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    Posted April 23, 2014 by
    Poway, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tech talk

    SMS Text Message Marketing Etiquette and the Small Business Owner


    Mobile marketing, especially that done through SMS text messages, is a very effective marketing tool for the small business owner. In fact, SMS marketing may very well be the most effective method for a small business to engage in a marketing campaign, owing to a very high read-rate. According to Interactive Marketing Specialist Doug Lewis of Poway California, text messages “are read by over 95% of recipients in the first three minutes of receiving them.”


    An SMS message does not depend on Internet access to be received, which enables you to reach even those customers without Internet-enabled smartphones. Local retailers can promote their products or services, provide loyalty incentives, or even remind customers of upcoming appointments. Your imagination is the limit to what you can do with SMS text message marketing! For the marketing campaign to work, though, you have to follow some simple guidelines.


    When to Send
    You want to hit your customers when they are most likely to read your text message, but you also don’t want to disturb them. Make sure you never send promotional text messages after 9 PM or before 11 AM, according to your customer’s local time. Focus when you send based on your business; if you are a retailer, send your message just before or during prime shopping times. On the other hand, a restaurant should send a message out to customers right before mealtimes. Lewis, points out that you should “Make sure you don’t send an in-store deal outside your regular business hours, though!”


    How Often to Send
    This is highly subjective, and it depends on your customer base. You don’t want to flood your customers with messages, but you also don’t want them to forget about you. When your campaign is prompting customers to opt-in, specify how many messages they should expect to receive each month, and stick to that number.


    What to Send
    You should send messages that are an immediate call to action. For example, an automotive shop might set up an automated system to send out a text message to customers 85 days after their last oil change, reminding them that it is almost time for an oil change. A shopping retailer might send out special deals the day before they go live in the store, so customers know the shopping special coming up. Or, you might send an in-store coupon that is only good that day. Work out what is best for your business model, and focus on that.


    Multiple SMS Opt-In Keywords
    Through the use of multiple SMS opt-in keywords, you and your customer can tailor the marketing experience to the customer’s unique shopping needs. As explained by Lewis, “This allows the customer to decide what kind of offers he or she will receive based on the products or offers he or she is most interested in, and it lets you, the business owner, target specifically what is going to work with your most loyal customers.”


    A good SMS marketing campaign can be more effective than email, radio, or even television advertising. “The average cell phone owner looks at their phone more than 150 times a day,” adds Lewis, “so you have plenty of opportunities to grab your customer’s attention and get them in the door. Just be smart about it, and let these short, 160-character messages work to your best advantage.”

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