Can Small Businesses Build Relationships with Clients Through Texting?

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small business and texting

In today’s world, we fall in and out of love with technology at a head-spinning rate. Remember when MySpace was THE social media platform of the day?

What about those other channels of communication that reigned supreme at some point, but have since fallen from grace? Like texting. Yes, good old texting. With businesses focusing more on email and social media marketing, the old school method of texting has been relegated to the background.

But considering the way the world continually changes, is it perhaps useful to take a second look at how we can use texting more effectively in business? Texting can be a veritable tool, not only in start off a relationship with a new customer, but also develop on existing ones.

Why texting and not emailing or automated voice-calling?

It has been found that 99% of text messages are opened and 90% of these opens are done within 3 minutes of receipt! That, all by itself, is a sufficient argument for why texts trump emails,  as the read rate of emails is just 22%. A lot of communications from businesses via emails are usually not opened by receivers – most are considered spam. The open rate of texts shows why it is valuable in business. It is an effective means of passing on time‑sensitive information.

You can automate text message reminders to send out notifications to notify both customers and employees of appointment times or changes to appointments. It’s cheaper than calling. You can even use text messaging to reach large numbers of people at a time to inform them of news such as an opening date or a product launch, or when you’re closing up shop for the year. Although automated voice calling would also do for some of these tasks, but it is usually easier for receivers to just cut the call once they realize it is not a “real” human being on the other end. There are other advantages to texting:

Convenience

Although mobile trends continue to evolve, text messaging has stood the test of time as one of the most convenient ways for people to get messages across to each other (albeit with stiff competition from WhatsApp and the like). The on-the-go nature of text messaging makes it convenient for your potential customers to get information from you at any point. In terms of convenience, text messaging can even be made to be a two-way channel, through which customers can make enquiries, observations or opinions regarding your services.

Accessibility

Companies can even use texting to reduce the barrier to entry or accessibility of their product. Domino’s Pizza is one notable example of a company that makes use of texting in making its products more accessible to its customers. Customers of the company can text in their orders and have their pizzas delivered to them.

Personalization

The fact that texts can be used to send personalized and relevant messages makes it very ideal for building customer loyalty and generating repeat sales. Businesses do not only use texts to offer special deals or discounts, but also for seasonal greetings and birthdays. Key things to note when sending texts to customers is to make sure that the texts are timely, helpful and add value to the lives of the receiver. Also, do not spam customers or potential customers. The main problem with email marketing is abuse by companies who spam people with too many irrelevant emails, leading to a pushback by consumers in the form of a low open/read rate.

Cost

Contrary to popular opinion, making use of SMS in customer relations is actually very cheap. Compared to using major advertising agencies, snail mail, or phone calls, bulk texting services are usually offered at affordable flat rates that allow you to send multiple messages without breaking the bank.

A quick case study

Napa Valley Wine Train  organized a text messaging marketing outreach to grow sales and increase their customer database. The company offered a text-to-win promotion of two tickets (at $114 per ticket) to new customers. For existing customers, they offered a different texting promotion that gave the customers a chance to win a wine tasting session at the tasting bar on the train. In the first three months of the campaign, the company had gotten an additional 9,000 opt-ins for the SMS promotion. Both texting campaigns were found to have a 55% response rate.

So, if you really want to break out of the mold and do things differently, why not try texting?

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