Mobile marketing is becoming a important component in the marketing mix for companies of all sizes and SMS Texting is being used more often based upon consumer preference. The ability to reach all of your customers instantly has to be appealing to any marketing or sales professional.
Short Message Service (SMS), a technology originated in the 1980’s, allowed mobile devices to transmit up to 160 characters to other mobile devices. The 160-character length was about the size of the then standard signaling format and was comparable in size to a typical post card communication…short and succinct.
The technology was not utilized until the early 1990’s and was not widely accepted until after 2000 when it was commonly termed texting. Texting rapidly became a part of the everyday vernacular and is now becoming the preferred way (over the phone) for many people to communicate.
How can you use SMS to communicate with your target consumers?
The first answer is that SMS should not be used to generate new leads for your business. Direct mail or email are much more efficient methods to communicate the amount of information necessary to generate interest in a specific product or service.
A text message should also not be sent to someone who is unfamiliar with your company since it will likely be viewed as SPAM and reflect negatively on your brand.
Now that we have ruled out how SMS should not be used, let’s look at how this inexpensive, spontaneous and convenient communication with customers can be effectively utilized in your marketing mix.
Text messages have an extremely high open rate and the short content keeps the interest of the viewer. Building a database of opt-in consumers that are familiar with your brand will allow you to communicate on a regular basis with special consumer offers. A caution is that you must arrive at the proper frequency of text messages to avoid over saturation and opting out by your consumers. Building a loyal consumer requires a delicate balance of contact frequency, content and special offers and text messages can play a crucial role in your marketing mix.
One Word Response
One of the most popular SMS features is short code technology that allows the recipient of the text message to respond with a one-word text response. This communication can be utilized to call attention to a special offer. As an example, the ability to promote…”text OFFER to 55-576” is a simple way to communicate a message and only requires a one word response to the text. The “word”, “text number”, and short offer details are all that has to be communicated and can be presented in many formats for distribution to your target audience (e.g. text, internet banner ads, newsletter, postcard, window/counter sign, receipt, online ad). The response rate can be tremendous since most people usually have their mobile phone available and can respond instantly.
Support/Measure Other Media
Using the Short code technology can support Internet, local radio, print, and outdoor advertising to measure the success and create another touch point for the consumer. The consumers who respond should be offered something “special” as they will be “opting in” for future contact. Integrating SMS with other media can create a comprehensive advertising campaign that provides immediate rewards for the consumer.
The single word response can also be used to generate an ongoing communication through a periodic newsletter that educates your consumer and promotes your product or service. By having a consumer text “NEWSLETTER” to receive inside information and special offers, you can build a database of your target audience for low cost quality communication. Your SMS and newsletter technology can be integrated so that this entire process can be implemented without the need to dedicate staff.
Last Minute Appointments
Any business that relies on appointments and tight scheduling (e.g. Doctors, Dentists, Salons, Home Service Providers, Auto Service, and Restaurants) can use SMS to fill the gaps in daily schedules. Many people hesitate or delay scheduling an appointment due to an ever-changing daily schedule. They often do not know their availability on a particular day until the day has arrived making it difficult for them to make an advanced appointment. Think of this as a match making service where you find customers that have availability when you have an opening. Texting a message in the morning with the available appointments on that day with the ability to respond to the message to make the reservation can all be automated and does not require any personnel involvement.
Getting an accurate count on attendance to an event or meeting is one of the difficult parts in planning for space, participation, food and entertainment. Imagine being able to text everyone who you want to invite to an event or meeting with the option to respond…YES, NO, MAYBE? The count will not be exact and last minute changes always occur, but adding a level of feedback can help you in the planning and eliminate a great deal of uncertainty.
Do you have a decision to make that you would like to get input from consumers to choose between several options? How about polling your consumers with a text that asks them to respond with a choice of one-word options that you provide. This simple text message will give you instant feedback to help you decide between options.
If you want to communicate a special offer, using SMS is an effective and low cost way to communicate a last minute offer to motivate sales. A short message about the offer along with a code or coupon to show at point of purchase during the promotional time period can help fill in slow times or move less popular or special products/services.
SMS is an easy and convenient way to gain entries in a sweepstakes. All you need is a single “Grand Prize” and possibly a few secondary prizes and then send an SMS with a short word reply such as “ENTRY”. This sweepstakes offer to your database of consumers reinforces your brand and can call attention to any existing special campaigns. The open rate on SMS is extremely high and since no purchase is required to enter the sweepstakes, the consumer will likely participate in the chance to win the grand or secondary prizes. The consumer will also more likely open your future text messages with sales opportunities.
A “VIP” club that your customers can join is a way to build loyalty and make interested consumers feel special. VIP members would receive text messages each week/month with special offers just for them. Providing them a code or showing their text message at point of purchase is a great way to let someone feel special and appreciated for being a loyal customer.
As you build your database of consumers with a connection to your company and begin to integrate SMS text messages into your marketing mix, you will likely discover uses that are unique to your particular product, service, location or consumer interest. The real benefit of SMS text messages as a marketing tool is that it is targeted, concise, immediate, and extremely cost effective. Using the latest technology is a way for you to get more value for your marketing budget.
Contact Global Link – firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-494-LINK for a free consultation on how SMS text messaging can benefit your business.