Our lives are run through our smartphones. Research shows 96 percent of Americans own a cell phone, making it easier than ever for local businesses to reach their customers. Countless apps and methods for communication with customers are available, but which option is best? And why should you, as a trusted local marketing expert, even offer an SMS solution?
Read on to discover why you should provide SMS solutions for local businesses, and how you can easily implement this into your offering.
Why SMS Messaging?
Let’s start by looking at the usage of Short Message Service or SMS messaging. Professional text message use is expected to continue growing through 2021 and more than 5 million people around the world send and receive SMS messages. It's safe to say SMS usage is extremely high, but how effective is it for local businesses looking to close leads?
Businesses receive messages from a variety of channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many more. But ultimately they need to decide how to communicate and stay in touch with prospective leads and current customers. A business doesn’t necessarily know whether customers have and use third-party apps such as Facebook or Instagram. So these apps are probably not to be relied on as a business’s primary communication channel. A few primary and nearly guaranteed ways businesses can contact customers at any time is through a phone call, SMS, or other text message form, or email. Smartphones also have push notifications capabilities. But which of these methods is best for a business to communicate with customers and how do customers want to be communicated with?
To determine this means looking at which channel is most effective and understanding the way in which customers want to be contacted. The solution should be efficient for the business and delights rather than annoys the customer. According to a study that analyzed 5,000 notifications through SMS, push notifications, and email, SMS blew away email and push notifications in terms of open rates and engagement. Here is a breakdown of results:
These numbers show SMS as the clear winner in every category. It’s obvious from this data why a local business should be reaching out to customers via SMS. Also note that 85 percent of customers say they prefer receiving text messages rather than a phone call or email. Customers are not only more likely to respond to SMS messages, it is their preferred method of communication.
Why should you offer an SMS software solution to your clients?
There are thousands of software and automation options for local businesses to choose from including communication platforms, digital marketing, operations, HR, and finance. A business owner must consider many options and it can be overwhelming. This is where a local expert comes in to help business owners as their trusted advisors to choose the right solutions. As the resident local expert, it’s your mission to help your clients use the right software for their business and provide a comprehensive solution that addresses their needs.
Business owners today have so many choices with the number of channels available to communicate with customers. In addition to social media posts and comments, there are third-party chat apps such as Facebook and Instagram, email, phone calls, blog posts, and much more. In the midst of all this noise, business owners must find an effective solution while continuing to operate their businesses.
With an SMS solution, you provide clients a way to communicate how they want and through a platform with which they are already highly engaged. SMS messaging eliminates the need for repeatedly calling or sending emails that typically achieve low open rates.
How you can offer an SMS solution to your local business clients
There are many SMS options available and most software providers exclusively offer SMS messaging services. However, as we discussed before, vendor clutter is a very real challenge both for you as an agency, and for your business clients. While a local business could use an exclusive SMS messaging service, they are adding yet another software solution to their operations. It’s much easier for you and a local business to use one platform, with one login, and one reporting system to your clients, that offers digital solutions, SMS, reporting, and more.
The Vendasta white-label Business App offers a complete platform under your brand, featuring a wide variety of solutions for digital marketing, including SMS messaging. Within the Business App, clients can manage all of their SMS customer communication from a single “inbox.” It’s easy to add team members so multiple employees can collaborate and communicate with customers from the same place.
The benefits of SMS go beyond a great business communication solution for your clients. Many Vendasta partners that use SMS see triple the rate of engagement with their brands and with the Business App. Our usage data shows SMS messaging users come back to Business App three times more often when compared to businesses that have not yet adopted SMS messaging.
Vendasta research shows SMS can help to position brands top-of-mind more often as a business’s marketing solutions provider. It can also increase engagement in your Business App, providing more opportunities to strengthen relationships and upsell local business clients. And SMS supports efforts to position your solutions as a necessary infrastructure for business clients to operate. That increases stickiness and retention.
The benefits of SMS customer communication for a local business
We’ve earlier outlined high-open and click-through rate as benefits of using SMS messaging to contact local business customers. But there are even more ways to show value and address needs through SMS messaging.
Inbox in Business App provides a hub for business teams to collaborate. All employees can manage SMS customer communication from the same place in the Business App, and it supports efforts to scale sales and support communication with complete transparency. SMS messaging in Business App also ensures a business owns its customer data — instead of services like Facebook or Google. Customer information is stored centrally and customers are not lost when employees leave.
Wrapping it up
Businesses should be communicating with customers through the methods they prefer to be reached and in a way that effectively scales support and sales. There should be full transparency when it comes to employee-to-customer communication and ethical ownership of customer data to ensure none are ever lost.
A comprehensive digital marketing and communications platform, such as Business App, streamlines reporting and gives your clients a single login to a platform full of essential local business tools.