With 26 billion text messages sent daily in the U.S., texting has seemingly become a national pastime. Luckily for businesses, texting has evolved from facilitating small talk into a viable marketing strategy.

Text message or SMS (short message service) marketing is highly effective because customers and prospects opt-in to receive texts from businesses. This creates the perception among subscribers that businesses are providing a welcome service rather than overtly marketing to them. In addition, approximately 98 percent of text messages are opened and read; a significantly higher open rate than any other form of marketing. This provides businesses with a rare guarantee that their marketing messages will be received.

SMS Short Codes

Integrating SMS marketing into an overall marketing plan is relatively simple and inexpensive. Businesses can register for a five- or six-digit short code or choose to share one with another company. The short code should then be promoted across all marketing strategies including websites, social media platforms, signage, marketing collaterals, direct mailers, radio, and TV ads. To find out who owns a short code and how it is being used, visit the U.S Short Code Directory. Most companies utilize an SMS service provider or an SMS aggregator like BSG to submit a short code application on their behalf.

Mobile and Web Opt-In

With mobile opt-in, prospective customers opt-in by texting a message to your business’s short code in order to receive information about your business and its products or services. Sign-on incentives like discounts, coupons, product giveaways, and contests are quite effective in garnering subscribers. With web opt-in, customers enter their phone numbers into a website form and receive a confirmation via text message. Ideally, every form of advertising—social media, print, email, point-of-purchase and your website—should include your SMS marketing campaign and short code.

SMS Automation

With a solid subscriber list in place, businesses can text sales notifications, announcements about new products and services, and other customer-focused news on a regular basis. SMS marketing automation allows businesses to have their messages automatically sent out according to a predefined schedule. While it isn’t wise to bombard subscribers with daily texts unless you indicate that frequency in your advertising, restaurants have found success in sending text alerts about their daily specials.

Alternatively, service providers often use texts to remind customers about upcoming appointments. Messages can also be tailored to certain customer groups, like boutique customers who only purchase accessories or auto shop patrons who get oil changes but not repairs. This allows for targeted marketing efforts to specific aspects of a business that need a sales boost, while also connecting with customers about their interests.

Text Message Writing Tips

When creating your SMS marketing messages, remember to be succinct–texts are limited to 160 characters–and lead with your offer to attract attention. In addition, resist the temptation to use abbreviated texts (e.g. “This $ale will b gr8!”). A more professional approach is most appreciated by patrons of all age groups.

Lastly, always provide the option for subscribers to opt-out of your text message list. This usually takes the form “Text STOP to stop.” This demonstrates respect for your customers and their privacy, and when utilized by subscribers, assists you in maintaining an accurate customer list.

SMS marketing allows for an almost instantaneous delivery of information and can be used to drive customers to action. When integrated into an overall marketing campaign, SMS marketing has proven to build customer trust, loyalty, and significant business revenue. For more information on SMS marketing and help achieving your marketing goals this year, contact Millennium Agency.

About Millennium Agency

Millennium Agency is a national, award-winning, digital creative, content/PR, and video marketing firm. With offices in Boston and New Hampshire, our team unites creative branding and data analytics to accelerate our clients’ growth, while combining our clients’ vision with our marketing expertise to increase sales opportunities and drive brand success. From video advertising and web design to social media and PR, Millennium can guide your marketing efforts every step of the way. Contact the professionals at Millennium Agency to learn more!

Linda Fanaras is the President and Founder of Millennium Agency (www.mill.agency) located in Manchester, NH and Boston. She can be reached at 877-873-7445 or lfanaras@mill.agency.