Kristin Millslagle is the marketing maven behind Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorktown, Virginia a retail franchise store that stocks supplies for feeding and observing backyard birds. She and her husband have run the brick and mortar shop since 2003, have an online presence and Facebook page with over 11,000 followers.
Challenges with Email and Social Media
Reaching customers and driving traffic is one of the many challenges small business owners face. “How to drive new customer traffic into our store has always been a challenge. And once you have people through the door, making sure we get repeat visits is just as important.” said Kristin.
“We do collect email addresses, but even that is tough! So many people are reluctant to give out their email address as we are all so bombarded by e-mail. Our most loyal customers admit they may not get around to checking e-mails for days or even weeks. It’s not that they may not want them, but often people just don’t want the hassle of weeding through all of the other junk from other retailers. We just blend in more and more and we need a more effective way to stand out. We have these addresses for much of our customer base, but it’s hard to know if they are even current. People change e-mail addresses, when they move, change jobs, etc all of the time. People change a cell phone number much less often it seems. We also have eleven thousand fans on our Facebook page, and it is become increasingly more difficult for businesses to show up on newsfeeds with the current algorithms in place.”
Text Messaging for Small Businesses
“I had noticed other businesses – even our veterinarian’s office – using texting to reach their customers/clients. I thought to myself…we’ve got to get on this! This is the wave of the future and I love the simplicity of it all. I started searching online for “text messaging for small businesses” and researched different companies. TextMarks had the most favorable pricing, presented the information clearly, effectively and had the most years in business that I found. They are also accredited with the Better Business Bureau. I also liked that TextMarks does not lock me into any long term contracts. So I decided to see if texting would work for my business, experiment for a month or two and go from there.”
Instantaneous Reach and a Great Offer Drives Sales
Kristin began testing the use of text messaging at her store. She trained her entire staff to get customers to opt in to WBU Yorktown’s VIP Text Club by offering $5 off purchase if they signed up at the register. She now has almost 800 subscribers and has been able to use text message marketing to drive more sales, even during slow periods.
“We go thru ebbs flows as a business, as a lot of it depends on seasons in terms of bird activity. Not long ago we were experiencing one of the slowest days of the season. It was shaping up to be a rotten day in sales. Once halfway through our day I decided to send out a text blast at 1:30pm that afternoon, offering 2 free pounds of bird food with purchase for anyone that came in by the end of the business day. People were flying in our store in what seemed like just minutes. Our sales went up immediately and it was easy to measure, because people were walking in the door waving their phones saying “I got my message!” We increased our sales tenfold by the day’s end as a direct result of this message within 4 hours!”
“Texting had given us the power to instantaneously turn a horrible days in sales into a great day. This is a tool I wish I had long ago, and is one of my most effective layers of marketing right now. I honestly can’t see a business NOT engaging in texting their customer base in today’s world.” – Kristin Millslagle, WBU Franchise Owner
Interested in learning more about text messaging for small business retailers like WBU Yorktown? Call 800-696-1393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.