Every holiday season, small businesses compete against big brands and e-commerce giants for consumers’ attention and sales. While large retail corporations have millions of dollars to advertise year-round, especially during the holiday shopping season, SMBs must find creative ways to engage 1 on 1 with customers in their community.  

Much like what newspapers, radio, and television did in the past century, the internet has transformed the way brands communicate with their audience. However, generating awareness and increasing sales has become increasingly competitive even with so many forms of digital media at their disposal. Businesses leveraging email marketing campaigns to promote their brand are seeing less ROI as most customer’s inboxes are flooded with spam from dozens of other companies.  In fact, 49% of emails are considered spam and only 34% of marketing emails sent in the U.S. are actually opened.

Small businesses need cost-effective solutions to reach consumers, but how can they do this without expensive digital advertising?  Mobile messaging is a largely untapped channel brands are just starting to turn to and is a great way to start a personalized interaction to reach customers, particularly for small businesses.

The Mobile Effect

With 99% of all text messages being opened and 90% of them being read within 3 minutes of receiving them, it’s interesting to see that brand marketers are just starting to explore this channel over the past few years.

To stand out this holiday season, mobile messaging can help your local business reach local customers to drive them in-store. Nowadays, consumers use their smartphone to research everything, from gift ideas to deals and coupons, hence why small businesses should consider reaching out to their customers via text message, to save them time and money in the process.  Making these deals easy for customers to share with their friends and family via text or social media is an important and easy way to grow your customer base. While it’s great to leverage text messaging to bring customers in, it’s also an excellent opportunity to deliver a personalized customer experience they won’t be able to get at a big retailer this holiday season.

The Value of Shopping Local

Supporting local businesses, particularly during the busy holiday shopping season, has become more important than ever as large corporations and e-commerce businesses are taking potential revenues out of local communities.  In 2017, more than 300,000 SMBs started selling on Amazon, but 0% of revenues went back to their local market.  It’s critical to support brick and mortar small businesses to keep communities running as those revenues and tax dollars to help fund local fire departments, parks, schools libraries and more.

The Future of Mobile Messaging

Over the years, there have been many milestones with mobile messaging from emojis to gifs, but there’s still so much more potential for the future, particularly for brands. Today’s consumers, especially millennials, are mobile-obsessed and 89% of people always have their smartphone easily accessible. Texting is still the #1 form of communication amongst Americans younger than 50, thus, it is imperative for businesses to tap into this channel to engage with consumers.

This holiday season, small businesses don’t need to spend millions of dollars on advertising to compete with big retailers – just focus on channels where local customers are more engaged: in text messaging.


Authored By: 

Mobile Messaging SMallbiztechnologyKatie Wilson, Founder and CEO of TapOnIt

Digital advertising veteran Katie Wilson co-founded TapOnIt with her sister Sara Castillo in their home state of Iowa to help bring customers to small businesses while providing them with an easy way to save money.  Katie’s background in advertising and passion to serve small businesses inspired her to create TapOnIt to support local communities through simple, visual text messages.

Prior to starting the company, Katie was the Digital Advertising Director for a media company, The Quad-City Times where she built a $2 million per year revenue generating 1/2 priced deals program similar to Groupon. As the digital landscape evolved, Katie realized how important it was to preserve small-business culture in cities across America, especially as large e-commerce platforms continue to grow taking potential funds out of local communities.

Katie was named one of Editor & Publisher’s 25 Under 35 People to Watch and her digital program was named one of the top ten in the country that same year by the same publication. She has spoken at Advertising Week, DMA &Then, and other leading conferences to share her expertise on the future of mobile marketing and messaging.