As a personal method of communication, text messaging provides businesses with the opportunity to deliver information to the intended individuals directly to their phone numbers, ensuring only the targeted individuals receive the messages.

SMS messaging allows businesses to contact their customers within a matter of seconds. As a result of this instant delivery, businesses hold the ability to immediately relay information to their customers. This method of communication is far more reliable and effective. In contrast to email opening rates of 25%, SMS messages hold a 95% open rate.

For small businesses, marketing may seem more difficult than for larger, wealthier corporations with greater sums of money to invest into campaigns. However, the very low entry cost and ease of optimising SMS marketing can provide small businesses with the perfect channel through which to develop a marketing strategy. Text messaging has a range of benefits: from broadening your customer base, to sending important information to staff.

Below are a number of quick tips for utilising SMS messaging in the most effective manner possible:

Gaining telephone numbers

Users can opt-in to receiving updates and offers by delivering a text message with a keyword to a short code unique to your businesses. The benefits of SMS marketing is that, as it relies on consumers to opt in, the target audience must first subscribe to receive messages about deals and promotions prior to receiving them. This is a legal requirment, but it means that customers who receive messages from your business are already interested in your brand or product – otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen to opt-in. In this way, SMS messaging can save businesses a lot of money and time which would otherwise be wasted on customers who aren’t interested. By using a display ad, inviting customer to text you and opt-in to your brand, you can let the customers come to you.

Knowing what to send

With a 160 character limit, it is important that businesses word their messages in the most clear and consice way possible. Text messages are very to the point, which as a whole is beneficial, as it saves the recipient time spent reading and processing the information. This also benefits businesses as it means that within seconds the recipient will decide whether or not they are interested in the product advertised. For these reasons short sentences should be used when sending an SMS message and capital letters should be used to highlight important aspects of the message. Businesses could encourage recipients further by personalising their messages, for instance by including customers’ names or delivering relevant texts on their birthdays or holidays.

Using SMS for reminders

Businesses such as hair dressers, doctors surgeries, dentists, charities and schools are starting to use SMS messaging as a means of delivering reminders. Because there are now very few people who don’t own a mobile device and SMS delivery is instant, businesses easily send appointment reminders via SMS. This can benefit businesses massively as the speed of text message delivery ensures recipients are taking the appropriate action at the right time. SMS reminders prevent time being wasted and can as a whole make processes far more efficient. Furthermore, they can save small businesses money by reducing excess spends associated with missed appointments as SMS reminders can significantly reduce the percentage of ‘no shows’. This is particularly popular with class based businesses like fitness and yoga studios but can be applied to many other types of organisation.

What NOT to do

Businesses must take care not to deliver messages at inappropriate times, as timing is often key to the success of an SMS campaign. It is important for businesses to gauge when peak times for SMS delivery are for their customer base. If their clients receive texts during hours where they don’t wish to be disturbed, for instance if they are awoken by a text at 3am, they may become irritated and choose to opt-out.

It is also important for businesses to ensure that they don’t cram their text messages with a number of different campaigns or pitches as this will only confuse the recipient and distract them from potentially making a purchase. With 160 character limit, it is vital that any information is straight to the point and as condensed as can be.

Similarly, businesses which bombard their customers with a large volume of messages, each offering different things will only lead to subscribers who are very confused and eventually become irritated by the harassment. This will again undoubtedly result in customers opting out. Consumers’ time is valuable and just because businesses have received their permission to text them, does not give them the right to abuse such a privilege. Overloading customers will undoubtedly do more harm than good.