The 5 W’s of SMS Marketing
May 10, 2016
With so many marketing channels like websites, business directories, social media, email, newspapers, radio and direct mail, the last thing you want to do is to add more work. However, marketing via text messages is a proven method to increase client satisfaction and engagement while requiring minimal time and effort.
Why Send Text Messages?
There are three primary goals for sending text messages to clients.
- Awareness – Keep your salon/spa at the forefront of your client’s mind. Just by reading a message from you, they will be reminded to book an appointment if they don’t have one already.
- Information – Your text message should be to inform clients and to engage with them. Tell them about your current promotions or announce the hiring of your new hairstylist or masseuse.
- Engagement – Have clients interact with you! Be sure to include a call-to-action (CTA) to book an appointment, purchase a product, etc.
Another advantage of SMS (and other digital marketing) is that it does not matter where the clients are or what they are doing. Whether they are at home, at work, or anywhere else, they will receive your message. You do not need to rely on the audience to check your website or to log on to Facebook (and even then it may not show up on their news feed). Similar to a push notification from a mobile app, you have the ability to get in front of your audience when and where you want.
The time required to set up text messages is minimal. With marketing campaigns, it is actually much simpler than creating emails. Since you have a 160-character limit, you do not need to write as much content plus you do not have to spend any time looking for, or creating, images. All you need to do is write your brief message, select your target audience, and schedule it to go out. For time-based messages (e.g. appointment reminders, service follow-ups), you just need to set it up once and your salon management software will send it out to the appropriate clients at the proper time.
What Should I Send via SMS?
Unlike emails, you can only focus on a single topic in each text message. That said, there are a variety of messages that you can send to improve your clients’ experience with your business.
- Current promotions can draw people in to your salon or spa. Consider promoting seasonal packages (e.g. Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving) to encourage clients to book an appointment. For those who may already have an appointment, send a product offer so they will still drop in to your salon (also great for gift-giving occasions like Christmas and Mother’s Day).
- Announcements will keep clients up to date. If you will be on vacation for a week, make sure they know to schedule an appointment before you leave. Have a client who always purchases a certain product? Let them know that you just received more inventory.
- Appointment reminders are important for reducing no shows. Don’t give clients the excuse that they forgot. Ask them to reply to confirm or to call to reschedule.
- Follow up with clients to ensure client satisfaction and encourage positive reviews! Many dissatisfied clients will leave and some will even leave poor reviews on Yelp and other local review sites. Make sure you have an opportunity to resolve the issue first!
- Birthdays present an opportunity for you to show clients how important they are! Engage them and build that client relationship!
Regardless of the message, be sure to personalize it (e.g. include the client’s name) and to only send information or deals that are relevant to them.
Who Should I Text?
According to eWeek, 77% of consumers are open to receiving SMS from businesses. However, to avoid texting someone who does not want it, ask clients for permission before sending sending them an SMS. The next time a client comes in, ask them if they would like to receive text messages from you. If they decline, leave a note in your client database so you don’t ask them every time (you can ask occasionally when you also confirm other client details). To have more clients opt in, give them an expectation of how many messages they will receive and let them know they can opt out at any time. Rather than an all-or-nothing approach, also give them the option to receive only appointment reminders or only promotional offers via text.
When Should I Send Text Messages?
Phone numbers are typically shared with only family, friends, or close business contacts. So be careful to not take advantage of clients by bombarding them with messages. Send no more than two marketing messages per month. To determine the right frequency for your business, consider your client purchase cycle. For example if clients tend to visit your salon every two months, you may only want to text them once over those two months. In addition to these marketing messages, you can also send other messages like appointment reminders or follow ups as necessary.
Will It Cost Me to Send Text Messages?
Not necessarily. You have the option to send an email to phone numbers for free. However, this can be intrusive as you need to additionally ask clients about their cellphone carrier. In addition, this email-to-text method is often unreliable as clients may change carriers or messages may be caught by spam filters.
As with most other marketing channels, there is a slight cost for sending text messages reliably and effectively. But SMS packages quickly pay off when you compare it with the revenue that you lose due to no shows and with the profit you gain from the extra appointment bookings or retail sales.
Stay in touch with clients through Insight Management Software! Run marketing campaigns and send automated appointment reminders and follow ups. Fill your appointment schedule, reduce no shows, and sell more retail products with Insight’s email and SMS features! Call 1-888-919-5841 to learn more!