Is driving local traffic your number one goal?
How about having a 97% open rate and transforming your relationship with clients for the better?
On October 13th, I moderated a Search Engine Journal sponsored webinar given by Thomas Clawson, Partner Marketing Director at Podium. Provide the latest insights and insider tips on using text messaging more successfully as a prospecting and customer care marketing channel.
You’re probably very familiar with marketing channels like email, in-app claims, direct mail, and display advertising.
However, SMS marketing is a relatively new field.
When used effectively, text messaging can be excellent.
As a company or agency that helps other businesses, you can take advantage of the changing tides of customer communication using SMS.
Below is a summary of the web presentation.
How do customers want to communicate with local businesses?
Podium interviewed more than 1,000 diverse consumers across the US and Australia to answer important questions about how customers want to interact with local businesses.
This is what they discovered.
The evolution of business messaging
Messaging isn’t new, but it has changed forever.
So why send text messages to the next revolution?
Look at these stats:
Statistics #1: There is a 98% same-day open rate for text messages.
This exceeds the average email open rate of 18% and presents an excellent opportunity for marketers to get in and try out SMS.
Stat #2: The 18% click-through rate for text messages is 6.9 times higher than for email.
This shows that SMS has a significant impact on those who use it.
Statistics #3: Only 12% of local businesses use text messaging as a marketing tool.
This means that there is ample opportunity to fill the void.
LA Furniture is a retail company with a significant presence throughout the Los Angeles area and a strong online retail wing.
Madeline shared her ideology on connecting with customers and why they lean so heavily towards SMS communications.
“We have to think about the consumers of the future. They are the people who grew up with cell phones and computers… they are very efficient with their time, and we need to be aware of that.”
— Madeline Sweetin, Los Angeles Furniture
The newest group of serious spending power now grew up with a cell phone a lot or used it at a young age,
Consumer Messaging Trends
It’s simple: your customers want to send text messages.
Stat #4: There is a 209% difference in response rate between text and phone messages, email or Facebook.
Many businesses use the phone, emails, and maybe a social media channel to communicate with customers, but they are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Increasing your response rate by 209% is nothing to scoff at: it’s an unfair advantage against your competitors, an efficiency driver for your employees, and a revenue maximizer.
Stat #5: 1.8 times more consumers prefer texting than any other method of communication.
Consumers really prefer text messaging with businesses.
So the shift is here, it’s real, and your customers have been waiting for it.
The power of conversational messages
Chat messages differ from spam because they are more personalized.
The person messaging you introduces themselves, and your answers go beyond yes or no.
When you open up these kinds of conversations, you start to see better results for your work.
Statistics #6: 74% of consumers reported that they would be more inclined to text a local business if they knew that a real person would receive and respond to their message.
Conversational messaging puts a human face and sensibility to your business and meets customers where they are with the service they deserve.
Statistics #7: 50% of consumers report that they are more likely to respond to a text message from a company if the employee identifies themselves.
When customers know that a real person will receive and respond to their message, they are more likely to text that local business.
They want to be messaged as someone from this business.
Unfair texting feature
Statistics #8: 28% of customers say they speak with local businesses via text.
With SMS being one of the most effective yet underused channels, it gives companies a chance to be true industry leaders before it can be widely adopted.
Statistics #9: 43% said they would like to speak with a local business via text.
Customers are ready.
Two-thirds of them want the ability to send text messages to their local business, and the businesses around them don’t meet their needs.
Imagine the implications for a local business that embraces text messaging.
SMS marketing to local businesses
Are you using text as a marketing channel today?
Promotional messages are any way you message your customers to promote or advertise your business, usually by offering sales, discounts, and coupons.
Statistics #10: 21% are more likely to sign up for SMS promotions from a local company versus a major chain or online-only company.
Local businesses are uniquely positioned to win with SMS marketing.
Consumers report that they are 21% more likely to subscribe to a local listing business than a major chain or large corporation and 45% more likely to subscribe to an online-only business.
This is an unfair advantage that can, without exaggeration, tilt the tables in favor of local businesses.
If you are smaller, regional or more specialized, there is a great opportunity here.
Your customers are more likely to feel that there will be a connection and that they are not just someone on the list.
SMS best practices
Now that you know the power of SMS marketing for local businesses, how should you consider implementing it for your business?
Statistics #11: 64% of consumers prefer receiving incentives from local businesses via SMS.
Podium research found that most consumers want text promotional messages that provide coupons, discounts, and loyalty offers.
Statistics #12: 1 to 3 promotional text messages per week is a safe pace for businesses.
In terms of timing, 1-3 promotional text messages per week seems to be the sweet spot for a good portion of consumers.
For ordered products, backup stock messages work well.
Statistics #13: 59% of consumers have been sent to a company they wouldn’t allow to send text messages.
Now before we send you on your way to start capitalizing on instant SMS marketing, it is important to remember that SMS marketing is a regulated channel with huge repercussions if not adhered to.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), among other things, prohibits companies from using automated technology to call or text customers on a cell phone without their consent.
Collective actions are the most important risks for companies subject to the TCPA (and the Spam Act in Australia and CASL in Canada). TCPA’s collective actions often result in large settlements. So this is important.
Unfortunately, many consumers have experienced this type of abuse, with the majority receiving a promotional letter from a company they did not approve of.
Statistics #14: 61% of customers said they would unsubscribe from promotional messages.
These are individuals who have received messages that they did not remember to subscribe to.
There are right and wrong ways to do this, and it really comes down to getting approval or permission to text these people.
One way to collect subscriptions is through banners in your store, places on your website, or freebies.
Once you get that audience, they are captivated, excited to work with you, and have a huge impact.
Statistics #15: 75% of consumers say they will unsubscribe if they receive too many messages.
It’s also important to remember that you have to earn your audience’s trust with every message, as they can unsubscribe at any time.
When asked why they would opt out of a list they had already chosen, consumers pointed to two important issues:
- Messages are sent frequently
- receiving messages that do not interest them personally.
Local business texting here.
are you ready?
Always keep in mind the following:
- As one of the most powerful and underutilized channels, SMS offers companies an opportunity to be true industry leaders before they go mainstream.
- SMS marketing is a regulated channel that has huge repercussions if not followed properly.
- The sweet spot for most consumers seems to be 1 to 3 promotional text messages per week.
[Slides] 15 SMS Marketing Trends Every Local Business Marketer Needs To Know
Here is the presentation:
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Paolo Bobita/Search Engine Journal