Text Message Marketing for Small Business: Quick Start Guide

             BONUS MATERIAL: The Psychology of SMS Marketing

If you’ve arrived here hoping to learn how to get started with text message marketing for your small business, you’re in the right place. This guide explains how text marketing works, how it can be used for small business growth and how to get started quickly.

Small business owners can leverage SMS messages to engage customers and inspire customer loyalty through a range of marketing initiatives. From sharing business news and sales promotions to sending appointment reminders and personalized messages, there is no shortage of ways to utilize SMS messaging and bake this channel into your overall marketing strategy.

How text message marketing works

When it comes to impact, text message marketing is often the go-to tool in a marketer’s arsenal; SMS is the channel that gets the highest open and response rates. There are a few reasons why this is the case.

For starters, texts are delivered over a cellular network (no wi-fi needed) and can be accessed by all mobile phone users. Secondly, texts have to be short and punchy (160 characters), making them easily digestible and more likely to get noticed than other types of messages. And finally, texts are highly visible. They usually flash up as a notification on a mobile phone’s home screen, grabbing attention instantly.

To effectively carry out text message marketing, you’ll need to enlist the services of an SMS marketing platform (an intermediary between your business and mobile phone networks). Using a provider allows you to track campaign performance and text an unlimited amount of customers simultaneously. Here’s a snapshot of how the process works:

  1. Create an account with an SMS marketing provider.

  2. Import existing customer phone numbers into the SMS provider’s systems.

  3. Start collecting new text message marketing subscribers via your SMS provider’s opt-in app. (Note that for points 2 and 3, you need to obtain consent for text marketing from each subscriber first.)

  4. Compose your text marketing campaigns within the SMS provider’s app (or your own systems if integration has taken place).

  5. Send or schedule your campaign for launch. That’s it! Keep reading to see these steps in more detail using Messente’s systems.

Using text message marketing to grow a small business

Man in a light shirt using red smartphone behind a table

Because text message marketing is a speedy, powerful and reliable way to connect with customers, it can achieve remarkable results - and quickly. Many small businesses use SMS marketing to increase brand awareness, footfall to premises, special offer takeups and customer engagement. In turn, these can all least to a boost in revenue and profits - surely the overarching business goal for all small businesses.

If you are a small business owner, you may want to consider using SMS marketing services to drive your text messaging campaigns. With the right solution in your corner, you can send messages to your target audience with ease. Many text message marketing services offer scalable solutions to ensure all your contacts can receive text messages.

Examples of small business text message marketing

Any small business with a reasonably-sized database of contacts can benefit from text marketing.
All you need to do is connect your list of contacts to a text message marketing service and you're off to the races. When it comes to deploying SMS messages as part of your overall marketing strategy, small business owners are spoilt for choice.

To highlight how it could be used for different types of small businesses, take a look at these examples:

Service-based businesses

Beauty salons, auto repair workshops, photographers, cleaning companies, and dental clinics could use text marketing to spread the word about services or products and special offers, fill appointment slots, and cross-selling opportunities. Many SMS services offer integration features that enable you to align your text messages with marketing emails.

Retail-based businesses

Snacks in a grocery store

Text marketing is ideal for small retail or e-commerce stores for new product launches, flash sales, back-in-stock alerts, and to request reviews from customers. For retail businesses, mass texting is an effective way to inform potential customers directly about exclusive deals. They can also receive messages as part of broader drip campaigns.

Subscription-based businesses

Those small firms selling Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or monthly box subscriptions (like fresh flowers, food parcels and clothing packages) can rely on text marketing to promote free trials, package upgrades and inform customers about optional add-ons.

B2B businesses

Small businesses like web design agencies, IT consultancies, SEO services, and business finance providers can use text message marketing to increase brand presence and engagement, and request reviews. For a B2B business to engage prospective customers, they should leverage a short message service to support real-time conversations.

People working behind computers in an office

How to carry out text marketing for your small business

Messente helps both small and large businesses around the world with text message marketing. Follow these step by steps instructions to get started yourself. 

We have the tools and resources you need to get your text messaging campaigns off the ground. It's never been easier for small business owners to conduct one-on-one conversations with potential and existing customers at scale.

Step 1: Create your Messente account (free)

Signing up to Messente takes just a few minutes. You’ll be prompted to apply for a Sender ID when you first log in. This can be your business name, a short code, or a mobile phone number.

Step 2: Import existing phone number 

If you have a list of existing customers for which you’ve already obtained permission for text marketing, you can upload them to Messente’s Phonebook. From there, you can split them into groups if you wish to allow for more targeted text marketing campaigns.

Step 3: Collect new subscribers

Messente offers two ways to collect new subscriber phone numbers. You can set up a shortcode number and invite prospects to text the shortcode to opt-in to marketing messages. Or you can use Messente’s Subscription API and set up a dedicated landing page where customers can opt-in by submitting their phone number.

Step 4: Write your first text message

Using Messente’s simple interface, type out your first marketing text message. Here’s an example of a special offer message for inspiration:

Text message example for text marketing for small businesses

Step 5: Send your campaign

All that’s left to do is send your campaign. You may want to schedule sending at a specific time when you feel your customers are more likely to interact with the message.

SMS marketing best practices and tips

Bear in mind the following points when using text message marketing. They relate to appropriate messaging principles and ways you can extract more value from your campaigns:

Ensure your text messages are lawful

There are rules and laws to follow in most countries when sending marketing text messages (these can be found within the TCPA, CTIA and CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. and the GDPR for Europe). These are designed to protect consumers from text message marketing spam.

We encourage you to research these thoroughly before sending text marketing campaigns. As a starting point, check out the Mobile Marketing Association’s Code of Conduct which briefly summarises some of the key rules to note.

Carry out targeted campaigns

It’s not enough these days to send out a mass text message to everyone on your contact list and expect excellent results. Consumers want targeted, personalised communications that are relevant to their particular stage of the customer journey. So drill down into your data insights and segment your database into different groups.

For example, you might have a group for loyal (returning) customers, one for those that have only made a single purchase and another for inactive customers that you need to tempt back.

Use text marketing with other channels

Many businesses now recognise that some customers use multiple touchpoints for interactions. And so they use SMS seamlessly alongside other channels for greater prominence and better ROI.

Here’s an example of how this might work in e-commerce. Imagine you send a special offer via text. The text does its job of grabbing attention; the customer reads the message, clicks through to take advantage of the offer and adds a product to their shopping cart to look at later. Only they get distracted and forget to return.

However, suppose you also had the customer’s email address (and email marketing permission). In that case, you could trigger an abandoned cart alert to be sent out automatically a few hours later to encourage that person to return and complete their purchase. This type of workflow is possible if you integrate SMS with an email marketing automation system.

Woman reading a text from a small business

Get started with text message marketing for small business

Are you ready to explore the potential of text message marketing? You need to leverage an SMS service.

If you need to attract new customers, retain existing ones and increase engagement levels, text marketing can help take your small business to another level. Messente enables small businesses to connect with customers via text message marketing in more than 190 countries. Take the first step in getting started by creating your free Messente account today.

Alexandra Krohn
2022-05-05 00:00:00 UTC