Short Message Service (SMS) is often overlooked or downgraded as an effective electronic marketing vehicle. Those companies that have experience using this media would vehemently disagree. While certainly not a “new” medium, mobile marketing software capitalizes on the mobile phone users’ familiarity with text messages to achieve success.
Mobile Marketing Opportunities
Along with SMS marketing software, you should become comfortable with other mobile opportunities to display and describe your products. As the top search engines focus more on mobile ‘Net activity, these opportunities will continue to multiply. Here are a few mobile marketing opportunities to consider:
- Growing mobile phone apps. With over 5 billion (yes, billion) global mobile phone users (with China and India leading the growth parade), there is no other marketing vehicle this attractive. In the past three years, developers have released over 300,000 new mobile apps.
- Social media mobile versions. In the United States, Facebook and Twitter are at the top of user preferences, along with games, news, music, and maps. Apparently, keeping in touch has never been more important to consumers.
- Mobile-focused websites. These sites, optimized for mobile phone browsers, are rapidly becoming more popular. As noted, the most active search engines are now including this component as a feature in their algorithms for page rankings.
- Interactive applications that engage prospects. While constructing an interactive mobile app is costly and time-consuming, there are a plethora of third-party products that are much more cost-effective. You can, however, find sources that help you or find simpler tools that streamline building or customization of interactive apps.
- Integration of mobile with classic marketing strategy. The ability to integrate mobile marketing with your other sales strategies is one of the most significant features of this focus. In many cases, you can have success even if you cannot capture all prospect mobile phone numbers by using social media and mobile-friendly websites.
With almost 100 percent of new mobile phones having Internet and browser capability, your market is not restricted to smart phone users. Over 70 million users in America alone carry the web in their pockets or purses.
How to Make SMS Marketing Effective
The beauty of an SMS marketing strategy is its simplicity and familiarity. Every mobile phone user is familiar with text messaging. Sure, most teenagers apparently have a “text message fetish,” but most mobile subscribers use text messaging with ease, even if many of their communications go to their teenage children.
In all cases SMS marketing effectively builds relationships, builds your contact list and can lead to increased sales. With “reaction rates” around 70 percent (Mobile Marketing Watch), text messages far outpace email contacts, which achieve approximately a 30 percent rate. If you’re skeptical, ask yourself, “How often are my mobile text messages left unread?” See?
With all of the upside of SMS marketing benefits, there are two potential downsides that you should consider.
Use some or all of the following features of SMS to enhance your marketing efforts.
- Fees and charges. Those subscribers without large or unlimited volume text message plans may be charged for each message received. Unless you are a cell service provider or reseller, you’ll have neither control over nor knowledge of the service plans your contacts use.
- Spam blockers. Avoid all strategies that could cause your messages to considered spam or forcing their providers to blacklist your number. The typical result is that your contact list takes a huge “hit,” as does your brand and image.
- Use your 160 characters wisely. You can exceed this maximum, if absolutely necessary, but keep in mind you’re then sending two text messages. Choose your words carefully.
- Consider incentives to spur your contact list to take action. Incentives need not be expensive, but should be meaningful. Offering rewards or discounts if members click to your website often can deliver significantly increased sales.
- Strategize with three goals in mind. Keep your eyes on the prize. You want to increase sales from existing customers, create new customers and/or markets, and increase your bottom line. While other goals may be important, i.e., strengthening your brand, they pale in comparison to these three key objectives.
- Employ proven bulk SMS marketing software and partners. Unless you’re running a super micro business, you should employ the most reliable mobile marketing software and experienced company partners you can afford.
- Maximize SMS advantages. Resist the temptation to become overly creative with your SMS program. Save your cutting-edge, outside-the-box ideas for email and website marketing programs. Use the simplicity, speed, readability, and familiarity of text messaging to bolster your response rate.
- Create “permission-based” SMS messages. While it’s nearly impossible for subscribers—or anyone—to eliminate incoming messages, there is no such mandate that they read them. Much like opt-in emails, you want to have confidence that your recipient wants to read your message.
- Personalize your text messages whenever possible. Over time, personalizing your SMS messages enhances their value and your brand over time. Everyone appreciates being treated as a human person, not an email address or an anonymous phone number. Superior target marketing involves creating the most intimacy and personal contact feelings you can muster.
SMS marketing strategy that succeeds typically addresses many of these tips and suggestions. Over-the-top sophistication should take a back seat to solid, clear concise, and action-oriented text messages. Remember, the best SMS marketing software or company for you is the one that delivers the most encouraging results.