SMS marketing for retail (or for any small business) is not a new thing, but it is a great thing.
Texting is a very powerful communications tool, but how can you use it to grow your business? And why should you?
The answers are surprisingly simple. We’ll flush out the value of SMS marketing for retail in the Q&As below. Let’s get started!
1. How easy is it to start using SMS marketing for retail?
Let’s say you use Text Request. The time and effort it takes to set up is however long it takes you to enter your contact info and upload your contacts. Maybe 5 minutes.
It’s really easy to get started.
The only thing to do from there is create processes for when and why you’ll text customers. E.g. Text past customers new seasonal offers.
It’s fairly common for retailers to try using a short-code number (like 555-55) instead of a long-code number (like 423-218-0111, which is what you get with Text Request).
There are 3 common problems with short-code:
- Short-code numbers cost 20X-30X more than long-code numbers
- They take longer to set up
- And they come across very spammy
So unless you’re someone like Macy’s, you probably want to use a long-code number. Actually, you can probably use your current business number for SMS!
2. What are the benefits of using SMS?
SMS is a great tool, and not just in direct marketing. In fact, there are at least 8 benefits of using SMS for your business!
These benefits combine to increase your sales, boost your customer retention, and drive experiences that customers actually want. A short description of each is below.
Texting helps you be quicker than your competition.
What’s faster than that? Only 22% of emails are read, and only 20% of calls are answered.
When you communicate faster, you win more business.
Texting makes your business more personal.
Texting is one of the more personal things we do every day!
Marketers send emails, salesmen make phone calls, and friends text. What small business doesn’t want to be like a friend to customers?
Texting makes you more convenient.
No one is interested in making their life more difficult, but everyone wants to make their life easier.
Often, a text is the most convenient way to communicate. And since communication is needed for your business to succeed, texting is a necessity!
Texting makes you appealing to more people.
Texting is the most used form of communication for those under 50, and more than 50% of senior citizens text regularly!
Because texting is more appealing to more people, your business becomes more appealing.
Texting helps you be preferred.
People would rather text you than call someone else, and they’d rather be texted by you than called by someone else.
When you create experiences people prefer, they talk about it. They bring their friends, and they spend more with you. What business doesn’t want that?
Texting makes your business fully mobile.
Smartphones have become a staple of work and life, so much that smartphone sales have leveled off. Everybody has one!
Texting accommodates our move to mobile, and gives your business a chance to be where people already spend their time.
Texting helps you stand out from competitors.
If your competitors aren’t texting, it gives you a clear edge. If your competitors are texting, then you have no excuse not to be texting as well!
Texting is the ultimate wingman for your business.
You text friends to set up a coffee date or meeting. Why not text customers, and get them to come to your store?
Or you could text customers to set up a call, or to convert them into members! Whatever your goal is, texting can help you get there.
A simple text is often the catalyst that gets people to take the next step. That’s wonderful!
3. How might SMS help retailers get a customer to come back and buy?
We share dozens of other examples in the “Related” link below, but probably the most effective strategy for creating repeat customers is to send relevant promos. Here’s an example:
A customer comes in and purchases X. At checkout, you get their name and number for future offers.
Perhaps a month later, you send all customers who bought X a discount offer on Relevant Product Y.
“Hey [Jim], hope you’re enjoying [Product X]! We’re running a special this week – 20% off [Relevant Product Y]. Come take a look! – [Jeremy @ Business]”
Obviously, you can tailor your message to meet your needs (and your customers’), but texts like this make people feel that you care, because the offer is both personal and relevant.
And studies show that customers you build relationships with spend nearly 50% more with you. That’s powerful!
4. What are your top 3 tips on SMS marketing for retail?
Text like you text your friends.
Be personal, be friendly, and be relevant. No one wants to be spammed.
Don’t limit yourself.
People text for 101 reasons every day. Why can’t your business? You don’t have to stick with only promotional texts! There are plenty of options.
You could send confirmation texts for deliveries, or scheduling texts if they’d be relevant. You could send texts for collections and payment reminders, too!
And there’s always the customer “Happy birthday!” text, which people love. Remember that for any reason you might communicate, you can send a text.
Texting is an add-on.
You can replace other process with SMS, but for most retailers and small businesses, texting is a great compliment to everything else you’re doing.
You might send out a great promotional email, and then also text past customers or members. Maybe you call to confirm appointments first, and send a text if they don’t answer.
The one thing you need to know is that when it comes to SMS marketing for retail, you’ve got options. And those options can be very powerful in helping you grow your business.