5 Tips for Using SMS as a Customer Communication Channel for Service Businesses

There are many sales, marketing, and support touchpoints in the online and offline worlds that businesses of all sizes should be using to generate qualified leads, convert, and nurture lifelong customers.

When you bring all of the touchpoints together into a comprehensive brand-customer communication strategy, you’re creating an omni-channel approach that allows you to increase your brand’s visibility, build your reputation, and future-proof your business in a competitive industry.

One of the most powerful marketing tools and communication channels right now is SMS, which has surged in popularity in the post-pandemic era.

Being overwhelmed with online messaging and marketing campaigns, customers are nowadays returning to SMS communication with brands in an attempt to cut through the noise and the fluff – and SMS is the perfect channel to deliver real value quickly, to the right people.

That’s why today we are talking about the importance of SMS marketing for your service business and how you can use it to maximize its potential in 2022 and beyond.

It all starts with SMS opt-ins

In order to be able to send direct SMS messages to potential and existing customers, you first need their consent and their phone numbers.

The opt-in process for SMS marketing works pretty much the same as it does for email marketing, but the problem is not to get people to sign up – it’s getting people to stick around.

Developing and capitalizing on a winning SMS marketing solution relies on inspiring people to keep receiving your messages without wanting to opt out, and it relies on delivering value-based messaging to incentivize action. We’ll talk about the latter in a minute.

When it comes to retention, the best way to do it is bring full disclosure to the table. During the opt-in process, write a disclaimer about the type of messaging you’ll be providing and what people can expect to see.

Always give them an option to unsubscribe from your SMS campaigns by sending you a STOP reply, or provide a link at the end of every message. You can learn how to get started with SMS Marketing services here.

Deliver value quickly with optimized messaging

SMS marketing is a short and sweet way to achieve numerous short, mid, and long-term goals in sales, marketing, and support. Short and sweet are the operative words here, because people won’t read any essays or scroll through lengthy SMS messages to get to the links and CTAs.

SMS stands for “short message service”, after all. With that in mind, one of the keys to SMS marketing is to get to the point quickly and guide people to the next step.

Typically, you’ll want to provide links to your promotions and your website in general, but you can also tell them to get in touch with you if they have any questions.

Whatever you do, it’s imperative to complement your messaging with an optimized digital presence. Make sure to run regular SEO audits to improve your online visibility and make it easy for people to find you.

Not everyone will click on a link in your SMS, and if they delete it and want to find you afterwards, they need to be able to do it quickly and easily.

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Use the right SMS marketing software

Of course, you can’t hope to run a successful SMS marketing campaign over the long term, or to capitalize on every conversion opportunity if you don’t use the right tools and software.

After all, if you’re using a CRM, an email marketing tool, or a social media planner, then you should use an SMS tool as well. 

This will make it infinitely easier to create and optimize campaigns, monitor activity and lead generation, and most importantly, to personalize the brand experience on this channel.

In order to make business text messaging work for your brand, you should use software that gives you a comprehensive overview of your campaigns and lets you integrate your CRM and other marketing tools for complete marketing strategy alignment. 

Link to your content to generate interest

Not every SMS should try to sell something and in fact, the messaging should vary greatly depending on where your customers are on the buyer’s journey.

Yes, you may have an amazing promotion, but pushing promotions on someone who’s in the Awareness stage is not the way to win customer loyalty.

This means that personalization is a big deal in SMS marketing. If you’re trying to generate interest, you need to use SMS communication to lead people to your online content.

You can use a video editor to create engaging videos on your website and social media, and then link to that content in your SMS messages.

Driven by relevant and catchy SMS copy, the recipients won’t have a problem clicking on the link to see a great video, after which they’ll feel inspired to peruse your site or get in touch.

Leverage SMS for long-term retention

Finally, keep in mind that SMS marketing is a powerful customer retention tool as much as it is good for acquisition and building a positive brand image.

If you shift your focus to customer nurturing and retention-based messaging in your SMS communication, you can stay relevant in your customers’ lives and create loyal brand followers.

The possibilities here are endless, as the messaging can range from simply checking in with your long-term customers, all the way to cross-selling and up-selling, as well as offering loyalty perks and benefits.

The best SMS marketing platforms out there will provide all the retention functionalities you need to keep people at your side. Always keep in mind that SMS messaging is your unique opportunity to cut through the noise and retain a direct line of communication with your customers. 

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Over to you

SMS marketing is seeing a big resurgence in the post-pandemic world, and forward-looking brands are using it already to develop a competitive edge and achieve better marketing and sales results.

That said, you need to create the right SMS marketing strategy for your business and tie it in with your other online and offline marketing efforts to maximize its potential.

With all of that in mind, be sure to use these tips and best practices to start implementing SMS marketing as quickly as possible, and watch as you start to generate more qualified leads while boosting customer acquisition and retention.

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