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11 Common Reasons Small Businesses Fail With SMS Marketing

  • 15 March 2015
  • Author: Sean Mcdonald
  • Number of views: 2939
11 Common Reasons Small Businesses Fail With SMS Marketing

We've seen thousands of companies using SMS marketing successfully with MOBIT. Why not get in on the fun for your own business. Not only does SMS marketing allow you to increase traffic (both web and in-store), drive sales, and strengthen customer relationships, but at the end of the day it increases customer loyalty. As we all know, 80% of revenue for most companies comes from 20% of their customers - the loyal customers. 

Why do you think some of the largest retailers in the world such as Target, Macy's, JC Penny, Starbucks, American Eagle and Bed Bath & Beyond, focus heavily on their SMS loyalty programs? It works... Maybe, you've seen how amazing SMS marketing is. You've seen these brands having success with their SMS campaigns yet you're disappointed because you tried it and failed. Or, possibly you're just about to get started and you don't want to fail.

"Why is SMS marketing working for everyone else except me?"
If you're saying this to yourself, it might be as simple as you're not approaching SMS marketing in the right way.  

1. No Time

If you're an owner or a marketer that works for a small-to-medium sized business, you're probably wearing many hats. Too many hats... It takes time to run your business right? Maybe you're taking care of employees, hiring, sales, operations, marketing, PR, customer service and...the list goes on... Adding mobile marketing, even if it's just SMS marketing campaigns, is just one too many things to be responsible for. 

 Like most aspects of your business, if you don't give it enough time and attention it won't work. If your SMS campaign wasn't successful the first time around, the odds are you probably didn't give it the attention it deserved or needed to be a success. 

Recommendation: Make someone responsible for your SMS marketing initiatives. Whether it's your marketing manager or intern, someone should be responsible internally.

2. You Have No Resources

Usually when you have no time, you could use some help. That's where having additional resources comes in. Oh, you don't have a marketing team? Your marketing team is one person? They are part time? This is likely a sign of why your SMS campaigns failed. Just like time, you need resources allocated to these efforts. Having the technology will only get you so far if you have nobody to manage it.  

Yes, the price of do-it-yourself SMS marketing sounds nice and fits within your budget, but if you don't have someone responsible it's a waste of energy, time and money.  Find a partner or provider you can trust that doesn't break the budget and you'll most likely see results you're proud of. Results that move the bottom line. Results that far exceed your investment.

Recommendation: Find a partner pr provider you can trust that has experience. If they have the technology great, but will they offer the services to do the programs with and even for you? Shameless plug: My team would be happy to be your outsourced SMS marketing partner. That's what we do best. Contact us here.

3. Not Getting Started Because You Think It's Expensive

What's more expensive...You spending $99/month ( $1,188 per year) on software that you never get around to use (read: zero ROI) or, a team paired with technology that costs you $500+ a month ($6,000+ per year) that could generate an additional $500,000 in annual sales (81% ROI)? I think you know the answer to that. Don't make it more expensive then it has to be. When you invest and commit you'll increase your odds of success. 

Recommendation: An experienced and trusted SMS partner or provider shouldn't be viewed as a cost. It should be viewed as an investment. As you can see from above, if you choose a great partner, you'll see a positive ROI.

4. Lack Of Creativity

This is probably one we see the most. Unfortunately, many SMB's just lack the creativity to use SMS marketing effectively to reach their goals. Now, there are definitely savvy SMB owners that get marketing, don't get me wrong but, commonly, we see businesses that think this new marketing channel has to be for coupons and discounts...or even giving things away for free. Far from the truth. Your SMS marketing efforts should be strategic so that they help you reach your desired business/marketing goals. This is most often, leads, traffic and sales. 

Recommendation: Don't just use SMS to repeat what you already communicate in other marketing channels using the exact same language.

5. Regurgitating Your Marketing Messages From Your Other Channels

This is probably the second most common reason for failure. Guess what, your customers don't want to receive the EXACT same message via email, text, direct mail and on social. SMS marketing works best when you make it exclusive. Your customers are welcoming you onto the most private and personal device they own. You have to go above and beyond your other channels. Unless your messages are really awesome, value driven messages, how can you attract customers to your business? It is essential you send out special messages containing exclusive offers and content to those who subscribe. Make them as personalized as possible. 

Recommendation: Create a unique style of messaging and even unique offers that are only sent to your SMS subscribers. Make them never want to leave because they won't see this content anywhere else.

6. Not Capitalizing On The Immediacy of SMS Messaging

Here's the deal. If you have an event on Friday night that you want to promote via SMS—the earliest you want to send that message is Thursday late afternoon...I'd even challenge that to Friday morning. You see, the odds are you've communicated this event already in the past via email and other channels for customers to put it on the calendar. Your SMS message is going to be capturing the last minute decision makers and serve as a reminder to them. With SMS messages being opened within 3 minutes 90% of the time, the content can be quickly forgotten if not leveraged to capitalize on time sensitivity. The odds of me remembering the text you sent me on Monday, on Friday is pretty low. 

Recommendation: Always remember the immediacy of SMS and use it to your advantage—strategically—to drive the action you want people to take.

7. Spamming Your Customer. A.K.A. Sending Too Frequently

Time and time again we hear clients say "we don't want to spam our customers phones". Perfect, neither do we. In fact, if you're working with our team at MOBIT, we won't let you. Just because a customer opts-in to receive messages to their phone doesn't mean you have to send a message every day. Most companies sending SMS messages send at most one message per week. If you don't want to spam your customers, don't. It's as simple as that. 

Recommendation: Plan out your messaging to align with your marketing and business goals/calendar . This will allow you to see how frequently your mobile database will hear from you. It's up to you (and your trusted partner if you're using one) to not "spam" your customers.

8. Not Properly Promoting Your SMS Programs. It's Not Integrated Enough

Every SMS marketing campaign you create should have a call-to-action. Without it, the risk of failure is super high. If you never tell your customers to opt-in...and how...do you really expect to build your mobile database? If you're going to leverage SMS marketing you need to commit to promoting it throughout your other media outlets. Whether it's your email newsletter, social media, direct mail, TV, radio, in-store signage...heck your business phone numbers voice mail—you need to promote your call-to-action. Additionally, don't hide your SMS call-to-action within your creative or collateral. If you want to build your mobile database you'll want to have a very clear call-to-action and make sure it stands out. 

Recommendation: Make your SMS call-to-action the focal point of your creative, especially during launch. Then make sure it's a part of a majority of your communications in some way, shape or form.

9. You Send Bad Messages

Before diving into SMS marketing you should have a sense of what types of marketing messages your core customer responds to. If you don't, we recommend that you find out before starting. Look at your previous marketing messaging and see what converted best. What were the characteristics of that offer? Why do you think it worked? Better yet, talk to your customers and see what types of messages they would find valuable. 

We often see businesses that think they have to always send discounts when using SMS marketing. Or, they think they have to give stuff away. While that sort of incentive helps, it should always be done strategically. For example: I'll give my customers $20 every time.... Every time they spend $150 or more. Because, I know my average order value is $100 per customer visit. If I can use $20 to get them to spend $50 more than usual, I created an incremental lift of $30 per order. Multiply that by 20-40% of the mobile subscribers and you've just generated some great sales. If you're giving money away for discounting sake, you're going to fail. 

Recommendation: Leverage spend and get programs to offer a great perceived value that benefits your bottom line.

10. You Don't Send Messages Consistently

"How many messages should we send per month, Sean?" This is a question we get a lot. While the true answer is "it depends on what you promised/communicated to your subscribers", it's common to send four to six messages per month. Many brands send one per week or even just 2-3 per month. Yup, that's it. They are strategic offers and they are meant to drive a specific action. If you send one message per week for three months and then stop for three months....the next message you send will likely have a high opt-out rate. The more consistent the better because your customers will get used to hearing from you. 

Recommendation: Plan your messaging using your content/promotional calendar so you can map out what you'll be sending each week.

11. You Gave Up Too Soon

Lastly, the most common reason small businesses fail with SMS marketing is because they give up too soon. With SMS being a permission based opt-in channel you need to build your list. Depending on how well and how frequently you promote your program, it may take you a few months to get to your first 500 or 1,000 subscribers. Rome wasn't built in a day right? 

Just like it takes time to build up your Facebook or Twitter followers, you'll need to build up your SMS list. It's a marathon, not a sprint! Although there are ways to grow your list quickly which we'll talk about in another post. 

Recommendation: Commit to growing your SMS list and play the game for the long hall. 

It's Time To Try Again (Or Get Going)

Is it potentially one of the above 11 reasons your SMS marketing efforts have failed you? In all likelihood it is, but, there is hope my friend. The potential with SMS marketing is huge— even when you have a small mobile database. If you want it to work for your business, you must avoid these common reasons small businesses fail with SMS marketing. When you do...success will be waiting for you.

Categories: Blog, SMS Marketing
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2 comments on article "11 Common Reasons Small Businesses Fail With SMS Marketing"

Ananya Vadapally

3/8/2017 2:47 AM

Hi Greg your article is very informative I am already using bulk SMS with www.textlocal.in which has been helpful quite a bit i will implement your ideas I feel if it will scale up my business thank you

Rochell Marco

4/3/2017 11:31 PM

Well said! The reasons that you have discussed is very true at some point. If we avoid them then definitely we achieve our goals in business.

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