The power of SMS marketing within local communities

In times of boom and bust, all businesses – from multinational superpowers to the newsagent on the corner – are looking to maximise their return with as little outlay as possible.

For this, suited and booted executives are turning to their marketing and advertising departments in order to drive sales. However, smaller organisations simply don’t have the resources, like big-budget marketing departments, to rely on.

Consequently, it is integral that small, local businesses don’t invest in expensive marketing techniques that simply aren’t suited to their business when, in fact, the answer may have literally been in the palm of their hand all along.

Text PROFIT to 12345

SMS marketing, a tried and trusted technique that has been in use for many years, has the potential to help local businesses improve their customer loyalty and drum up more business in the process.

In a nutshell, SMS marketing involves a mobile phone user seeing an ad or a message that directs them to text a keyword to a short code. The user sends a message and is able to receive one in return, if the recipient replies.

So, how can local businesses take advantage of these opportunities?

Large cod, medium chips, please!

Let’s use the example of a fish and chip shop in a small village on the outskirts of a big city. Business has been steady over the last year, but order frequency needs to improve as a new chain has moved close by. As a result, our fish and chip shop decides to take SMS marketing on board.

Most people view their mobile phone number as a precious piece of data, so it will have to be a tempting offer or reward for customers to part with such information.

For instance, when customers visit the front till of the shop, the owners could advertise a ‘£3 off next order’ code – ‘Text FISH to 81444’. The SMS marketing software running the campaign will then send the user a unique code, entitling them to their discount. This potentially locks in a return visit, in turn generating more business. It also gets residents talking about the code to their friends, who then tell their friends and so on.

Overall, the goal of the fish and chip shop is to build a database of loyal subscribers, with a view to messaging them in the future about exclusive offers or menu changes.

Tuesday, 6.30pm, St. Leonards Church

That said, SMS doesn’t have to be used to promote offers or discounts. It can also be used as a channel to inform users on upcoming events or as a tool to remind users about existing commitments.

For instance, the local Church needs to increase attendance at some of its weekly bake sales. By adopting SMS marketing, the Church can drum up interest via the platform and inform users about future sales. It can also be used as a reminder tool for regular attendees of a particular meeting – ‘Please remember the next council meeting is at 6.30pm on Tuesday’, for example.

Overall, SMS marketing is a vital tool for small businesses or organisations looking to keep in direct contact with their contacts. With an extraordinary number of people now in possession of a mobile phone that can handle SMS, email and internet, it is more important than ever for local organisations to tap into that market.