4 innovative ways your brand can use SMS marketing this Christmas

Christmas is a few days away and most businesses are making frantic efforts to promote their offers to prospects and customer. Have you considered the power of text marketing during this period? Leveraging mobile is essential if you want to promote your product/service and grow your business.

As mobile usage continues to surpass that of “fixed Internet access” worldwide mobile is obviously  where your customers are. In makes sense to go mobile especially in a country where the number of mobile phones exceeds the population.

There are a lot of methods for getting the word out to mobile consumers. mobile banner ads, ads that appear in video games, QR codes, or running sponsored data campaigns (visit www.exactmedia.wordpress.com for my previous articles on sponsored data). However, in many industries, mobile messaging provides the most effective direct marketing channel.

 One of the reasons why SMS stands out of the lot is that nearly 100% of all devices on the market are SMS enabled, making it the mobile channel that offers the widest reach possible.

the fact that the vast majority of texts are actually opened and read to some extent. According to tatango.com, when you compare the open rates of text messages to email marketing open rates for a business such as a restaurant (33% open rates), you’re looking at nearly 3X the amount of your customers opening your text messages over your emails.

Another reason to try SMS marketing out is its relatively low starting cost. When used well, SMS Marketing can be an effective platform for communicating with your customers via mobile this season.

You should always consider these two factors when you want to embark on an SMS campaign: the keyword and a short code. If you want customers to take part in a campaign that has them text your keyword to a five-digit number (your short code) make sure those two items stand out and aren’t buried in the message.

You don’t have to be a big business to reap substantial rewards with your SMS marketing campaign. You can also use SMS to determine engagement with your business, to remind customers about your brand and reward your key supporters

  

  1. Send Offers

Give an offer via SMS to get people in the door if you run a brick and mortar small business. You could send out a message along the lines of “Get 10% off your meal this season when you show your waiter this text!”

This tactic is a sure way to get return customers coming in. It will also indicate how active and engaged the people your mobile list is.

You may need to do more to kick your list into high gear if nobody claims the offer. On the other hand, if you notice that many people are claiming the deal, then you know you are on the right track.

Domino’s Pizza, the US takeaway pizza chain used the tummy rumbles of their loyal customers and their location to embark on this SMS campaign:

The following message went out at 4.15pm to customers of one store – just around the time they were making up their minds as to what they wanted to eat for an evening meal.

“Domino’s (location) All this week Buy One Get One Free Online.

Use Code (code) @dominos.co.uk Exp 13/03

T&Cs Apply

OptOut STOP to (number).”

 

With SMS offers, you are bound to boost awareness even among those not able to take up your offer at that moment.

Remember that customers respond more to materials addressed directly to them, so insert your subscribers’ name when you can. You can also target your customer with more relevant texts based on their preferences.

Even if your brand or business cannot give out tangible offers, you could simple give tips keeps you in front of your prospects while providing value and paving the way for other types of text messaging.

 

An example of an SMS Marketing Campaign - Image source: /media.licdn.com/
Figure 1 – An example of an SMS Marketing Campaign – Image source: /media.licdn.com/
  1. Send Reminders

Professionals and service-related businesses, such as home maintenance technicians, dental offices, automotive service centers, doctors’ offices, fitness centers, hair salons, spas, vets and any other type of appointment-reliant businesses, should take advantage of SMS Marketing this season. Use text messages to deliver appointment reminders to clients. A reminder does not need a reply, it is just information and an SMS message makes it quick and painless for all involved. Studies show that SMS appointment reminders actually lower the amount of clients who don’t show up to an appointment.

Let us examine this example below of how a reminder of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was sent via SMS

Bosses at Silverstone sent an SMS out to more than 45,000 recipients on its database who had either bought a ticket in the past or who had expressed an interest in attending events.

The message was timed to go out the moment that the BBC had finished airing its coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The message read:

‘Enjoyed the Monaco Grand Prix?

Get your tickets to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone now! http://bit.ly/12wYgh1

To opt out text STOP to 60070’.

 

The link led customers straight onto a mobile-friendly page where they were a mere click away from snapping up tickets. Tatango reports that this one batch of messages had a whopping 608% return on the investment for this message in subsequent ticket sales.

How can you send reminders about the events you will be hosting this season?

  1. Gather Feedback

You can use SMS’s to gather feedback from your customers this season. Ask customers their opinion on a product or idea, or even if you should launch a business page on a new social media platform. Once you have results, text them to your customers or post the results on one of your social media pages and direct your subscribers to it.  SMS can be a channel for two-way interaction, use this opportunity to let your customers talk back to you. You can even use a Short Code on your other promotional materials inviting feedback. See how Bernie Sanders incorporated SMS in his campaign and advertised it during his events in figure 2.

Bernie Sanders used SMS Marketing in his campaign. The circle indicates bold advertisements for his SMS code during one of his campaign events. Surveys show SMS marketing services are found to be successful among all age groups. Even those over the age of 40 are more likely to actively engage in extended conversations using the medium.
Figure 2 – Bernie Sanders used SMS Marketing in his campaign. The circle indicates bold advertisements for his SMS code during one of his campaign events. Surveys show SMS marketing services are found to be successful among all age groups. Even those over the age of 40 are more likely to actively engage in extended conversations using the medium.
An interaction between a subscriber to the Bernie Sanders campaign
Figure 3 – An interaction between a subscriber to the Bernie Sanders campaign
  1. Build relationships

Every touch of SMS strengthens the bond between you and your customer. Our mobile device is one of, if not the most personal device we have. The consumers that welcome you into their phone, especially through SMS, should be considered some of your most loyal customers.

Tis the season to build relationships so if you have a regular customer over a period of time, who has stopped coming to your store, you can send them a text with deals to get them to come back.

With that said, you want to treat your most loyal customers with some extra love, and a great way to do that is incentivize customers to opt-in by giving something of value.

Use SMS to build exclusivity into your holiday marketing. Send special promotions only via text message to make your customers feel special and build excitement around your text message marketing.

Wrapping up

Make sure that your messages are targeted. Segmentation and targeting means ensuring any individual gets the message most relevant to them. It can make the difference between seeming like an informational message and spam.

Ensure you get the right message to the right people using purchase history, demographics and any other data you have.

follow if you want your SMS campaign to be successful remember that most carriers limit the length of a text message to 160 characters. A message like the one in the example below is enough to get a customer or prospect to act:

“50% off your next order. CLICK HERE. Expires Sunday.”

If you want to include a link to a website use a URL shortener like Google’s Goo.gl or Bit.ly. These take your unsightly URL and transform them into a short URL that looks much better. Aim for times your customers won’t be busy and make sure your SMS sends customers to a mobile-optimized website.

Sources:

http://thestartupmag.com/3-examples-of-successful-sms-marketing-campaigns-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/

https://www.tatango.com/blog/sms-open-rates-exceed-99/#

 

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