We’ve talked about how important engaging with your past and present customers is when it comes to growing your business. What better way to get in touch with those customers than through their mobile devices? People are attached to their mobile phones and it’s rare that a text message would go unnoticed. In fact, Americans are sending over 69,000 text messages every second through their mobile phones! That’s a lot of communication, and you want your business to be right in the middle of it.
So how can you, as a local business owner, effectively engage with your customers through SMS text messages? We’re here to answer that question for you.
First of all, it’s a good idea to let them know that you may reach out to communicate via text and to make sure that’s OK. A good way to approach this after your first service is this… “Occasionally we have great deals around the time when you will need to be serviced again. Do you mind if I reach out a few times a year to let you know about them?” Hardly anyone will say no to the way you served that up. If you do this you will avoid people that want to “unsubscribe” to your text messages.
Next, you need to make sure your message grabs attention. After all, what good will it do if it never gets opened or read? When you send out an SMS message to a customer, don’t let it look spammy or like it’s a sales tactic. You can avoid this by acting like you’re sending a text to a friend (while still keeping it professional). For example, you want to start with a friendly, simple greeting, “Hi!” or “Hey!” This makes the message look appealing, like it’s coming from someone you actually want to talk to. And to keep your customer’s attention, you need to provide value. How do you provide value to someone in a short text message?
Make the message worthwhile. This means that in your message, you aren’t just sending a text to say hi and remind them of your services. Provide something to your client in the text, like a free service or a free consultation. If you can’t afford to provide something free (that’s fine, and common), consider offering a discount. For example, “25% off your next service!” You can also mention a promise of future specials and discounts to come. Let your customers know that they can respond with their email address, and you will email them coupons.
Who wants to waste time on a message from someone they don’t know? Nobody! Be sure to introduce yourself and your business. You don’t want to send a killer message to someone and have them be unsure who sent the message. They may want to take advantage of your offer, but will question its authenticity if they don’t have a business name to put it with. Your message should read something like this, “Hi! This is Joe from Greenville Plumbing.” You may even want to mention that you have worked together in the past, so the customer knows how you got their number and why you’re reaching out to them.
Try to avoid using shorthand writing styles when texting. This means that you don’t want your message to read like it was written by a teenager in a hurry to text their friends! You want the message to be clean, simple and short, but not full of symbols or numbers where words should be. Take a look at the difference in these two messages, for example.
DO: “Hi! This is Joe from Greenville Plumbing. Schedule a service today and receive 25% off. Thanks!”
DON’T: “Hi! Joe 4m Greenville Plumb. Schedule a srvc 2day and get 25% off.”
One of those messages is easy to read and follow, and looks like it was written by a company. The other looks as though it was written quickly and sloppily and isn’t easy to read.
When sending out text messages, you want to do so at appropriate times. Nobody wants to be woken up from a text at midnight, especially from a business. Keep in mind that not everyone is awake at 6am, either, so sending out messages too early could also backfire. You want to time your messages appropriately so people are receiving them from 11am-5pm. That is your safe zone, and it’s important that you don’t upset anyone by waking them up to a text message in the middle of the night.
Last, but not least, watch out for frequency and the amount of messages you are sending. The last thing you want to do is annoy your customers by sending them SMS messages every day, or even every week. Put yourself in their shoes when you are writing up your messages and imagine if you’d like to receive this message from a business. Would you be excited about what you’re sharing with them? If not, you can probably pass on sending out these messages. While the point is to keep your business fresh on their minds, and get them to take advantage of your deals, you don’t want to annoy them. Sending your text messages every 3-6 months as a reminder and notification of deals is sufficient.
Don’t be intimidated by texting your customers! This is a very effective way of marketing, when done correctly. Follow these simple tips and, as always, contact FreshLime for help along the way. Happy texting!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!