12 July, 2017

Improve your text life! A short guide to SMS marketing

Joking aside if you haven’t considered SMS (short message service) marketing for your small business you might be missing out on lost revenue.The reason marketing via text message can be so effective is because it gains the thing marketers and salespeople really want… the users attention. Because our mobile phone numbers are more closely guarded than any other channel for connecting with us, when we get a text message we almost always pay attention to it.

If you think about it, not only is your phone your main means of communication (whether that’s voice, email, text, Slack or Whatsapp), we almost always have it on and next to us. Think about that for yourself for a moment. How often do you have your phone switched off or on “do not disturb”? Not all that often we suspect. And that’s why we end up with stats like… people read texts within three minutes of receiving them.

This is powerful stuff, but before we get started take a moment to know the law. If you get the basics right then you’re setting yourself up for a good foundation. Much like email marketing, you need permission to contact a customer or lead via their phone number. In essence you need to understand the basics of direct marketing law and specific SMS law. In the same way you would with email, pay particular attention to the opportunity for recipients to opt out!

Here’s our top 3 recommendations for using texting to reach leads & customers.

Think about the medium.

SMS doesn’t lend itself to email length messages but it doesn’t have to be Twitter short either. That said it could be even shorter, e.g “Your appointment is due in 15 minutes.” might be all that is needed as a reminder. Take the time to understand what’s needed and write something that suits the text message format. Also be sure to understand how it’s going to be consumed. Think about how you see a text message on your smartphone. Do you see part of the message in the on-screen alert but only see the full message when you click through to view? In many respects this could act like having a Subject line in an email. Think about how much will be seen initially and how you will utilise that.

Time is precious.

In the 21st century, western-world, we’ve begun to regard our personal time as extremely precious. This has lead to the advent of all sorts of services, such as 2hr delivery via Amazon, taxi ordering via Uber and food delivery via the likes of Deliveroo. It’s safe to say that time is becoming one of our most valued commodities. That being the case, knowing that a huge percentage of people read their text messages within 3 mins of receipt is really important and it makes sense as a business to use it for time sensitive actions for your recipient or customers. In fact, if your customers are expecting or relying on your communications, they’ll thank you for it.

Some really great examples of this might be:


Some great examples of SMS use are within services such as the dentist profession or doctors surgery. A simple reminder that it’s 6 months since your last check up or there’s 24hrs before your appointment is due, makes a huge impact in how your client views your business. In essence it’s all about delivering the right information, at the right time to the right device and making life easier for your end user. If we make sure someone doesn’t forget their important event or remind them of the need to rebook they will feel glad to know someone is keeping an eye out for them.

Show Offers, coupons & vouchers.

Imagine if you run a food stall where “fresh” matters. You could use a text to tell your fans… “Pies are coming out the oven in 7 minutes”. Or maybe you‘ve got a handful of tickets left for a show and you want to offer the remaining 5 at a discount for members 10 mins before the curtain goes up. Or if you’re having a flash sale at your clothes boutique you could text previous customers a special discount code for an extra reduction when they come in to the store or even let them know that they get special access to early doors before the rest of the public are allowed entry.

There are so many opportunities for quick and to the point messages, we would love to know how you are thinking of using SMS for your business.

Being in constant contact

When we talk about the effectiveness of sales or marketing content, one of the things that is almost always a factor in success is how many “touch points” a user has had with us. It used to be the old saying that you need to have 7 touches to get a lead to the point of sale. This increased dramatically as we became able to mentally filter out traditional touch points such as mid-show advertising or billboard ads and now we can literally filter out advertising and marketing messages by using programs that block web ads. So we really need to come at this from the perspective that text messages are one of the opportunities we can use to make as much contact as possible, while always providing value in those moments. And we need to do it in a way that maintains their permission to connect with and sell to them. This balance will always be different for different industries and businesses so you need to do your research and be willing to experiment. But realise that if you make useful & timely contact, with information relevant to the customer and designed for the particular medium you’re using (eg. SMS, email, Instagram, Facebook ads etc.), those touch points will add up and your customers will be glad to spend their money with you!

For some, SMS marketing is going to be great value for money and obviously spending your money as carefully and effectively as possible is vital. You need to always test your marketing outcomes though to see if you’re spending money well. And if you’re looking to save money elsewhere by having a London office address without the unusually high over heads, do get in touch with us. Our Virtual Office Services are extrordinay value and enable you to have your business registered in Old Street, central London.

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