Text Marketing One Step at a Time
Companies of all sizes are quickly adopting text marketing systems. Yet small businesses have been lagging their larger brethren. This is puzzling: saving labor and getting better results are probably more important in small business than anywhere else. So what’s holding them back?
It’s not a fear of technology. Nearly all small businesses use mobile phones and have a Web site, the two major channels supported by such automation. They’re rapidly adding social media as well. If anything, small businesses have too many technologies to coordinate. This makes it especially attractive.
Nor is cost the issue. It’s true that money is tight at most small businesses, but they’re already paying for email, Web hosting, and other services. The cost of a marketing automation system may not be much more than they’re already paying for the separate systems. If you factor in savings on design fees, custom programming, and internal labor, the net cost is nearly always less. Again, this is the sort of improvement a small business should crave. Another problem that also arise is fear – fear that implementing such technology will not improve their business.
Let’s be clear, this is a mistake. The most effective text marketing deployments include careful planning, process change, and program redesign. But companies who can’t make that commitment can still gain value from an incremental approach.
The incremental approach will take longer to yield full marketing automation benefits and may ultimately take more work than an all-at-once conversion. But that work will be spread over a longer period of time, with changes made when the marketing department finds them convenient. The slower deployment also lets marketers learn new skills and develop new programs as they need them. The result is a less demanding transition that is less disruptive and has a higher probability of success. It’s climbing a sequence of steps rather than trying to clear the wall in one impossibly high leap.
Incremental deployment has its own risks. The chief is that you’ll stop before you finish the journey – in which case, you’ll never gain the full benefit from text marketing. If there’s one critical moment that determines whether your deployment will stall, it’s right at the start. In other words, many companies install a system, start using some features, and never add anything else. Marketers who add new features soon after their initial deployment are likely to keep adding features in the future.
So what should be the features that you need to add first? It’s simple. Choose the one that is easy to deploy, easy to measure, one with high potential and has a gateway to change. By choosing those, it will guarantee that it will help your company and also it will make your company future-proof as well.
The benefits of text marketing are too important for small business to ignore. Incremental deployment makes them more accessible than a massive reengineering project, just as climbing steps is easier than leaping a high wall. But climbing stairs is still work and you can still fall down if you’re not careful. Marketers who follow a systematic, disciplined process have the best chance to reach the marketing automation pot of gold.