(Gawkwire) – Text marketing has become an essential part of a brand’s marketing efforts. When executed properly, SMS marketing can yield impressive results. The ubiquitous usage of cell phones and the high open rates of text messages make text marketing an effective medium for breaking through the clutter of marketing material vying for the customer’s attention.
A well executed SMS marketing campaign requires a lot of planning and strategizing. Before a brand can send one SMS message they have to secure a dedicated short code, or keyword on a shared SMS short code, and receive opt-in consent from consumers to send text messages. Implementing a successful text marketing campaign can include a lot of leg work.
CallFire, a cloud telephony pioneer and SMS gateway, has recently released an SMS best practice to help small to medium sized businesses integrate text marketing into their business strategy. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
SMS marketing as become an essential tool for brand marketers. SMS is the new method of marketing your brand and building customer loyalty. Organizations can use SMS to notify loyal customers about sales and promotions, remind them about appointments or deliveries, spread the word about special events, etc. SMS allows you to rapidly communicate with customers. It’s simultaneously personal enough that customers pay attention and impersonal enough that it costs a business very little.
Is text messaging really all that big?
Yes. Just take a look at these numbers:
There are already over 5 billion mobile subscriptions in the world, and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) predicts there will be some 5.3 billion subscriptions by the end of the year, with nearly 300 million of those in the U.S. Consumers spend about 16 hours a day with our cell phones. What other consumer media can claim that much exposure?
SMS has the advantage of being device neutral. Despite popular belief, not all cell-phone users own smart phones. By the end of this year, the ratio of smart phone users to flip phone users is set to be only be 1:1.
Not only are mobile devices ubiquitous, but consumers are also texting in large volume. According to the ITU, there were 6.1 trillion text messages sent in 2010 (up from 1.8 trillion just three years ago). In the U.S. alone, approximately 300 million users send over 4 billion text messages a day.
When SMS is compared to other mediums, the open rates are much higher for SMS. How many of those e-mails and newsletters that a company sends out to their customers are actually being read? According to MailChimp, once a message makes it past the five million spam filters, there is still only looking at approximately a 1-in-4 e-mail open rate, depending on industry.
On the other hand, according to a 2010 study done by mobileSQUARED for Singlepoint, close to 98% of all SMS messages are read, and 90% are read within the first three minutes of being received (probably having something to do with the fact that we spend 16 hours a day with our cell phones in reach). Not only is it effective, but it’s also instantly so.
Text messaging has become a standard mode of communication, and often even the preferable one for the younger generation. It does not stop with teenagers. The Pew Research Center found that over 72% of adults are text messaging. To break According to the CTIA, nearly 65% of mobile users in their 40s and 50% of users in their 60s regularly send texts.
An organizations can easily ship around this challenge by either speaking to a marketing strategist to strategize a campaign, or by looking for an off-the-shelf solution that includes both bulk SMS credits and a comprehensive strategy on how to use them in an integrated way with a mobile site and your other existing marketing tools, which is more affordable. At 3 cents per text, services like CallFire’s SMS Broadcasting provide a much more affordable solution.
To execute on the SMS marketing strategy, consider the following options:
1. Pay attention to case studies of companies that have implemented SMS effectively. The internet is as an endless source of information. Keep track of blogs, websites, and news sources that pertain to an industry.
2. Remember that SMS messages are "personal." That means a brand is not just sending out updates; the organization is having a conversation with its customers.
3. Keep in mind that unauthorized SMS messages can violate the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). Always, always, always make sure that all customers have opted-in for this service.
4. Build up your opt-in customer database. This can be difficult. A Netsize Mobile Marketing Survey found that database quality (acquiring and maintaining opt-in mobile numbers) was the top concern for those investing in mobile marketing.
In building your opt-in customer database, consider the following:
Plaster an ad about signing up for SMS alerts on a company homepage. Just make sure people who visit a company website don’t miss it.
Offer an incentive for signing up. Discounts are an awesome incentive to signup.
Send out a newsletter to your e-mail subscribers letting them know you now have SMS updates. Put a small memo about this in all subsequent newsletters.
Be a good dictator. Order all your employees to put a link to signing up for SMS alerts in their official signatures.
If the company has an e-store, create an option for customers to sign up for SMS alerts at the check-out page. If customers don’t sign up, send a reminder with your confirmation e-mail.
Brands want to make sure all you customers know they have the option to sign up for SMS messages and that it will benefit them, but they don’t want to be pushy.
It is clear that the use of text marketing helps small business owners communicate with their clients and build brand awareness. CallFire, a telephony pioneer and SMS gateway, works with brands from all over the world to utilize SMS short codes and long codes to formulate effective text marketing campaigns. Learn how your brand can increase engagement by speaking to one of our support staff at 877-897-3473.
About CallFire: CallFire (callfire.com) simplifies telephony, making sophisticated, expensive carrier class telecom capabilities available through an affordable, easy-to-use GUI and API platform. Any business, from start-up to enterprise, can reach its customers on any device, using text messaging or voice, with CallFire’s massively scalable, cloud telecom platform and SMS gateway. CallFire products include Voice APIs, Business Text Messaging, Voice Broadcast, Local Phone Numbers, Toll Free Numbers, IVR, Predictive Dialing for agents and more. Call analytics enable CallFire’s 50,000 users to reach customers more often using text marketing, auto attendants, virtual PBX, 800 numbers, dialers, and mobile messaging.