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Are you trying to market your small business to Millennial customers? Then you'd better get comfortable with texting.  Millennials love texting so much that if they had to give up either talking or texting on their mobile phones, three-fourths would rather give up using the phone to talk, according to a recent survey by OpenMarket.

Why do Millennials like texting so much?

  • 76 percent say texting is more convenient and allows them to communicate on their own schedule
  • 63 percent say texting is less disruptive than voice calls
  • 53 percent just say that they'd rather text than call
  • 19 percent say they never check their voicemails.

What does this mean to your business?

There's a huge opportunity to market to Millennial customers via text. For instance, according to the survey, three-fourths of Millennials say text reminders are helpful, but only 30 percent get them from the businesses they patronize.

Text-based marketing uses SMS text messages to reach out to customers with information and offers. While text-based marketing may sound intimidating, there are lots of different services out there that make it easy for small business to create and send text messages to their customers. (Some to check out include EZ Texting, Mozeo and SlickText.)

Here are five ways you can use text messaging, not only for marketing purposes, but also for customer satisfaction and even for getting paid.

  1. Send product offers, discount codes or coupons. This is the type of text message that most Millennials in the survey want to receive; 62 percent currently get this type of text message. You can use geo-fencing technology to deliver offers to customers when they get within a specific distance from your business. Or, get really sophisticated and use geo-conquesting technology, which sends customers offers from your business when they get close to a direct competitor's location. This can be highly effective in luring customers away from your competition.
     
  2. Send account activity reminders. About 60 percent of Millennials in the survey already receive this type of text message. You can remind customers when a payment is due or alert them when a payment has been processed. This not only helps you get paid faster, but also keeps your business top-of-mind with customers and shows them you’re on top of technology.
     
  3. Send order status updates. Some 56 percent of Millennials in the survey currently receive text messages with order alerts or delivery notifications. You can ease customers’ minds by letting them know that an order placed is in process, due for delivery or ready to pick up at your store. This works great for ecommerce businesses, but can also be used by any business where customers place orders in person.
     
  4. Send appointment reminders. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of Millennials surveyed get this type of text message from businesses.  Sending reminders by text saves you time and manpower (no more calling customers with reminders of upcoming appointments), helps prevent excessive wait time at your business due to late customers, and ensures that you're always operating at full capacity without any wasted downtime.
     
  5. Send surveys. Last but not least, you can send text messages for customer satisfaction surveys—22 percent of Millennials receive this type of message from businesses. You can either send a link to a longer survey, or do a really simple survey where the customer just texts back a response to one question. The former option is probably preferable to older customers, while younger ones will likely prefer the brevity of the text-based survey response.

Text messaging is already the default means of communication among Millennials and Generation Z (the generation right after the Millennials). Put your business ahead of the competition by learning to market to these valuable customers in their own language—a language that will only become more widely used in the coming years.

Need help planning your text message marketing campaign? Talk to a SCORE mentor for advice. Visit www.score.org to get help.