Local businesses are uniquely positioned to win against online and e-commerce businesses with personal, conversational SMS marketing, according to new research from local business-focused communication and payments platform Podium. The firm’s newly released 2021 Local Business Messaging Trends report explores what messaging and consumer preferences currently look like for brands, particularly local businesses.
According to the data, it’s clear that people want the ability to hold conversational messaging with real people representing brands. Nearly three in four (74 percent) consumers reported that they would be more likely to text with a local business if they knew a real person was going to receive and respond to their message, as opposed to receiving automated messages. Furthermore, half (50 percent) of consumers report being more likely to respond to a text message from a business if the person behind the texts introduces themselves.
“Communicating with your customers—the single most important action to a local business—has taken many forms over the last few decades. But nothing we’ve seen has as much upside as using SMS messaging to connect with your audience,” said Neil Patel, New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, in a news release. “Any local business trying to outpace competitors and win customers can’t afford to not read the 2021 Local Business Messaging Trends report.”
Other key findings from the report include:
Local businesses have an advantage
Consumers report being 21 percent more likely to opt into local businesses’ SMS marketing lists than major chain or big-box businesses and 45 percent more likely to opt into local businesses’ SMS marketing messages than online or ecommerce businesses.
The types of promotional messages consumers want
Incentives like coupons, discounts and promo codes (64 percent) are the No. 1 type of promotional messages consumers want to receive from local businesses, followed by loyalty offers and benefits (52 percent), back-in-stock notifications (35 percent) and invitations to upcoming events (28 percent). Meanwhile, 55 percent of consumers have redeemed an offer or promotional code shared with them via text message.
Consumers want to hear from their preferred local brands more than some might think
After opting into their promotional text message list, 16 percent of respondents would like to receive messages at least once per day, while 62 percent would like to receive them at least once per week. There’s a fine line to walk, however—75 percent would unsubscribe from a company’s promotional messages if they received too many.
This survey was conducted online by Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) on behalf of Podium in May 2021 among 1,004 consumers across the U.S. and Australia.