SMS marketing, also called mobile text marketing, is an increasingly important means of bringing in customers and keeping in touch with them. According to CITA, there is slightly more than one active cell phone per person in the United States (November 2011). This is an enormous opportunity to reach a vast and growing marketplace.
Remember, all cell phones have the ability to send and receive text messages, whether they are “smartphones” or not. A few people have turned texting off. Some cell phone plans charge per text (such as 10 cents), and many cell phone plans allow large quantities of texts or unlimited texting. Younger consumers tend to text the most, but cell phone users of all ages are texting.
Advertising using SMS is an especially effective method for small companies to increase their brand awareness and make more money.
Using mobile texts to reach customers is inexpensive and efficient. Local businesses who use SMS have a leg up on competitors who are still focused only on print, radio and/or TV ads.
Mobile text marketing begins when consumers sign up to receive text message from a business. The business provides some type of motivation to sign up, such as an immediate benefit like a free item, or promises a long-term benefit such as notification of cancellations and closings, coupons, special offers, etc. The text messages inform customers about contests, promotions, and other campaigns that might interest them. Since most people won’t step out their door without their mobile device, this type of advertising has proven very successful.
Did you know that most text messages are actually read? It’s true. Unlike paper “junk mail”, email spam, and TV commercials, text messages aren’t mentally filtered out. They grab attention! They are messages the consumer opted in to, so they stand out.
In spite of the increasing availability of web browsing, emails, and social media, mobile texting has continued to grow since it started in the year 2001. Texting is instant, easy-to-use, and widely available.
If you are considering using SMS advertising, make a plan. Here are some ideas:
Signing up: You have to motivate people to sign up. Encourage them by giving a free gift, exclusive “insider” information, or something else your customers want. You need to get the mobile numbers of people interested in getting text messages from your company. You can do this by asking website visitors to fill out a signup form online. Or, let cell phone users sign up by sending a text message, like this: “Text LOVEIT to 12345 to sign up to our messaging service”. You can even create different codes for different campaigns, to track and focus your marketing.
Growing Your List: It’s important to get a big list to make this worthwhile. Get people to sign up at your place of business, on your website, on related websites, in your email newsletter, and on social media.
Focus Your Message: If subscribers get bored, they will opt out of your messages. Keep the quality high and the content meaningful. Figure out how to make sales. Mobile coupons, mobile e-cards (including a discount or free item on the customer’s birthday or on a special holiday), and short surveys are great ways to get interaction and increase foot traffic.
A good SMS program can help any small business have a better relationship with its customers, bring in new customers, and boost sales. SMS is immediate, so if something is happening at your location or you want to unload some baked goods before they go stale, shift your SMS strategy and make things happen!
To run SMS campaigns, you will need to buy software or subscribe to a service. New to SMS marketing? An SMS specialist will help focus your campaign, manage timings, handle text lists, and select the right technology for your company’s needs.