Mobile phones are used by your customers for text messaging more than voice phone calls and Internet access combined. There are now over 276 million mobile wireless subscribers in the U.S., which is more than 89% of the population. The latest Forrester Research statistics show that more than 2.2 trillion text messages are sent in the U.S. every year. That equates to over six billion text messages sent every day, in the United States alone.
Texting Is Cross-Generational
Texting is a teenager’s most common form of communication. Pew Internet Research reports that 75% of teenagers in the U. S. text, and on average they each text 60 messages a day. That is more than social networks, phone calls, and face-to-face communication combined.
Americans ages 20-29 are the most frequent text messagers. They send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to only 17 daily phone calls. The 45 to 64 age demographic is the fastest growing text messagers with the largest increase in text messages sent over last year.
While it’s true that the number of text messages decline with older demographics (as well as overall frequency of all communication), texting is still the most frequently used communication avenue. Those over 65 text 4.7 times more frequently than calling. A recent TIME Mobility Poll revealed that 32% of all respondents over 65 even prefer to communicate by text rather than phone with people they know very well.
How Does this Affect Small Business Owners?
Mobile Text Message Marketing for small business owners is the fastest growing advertising medium today. Newspapers are in decline, radio stations are hurting, direct mail does not produce returns as in the past, and Yellow Pages are almost extinct. They are not producing advertising results like they used to because consumers today are using their smart phones and other mobile devices all day long, every day. You know that to reach your customers you must advertise to them where they are, at that moment. Text messaging allows direct and instant contact with your customers and potential customers and, more importantly, will produce increased sales.
The Mobile Marketing Association states that more than half of all national brands had shifted their focus from advertising with traditional media to mobile marketing in 2012 and many more plan to do so this year. Over 40% have already started text messaging, and 2013 marketing budgets include up to 25% for mobile with many of these national brands.
Now you can do more than just endure the national chains in your market area who work hard to take away your customers. You can take them on head to head, leveling the playing field. You now have the ability to get your customers on a list and entice them to remain your loyal customer with rewards and great offers.
The cost of text marketing has dropped significantly over the last few years, so you will not have to invest 25% of your marketing budget on mobile to compete. You can start a mobile marketing campaign for less than $40 per month with text message marketing companies like Mobile 4 Jewelers.
Welcome to Text Message Marketing: The New ROI Generation Machine
All jewelry store owners want the same thing from their marketing. They want to establish a great brand in their company name, entice more consumers to visit their jewelry store and develop a loyal customer base for repeat business. While websites, social media and traditional marketing are helpful, consumer behaviors have evolved to the point that these tactics simply do not generate the ROI they once did.
Text Message Marketing is successful for numerous reasons. Consider that Text Messages are:
- Permission Based – Customers want to receive text messages and show that by opting in. They prove they are interested in you and are waiting to receive value based messages from you, whether it’s an announcement of new jewelry, a discount coupon or other informative message.
- Prompt – 98% of people will open their text messages within 3 minutes of receiving it, which helps to increase your engagement. This is the only marketing tool that encourages immediate action.
- Proficient – The redemption rate for Mobile Coupons is 10 times higher than traditional coupons. 50% of consumers receiving text messages from retailers have made a purchase based on messages received. There is not a more effective marketing media today.
- Proven – An American Express study found 84% of small businesses that implemented text marketing have seen a resulting increase in new business activity.
- Personal – When customers agree to receive your company’s texts, they are welcoming you into their personal circle normally reserved for friends and family. This creates a sense that your company is friendly and trustworthy rather than a cold corporation. Use this to your advantage when writing your messages so that they come across in a pleasant personal manner.
- Preferred – Consumers now use their mobile phone for text messages more than voice and Internet access combined. 66% of U.S. mobile customers say they prefer offers from stores they do business with by text message rather than any other media.
- Profitable – At 3 to 5 cents per contact, Text Messaging services offer one of the least expensive forms of advertising. And when the high response rate is factored in, Text Messages produce the lowest cost per sale.
Customer Texting Etiquette
Text messaging has grown from a niche form of communication to a powerful tool to connect with customers regardless of their age group. You now have the ability to reach hundreds or even thousands of customers quickly and easily through mass messages called Text Blast. However, the ease of text programs to send mass communications should be tempered with good etiquette and respect for your customers.
You know that first impressions are very important, and it is especially important when texting your customers. Texting from businesses still evokes apprehension in some people and you don’t want to catch them off guard. Be certain your customers have specifically opted in to your texting program.
If your customer has given you their cell phone number for other reasons, such as to notify them their jewelry repair is finished, do not assume you can start texting them regularly with your offers. Doing so may irritate them and damage their trust in you. Additionally they could report you causing your account to be closed and possibly incur hefty fines.
Set Your Boundaries
You should advise your customers of what they can expect when they opt in to your list. You can do this at the time of sign up or with your first text. You will alleviate any worries of being flooded with messages they don’t want by telling them your plans. Being up front may even make them excited for your next message. Don’t be too specific; give yourself a margin for error.
Text messages are opened when they are received. One of the fastest ways to upset customers and have them unsubscribe is to send them messages at the wrong time. Wake them up at 2 am to share a coupon and not only will they unsubscribe, but you may loose them as a customer! The most appropriate time to send texts are between 10am and 8pm. However, avoid rush-hour. You don’t want your customers trying to read your message while driving.
Think Beyond Advertising
You want your text messaging to have an incentive for your customer to read them. If all you do is advertise, you are not rewarding your customer for signing up. Proper etiquette rewards your customer for trusting you with their information and allowing you to send messages to them. Sending a coupon or exclusive offer unavailable by other means on a regular basis is one example. When people know they will get special incentives it encourages sign-ups and improves retention. Plus, they will actually be drawn to your jewelry store to make a purchase.
Provide Exit Strategies
You must make opting out simple. Anti-spam regulations require clear opt out information in every bulk text message you send. More importantly, people become aggravated when they cannot figure out how to unsubscribe. When you offer clear instructions to unsubscribe it shows your customer that they are your first priority. It sends a message about your integrity. Easy unsubscribe is more than good etiquette, it’s good business.
For all those jewelry store owners and marketers who use text messaging as part of their marketing campaign, great for you! You already know how your customers prefer to receive valuable offers and information regarding their favorite jeweler. You know that you are more likely to see success and more sales. If you don’t already use Text Messaging I encourage you to visit Mobile4Jewelers.com and explore ways to add it into your marketing campaign today.
Join us for a free, informative webinar The Power of Text Messaging sponsored by Southern Jewelry News on Thursday June 28th. For more information see page 4 of this issue.
Brad Simon is co-owner of Internet 4 Jewelers offering Internet Marketing services for retail jewelry stores. Their services include Local Search Marketing, Social Networking, and Mobile Marketing. You can contact Brad at Brad@Internet4Jewelers.com or call him at 864-680-4416.