Every large or small business owner today is searching for innovative marketing tools and tactics to increase in-store traffic, drive sales and create a deeper relationship with their current customers. And there is no shortage of marketing channels. Between online ads, social media, SEM and daily deals, every time a small business owner turns around, there is another shiny tool promising more bottom line results.

But what tools actually work? In what channel can you actually see immediate results? You might be surprised to learn that the most effective channel for reaching your customer and driving immediate sales is text and multimedia (MMS) text messaging.

Wait? What? Text message marketing drives results for small businesses? Before we go any further, let’s look at a few facts.

Text messaging has become second nature to consumers; in fact, of the 271 million Americans that have a mobile phone, 90 percent have sent or received a text message.

Two years ago it was much easier to drive foot traffic with a simple tweet or Facebook status update. Today, with 71 percent of tweets being ignored, and 84 percent of company status updates never seen by a follower, ROI for social posts has dropped significantly. Email marketing, while popular, is ignored (not even opened) by 90 percent of recipients and let’s not even get into the low click through rates on display ads or in-app ads.

Text message marketing, on the other hand, shows immediate ROI. In fact, the rate of return is so high in text marketing that Coca-Cola allocates 70 percent of their entire mobile marketing budget to text message marketing. And retailer Charlotte Russe experienced 10x higher ROI with MMS text messaging than email marketing.  Why? Text messaging is an opt-in medium (only those who want them receive them), it’s immediate (who doesn’t respond to text messages as soon as they arrive?) and it’s mobile (we have our phones with us at all times). It explains why 33 percent of U.S. mobile customers say they prefer their offers by text message rather than the mobile Web (21 percent), apps (11 percent) and voice mail (8 percent).

In short – your customers are texting, so isn’t it time that you do too?

So how do you start text messaging your customers?

First off, it is permissions-based. This means that your customers must opt-in to receive your text messages, eliminating any chance of upsetting a customer and/or being accused of sending spam. Anyone who joins your mobile mailing list is a fan; these customers are telling you that they want to receive valuable texts from you, whether its a restaurant’s daily special or a coupon that can be redeemed immediately.

Here are seven ways you can start using text (SMS/MMS) messaging to bring in more customers, immediate sales and build long-term loyalty:

  1. Build your database: First – build your mobile customer database by promoting the program in as many places as possible. In every place you are promoting your website, you should be including your mobile database! From signs in-store (and at the register) to your website and social properties, the more places that you promote the opportunity to join your mobile database, the more likely people are to opt-in. Combine the request to join your database with an incentive like a small discount coupon for even higher sign-ups.
  2. Be timely: Drive traffic during peak times by sending well-timed text messages. Trying to drive foot traffic during lunch? Consider sending out an enticing image at 11:15 AM local time.
  3. Be branded: A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Include videos and images in your text messages to showcase your brand and tell a story to your audience.
  4. Be personal: Ask customers for additional information (like a zip code, favorite drink or dress size) to allow you to create and send targeted messages.
  5. Be valuable: Message your customers with valuable information, ranging from new items, specials, event invitations and coupons.
  6. Be legally compliant: Text messaging is highly regulated in order to keep the channel free from spam. This handy guide spells out everything a small business needs to know to create a legally compliant program.

Text message marketing is a perfect fit for any small business – from bars and restaurants to salons and retail stores.

Interested in learning how your business can take advantage of text message marketing? Let the team at Mogreet Express, Mogreet’s premiere small business text marketing platform, help!  Email us at [email protected].