SMS Marketing Ideas

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May 22, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Memorial Day

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Memorial weekend officially kicks off summer, but it’s also the ideal time to experiment with unique marketing ideas that can push your business to the next level during a lull in sales. From social media to military rewards, Memorial Day is a great time to invite people to look at your products and services using one of these unique marketing ideas.  

 

Special Giveaways

Memorial weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. As people transition into summer, everyone is on the lookout for a good deal. Normally, a giveaway doesn’t sound like a lucrative marketing tactic, but paired with social media, and you’ve got yourself an authentic customer experience they’ll want to share with friends and family. 

Sample App is a great technology to integrate into this marketing plan. It delivers your sample to qualified consumers who will spread the word across various social media platforms about your brand. 

 

Coupons 

Aside from giving away products, another great way to incentivize sales is with a coupon—but not just any coupon. SMS marketing, or “mobile coupons” are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional paper coupons. These electronic tickets are also significantly less of an investment, and are easier to scale. 

Keypons offer a great mobile coupon system. They’re easy to create for customers on the go. The coupons are delivered either directly to customer’s cell phone or to their social media accounts. 

 

Creative contests

Using a contest over Memorial Day weekend adds to the excitement of the entire event. Contest in general are a great way to increase short-term sales goals as well as build a future repeat customer base. 

Pairing again with social media, try using a customizable contest platform. Get creative with the contest and consider how best to integrate it with your products. Try a photo contest or a cost-effective sweepstakes. Set up the contest for free and preview everything before you pay using the free Twitter Contest App

 

Honor Veterans 

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of the busy weekend, but don’t forget what the holiday is all about. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to provide military men and women, as well as their families with a special discount. In addition to honoring the military veterans, this is a great way to relate to customers that you care about them and appreciate their business. 

 

Loyalty Program

For business with a brick and mortar store location, there are even more opportunities to reward customers with an on-site loyalty program. In addition to driving sales now, this is a great way to boost sales in the future. 

Check out LoyalBlocks, an app that lets you personalize rewards and transform your store into a special loyalty palace where customers don’t have to do anything to receive special offers. Everything is loaded and built on the app so it’s inclusive and very easy to use. 

However you decide to celebrate Memorial weekend, be sure to take the opportunity to reach out to customers with a unique marketing idea that will get them excited to your products and services over the busy weekend. 

 

May 07, 2015

Infographic: Where Do People Use Smartphones?

 

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May 04, 2015

How to Destroy Your Credibility with a Text Marketing Campaign

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Text messaging continues to gain popularity and credibility as one of the most effective mobile marketing strategies in existence. If you’ve implemented a texting campaign but aren’t seeing the results you want, you could be guilty of utilizing the wrong tactics. Such errors often spell doom in regards to credibility, so rather than continuing to chip away at your reputation without knowing it, check out the following detrimental tactics: 

 

Expired Offers

Sending expired offers, or those that otherwise aren’t redeemable for one reason or another will 1) annoy the heck out of customers and 2) make you look terribly unprofessional. If you own multiple brick and mortar locations but the offer is only good at one of them, make this abundantly clear. You don’t want enthusiastic customers to enter your store and find they can’t redeem their coupon--it’s highly unlikely they’ll patronize your business again. 

 

Going Back on ‘Frequency’ Promises

Do not, repeat do not, go back on how often you promised to send messages. Even one text too many is more than unprofessional--it’s illegal. You’ll destroy your credibility, break customer trust, and find yourself dealing with expensive legal issues. 

 

Misspelled Word Promotion 

Just one misspelling makes you look, well, not great. Review and re-review texts before sending them to everyone on your opt-in list and avoid kissing credibility buh-bye. Pick words that are neither too complicated nor too generic and you’ll be just fine. 

 

Lack of Education 

Before starting a text marketing campaign, it’s a darn good idea to educate yourself about everything related to such campaigns. The more you know, the less likely it is you’ll make an error, illegal or not. Review educational resources, talk to knowledgeable business associates, and otherwise make certain you know exactly what you’re doing before launching a campaign. 

 

Generic Announcements 

Are you only using text message marketing for generic announcements? This is a big clue as to why your text marketing campaign isn’t working. Consumers sign up for your list expecting special offers, discounts, coupons, etc. Generic or “good morning” texts are not what they want, and are a quick way to ensure opt-outs. 

 

Best Practice Refusal 

A standard set of text message marketing guidelines exist, and refusing to adhere to them not only puts your business at risk, it puts every customer in your database at risk. 

Keep these errors in mind before creating any text marketing campaign. 

 

May 02, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, commemorates the Mexican defeat of French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrated among Mexican communities in Mexico and the United States, it has become a drinking holiday. Cinco de Mayo also offers businesses the chance to attract new customers while having a fabulous time with current ones. If devising a mobile marketing scheme in time for this holiday, check out a few tips to help you out: 

 

Fun With Hashtags

Why not create a hashtag campaign? Make one about a week or a few days before Cinco de Mayo encouraging consumers to take selfies with your merchandise, such as a Cinco de Mayo cup bearing your brand name. Feel free to create a competition out of it--think creative selfies featuring the cup and the appropropriate hashtag. Give out “awards” on Cinco de Mayo, such as sending coupons or discount information for free food, drinks, products, or services. Don’t feel limited to selfies--the hashtag campaign can include anything you want so long as it’s appropriate. 

 

Party, Party, Party 

Make loyal customers feel special by throwing an exclusive Cinco de Mayo shindig. Text a special VIP code to customers who have been with your brand for years, regularly purchase certain products or services, etc. The code could function as an invite to a private party of sorts--one that includes free food and beverages, deep discounts on certain items, free trials of services, and whatver else you want to feature. A fantastic way of thanking customers for their loyalty, it’s also a way to spread the word about your brand. After all, don’t happy customers enjoy talking about favorite products and special related benefits?

 

Sales Alerts

Throwing a huge Cinco de Mayo sale? Let customers know via text. You can also send customers exclusive sales codes that guarantee discounts on the holiday. Consumers never tire of exclusive coupons and promotions, and are that much more likely to patronize your business if they know they can get something for cheap if not free. 

 

Powerful Call to Action 

Don’t let your call-to-action ruin your Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing campaign. Opt for engaging, if somewhat personal, options such as “Start Your Adventure Here” and “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Us By [Doing X and Y].” Whatever you decide, keep it concise and creative, and never, ever use “Click Here” and similar statements. 

These are just some of the many ways to work Cinco de Mayo into your upcoming mobile marketing campaign...

May 01, 2015

Consumers Actually Love Pro-Active Marketing, if it’s Done Right

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Consumer expectation has never been higher. Cross-channel interactions have enabled the public to engage directly with businesses, and if they don’t like what they see, they will look elsewhere very quickly. 

Such a wide array of choices has changed consumer attitudes to the way information is received. With targeted digital marketing and mobile marketing tactics, companies can take a pro-active approach to advertising - and people are actually happy about it. 

According to a 2013 survey from Harris Interactive, 87% of American adults want to be contacted about the products or services offered by an organization. The same percentage of respondents to a Frost & Sullivan report said they had a positive image of companies who made follow-up calls after initial contact. 

What does this mean for companies who, traditionally, have avoided pro-active marketing strategies? It would be jarring and counterproductive if they suddenly began calling all their customers in an attempt to be ‘pro-active.’ Businesses must transition gradually, adopting a blended approach, and training staff who are used to providing reactive service. 

Once that element of pro-active marketing has been introduced, the benefits to the customer follow closely behind. Technologies like cloud call center are allowing businesses accustomed to reactive marketing to adapt to pro-active marketing methods. Outbound dialers, automated voice messages and SMS messaging allow businesses to reach out to consumers in a no-pressure, respond-at-leisure manner.

As powerful as these tools are, they need to be wielded in the right way to ensure pro-active marketing does it’s thing. A major issue uncovered by the Harris Interactive research is the delays and pauses inherent to most outbound dialing solutions. Half the respondents said their reaction when answering an unfamiliar number to a delay is to just hang up. If the pause could be eliminated, 55% said they would be more receptive to the information they’re given. 

Voice broadcasting technology is now being used across a wide spectrum of industries. An unfamiliar caller is no longer necessarily taken to be an irritant. Banks, for example, use automated messages to alert customers to potentially fraudulent activity on their account. The ‘opt-in’ culture of modern mobile marketing has done away with indiscriminate auto dialers working through lists of numbers obtained without the recipient’s consent. This has naturally made consumers more receptive to the idea of being contacted by businesses.

As long as your message is offering something of value to the customer, and they have at some stage consented to be contacted, pro-active marketing is an effective way to grow your businesses. With 62% of people taking action after a positive incoming call, pro-active outreach as part of your overall strategy is well worth the investment.

 

April 22, 2015

This App Lets You Send a Text 25 Years into the Future... Sort Of

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In an age of instant communication and 24-hour rolling news, the notion of posterity may seem rather quaint. The emphasis is on the now, with scant consideration for what might happen a few weeks - let alone a few years - from now.  

One new app aims to put long-term thinking back in the spotlight, by providing users with a platform to delay the release of their text messages for up to 25 years. Launched last month, Incubate Messenger is the innovation of Atlanta-based entrepreneur Michael McCluney.  

Incubate’s uses aren’t immediately obvious but, according to McCluney, it doesn’t take long for people to ‘think of reasons they need to strategically time [a] message’ when you give them the functionality. Those reasons range from forgetful spouses priming an anniversary text message months ahead of the date, to soldiers on tour sending a time-delayed SMS to their kids when they know they’ll be unable to reach a phone on duty. In addition to SMS messaging, movies, photos and audio messages are also catered for by the app.

McCluney’s lightbulb moment came when an exhausted friend - and father of triplets - told him of the nightly struggles tending to three 3-month-old babies. The developer suggested his friend make audio recordings to capture the chaos of a trio of screaming infants in the middle of the night. Wouldn’t it be great if Dad could somehow share these moments with his kids when they were old enough to laugh at their tiny selves?  

That exchange inspired one of Incubate’s unique features: Nursery. The feature allows parents to send time-delayed messages to their kids from the moment they are born. Parents simply create an account, which their child can access when they get their first mobile device. Anyone with an account can exchange messages and see how many messages await them in the future but - and here’s the clever bit - they can’t access the message or see the identity of the sender until the date set by the sender. Having a mystery text message that you can’t read for 25 years is the ultimate in delayed gratification, and a masterstroke of an emotional hook.

Asynchronous communication is not entirely new. Boomerang and Gmail both have options for time-delayed messages, as do Vine and Snapchat. But Incubate aims to promote the sharing of information with a little more gravitas than photographs of desserts. It’s about creating a time capsule capable of creating a bond through space and time. Until now, a dewy-eyed father packing his kid off to college can do his best to reminisce about his youth - and probably get rolled eyes and groans in return. With Incubate, it’s possible to capture and store precious memories as they happen, and share them in the future when they’ve taken on new significance.

 

April 21, 2015

90% of Mobile Marketing Revenue Comes from SMS

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It is increasingly apparent that the SMS segment of the global mobile advertising market is very dominant due to the rapid surge in smartphone and tablet use around the world. Some 90 percent of adults in the U.S. use mobile phones, 60 percent of which are smartphones.  The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) believes that soon smartphone use in the U.S. will rise to 80 percent. 

“With consumers carrying mobile devices wherever they go, it has become crucial for marketers to target this large consumer base with mobile advertisements and promotions,” according to Transparency Market Research (TMR). “A mobile advertising platform firm provides services to marketers that allow them to send these advertisements to consumers using mobile devices. Each distinct mobile advertising platform contains opportunities for marketers to deliver their message to a broad range of consumers.” 

SMS is subsequently a “big deal,” as mobile advertising services are easily sent out via text message. Mobile advertising is also being used to place banner ads on smartphone apps, which appear either at the top of the app (mobile web banner) or at the bottom of the app (mobile web poster). One of the many advantages of SMS is it allows users to view and send short messages without worrying about privacy issues or seriously interrupting the receiver’s day. It’s therefore not shocking to note that SMS accounts for 90 percent of total mobile marketing revenue. Simply put, it's the most cost-effective of all mobile marketing tactics.

In addition to SMS, multimedia messaging services, aka MMS, are experiencing an increase in popularity. Other services gaining momentum include full-screen interstitials, mobile videos, and mobile games. 

Transparency Market Research believes the next few years will see advertisers in the global mobile ad marketing space focus increasingly on performance. An increase in ROI spending will likely occur, as will the quantifiable results that follow. Preference for location-based advertising is also growing, and will only get bigger and better in the future. Such advertising makes it possible for advertisers to target specific portions of their target demographic, therefore dramatically enhancing mobile ad effectiveness.  

Unlike traditional phone calls, “spammy” emails, and the days of going door to door, SMS is a safe and effective means of catering to target audiences. Most read text messages as soon as they come through compared to the hours that pass before reading an email or the disgruntled consumers on the other end of a marketing phone call. In addition to its effectiveness, SMS messaging is a low-cost marketing option. No wonder it makes up 90 percent of mobile marketing revenue….

 

April 20, 2015

Here's Why Your Web Development Should Start with Mobile

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Responsible design goes way beyond pixel measurements and assorted limitations, as it’s about deciphering the behaviors and preferences of a target audience, and meeting their needs, whether through smartphones, tablets, or websites.  

Consumer habits and expectations change depending on the device they’re using, meaning content and information must be displayed in the right way. The best option for learning about a target demographic and testing their “commitment to proper responsive build” is starting with a “mobile-first” approach. And while mobile may be the smallest of frequently-used platforms, it is still the favorite. Let’s take a deeper look at starting web development with mobile: 

 

Content 

When developing a brand, quality content is key. However, working through large blocks of copy and trying to find the important points gets tough, making it essential to ask the following question: What is the point I’m trying to make? Once the key theme is identified, it’s time to cut out “filler” content so the resulting post easily fits on a mobile device screen. This not only looks much better, but also makes it more readable for consumers. 

The other benefit to resizing content for mobile screens is once you’ve made the post fit, sizing it for tablets and the like is quite simple. 

 

Form and Function

Yes, you’re working with a smaller screen when crafting content for mobile, but that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be anything short of engaging. Think form followed by function, and go for attention-grabbing headers and titles, visually-stunning telegraphic iconography, concise messaging, and quick yet memorable, meaningful takeaways. Create phone, tablet, and desktop “experiences” that takes user mindset into account—again, begin with mobile and go from there.

 

A Prime Example

A common request marketing agencies receive from clients is creating a product gallery. In terms of mobile, the gallery must be easy to swipe through so one product per swipe is featured with minimal copy. This results in a more intimate browsing experience. Image pairings are possible for tablets and desktops, or showcasing the entire product page. 

 

Wrap-Up 

Don’t think of mobile as far better than the other options, as each offers its own benefits. Rather, view them as complimentary. On mobile, for example, it’s easy to focus on a given element, while desktops make it possible to display an entire product line and emphasize that the brand meets the needs of a whole range of customers. It’s also possible to group products “visually, physically, or factually” in light of varying market approaches. 

The ability to solve the same issue on different devices is one that cannot be discussed enough, as it makes the ability to change content according to platform easier in the future. It also helps significantly in terms of prioritizing per device, and creating responsive designs. 

 

April 13, 2015

Can Text Messaging Encourage Students to Apply for College?

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One thing’s for darn sure: young people love, love, love to text. Texting replaced phone calls as the main way to communicate on mobile devices some time ago, with a 2012 Pew survey finding the average teen sending 60 messages per day. And while encouraging teenagers to text is like encouraging them to eat ice cream, convincing them to apply to college is much more challenging. 

University of Pittsburgh researcher Lindsay Page has researched the college application process extensively, and came up with the “summer melt” theory, or the theory that many students, especially those in the low-income bracket, refrain from enrolling in college due to financial and logistical challenges that occur following high school graduation. Page and colleague Benjamin Castleman, a professor at the University of Virginia, tested several interventions designed to make the process easier. 

“We started out very low-tech, having counselors or college advisors basically receive a caseload of students,” Page said. “And it was the responsibility of the counselor or advisor to use all of the modes of communication at their disposal to reach out to the students. So it would be calling and emailing.”

Neither of these methods did much, so Page and Castleman decided to reach teens through their mobile devices and via one of the activities they enjoy most--texting.  

“It’s a deceptively simple idea,” Page noted.  

Page and Castleman devised an experiment in the summer of 2012, starting with groups of recent high school graduates in Texas and Massachusetts. Some students received 10 reminders over a set period suggesting they complete paperwork, fill out housing forms, and take placement tests. Other students did not receive texts.  

The overall results of the experiment, which will be published later this year in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, showed Page and Castleman that their “deceptively simple” solution could work very well in the real world.

“This is definitely something that is very promising,” Page said. 

Delaware was the first state to utilize the texting program. Each of its 8,726 high school seniors were eligible to receive text messages, which started in January as opposed to the summer. More than 4,000 students have enrolled as a result, as have 363 of their parents. 

The state’s computer program sends out 400 texts over two-hour period about three times each month. Texts are streamlined to the phase of the students’ application process, for example those who have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form would receive different notifications that those who have not. And once schools are chosen, many students receive text messages concerning their future plans. 

“Even after students apply to college there are many time-sensitive tasks they need to keep up with,” Page said. “Really the goal is to say hey, don’t forget you need to do this thing. Do you have questions about doing this?”

Will more states implement this system? It seems quite likely. 

 

5 Mobile Marketing Tactics You Should Avoid

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When something becomes commonplace, the issue of predictability follows. This is true of mobile marketing, so rather than falling victim to increasingly-stale practices, check out a five tactics you need to avoid like an infectious disease: 

 

A ‘Narrow’ Approach

Thinking of mobile marketing solely in terms of apps and the mobile web is a big no-no. Earning a spot on the app home screen is something that takes time and a heck of a lot of strategy, as consumers are all about context-aware experiences rather than basic mobile websites or subsequent advertisements. “Mobile wallet” is a great example of being context-aware, as the mobile wallet that is Apple Passbook allows users to store loyalty cards, assorted offers, and more. Saving something to a mobile wallet is less stressful than waiting for an app to download, and by assisting the consumer in some way, said consumer is more likely to engage. 

The new Messenger for Business is another fine example, as it allows brands to communicate with consumers through private chat threads. 

 

Singular Profiles

Rather than creating channel-specific databases featuring customer insights, brands need to work on single profiles of customers that utilize data from all channels. This creates an “omnichannel experience” that seamlessly moves between various touchpoints. 

 

Robots, Not Humans 

Relying on people instead of robots or automated systems for in-store support and interactive chat has become an archaic practice. Human employees get distracted, or feel ill and therefore not up to proverbial snuff. Brands must therefore focus on centralizing the rules of engagement in the cloud for customer support. For example, Lowe’s recently replaced people with robots in their stores to assist in shopper needs, such as finding products, with great success. 

 

Implicit and Explicit Intent

While marketers are contextualizing user experiences by location, they’re completely missing user implicit and explicit intent. For example, just because a man is walking through a makeup boutique doesn’t mean he should be sent a coupon for $5 off select mascaras. Understanding user intent in any given moment is imperative, as it helps brands accomplish their goals, i.e. providing the correct experience, function, or content. 

 

Interruptions

Picking and choosing the right time to “strike” is another necessary component of mobile marketing. Just because people enjoy receiving texts from friends doesn’t mean they’ll find a constantly-chirping phone fun to deal with. Showing restraint is therefore essential, and brands must resist the urge to inundate customers with offers and deals, no matter how spectacular. What they must do is find the right times to “strike,” and enjoy the rewards that follow.