As the use of mobile technology grows and consumers continue to purchase the latest tablet or mobile phone, short message service (SMS), more commonly known as text messaging, is a growing method for engaging customers. SMS offers businesses a way to improve customer communication and differentiate themselves among competitors, but it is important to use SMS properly so that customers are engaged and not turned away.
The most important factor in using SMS to reach customers is to get their permission before you begin texting them. Texting a customer without their permission will not only offend some consumers, but could cost them money as not everyone has unlimited texting services. For those that do not, unwanted texts can significantly raise their cell phone bill (). In addition, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Federal Communication Commission forbid sending text messages using automated methods unless the consumer gave permission for those texts. It is not difficult to inform customers that they can receive alerts via text message. The information can be added to a sales receipt or in marketing campaigns. Consider adding a keyword and short code on each receipt in order for customers to agree to get text message alerts.
Combine with Other Channels
Another tip for engaging customers through SMS is by combining it with other marketing channels. Include information about text alerts in email campaigns or on your company website. You can also include the information in social media posts, at the end of your blogs or as part of any print marketing campaign. Keep in mind that the more times a consumer sees that they can get information from you company through text message, the more likely they are to sign up for the service.
Use SMS for More than Promotions
One way to encourage people to sign up for SMS alerts is to include more than just promotions of your goods and services. Send text message discounts or free gift vouchers that allow a customer to bring in their phone and show the text in order to receive a special discount or gift that is only available to SMS subscribers. Send sales receipts, appointment reminders or surveys via text as well as an additional way to engage customers through SMS. If you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to offer free gifts or discounts, consider a sweepstakes for text message subscribers. That way, you only have to provide one prize and you could have many people opt-in to the service.
Clear Call to Action and Incentive
Another important factor to remember when using SMS to engage customers is that you must include a strong call to action and an incentive for a customer to answer that call to action. Make it clear what you want the customer to do and the steps they should take to get that incentive.
SMS may be the next “big thing” in reaching consumers, but it is critical that businesses follow certain guidelines before choosing to reach customers through texts. There are many ways to use texts to reach customers simply by being aware of a few simple tips.