Small businesses have a big impact on the economy as well as people’s livelihoods. There are over 30 million small business in the U.S., and we rely on these shops, restaurants, retail stores, medical offices and creative spaces to keep our communities feeling like home.
Since May is National Small Business Month, we thought we’d take some time to share how these vital businesses can use texting software to reach their customers and stay connected. Given the current economic climate, with revenues severely impacted, clear and effective communication is now more important than ever.
While times may be challenging, the cautious optimism that small businesses are feeling comes from knowing that if they take care of their customers, their customers will take care of them. That along with the sage words of an ancient Sufi poet, “This too shall pass.”
Simple yet meaningful ways to reach out to your customers
The reasons for texting your customers are limited only by your imagination, but here are a few examples of how small businesses can use this powerful medium.
- Gyms, yoga studios and other fitness centers can text members to remind them about upcoming classes, send motivating words about fitness goals or prompt them to renew their memberships before they’re tempted to check out a competitor.
- Car dealerships can send texts to shoppers who had visited their showroom to inform them that the exact car they wanted is now on their lot. Salespeople can even text a picture of the car to use as a conversation starter, bringing them back in for a test drive.
- Hair salons and barber shops can send reminders to schedule appointments. They can offer a discount if the customer comes in on a day or time that is typically slow when their chairs tend to sit empty. Texts can also offer promotions on grooming products.
- Staffing and recruiting companies can send texts with job descriptions to broad pools of candidates to gauge their interest. They can also send texts for interview requests and appointment confirmations and reminders to reduce no-show rates.
For more ideas, read how your small business can benefit from texting with customers.
Texting helps small businesses provide a more personal touch
Developing good relationships with the friendly faces that frequent your small business is essential in maintaining a healthy balance sheet. While calling every customer by name as they enter your store, dining establishment or office lobby is unrealistic, a business can provide that level of personal service by using Dynamic Fields when sending texts.
Dynamic Fields are one of the many features bundled with Zipwhip’s texting software. They allow a business to personalize texts they send to customers, even when a message is sent to a group of 100 contacts at the same time. For the recipient, seeing their name at the top of the message makes them feel appreciated. Personalizing a message conveys that you know their name and value them more than simply as a number preceded by a dollar sign.
Speaking of contacts, Group Messaging is one of several productivity tools that make it easy to send texts to scores of customers in one fell swoop. Contacts can be segmented into groups so a message can be tailored to specific individuals for special offers or other deals.
Over time, a business may find that customers respond to some promotions more than others. That’s where the power of Analytics comes in. The easy-to-read reports display data that can be used to make strategic decisions about when and how to contact customers for the best results.
If a customer replies to a group text, Zipwhip will automatically start a separate two-way conversation, so no message is ever missed. And because employees can use the software from a desktop computer, laptop or the Zipwhip app on their smart phone, they can respond even when they’re away from their regular workstation.
Smart software helps small teams achieve big results
Templates are another time-saving feature of Zipwhip’s business texting software. There’s no need to create a new message every time you text someone. Businesses usually send the same type of message to different individuals over the course of a week, a month or even a year. Templates make it easy to select a message that fits the current need, modify details if necessary, and send it within minutes. Templates are handy for appointment confirmations and reminders and for seasonal offers and recurring promotions that perform well for a business. They can also be used with the Scheduled Message feature.
If you’re worried about a lot of replies at once in response to a group message that’s been sent, the Auto Reply feature can be turned on beforehand to immediately send a text letting customers know you’ll respond within a certain time frame. For more on that, read this helpful post on how to set customer expectations about response times.
Texting has become a trusted tool of the trade for business big and small
Needing to do more with less is common for small businesses. Resources are often tight and the perception that adopting new software can be costly holds some businesses back from trying it.
In truth, business texting software is very affordable. And it often pays for itself soon after a business starts using it. It also increases employee productivity by streamlining communications and cutting down on repetitive daily tasks usually done by email or phone.
Discover how cost-effective texting can be for your small business. Sign up for a free trial. And for tips on getting the most out of your new texting capabilities, download our free e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. It contains everything you’ll need to know about adopting texting as part of your small business communications strategy.