as helping schedule reminders for a nail appointment and sending 20% off coupons for a Small Business Saturday sale they may not have considered or known about if you had not made a move to text them.

Seeing the text message in their inbox and notifications catalyzes memory retention and more promising engagement. All of these benefits lead to the most prominent gift for everyone: saving money. Coupon codes sent to customers are great, but what about the money saved on email marketing when the click-through rate is abysmal for emails even on a good day? Investing in a couple of work phones could compensate for failed marketing efforts, especially if you enable text message payment methods.

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Proof That Texting Customers Works

With young shoppers dominating the consumer market, learning more modern behaviors is important. Most young customers do not want to talk on the phone and would instead prefer to find solutions themselves online or use direct messages to get answers. Nobody wants to be on hold with a robot anymore.

SMS also has a higher open rate – 99 percent compared to email’s 28-33 percent average. Even though this may be the case, it does not mean customers want you to bombard them with solicitations. If your shop’s only method of communication is by calling or physically visiting the store, consumers are less likely to engage and spend money with you.

TULA Skincare engaged in a texting campaign to send weekly self-affirmations, skyrocketing their revenue by over 250 percent through expert digital marketing. This works not only to help customers increase engagement with your business, but it also works to create a better workforce and provide real-time improvement for your brand.

Sending surveys through text will allow feedback to come more seamlessly and regularly, letting you minimize damaging public reviews, take quick action on complaints, and make gradual improvements in the background based on customer suggestions.

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Today’s Customers Respond to Text Messages

SMS gives businesses low-maintenance ways to maintain returning customers, promote deals, and build more authentic business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships. As the consumer market increasingly features primarily Millennials and younger cohorts, independent businesses must adapt to optimize customer engagement. Get more revenue and solidify a stronger customer foundation by simply picking up a phone to chat as you would a friend.

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