Wednesday, February 25, 2015

There are a variety of ways to reach current and potential customers these days. Of course, traditional channels, such as print media and telemarketing, are still effective; but any company not also utilizing new media marketing strategies, such as online marketing, mobile advertising, and especially SMS marketing are falling dramatically behind the curve.

The advantages of SMS text marketing are myriad. With an open rate of over 95%, text messages have a greater response rate than any other method of engaging with customers. Text marketing affords access to any individual who owns a mobile phone (and in the U.S. that’s over 90% of adults), and you don’t have to rely on apps for push notifications or on customers’ data plans. Here are a few important ways of implementing SMS text messages into your overall marketing strategy.

Incorporate text messaging into your existing marketing campaigns.

Post short codes in your street signage and print marketing pieces. Getting consumers to text in for discounts and opportunities adds them to your marketing list, giving you permission to remarket down the line. One stellar example of this was achieved by Southwest Airlines, who printed a short code on their drink napkins for consumers. The customers who texted the short code received exclusive offers from the popular airline, and their marketing department in turn received opt-in consent to engage with customers in the future, massively building their marketing list.

Create ads that payoff for your customers.

A recent study by RadiumOne revealed that 42.3 percent of mobile users prefer SMS coupons over push notifications or bar code scanning. SMS technology puts the deal literally in the hands of the consumer – with nothing to print out or misplace. One strategy for garnering interest in special offers is to creative interactive games or competitions. Any kind of sweepstakes or interactive challenge can be a great way to develop perceived value of the offer, while interacting positively with your audience.

Use SMS to send out your newsletter.

When it comes to contact lists, it can be difficult to maximize your ROI with print mailers and email newsletters. So much junk mail and spam get filtered out. So use the high open rates of text messages to your advantage! Set up a simple text message autoresponder as well as a signup web page that’s mobile friendly. When potential customers opt-in through a short code, have the autoresponder send a text with a website link and a clear call-to-action. When the mobile user visits your page, make sure that there is a simple signup for them to use from their mobile phone. Make it as easy as possible for customers to engage and convert.

Create mobile-friendly web pages.

This should be a no-brainer. Make certain that your web pages can easily be accessed through mobile phones, and beta test them from several different devices to maximize how many people visit your page. (The mobile HTML5 boilerplate is an excellent place to start.)

Make it easy for people to opt-out.

It has to be said. There will be customers who don’t know what they’re getting into – and they will want to opt-out. Don’t make it hard for them. If it is hard for customers to opt-out, it could create a negative buzz around your marketing strategies, making it harder to gain new prospective customers. With your reputation intact, many former users will consider opting back in as well.

By following these simple steps, you may just realize how an effective SMS campaign can help grow your marketing contact list. Text messages are an open line of communication to current and potential customers, with an impressive history of terrific ROI and conversion rates. These tactics are simple to incorporate into existing marketing campaigns, and can result in robust branding opportunities, keeping your business top-of-mind and always in-hand.