Text Message Marketing for Small Business: Learn the Whys and Hows of this Essential Marketing Strategy

Marketing 18 minute read 23rd May 2022

Text message marketing for a small business is simply the use of text messages or SMS to promote your brand, product, or service via transactional messages or a marketing campaign. With a vast number of consumers almost perpetually attached to their phones, SMS marketing is, without a doubt, an easy and powerful way to get your business in front of your target market.

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How does SMS marketing work?

SMS marketing makes it possible to have a direct, one-on-one contact with each of your customers through mass text messaging. Text message marketing for small businesses and large-scale businesses alike require getting subscribers, i.e., customers opting in for SMS updates and providing their mobile numbers to a business. A clear and written consent from each customer is a legal requirement for any business who wants to engage in SMS marketing. All subscribers must also have the ability to opt out of an SMS marketing list at any time.

The processes of opting in, opting out, automated text campaigns, organizing contact lists, and gathering data on SMS marketing performance can be streamlined by using SMS marketing services/software. There are two types of text message marketing:

  • SMS marketing campaigns. These are “one-to-many” mass text messages that communicate general information, such as updates, or promotions, such as limited-time offers.
  • Transactional SMS. These are “one-to-one” text messages that are sent in response to a specific consumer behavior, such as an order confirmation or delivery/shipping information after an app or online purchase.

Why is text message marketing for small businesses an effective strategy?

If you want a quick, convenient, and effective marketing strategy at your disposal, text message marketing for small businesses is your go-to solution. Here are the top reasons why you should use SMS marketing for your business.

  1. Smartphones are a necessity for a convenient and connected lifestyle, so much so that 85% of US adults were reported to own a smartphone in 2021. The ubiquity of smartphones translates to a direct line of communication between a business and its customers, and allows a business to reach a wide demographic.
  2. SMS marketing is the perfect complement to email marketing. Email marketing and SMS marketing work best when used together. Email is great for newsletters and other long-form content, while SMS is the ideal channel for short and instant communications.
  3. SMS open rates are astronomical. According to Forbes, nearly 100% of smartphone users open the text messages they receive; another study reports that more than 60% of people read their SMS within 5 minutes.
  4. Text message marketing for small businesses is an affordable option; SMS is also an ideal marketing channel in places where WiFi is not reliable or where data is expensive.
  5. SMS communication increases customer satisfaction. One report has revealed that 65% of consumers feel more positively about businesses that reach out through text.

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What are the best ways to use SMS marketing for small businesses?

SMS marketing for small businesses can be used in a variety of ways. Here are the most common use cases.

  • Limited-time offers and short-term promotions. As a small business, you’d want to reach as many customers as possible and as quickly as possible to notify them of special offers that are available for a limited time only in order to maximize sales. SMS marketing ensures that your customers won’t miss out on a limited pre-order for an upcoming product, a flash sale, or a free shipping offer, regardless of where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Event invites. Whether you’re having an in-store event, participating in a larger event, or running a giveaway/contest on your social media pages, you can easily invite your customers through text messages.
  • Urgent and time-sensitive updates. In addition to transactional messages, SMS is also a great way to communicate other critical updates or news in real-time, such changes to an upcoming event or delivery delays.
  • Appointment alerts. Automated appointment confirmation, reminders, or changes can be easily sent to your customers through SMS marketing for small businesses. This functionality facilitates improved time management and efficient booking processes.
  • Customer support. Especially for small businesses, you can immediately attend to your customers’ needs or inquiries through SMS — and they’ll love you for it.
  • Internal communications. SMS also comes in handy whether you only have a handful of employees or dozens of them. It’s a quick and efficient way to keep them informed, especially regarding urgent matters, last-minute updates, or emergencies.

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What types of businesses benefit the most from SMS marketing?

SMS marketing, like email marketing, may be considered old-school, low-tech, and most suitable to small-scale businesses. The communication efficiency it offers, however, makes text message marketing a valuable addition to any business’ marketing efforts, whatever their size. Certain businesses do benefit from this strategy more than others:

  • Ecommerce stores
  • Travel agencies
  • Tour companies
  • Food delivery services
  • Ride-sharing services
  • Companies with more than 100 employees.

Text message marketing campaign for small businesses: Best practices

Before you launch a text message marketing campaign for a small business, familiarize yourself with these best practices.

Text message marketing for small business tip #1: Get your customers’ permission

Your customers must first opt in to your SMS marketing. You must not use a customer’s phone number for your marketing campaigns without getting their consent. Likewise, your customers must have the option to opt out/unsubscribe from your SMS marketing list, and they should be able to do this easily at any time from your text messages, as well.

SMS marketing for small business tip #2: Proper timing is important

The amazingly high open rate of text messages can be a double-edged sword. It means that the likelihood that customers will open and read your message is very high, which translates to successful communication. If you abuse this highly favorable situation, such as when you send text messages one after the other, too many times in an hour or a day, or at unacceptably early/late hours of the day, your messages will be considered a nuisance or even spam. Without proper timing, you’ll run the risk of customers opting out of your subscribers’ list and even adversely affecting your online reputation management.

SMS marketing tip #3: Always introduce yourself

Some SMS marketing services enable branding of text messages for marketing, so your customers will know immediately whom the message is from. If you’re not using such a service, however, and sending bulk SMS directly through your provider, you’ll just appear as a random/unknown number to your message recipients, so always include the name of your company in your messages.

SMS marketing tip #4: Don’t forget the CTA

As it is with other forms of marketing communication, text message marketing for small businesses must always include a call-to-action, or CTA. Give your customers clear instructions about what you want them to do, i.e., click the link to go to your website or follow you on your social media pages.

SMS marketing for small business tip #5: Integrate SMS marketing into your overall marketing strategy

SMS marketing for small businesses fits nicely into a multi-platform marketing approach — adding a more personal and urgent dimension to the bigger picture. Using SMS to stay in touch with your market demonstrates a brand’s eagerness to build relationships with its customers, which is a critical element in the success of small businesses. When used alongside email marketing, social media marketing, and other marketing platforms, SMS marketing provides an additional and more direct means of getting in touch with you.

When building your customer contact list, make sure to add an SMS subscription opt-in option to your website and emails. Promote this option on your social media; entice new followers to sign up by running a contest or offering a discount.

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SMS marketing examples

Here are some SMS marketing examples that perfectly demonstrate the best ways to use text message marketing for small businesses.

  1. New product announcement 1
  2. Coupon offer 2
  3. Notifications and updates 3
  4. Reminders 4

How to send text messages from a business

Sending the right text messages from a business is more than just about prompting customers to click the link embedded in the SMS or to take whatever action you want them to. The high guarantee that your customers will open your text message is an amazing opportunity to communicate simple reminders, promote a strong sense of community, foster top-of-mind brand awareness, and strengthen your loyalty program.

Here are some tips when sending text messages to your customers.

  1. Keep your messages short and sweet. While your message will most likely be opened, this does not guarantee that it will actually be read. Get straight to the point of your message to make sure it will get through even if your customers will only give it a quick scan.
  2. Offer something valuable. When your customers opt-in for SMS marketing, make it worth their while. Let them know you value their time and interest by also offering something they’ll value, i.e., something exclusively for them.
  3. Personalize your text messages. With the help of SMS marketing tools, you can send personalized text, i.e., with your customer’s name, even with automated messages.
  4. Keep the tone conversational. Use short greetings and emojis. Don’t make the message all about selling, even if your goal is to generate sales.

WiFi marketing and text message marketing for small businesses

Text message marketing for small businesses is an extremely powerful tool in terms of reach and effectiveness. The challenging part, however, is building your contact list.

You can do this by providing the opt-in option on your website and promoting it on social media. If you have a physical store, you can also invite your customers to subscribe through your guest WiFi.

A fully customizable WiFi system, like Beambox, allows you to do more than just provide free internet connectivity to your customers. Beambox is a sophisticated WiFi marketing platform that enhances the guest WiFi experience and gives you access to a variety of tools to help you boost business and build relationships.

Beambox offers a number of ways to make your WiFi network work to your advantage while meeting your customers’ connectivity needs. Entice your customers to subscribe to your SMS marketing via a customized captive portal login. Other advantages you can enjoy include the ability to limit WiFi access within specified physical parameters, to control download speeds and sizes, or to prompt customers to leave an online review; you’ll also get access to intelligent marketing tools so you can harness valuable customer data and have a better understanding of the people who patronize your business.

Beambox is an all-in-one WiFi solution that accomplishes all of the above and more. We have an existing client base of over 3,000 venues, and our customizable WiFi marketing solutions have been used in impressive and rewarding ways. You can drive sales with time-sensitive deals and promos for your restaurant, boost social engagement through Instagram or Facebook contests, and climb up on online ranking platforms through real-time customer reviews. Accelerate your business growth — start your Beambox free trial today!


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