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37 posts categorized "Mobile Coupons"

June 23, 2014

5 Essential Mobile Marketing Tactics for Local Businesses

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SMS messaging and other mobile marketing tactics are an invaluable asset for any local business. Cheap, fast, regionally targetable and highly effective, a mobile marketing campaign can help you compete for custom in your area without the need for a huge budget.

As exciting as this brave new world is, many small businesses are hesitant to step into the future. By their very nature, local businesses are often small, serving a limited geographical area, and proprietors may have limited knowledge of marketing campaigns that go much beyond a website and local directory listings. They may not have thought about the possibilities of new technology simply because it hasn’t been necessary.

But instead of allowing your lack of knowledge to overwhelm you, do some research on how to take your marketing strategy to the next level. It could ensure your long-term survival.

The first step towards creating a vital, effective mobile marketing campaign is to optimize your website for mobile. Go back to your web developer to see if they can do this, or find someone who can. A mobile optimized site is easily navigable and viewable on a small screen, and improves the user experience compared with a desktop design, ultimately resulting in more traffic and conversions.

Once you have a mobile-friendly website, there are myriad options at your disposal for promoting your business to mobile users. The positive effects will be obvious, but more importantly, they are easily tracked and analyzed so you can see what works best for you. It’s been predicted by industry analysts that small business spending on local mobile marketing tactics will double every consecutive year for the next five years. Indeed, 41% of small business in the United States are already planning to increase their mobile marketing spend. If you want to join their ranks, consider some of the following essential mobile marketing tactics:

1) Email

Email is a great place to start. Everyone now uses email intuitively – all you need to do is adjust your messages so they are mobile-friendly:

  • Use a single column layout
  • Use 14 size font for body text and 20-24 for headings
  • Keep the headline character count to less than 40 characters
  • Make calls-to-action easily clickable (without zooming) for small screens
  • Ensure content is concise and readable without scrolling 

2) SMS

After successfully dominating social communications during the 90s and 00s, text messaging is flourishing as a commercial channel. Conservative estimates put the open-and-read rate of SMS at 90% - and that’s within a few minutes of the message being received. A few tips for effective SMS messaging campaigns:

  • Strike a professional but friendly tone
  • Keep content brief
  • Offer something of value, such as discounts and time-limited deals
  • Include a link to your website so recipients can easily access more detailed information 

3) Social Media

According to one recent study, some 40% of Facebook’s revenue now comes from mobile. If you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention over the past few years, you’ll already have a Facebook page (if not – get one!). Now, look at it in ‘public mode’ on your smartphone. Is it easy to read and navigate? Is the most important information displayed prominently? There are multiple things you can do to improve the mobile user experience:

  • Encourage visitors to your store to take pictures of themselves and tag the photos with your location
  • Keep updates limited to a few words. The shorter the post, the more attention-grabbing it will be
  • Download the Pages Manager app to help your adjust your settings and view activity on your page
  • Make sure your listing on Facebook Local Pages is accurate

4) Directories

Listing your company with online business directories is a crucial part of boosting your web presence. You can post multiple listings within the space of a few hours and trust us: it will be a day well spent. Start with major directories like Yelp, Yahoo and Foursquare. If you’re in the food industry, get your business listed on GrubHub and other popular user-oriented sites. Encourage customers to leave reviews – the value of positive online comments cannot be overstated.

5) SEO

Hire a competent, plugged-in SEO consultant who is up-to-date with the latest trends in mobile marketing. Your mobile site should feature rich content like videos, and be kitted out with the proper redirect codes so that users are seeing what you want them to see. A proper SEO strategy is plays a significant role in boosting web and foot traffic, so ignore it at your peril.

June 12, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tactics: Buy Online, Pick Up In Store

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In an era when Amazon.com can deliver almost anything imaginable – by delivery truck or even via drone  – consumers have increasingly come to expect items for purchase to be not only inexpensive and widely available, but also shipped to them quickly and conveniently. As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere are struggling to keep up with emerging technology. That struggle can be especially difficult in the midst of elevated demand for free shipping when retail margins are already growing thin.

The good news is that savvy retailers are figuring out ways to harness mobile technology to better meet consumer demand and simultaneously increase in-store foot traffic. Leveraging the power of SMS text marketing campaigns, retailers are urging their mobile customers to order items online and pick them up in-store.

Consumer Convenience that Also Benefits Retailers

Because of the high cost of shipping, increasingly more retailers are seeking cost-saving measures that include delivering purchases directly to stores instead of homes, as well as allowing customers to return mobile online purchases in-store, among other strategies.

Not only do omnichannel efforts help save retailers an enormous amount of money; shoppers appreciate the flexibility these choices afford them. During the past holiday season, for instance, more than one in three online shoppers in the U.S. said they would like the ability to pick up, in-store, items that they had ordered online. The added bonus of offering such an option to consumers is that more mobile online customers come through retailer's doors as a result, increasing the likelihood they will make additional purchases.

In-Store Pick-Up Gives Online Mobile Consumers More Control

While home delivery may sounds appealing on the surface, it becomes a hassle when consumers arrive home after a long day at work just to find that a delivery attempt was made when no one was home. Therefore, more than 80 percent of shoppers consider knowing when a package will arrive to be the number one most important service that mobile online shopping can offer.

In practical terms, giving consumers better control of when a shipment arrives can mean several things. One strategy is to use SMS texting campaigns to alert opted-in consumers that they may pick up items they've ordered online, in-store, as soon as the items arrives. Alternatively, customers may also be permitted to reserve an item online and then both pick it up and pay for it at a nearby store location. In addition, consumers may be given the option to buy the item online via an SMS text link and then retrieve it from the store at a later date.

Allowing in-store returns of mobile online orders, as well as alerting consumers that they may place orders using online catalogs while in the store, are a few additional strategies that offer the consumer increased convenience while also increasing in-store foot traffic. All of these improve the likelihood that mobile consumers will make additional on-premise purchases. In the end, these strategies create a win-win scenario for both businesses and satisfied customers alike. 

May 28, 2014

Mobile Tech Saving Small Businesses Billions

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A compelling survey commissioned by AT & T claims small and medium sized businesses in the US have saved $67.5 billion a year by adopting mobile marketing tactics like SMS messaging and mobile coupons. Smartphone targeting has almost achieved full market penetration, with 94% of small businesses using them, up from 85% last year. Smartphones are saving companies 1.24 billion hours and $32.3 billion annually, according to the report.

Other mobile devices are having a similar impact on commerce. Tablets purportedly save $19.6 billion, and a staggering 754.2 million hours annually. Mobile apps have given back close to 600 man hours to small businesses, and saved them $15.6 billion per year.

Clearly, these figures spell fantastic news for budget-conscious startups. Entrepreneurs can now pump that surplus time and cash back into their business to increase productivity and improve customer engagement. Cost-cutting measures are welcomed by any business, of whatever size – but it’s the time saving possibilities that are relished most by survey respondents: 9 out of 10 small businesses who use mobile applications said the principal benefit was reducing man hours, and most of those estimate annual savings of up to $6000. 

Cathy Martine, AT & T’s president of enterprise business solutions said in an accompanying statement:

"In the current economy, mobile technologies are critical to enabling small businesses to save tremendous amounts of time and money by helping them do more with less. As a result, we're seeing more and more small business owners and employees turning to mobile technologies to not only keep them connected but to put them ahead of the curve." 

As a mobile marketing strategy, well-designed apps put brand recognition and awareness firmly in the hands of business owners, allowing them to offer a proprietary tool capable of boosting ROIs without absorbing the long-term costs usually associated with traditional marketing campaigns. The use of mobile apps has increased by 65% in the last two years alone. Some 77% are using multiple apps, and a significant 5% uses 20 or more apps, with GPS and mapping programs comprising the lion’s share.

One of the most striking benefits of mobile apps is the ‘open all hours’ appeal. According to the survey, the average number of days on which business is conducted via smartphone exceeds the average number of days the company is open for business. While small and medium sized businesses are open for an average of 5.7 days per week, close to half of all respondents with smartphones are making deals seven days a week.

The lessons are clear: if you are a small business and you still don’t have a mobile marketing strategy, now is the time to join the party. The results are proven to be fast and affordable, so get with mobile marketing now, and you will feel the benefit before the year is out. 

May 16, 2014

Keeping Your Reputation in Check

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Reputation management is a key part of any comprehensive marketing campaign. Where more traditional marketing techniques actively promote your business, reputation management attempts to stem any negative feedback or outright calumny that may haunt your online presence.

When you think about how easy it is to go online and spread false or ill-founded information about an individual or a business, it becomes obvious why reputation marketing is so invaluable. To wit, an example:

Joe Pubblico runs a small chain of Italian restaurants. They are well regarded throughout the local area, and even attract visitors from far-off places. The food is fantastic, and the ad campaign is well executed. Their mobile marketing strategy includes regular discounts (and discounts for regulars!) and they let people know about special offers via SMS messaging.

For a mid-priced franchise, Pubblico’s is about as good as it gets. The notices on Yelp, GrubHub and other culinary user review sites are all excellent. Trouble is, Joe has a personal falling out with an old friend. It’s nothing to do with business, and the restaurants continue the same high level of service their customers have gotten used to. But Joe’s ex-friend holds a grudge, and has a lot of time on his hands. Using different names, he leaves multiple bad reviews on the aforementioned sites in which he claims Joe’s outlets offer poor service, worse food, and have a problem with pests.

After years of building his business, investing money in SMS messaging and online mobile marketing campaigns, Joe is threatened with ruin by these defamatory claims. While it may be time consuming and ultimately pointless to pursue the removal of anonymous reviews, one thing Joe can do is generate his own good publicity online. If executed in the right way, a reputation marketing campaign will serve to push down the negative reviews and leave only the fair reviews.

SMS messaging can play a part in this reputation restoration. After all, Joe has a long, loyal list of contacts whom he can reach out to, either to ask for online support, or simply to warn them of the defamation that’s going on regarding his business.

However Joe does it, the bottom line is this: great reviews convert new customers, bad reviews put them off. Studies have shown that more than 70% of potential customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. For small business owners, developing a five star reputation through SMS messaging and other forms of mobile marketing is the hardest thing they need to do - but keeping that reputation doesn’t necessarily come easy.

 

May 06, 2014

How SMS Sweepstakes Campaigns Are Helping Boost Business


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Sweepstakes campaigns can be an excellent means of promoting brand recognition and awareness, thus bringing customers through your door. Traditionally, these sweepstakes marketing campaigns have been carried out through print media, but technology makes it possible to reach a much wider audience today.

While email marketing may have initially been considered a solution to the unfortunate “junk mail” reputation that has traditionally plagued sweepstakes campaigns, it's a sad fact that we need look no farther than our inboxes today to understand that email is suffering the same fate. While search engine marketing may be the hi-tech answer to some quandaries that traditional marketing cannot solve, sweepstake campaigns, by contrast, may be unique in that most potential customers do not typically seek them out.

SMS Sweepstakes Campaigns Give Consumers Just the Nudge they Need

This is where SMS text messaging sweepstakes campaigns come in, especially for industries like fast food and retail clothing, which draw customers in to their chain of stores on a fairly frequent basis. While customers do not necessarily need to eat their meals at fast food chains or to purchase a new shirt every several weeks, the cost of these small luxuries is not perceived as prohibitively high for most consumers. Hence, it only takes a small amount of brand suggestion to get customers through the door.

One thing that has become a constant necessity in the eyes of most consumers today, on the other hand, is mobile phone access. People carry their mobile devices with them at all times, which is why almost 100% of the text messages people receive are opened and read. That fact makes SMS texting an invaluable strategy when it comes to a successful sweepstakes campaign, especially for industries like casual restaurants and retail shopping that so heavily rely on consumer suggestibility.

Recent Successful SMS Sweepstakes Campaigns

Among the companies recognized as carrying out the top SMS sweepstakes campaigns recently are Hooters, JCPenney, and popular bourbon whiskey manufacturer Jim Beam. Hooters' campaign offered consumers the opportunity to win a trip to a destination of their choice. Jim Beam, as part of its nationwide Live Music Series, ran a campaign urging users to enter to win a VIP trip to the last summer concert by opting-in to its SMS program with a special keyword texted to a shortcode.

Sweepstakes winnings need not be extravagant or expensive, however. JCPenney won its place in the spotlight for its own sweepstakes campaign merely by running an Easter promotion encouraging customers to attend a one-day in-store event to receive a free pair of children's bunny ears. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that consumers, when left to their own devices, will spend their time and money where and how it needs to be spent; however, they are open to suggestion when it comes to having the opportunity for a pleasurable experience.  That pleasurable experience may come in the form of a delicious side of french fries, a new outfit, a free trip, or a festive pair of bunny ears for Easter.

Consumers won't necessarily have time to seek out comfort and fun twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, but when a simple text message can remind potential customers just how easy it can be to partake in such pleasures, they are certainly open to suggestion. SMS text message sweepstakes campaigns, therefore, are a great way for companies to put their brands, as well as what those brands can do for consumers, front and center in potential customers' minds. 

April 24, 2014

Save Money & the Environment with Text Coupons

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What could be better than the money consumers save when they decide to use your coupons and become a new customer? How about the costs your business can cut by trading in the wasteful paper versions of those coupons for their mobile counterparts? In addition to the money and paper that they save, offering text coupons also means reaching more customers. Therefore, mobile coupons have great potential to further boost the bottom line through a much greater return on investment than what traditional paper coupons can offer.

Mobile Coupons are More Likely to be Seen than Traditional Coupons

Consumers today spend a great deal of time on their mobile phones. They spend less of their time looking at other media, including the newspapers and magazines where print coupons appear. Smart businesses are capitalizing on this trend in consumer habits through mobile marketing. Just as QR codes have become a helpful way of getting potential customers to engage with businesses and to “opt in” to receive SMS texts messages and other promotional materials via their phones, mobile coupons, which don't need to be printed, are an additional way of winning over consumers.

 

More Likely to be Redeemed, and they Won't End up in the Trash

Mobile coupons are ten times more likely to be redeemed than coupons taken from printed materials, with the mobile versions being used at a rate of 30%, compared to exactly the same coupon in printed materials having a redemption rate of only less than 1%. That's a lot of money and time wasted on printing something that will simply end up in the garbage instead of bringing customers through your door. That's also a tragedy for our environment, considering how many trees go into making paper coupons that may never even be seen, much less used.

 

Convenience

Aside from the fact that almost 100% of the text messages we receive on our mobile phones get opened and therefore seen and considered, another reason mobile coupons are redeemed so much more often than paper ones is a simple logistical one: they're always with customers on their phones. People carry their phones everywhere, after all, but often leave printed coupons at home where they can't be used. The number of coupons redeemed via tablet and mobile devices this year, on the other hand, is expected to be up by more than 50% compared to last year, reaching the 10 billion mark

Targeting Exactly the Right Audience

Another reason for the success of mobile coupons is that it is easier to figure out how to get them into precisely the hands of those who are most likely to come into your store to use them. For example, some companies activate mobile coupons when consumers use their phones to check in at their stores. Geo-location features on mobile phones are another way that businesses may target the consumers most likely to use their coupons.

Businesses try to place print coupons in publications that appeal to a targeted audience. However, the fact is that the slow, expensive process that takes place between when the initial idea is conceived and the moment the publication gets into potential consumers' hands results in less certainty about where the coupons end up. Unfortunately, that place could be the waste basket.

Your company's resources are valuable, and so are the world's natural resources. Today's consumers appreciate the convenience of mobile coupons, which reach them wherever they are and are more likely to be used, not wasted.

April 11, 2014

Client Retention Through Text Marketing

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Mobile marketing strategies that include SMS messaging are a great way for spas, hair salons, doctors' offices and other enterprises that rely on a steady stream of appointments to retain clients between visits. As many professionals who have embraced the practice can already tell you, despite the fact that SMS text messaging can be fully automated, the truth is that patients, guests, and clients will still walk away with the feeling that you personally took the time to reach out to them. Therefore, automated texts are an effortless way to generate great feelings of customer loyalty (and to help keep that feeling alive).

Boosting Appointments

One of the most obvious types of automated text messages to send to clients in order to keep them thinking about your brand outside of time spent in store or office is the reminder or appointment confirmation text. The added bonus is that this thoughtful correspondence will also lead to fewer missed appointments. Twelve weeks, for instance, is an awfully long time for a loyal customer not to visit her hair salon; therefore, an automated text reminder (perhaps with a special promotion attached to it) sent to someone you haven't seen for a few weeks could be just exactly the nudge such a client needs. Such a moment is also the perfect opportunity to offer your guest the option of texting or emailing an appointment request, further boosting the efficiency of how your company runs and potentially filling up your calendar with profitable business. 

Other Occasions for SMS Texting

Additional reasons and occasions to send out promotional texts are all around, if you just pay attention. SMS messaging can be used for special holiday promotions (Mother's Day, Valentines Day, etc.) In addition, they can be used to remind customers how much they love your business, while also extracting key information from them through customer surveys that give you insight into ways to improve service (and also give you some buzz-generating rave reviews to re-post on Facebook – with customer permission, of course!)

You don't need a holiday in order to celebrate a special event. If your staff members have created their own walking team, for instance, for an upcoming fundraiser, then automated text messages to your customer base are the perfect way to solicit donations and put your small business in a really positive light among members of the local community. You can also keep things light by engaging customers with fun survey questions.

A Few “Don't”s

With all of that said, what you want to avoid doing is overwhelming clients by sending automated texts to the same individuals too often (i.e., more than twice a month at the very most). Also, be certain that those receiving the texts have opted in; never spam, hack, or buy phone numbers. All you'll get in return is a some terrible publicity and potential legal ramifications.

Also, keep messages short. Remember: these are text messages, not the great American novel. Last but not least, do respond to direct questions that your texts generate from those clients receiving the message. After all, hearing back from clients is great because it means they're engaged; you've reached them! Don't go to all of that trouble just to turn right around now and ignore them.

Use SMS texting to engage with and retain customers in an appropriate way that creates value for your clients.

March 21, 2014

In-Store Browsing the In-Thing in UK

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A growing number of British consumers are adopting the practice sometimes known as showrooming: comparing online prices with real-world prices while browsing in stores, and buying the cheapest version of a particular product (hint: it’s never from the bricks and mortar store).

A report published in February by OnePoll looked at a range of consumer behaviors involving smartphones during the last quarter of 2013. The results showed that using smartphones to conduct research is the new normal. Seven out of ten respondents had used their mobile device to investigate potential purchases and compare prices. Over a third used mobile price comparison sites, and 17% had visited the mobile sites of individual retailers.

Retail apps are also growing in popularity, with users accessing them from multiple locations. Around 42% of respondents used retail apps at home, and a quarter did so at work or on their way to work.

But the most compelling results relate to the use of smartphones in physical stores. Some 55% of people admitted to ‘showrooming’ during shopping trips. Out of those, more than half said they compared prices online using their mobile device, and just under half used them to gather more information on products. Around 41% used their phones to take pictures of potential purchases. Despite all the browsing activity, only 17% of smartphone owners admitted to showrooming itself.

The research threw up some interesting data relevant to mobile marketing campaigns. More than two thirds of respondents said they would be more likely to revisit a store if it sent bespoke promotions to their smartphone.

Mobile browsing-to-buy remains less common than direct mobile shopping. Only 17% of people using their smartphone to conduct research also bought with the device, and just over one in ten people who browsed in-store went on to buy from the same retailer.

For anyone devising a mobile marketing strategy in the UK, the implications are clear: if you can reach people who are already in a physical store that pertains to your business, you have a good chance of converting them into customers. Bricks and mortar-only retailers have their own mobile marketing tactics – such as apps and SMS coupons – but, short of deliberately operating from a location with no wi-fi or network coverage, there’s little they can do to stem the tide of online activity conducted from their premises.

These behaviors are now endemic – not just across the ocean, but here in the US too. Smartphone adoption rates are soaring, and the fear for offline businesses is that consumers will one day come to their store to browse online and find it closed.

March 14, 2014

Weekend CTRs Significantly Higher

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Recent research comparing click-through rates (CTRs)  found mobile device users much less likely to click on ads during the week as opposed to the weekend. Findings published on AppFlood claims click-through rates are 30% higher on weekends after analyzing some 300 millionmobile ad impressions in the United States between August and September 2013.

Click volume is reportedly the same on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning around 8am and continuing at a steady rate until about 6pm. Weekday clicks go up once the workday is over, or around 6pm. Click rates on weekdays tend to decrease throughout the evening, but pick back up around 11pm, indicating people are looking at their mobile device screens before bedtime. Differences in mobile and desktop/laptop usage were also evident, with mobile use remaining fairly steady throughout the week and weekend, particularly around 7pm to 9pm on weekdays. Desktop/laptop use is less frequent on weekends, and after 5pm, or commute time, on weekdays.

So why the dip in CTR on weekends with laptops/desktops, but not mobile devices? A possible explanation is people use their laptops all day at work, and can’t even think of going near one on weekends. This eschewing of laptops doesn’t necessarily translate to smartphones, as people generally have their phones on them at all times and use them to look up any number of things, from show times to restaurant directions to answers to common questions. A mobile phone is usually on and ready to use at all times, whereas people have to sit down and turn on a laptop or desktop, which can seem arduous when trying to enjoy the weekend.

An effective mobile marketing strategy is one that researches and utilizes underlying motivators that cause people to click on an ad, read a blog or follow a link. Marketing strategists can therefore use CTR patterns to create engaging campaigns that cater to specific audiences. For example, do people appear to click on a travel company’s vacation ads on Saturdays during the day? Create mobile marketing solutions that cater to such prospective clients. What about those who click on local attraction ads when browsing for fun weekend ideas on a Thursday or Friday night? No matter what the product or service, a mobile marketing strategy must pinpoint its target audience and how best to cater to it.

If you’re a mobile marketing strategist looking to maximize campaign output, review your company’s CTR numbers and create solutions that target your audience at certain times on specific days. Understanding when and why your audience is most active is one of the cornerstones of a successful mobile marketing strategy! Good luck!

 

 

March 06, 2014

How Mobile Devices Have Increased Customer Service Expectations

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The constant availability of digital information at our fingertips happened so fast, and so resoundingly, it’s easy to forget that ten years ago, hardly anybody owned what might be termed a ‘smartphone’.

As a consequence of such widespread mobile technology, consumer expectations have become dramatically elevated. Recent research conducted by KANA Software found that 5% of 18 to 24 year olds check their phone every minute – an alarming figure indicative of an almost pathological reliance on connectivity.

But they’re not just checking their phones. They’re using them as portals through which they can lodge complaints, and they expect their complaint to be dealt with quickly. If companies fail to respond in a way that satisfies the customer, they find themselves traduced on social media platforms and all-important user review websites. The Millenials have never known a world without the hyperspeed life of the web, and their patience is thin. Remember last century when 10 working days was the standard time period for responding to complaints? They don’t.

It’s not just young people. The survey – which polled more than 2,000 people in then UK – found baby boomers were among the most prolific online complainers. In this climate, mobile marketing solutions  must include a quick response strategy in the face of online criticism.

The first step towards meeting high expectations is to make the mobile experience a priority. Dedicate resources to ensure mobile users get the attention they require – the money spent will come back to you in the shape of more conversions.

More than that, you have to approach your mobile marketing strategy in the wider context of consumers’ journey-to-purchase. No amount of research is too much. Do your customers tend to browse products using their mobile devices, before buying in-store? Just because you aren’t generating the majority of conversions from mobile devices doesn’t mean they’re not a crucial part of the process. Identify common problems as early as possible in order to minimize the impact those issues will have on your business.

Once you’ve resolved the basic problems, devise creative mobile marketing tactics that will make your business stand out from the crowd. Find success in the mobile marketplace and you will be well-positioned for future growth across all channels.