If you run a local business or SME that offers services to a particular geographical area, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about how to market that business.
It used to be so simple – you could simply list in the Yellow Pages, and people would find you. But times have changed. Even flyers aren’t as popular as a marketing method, since they cost a lot and you need to have thousands delivered to get any kind of response.
So, the three main methods of reaching out to your potential customers today are email, phone calls and SMS. But which one is the best choice? Let’s take a closer look.
One of the big factors that will determine whether email, phone calls or SMS messaging is right for your business is what you want to communicate to your customers – and who they are.
Phone calls are often seen as disruptive, and something that should only be used to communicate the most urgent information. Many people prefer text or emails, but again, with all the spam people get these days, email can be seen as intrusive. This might harm the open and response rate you get, unless your email is genuinely important.
This might be why, in a recent study, SMS messaging got a 45% response rate, while the same message sent in an email only got 6%.
The next thing you need to consider is whether the marketing method you’ve chosen for your local business or SME is cost-effective. One of the reasons flyer distribution is on the decline is the cost to print and distribute them.
While there are tools that can automate the process of sending emails and SMS texts, you still need someone to make calls for you. That means extra staffing costs, and more people management problems.
When you choose marketing methods for your local business or SME, you also need to consider how many people you will actually reach. Cost-effectiveness only makes a difference when you actually get results!
Most email clients these days have highly developed spam filters, so unless you’re a trusted sender on the recipient’s email account, your message is likely to end up in the junk folder and never be read. Many people also just don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognise anymore – so you might never actually speak to a real person if you try that.
There’s a clear trend away from email and phone calls on the part of consumers. Where we all used to be only too happy to receive these kinds of communications, it seems that we’ve reached our limit.
Which might be why SMS messaging is outperforming those mediums so much.
In fact, recent studies have found that there is up to 98% open rate for SMS (vs 20% for email), and 9 out of 10 SMS messages are opened within 3 minutes of receipt. Even on their very best day, neither cold calling nor email can even come close.
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