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Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Text Messaging

Krutant Iyer
October 14, 2022
7
min read

Text messaging is not dead. In fact, it is doing quite well and thriving in the post-pandemic communication landscape. Ever since the first SMS was sent out back in 1992, text messaging has remained a powerful medium of communication for businesses across all verticals.

Text Messaging has evolved rapidly over the past two decades from being the primary mode of interaction between customers, to being the central channel of promotion for businesses intending to communicate with their customers. The channel itself transformed over time to cater to the evolving needs of businesses, like simplifying tracking and verification process.  

From timely order updates to latest promotions and informational campaigns, SMS campaigns keep us up to speed, and have become part of our daily lives.

Pain Points of Text Messaging

Even as the dust from post pandemic lockdown settled, mobile usage continued its upward trend as the number of mobile phone users increased and invariably text messaging became one of the most preferred go-to channel to connect with customers and drive revenue for many businesses.  

But the SMS channel posed several challenges for businesses looking to leverage its multitude of advantages for positive growth momentum.

Challenges Faced by Growing Businesses

1. Keeping up with the Regulatory Advisories

Since text messaging is one of the most direct modes of communication to connect customers and businesses, wherein the message is directly transmitted to the customer's phone, certain regulations have been put in place by governing bodies to prevent businesses from abusing the power of this medium.

From obtaining explicit written consent from the customers and adhering to the rules set under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to protect customers from unsolicited marketing texts, to not including prohibited items under SHAFT or Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco via SMS, businesses can quickly be overwhelmed by the number of restrictions holding sway over the medium.

2. Closed-door Communication

While there is nothing wrong with sending one-way messages, doing so excessively minimises opportunities to receive valuable feedback and inputs from customers. By leaving no doors open for customers to reach back with enquiries, complaints or feedback, businesses are losing out on precious nuggets of information directly from the customer’s point of view.

3. Rising Opt-outs

Building an engaged SMS subscriber list is no easy job, and it requires flexibility and patience. While some opt-outs may naturally happen over time, most common reason for increasing opt-out rate is lack of relevant content, frequency of messaging, and spamming. Businesses struggle to find the fine balance between persistence and diversity. If a campaign falls flat, businesses should not just change their target audience for the campaign and keep at it in the hopes of turning things around. Businesses need to have a healthy mix of promotional and informational content pieces to keep their customers engaged and interested.

Challenges Faced by Customers

1. Conflicting Experiences on Different Platforms

In the post-pandemic world, customer care sits above product and prices as business differentiator. But businesses have been struggling to deliver consistent experiences across social media, email, SMS, and telephony channels. With its limited format, text messaging is especially considered a creative campaigner’s cul-de-sac or dead-end.  

While the SMS channel may prove affordable and efficient to keep the customers informed, in most cases it remains isolated from other communication channels, whereby the impact of the campaign messaging can get restricted.  

2. Not Open for Dialogue

While one-way SMS are effective and easy to implement, it does not offer the same flexibility to communicate with customers that two-way text messaging offers. If your customers wish to initiate conversation with you on a particular deal or order update, they will not be able to reach out directly, and will have to initiate conversation on a different channel.  

No-reply messages are best left for OTP or verification processes. If businesses wish to have a fruitful relationship with their customers, they should embrace two-way communication and actively listen to their customers.

3. Unknown Sender

When businesses do not brand their messages with a recognisable Sender ID, customers are left wondering about the authenticity of the contents of the message. A Sender ID is a unique name or service number that shows in the 'from' field of text messages. If your business uses a system generated long number, customers will have difficulty in trusting the source of the message received, as opposed to your business’s name being clearly marked in the ‘from’ field. It is also important to note that recipients of text messages using Sender ID cannot respond to the texts, making it ideal for messages that do not require an input from the customers.

Best Practices for Business Text Messaging


Let’s take a look at how businesses can strike a sound balance between too many texts to too little.

1. Obtain Explicit Consent

It is imperative to obtain a written consent from your would-be SMS recipients before initiating any communication on this channel. This must be done before launching any form of communication on this messaging channel by a business. Consent can be obtained in a pretty straightforward manner using SMS keywords or phrases in promotional messages, like ‘SUBSCRIBE’, ‘YES’ or ‘DEALS’. Similarly, offer your recipients a clear method to opt-out of the list. You can configure the keywords to specific lists for hassle-free campaign management.  

2. Maintain SMS Compliance

Many regulations and laws are applied to text messages from businesses, especially global businesses. If international businesses do not comply with these rules, it can attract significant fines for every text message that breaks the law. To be fully compliant with the regulations put in place by governing bodies, international businesses should partner with a global SMS provider like CINNOX to support the authorisation process.  

The restrictions differ from country to country and may pertain to any of the following:  

  • When the SMS may be delivered
  • Content of the message
  • Sender ID format

Know more if your business is adhering to the laws of some of the leading countries:

United States of America: Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)

European Union: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Canada: Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Australia: Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

Singapore: The Spam Control Act (SCA)

China: Consumer Rights Protection Law (CRPL), Decision on Strengthening Online Information Protection (Decision), and the Administrative Provisions on Short Message Services

3. Be Consistent

By sending too many SMSs your business runs the risk of getting marked as spam, while sending too little leave the customers wondering when they signed-up to receive updates from you. It is important to keep your customers engaged with the right content at the right time. By localising the marketing content, managing dissemination time across multiple time zones, and segmenting customers to create individual experiences, businesses can keep their customers engaged with consistently interesting experiences. Consistent messaging schedule is the key to a successful SMS campaign and keeping your customers in the loop.  


4. Identify Yourself

On other channels of communication, customers are aware of the brand or business they are interacting with. It’s easier to brand yourself on most channels, unlike SMS. In most cases, customers only see some random number instead of a recognisable business name or logo when they receive text messages. Businesses should clearly identify themselves in every text message with a recognisable Sender ID that can be in the form of the brand’s name or even be alphanumeric. Where possible, businesses should also use local numbers to lower their OPEX (operational costs).

5. Highly Engaged Recipients

SMS campaigns with its extremely high open rates (about 98%) present the perfect opportunity to engage customers in real-time with abandoned cart nudges, appointment reminders, product notifications, or verification prompts. It’s easy to track and in most cases enjoys higher ROI, since the recipients are all opt-in customers who trust your business and are expecting to receive the updates.


6.
One-way to Multimedia Experiences

Be quick and responsive if you are offering two-way communication or have embedded a live chat or call link in your text messages. You can offer personalised services by pairing customers with the same agent they may have communicated with earlier by embedding direct chat or call link in the SMS. Keep the channel open to receive feedback from customers and be responsive to their enquiries and feedback.

7. Do Not Get Too Casual

We understand that fitting your message within 160-character limit afforded by the SMS channel can be quite challenging, but it does not mean businesses should find a workaround by shortening their text to abbreviations.  

For example, instead of this:

Dear [customer’s name], wish you a very happy birthday! Celebrate your special day with an exclusive deal <link to landing page>


Your business should not send this:

Hey dude, happy b’day! Shop now 4 nice deal <link to landing page>

We are sure you get the drift. It is okay for a business to be casual in their communication, but clarity of message shouldn’t be compromised on, and businesses shouldn’t move away from their brand tonality.

Proven SMS Ideas for Growing Small Businesses With CINNOX

Businesses can keep their customers engaged with CINNOX campaigns. This broadcast messaging capability enables businesses to send mass messages and communication campaigns to target customers all around the globe.

STANDARD CAMPAIGN

DYNAMIC CAMPAIGN

Standard SMS campaigns allows businesses to send messages to any of their target recipients using a spreadsheet template.

Dynamic SMS campaigns enables businesses to send the same message to multiple target recipients. Businesses also have the flexibility to personalise each recipient's message by using multiple variables, such as weblinks, first and last names, or other customisations on a spreadsheet template.

1. Welcoming New Prospects

If prospective customers have just shared their number with you, do not wait for a special occasion to welcome them to the fold. Start building a personalised bond with your prospects from the get-go.  

Personalise your SMS campaigns on CINNOX by addressing your potential customers by their names and sharing a time-bound, exclusive promo code for them to nudge them to make the first transaction.

2. Reduce Dropouts with Automated Reminders

Did you know, almost 70% customers are likely to abandon carts at checkout? Moreover, if you run a time-bound service that needs customers to make prior appointments, you would understand the importance of customers sticking to their scheduled appointments. In order to reduce dropouts, businesses can schedule to send out a templated text message using CINNOX, that can remind their customers of the scheduled appointment and share any important preparatory information they would need before the appointment.

3. Two-Factor Authentication

Keeping customer’s accounts and order details secure is a vital part of providing a safe experience. Businesses can use CINNOX open API for SMS to enable two-factor authentication for their customers on their website or apps. It is also possible to provide a secure ecosystem for transactions by verifying user identity by sending temporary authentication codes or OTPs via SMS using the CINNOX solution.

4. After-sale Customer Support

Businesses can insert chat or call weblinks for their staff or redirect customers to an intended destination for post-sale support, by composing SMS broadcast campaigns within CINNOX. From tracking shipping updates to requesting a change in order item or accommodating address change request from customers, the possibilities of utilising SMS channel for post-purchase support are endless.


Growing businesses have limited resources and it can quickly become overwhelming for most business owners to identify value-driven channels with most bang for their buck. Fortunately, running a value-driven SMS campaign does not have to be overwhelming. CINNOX offers a suite of tools that can help you drive personalised text campaigns to accelerate business growth and generate more revenue.

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Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Text messaging is not dead. In fact, it is doing quite well and thriving in the post-pandemic communication landscape. Ever since the first SMS was sent out back in 1992, text messaging has remained a powerful medium of communication for businesses across all verticals.

Text Messaging has evolved rapidly over the past two decades from being the primary mode of interaction between customers, to being the central channel of promotion for businesses intending to communicate with their customers. The channel itself transformed over time to cater to the evolving needs of businesses, like simplifying tracking and verification process.  

From timely order updates to latest promotions and informational campaigns, SMS campaigns keep us up to speed, and have become part of our daily lives.

Pain Points of Text Messaging

Even as the dust from post pandemic lockdown settled, mobile usage continued its upward trend as the number of mobile phone users increased and invariably text messaging became one of the most preferred go-to channel to connect with customers and drive revenue for many businesses.  

But the SMS channel posed several challenges for businesses looking to leverage its multitude of advantages for positive growth momentum.

Challenges Faced by Growing Businesses

1. Keeping up with the Regulatory Advisories

Since text messaging is one of the most direct modes of communication to connect customers and businesses, wherein the message is directly transmitted to the customer's phone, certain regulations have been put in place by governing bodies to prevent businesses from abusing the power of this medium.

From obtaining explicit written consent from the customers and adhering to the rules set under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to protect customers from unsolicited marketing texts, to not including prohibited items under SHAFT or Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco via SMS, businesses can quickly be overwhelmed by the number of restrictions holding sway over the medium.

2. Closed-door Communication

While there is nothing wrong with sending one-way messages, doing so excessively minimises opportunities to receive valuable feedback and inputs from customers. By leaving no doors open for customers to reach back with enquiries, complaints or feedback, businesses are losing out on precious nuggets of information directly from the customer’s point of view.

3. Rising Opt-outs

Building an engaged SMS subscriber list is no easy job, and it requires flexibility and patience. While some opt-outs may naturally happen over time, most common reason for increasing opt-out rate is lack of relevant content, frequency of messaging, and spamming. Businesses struggle to find the fine balance between persistence and diversity. If a campaign falls flat, businesses should not just change their target audience for the campaign and keep at it in the hopes of turning things around. Businesses need to have a healthy mix of promotional and informational content pieces to keep their customers engaged and interested.

Challenges Faced by Customers

1. Conflicting Experiences on Different Platforms

In the post-pandemic world, customer care sits above product and prices as business differentiator. But businesses have been struggling to deliver consistent experiences across social media, email, SMS, and telephony channels. With its limited format, text messaging is especially considered a creative campaigner’s cul-de-sac or dead-end.  

While the SMS channel may prove affordable and efficient to keep the customers informed, in most cases it remains isolated from other communication channels, whereby the impact of the campaign messaging can get restricted.  

2. Not Open for Dialogue

While one-way SMS are effective and easy to implement, it does not offer the same flexibility to communicate with customers that two-way text messaging offers. If your customers wish to initiate conversation with you on a particular deal or order update, they will not be able to reach out directly, and will have to initiate conversation on a different channel.  

No-reply messages are best left for OTP or verification processes. If businesses wish to have a fruitful relationship with their customers, they should embrace two-way communication and actively listen to their customers.

3. Unknown Sender

When businesses do not brand their messages with a recognisable Sender ID, customers are left wondering about the authenticity of the contents of the message. A Sender ID is a unique name or service number that shows in the 'from' field of text messages. If your business uses a system generated long number, customers will have difficulty in trusting the source of the message received, as opposed to your business’s name being clearly marked in the ‘from’ field. It is also important to note that recipients of text messages using Sender ID cannot respond to the texts, making it ideal for messages that do not require an input from the customers.

Best Practices for Business Text Messaging


Let’s take a look at how businesses can strike a sound balance between too many texts to too little.

1. Obtain Explicit Consent

It is imperative to obtain a written consent from your would-be SMS recipients before initiating any communication on this channel. This must be done before launching any form of communication on this messaging channel by a business. Consent can be obtained in a pretty straightforward manner using SMS keywords or phrases in promotional messages, like ‘SUBSCRIBE’, ‘YES’ or ‘DEALS’. Similarly, offer your recipients a clear method to opt-out of the list. You can configure the keywords to specific lists for hassle-free campaign management.  

2. Maintain SMS Compliance

Many regulations and laws are applied to text messages from businesses, especially global businesses. If international businesses do not comply with these rules, it can attract significant fines for every text message that breaks the law. To be fully compliant with the regulations put in place by governing bodies, international businesses should partner with a global SMS provider like CINNOX to support the authorisation process.  

The restrictions differ from country to country and may pertain to any of the following:  

  • When the SMS may be delivered
  • Content of the message
  • Sender ID format

Know more if your business is adhering to the laws of some of the leading countries:

United States of America: Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)

European Union: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Canada: Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Australia: Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

Singapore: The Spam Control Act (SCA)

China: Consumer Rights Protection Law (CRPL), Decision on Strengthening Online Information Protection (Decision), and the Administrative Provisions on Short Message Services

3. Be Consistent

By sending too many SMSs your business runs the risk of getting marked as spam, while sending too little leave the customers wondering when they signed-up to receive updates from you. It is important to keep your customers engaged with the right content at the right time. By localising the marketing content, managing dissemination time across multiple time zones, and segmenting customers to create individual experiences, businesses can keep their customers engaged with consistently interesting experiences. Consistent messaging schedule is the key to a successful SMS campaign and keeping your customers in the loop.  


4. Identify Yourself

On other channels of communication, customers are aware of the brand or business they are interacting with. It’s easier to brand yourself on most channels, unlike SMS. In most cases, customers only see some random number instead of a recognisable business name or logo when they receive text messages. Businesses should clearly identify themselves in every text message with a recognisable Sender ID that can be in the form of the brand’s name or even be alphanumeric. Where possible, businesses should also use local numbers to lower their OPEX (operational costs).

5. Highly Engaged Recipients

SMS campaigns with its extremely high open rates (about 98%) present the perfect opportunity to engage customers in real-time with abandoned cart nudges, appointment reminders, product notifications, or verification prompts. It’s easy to track and in most cases enjoys higher ROI, since the recipients are all opt-in customers who trust your business and are expecting to receive the updates.


6.
One-way to Multimedia Experiences

Be quick and responsive if you are offering two-way communication or have embedded a live chat or call link in your text messages. You can offer personalised services by pairing customers with the same agent they may have communicated with earlier by embedding direct chat or call link in the SMS. Keep the channel open to receive feedback from customers and be responsive to their enquiries and feedback.

7. Do Not Get Too Casual

We understand that fitting your message within 160-character limit afforded by the SMS channel can be quite challenging, but it does not mean businesses should find a workaround by shortening their text to abbreviations.  

For example, instead of this:

Dear [customer’s name], wish you a very happy birthday! Celebrate your special day with an exclusive deal <link to landing page>


Your business should not send this:

Hey dude, happy b’day! Shop now 4 nice deal <link to landing page>

We are sure you get the drift. It is okay for a business to be casual in their communication, but clarity of message shouldn’t be compromised on, and businesses shouldn’t move away from their brand tonality.

Proven SMS Ideas for Growing Small Businesses With CINNOX

Businesses can keep their customers engaged with CINNOX campaigns. This broadcast messaging capability enables businesses to send mass messages and communication campaigns to target customers all around the globe.

STANDARD CAMPAIGN

DYNAMIC CAMPAIGN

Standard SMS campaigns allows businesses to send messages to any of their target recipients using a spreadsheet template.

Dynamic SMS campaigns enables businesses to send the same message to multiple target recipients. Businesses also have the flexibility to personalise each recipient's message by using multiple variables, such as weblinks, first and last names, or other customisations on a spreadsheet template.

1. Welcoming New Prospects

If prospective customers have just shared their number with you, do not wait for a special occasion to welcome them to the fold. Start building a personalised bond with your prospects from the get-go.  

Personalise your SMS campaigns on CINNOX by addressing your potential customers by their names and sharing a time-bound, exclusive promo code for them to nudge them to make the first transaction.

2. Reduce Dropouts with Automated Reminders

Did you know, almost 70% customers are likely to abandon carts at checkout? Moreover, if you run a time-bound service that needs customers to make prior appointments, you would understand the importance of customers sticking to their scheduled appointments. In order to reduce dropouts, businesses can schedule to send out a templated text message using CINNOX, that can remind their customers of the scheduled appointment and share any important preparatory information they would need before the appointment.

3. Two-Factor Authentication

Keeping customer’s accounts and order details secure is a vital part of providing a safe experience. Businesses can use CINNOX open API for SMS to enable two-factor authentication for their customers on their website or apps. It is also possible to provide a secure ecosystem for transactions by verifying user identity by sending temporary authentication codes or OTPs via SMS using the CINNOX solution.

4. After-sale Customer Support

Businesses can insert chat or call weblinks for their staff or redirect customers to an intended destination for post-sale support, by composing SMS broadcast campaigns within CINNOX. From tracking shipping updates to requesting a change in order item or accommodating address change request from customers, the possibilities of utilising SMS channel for post-purchase support are endless.


Growing businesses have limited resources and it can quickly become overwhelming for most business owners to identify value-driven channels with most bang for their buck. Fortunately, running a value-driven SMS campaign does not have to be overwhelming. CINNOX offers a suite of tools that can help you drive personalised text campaigns to accelerate business growth and generate more revenue.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

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