Many small business owners are starting to hear about text message marketing, or SMS promotions, but either don’t know exactly how they work, or do not think that their own particular business could benefit from them. This article takes a look at what kind of businesses can benefit from text message marketing as well as what it takes to run a successful campaign.
Whether you are a small business owner with one location, or a business owner with multiple locations and you are in the food service business of any kind such as a restaurant owner, a bar or tavern owner, or even just own one small pizza shop, you are someone who can really take advantage of the new technology that marketing to people on their mobile phones has to offer.
In the recent past this kind of advertising has been out of reach for the small business owner. The costs were high and the technology was difficult to master and use successfully to drive more customers in the door. As late as 2009 pretty much the only ones using mass promotion via text messages were large corporations with deep pockets.
As the technology advanced the costs came down. The ability for businesses of any size to use text messaging to reach their customers has now become easy, and inexpensive.
Here is how it works. We will use a restaurant as an example.
The restaurant owner recently signed up with a text message marketing service company. He either talked to a local representative who walked in off the street and showed him how this all works, or he/she is a person who is always on the lookout for ways to promote the business and heard about it on the internet. Either way the business is set up with their own “keyword” and a five digit “text to” number.
Most restaurants have on every table a little card or “table tent” that shows the specials of the day, right? Maybe the specials are listed on a thin piece of card stock that is wedged between the top metal pieces of the salt and pepper shakers for example. Only in this case the restaurant has a card that says something along the lines of “TEXT (name of restaurant) to 83936 and start receiving Text Coupons from us”.
In the course of serving the meal the waiter or waitress points out the card and tells the customers to check it out. They also tell the customer that if they do in fact text the name of the restaurant to that five digit number they will instantly receive a text back with a “special”, or “coupon” that they can then redeem on their next visit just by showing the text message that they received to the cashier.
Often times this text message “coupon” is for a free drink, a two-for-one special, or whatever the business owner set it up to be. The reason this works so well is that most everyone always carries their mobile phone with them at all times. With the coupon for your business already on their phone they don’t have to worry about trying to keep track of a paper coupon. They only need to show the text the business owner sent them to the waitress or cashier on their next visit.
There are two things that just happened when that customer of yours texted your “keyword” or “name of your restaurant” to that five digit number.
- They instantly received a coupon to use on their next visit. If they are a regular customer they will not only thank you for the discount or freebie on their next visit, they will more than likely tell a friend about it too.
- More importantly (for you as the business owner) this person is now on your “list”. You can now send them a text message with your specials on a weekly basis (or whenever you want actually).
Business owners who are taking advantage of this kind of advertising and adding text message marketing to their long term growth strategies are finding that the ROI of dollars spent promoting their business in this way far exceeds any other form of advertising dollars spent.