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January 20, 2017

The Case for SMS Marketing Campaigns

Although it might seem as though SMS marketing is a relatively new marketing channel, it has actually existed since the early 2000s. From its onset, many have seen the potential of the medium, yet just as many remain wary of it.


SMS marketing is an effective way to bring in customers.

In the past few decades, a lot has changed in marketing, including the changing emphasis on mobile marketing. What was once used by a few brave leaders is now becoming commonplace. However, there remains some who are still unsure whether it is something worth adopting or simply a passing fad. Some myths remain so entrenched that it is difficult to know the reality surrounding this highly-effective medium. By reviewing a few of these misconceptions, you will discover why so many have adopted it.

A Short History Lesson

Back in the early 2000s, Adage wrote an article about the promise of using SMS for marketing purposes. During this time period, texting was just starting to become widely popular, especially in Asian and European markets. Between 2001 and 2002, there was a surge of over 150 billion more texts sent per year, and in 2003, the first few commercial SMS services started to emerge.

The promise of this new marketing channel was obvious. It was seen as a way to be personal and directly communicate with individuals. Some major brands, including Nike and Coke, became early adopters. However, this marketing forum also saw a huge obstacle due to many carriers, and users, viewing it as spam or a passing fad. It ultimately took a back seat to some of the other marketing channels, such as email and social media.

Many of the benefits -- and concerns -- surrounding text message marketing still stand 15 years after the publication of this article. Despite the Adage writer seeing the benefits of this medium so many years ago, companies still hesitate to adopt it today. If this is you, there is no reason to continue to wait to see whether or not people will adopt SMS marketing. It is a highly relevant marketing channel with many people wanting to communicate with businesses through it. Not convinced? The following should help.




Percent of messages that are spam 1 percent
Conversion rate 32 percent
Open rate 98 percent
Time to read Under three minutes
Consumers who wish to communicate via text with businesses 70 percent
Number of consumers who wish to have SMS customer support 52 percent
Engagement rate 8x that of email


Myth 1: People Interact with Companies on Computers

With the growing importance of the internet, it is essential to have a web presence, including email and websites. In today's market, taking this presence into the mobile space is becoming more important than ever. More people interact with businesses or go online on their mobile devices than a computer, with mobile internet usage making up 70 percent of usage. The numbers are set to only increase, with the number of people preferring to access the internet via a mobile device rather than a computer expected to jump by 28 percent. This makes mobile marketing a priority for businesses, especially since people are looking for a mobile-first solution to their shopping needs.

Another reason SMS marketing has such power: people carry their phones with them everywhere. A significant portion of people who own a cell phone never have it out of reach, and they will check it multiple times per day. When they receive a text message, they open it within just a few minutes. Because more and more people also shop on their phones, they can easily take action on a text coupon by clicking to link and complete a sale.

Myth 2: Customers Do Not Want to Receive Texts from Businesses

A very prominent myth about SMS marketing that still reigns supreme is that customers do not wish to have businesses contact them via texting. However, that is not the case. Around 75 percent of consumers want businesses to communicate with them via text rather than targeted internet ads. In addition to receiving messages from the business, many consumers wish to interact with businesses via text, especially for customer service.


Customers do want to hear from you through text message.

There are many benefits to choosing to interact with consumers via texting. For one, it builds a more intimate relationship with consumers. You are texting with them in the same channel that they typically reserve just for their family and friends. Additionally, spam takes up just 1 percent of messages, so consumers will view each individual message as important.

Additionally, texting is a permission-based medium, which means that you are only communicating with those who wish to hear from your business. This makes the message have that much greater of an impact. When you market to people who already have a positive experience with your company, then they are more likely to take the intended action. This leads to SMS marketing having some of the highest numbers for conversion rates and engagement rate.

Texting has a strong engagement with customers, which helps you to build your business. Many people now shop based on their experiences and engagement with a company, rather than based on price and other factors. By using texting to engage with customers, you will be able to retain them and increase your number of loyal customers.

Myth 3: Only Young People Text

Millennials and Gen Z'ers are famous for their love of texting and mobile devices. This makes SMS marketing an ideal channel for marketing to younger consumers. In fact, 60 percent of Millennials prefer two-way texting, and more than 83 percent open their texts within 90 seconds. However, this is generally an underused medium, as only 60 percent of Millennials receive five or less marketing messages from businesses, and a full 20 percent do not receive any.


It is not just young people who text.

However, Millennials and Gen Z'ers are not the only ones who text, and thereby not the only ones who can benefit from this marketing tools. Baby Boomers and older also text in high numbers. Out of smartphone owners:

  • 100 percent of 18-29 year olds text
  • 98 percent of those aged 30-49 text
  • 92 percent of those over the age of 50 tex

. As you can see, implementing a text program will not eliminate your ability to target older demographics.

Myth 4: Other Marketing Channels Are Better

Many companies simply focus on other marketing channels, feeling that adding SMS marketing does not make sense. They feel that digital marketing, SEO, blogging, social media, and traditional advertisements go a lot further than texting. However, time and time again, SMS marketing has shown it reigns supreme:

These are just a few of the key statistics showing the power that texting has over other marketing channels. Additionally, more than two-thirds of subscribers to mobile marketing have made a purchase due to a relevant message.

SMS marketing is a cost-effective marketing solution that packs a punch. That does not mean it should be your only marketing channel. It works best as an integrated part of a comprehensive marketing campaign that utilizes multi-channels, including:

  • Social media
  • Websites
  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Print ads
  • In-store promotions
  • Email newsletters

Every marketing channel has its strengths and weaknesses. However, you would be remiss to reject SMS marketing just because you feel that some of the other marketing channels are better.

Myth 5: It's a Passing Fad

Texting has not yet reached its peak as a marketing channel. It is expected to continue to grow and become an even more vital component of marketing. In the coming years, more automation and chat bots with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence will emerge and integrate with SMS marketing and messaging chat apps. The marketing channel is expected to continue to grow, with no end in sight. Therefore, there is no reason to simply not adopt it, thinking that it is simply a trend that will quickly go away.


Get your team together and start working on a plan for your program.

Now is the perfect time to add texting to your marketing strategy if you have been hesitant. It is continually increasing in its efficacy, and customers are primed to opt-in. Despite its many advantages, few businesses have adopted it, meaning that customers are not overcome by messages. This helps you to cut through the mess and compete, even with the larger corporations that might have more money for marketing and advertising.

SMS marketing has been around for 15 years, and it will be around for decades to come. Rather than believing the myths that continue to circulate around the medium, take advantage of the lucrative benefits of the medium and add it to your marketing campaign today. Get started by trying ClubTexting for free.

January 09, 2017

How to Know Your Target Audience for Your Texting Campaign

For a dynamite SMS marketing campaign, it is essential to create something that is specific, targeted and personalized. Overly generic messages do not have the same impact as messages that resonate with the recipient. If you really want to see your conversion numbers soar, then it is important to create a message that means something to the customer <>. To do this, you first need to determine who the audience is. Whether you have one or several target audiences, a similar process provides invaluable information about your subscribers.

For many marketers, it is beneficial to create a persona that represents their ideal target audience. This persona has the basic habits, behavior patterns, personality, characteristics, demographics and other features of the ideal customer. It is typically based on a conglomeration of actual customers. To create this persona, there is certain information you need to know. Even if you do not actually create a symbolic customer, the same information informs your marketing efforts.

Research


Take some time to research your customers to determine the best target audience.

The first place to begin discovering your target audience is through research. First and foremost, you will conduct market research. If you do not have the resources to perform your own market research, it is possible to purchase data from market research firms and larger businesses.

Additionally, take the time to review the information you have about your own customers. This should include data across all the channels with which you interact with customers, including:

  • Shopping metrics
  • Buying habits
  • Demographics
  • Website visitors
  • Social media followers
  • Email newsletter followers
  • SMS marketing subscribers
  • Members

Each of these areas has the potential to provide you with invaluable information about your own customers. From this data, you have the foundation on which to choose your few key personas to create. Once you have this, you can continue to imbue them with some of the information that you see continually appear when you look through your data.

You might start by looking at key pieces of data and their relationship to other data. For example, you can start with females between 20 and 35. Then, you can see what information you have for that demographic to then add in other characteristics and buying habits. The market research you conduct or purchase will further add certain elements to the personas.

It is important to remember that the target audience for one marketing channel might be different than that of the other. Therefore, your texting campaign might require some additional research to what you already have. However, you also might find that you have the same personas on several channels because customers within that demographic and behavior pattern interact with you across multiple channels.

Conduct Surveys

Although research is a key place to determine your target audience, it is also important to actually talk with your customers. The way to do this is to ask them to conduct surveys. Then, you have the chance to learn additional information about certain groups of customers and what they expect from your company and SMS marketing program.

You might find that certain customers are not as open to texts as others, which means that you would be wasting some of your resources in trying to get them to sign up. Instead, you can focus on the groups that are most open to texting, making it easier to receive all the lucrative benefits of the medium. Direct communication provides invaluable insight into not only who your target audience is, but also what they want from you.

Look to the Competition

Another place to glean information on your potential target audience for your texting campaign is to look to see who your competition is targeting. This information can be used in two ways. For one, you might decide to target the same audience as your competition, or you might choose to focus on another area that might be left alone by the competition. You can fulfill a gap in the market, something that many smaller companies do in order to compete with larger firms.

No matter how you use the data you receive, looking at who your competition targets with their texting campaigns will help you narrow down your own target audience. Of course, it is possible that your major competition is not using SMS marketing, but you can still find some helpful information. You see what audiences they target with their other marketing efforts, and this provides insight into what demographics they see as the main pool of customers.

Understand the Value of Your Goods and Services to Your Customers


Consider what your customers expect and want from your company.

The final key piece for understanding your target audience is to look at the value of your goods and services to customers, or your unique sales proposition. See not only who buys your products, but also how they buy and why. What need do your goods and services fulfill for customers? This gives you a richer idea of how to market to your target audience because you know how to best speak to them and reach them in this place of need.

You might find that different audiences see different value in your goods or services. If this is the case, then it is important to alter your marketing message to these different audiences. Even a short-form content like SMS marketing needs to create messages that resonate with the audience and how they interact with your company <>.

By taking the time to fully understand your target audience, you will be able to create a stronger texting campaign that helps you reach your goals. It is also easier to create content that converts and provides you with the impressive rates for which texting is famous.

Contact us to learn more about discovering your target audience.

January 06, 2017

Tips For Developing Group Texting Content that Converts

When you develop your group texting program, it is important to know the objective of each and every message you send out. For many, this goal is to convert subscribers into customers <>. To reach this goal, it is important to create content that establishes an opportunity for conversion. There are some key elements you need to have in your message to increase your conversion rate and ensure that customers know what you want them to do, and increase the chance they actually will do so.

Strong Call to Action


Include a strong CTA to improve your conversion rates.

The foundation of your group texting message is the call to action. Even though you might only have 160 words with which to work in this short-form content, it still needs a strong call to action. Examples of calls to action include:

  • Buy now
  • Click here
  • Redeem in store
  • Text to win
  • Respond with a keyword
  • Share with a friend

There are many other calls to action you might decide to use when you develop dynamite content for your SMS marketing program. The important part is that you use a CTA that drives action from your customers. If your goal is to increase conversions, then you need to determine in what way you want that to be.

When speaking about marketing analytics, the conversion rate might mean different things, depending on your business and your goals. In simplest terms, it is the percentage of your subscribers or customers who take the action desired on the message. This might be buying something, but it could also be joining a newsletter, redeeming a coupon, sharing the text or any of the other actions already mentioned. Your call to action should match what type of action, or conversion, you want from your customers.

Motivating Language

The language you choose for your content plays a significant role in its efficacy <>. There are some key factors involved in the type of language you choose for your call to action and text as a whole:

  • Succinct
  • Strong
  • No helping verbs
  • Active not passive voice
  • Motivating language
  • Urgency
  • Emotion

Together, these elements create a strong message that incentivizes your subscribers to take action. Because you are working with just 160 characters, you want to be as concise as possible.

Avoid using helping verbs and focus on active rather than passive voice. The words you choose should be strong and motivating. Add in a sense of urgency for a greater impact. Touch on their emotion as well, especially a fear of missing out or peer pressure. Some examples of strong texts that include motivating language and a solid CTA follow:

Act now to get your free gift with qualifying purchase. Bring this coupon to the store before [date].
Don't miss out on the opportunity to save 30 percent today. Click here to redeem this coupon online or bring it to the store. Expires [date].

Engagement

Another element of developing content that converts is engagement. More and more customers are choosing which company to patron based on their experiences. Therefore, you want to create messages that engage with customers. The language you choose plays a role in this as well. Engaging content also increases the chance that customers will share the text with friends and/or tell their social and professional networks to sign up as well.

One way to create engaging content is to make it a two-way content. This might be a challenge or competition, which connects with people's competitive spirit. Another way to engage with customers is to allow them to contact you with questions and other customer service issues through text. Ultimately, sending positive messages that convey a sense of value to the customer will increase the level of engagement. This, in turn, improves the number of customers who take action, thereby increasing your conversion rate.

Relevancy


For greater efficacy, create content that is relevant to your audience.

The final element of creating group texting convert that converts is to ensure that it is relevant. Ultimately, you must have an SMS marketing campaign that provides value to your customers. To do this, the content must be relevant to the users. For example, you cannot expect single males under the age of 25 to be excited about a coupon for baby clothing. This type of coupon needs to be sent to the right demographic, such as someone who is married and has a child.

To create relevant content, it is important to know who your target audience actually is. Most likely, you will have several target audiences and run several campaigns, each of which targets one of these groups. This helps you to create more personal content, which in turn is more relevant.

Ultimately, if your content is not relevant to your subscribers, then they will opt out in droves. They also will not redeem the coupons or otherwise take the action you want them to take. This hurts your conversion rates, and you do not benefit from all the advantages of the medium.

By paying attention to your language and call to action, you can more easily create content that engages with customers, remains relevant and motivates them to act in the way that you want. With these four elements working together as the foundation of your program, you will develop a strong campaign with high conversion numbers.

Contact us to learn more about how to develop great content.

January 05, 2017

SMART Goals and Text Message Marketing: How They Go Hand in Hand

Before you start your text message marketing campaigns, it is essential to have a goal in mind toward which to build your strategy and determine where it fits into your overall marketing efforts. Although you might have a general objective or goal for your texting program at large, each new campaign needs to have its own goals. For example, as discussed previously <>, when you develop a holiday campaign for your club, it is important to start with a specific goal in mind.

Using the SMART goal philosophy helps you to create stronger, more effective goals that also complement your overall marketing strategy and your business goals at large.

Specific


Get your team together to discuss your goals and how to make them specific.

It is tempting to just say you want to increase sales or add new customers when setting a goal. However, this is a vague statement. You could technically increase sales by $1 and reach your goal, or you could double your sales and have reached the same goal. Instead, develop a very specific goal. It should be clearly defined and easy to understand by everyone connected to the project. This makes it easier to create a plan to reach the goal, as well as measure whether or not you were successful in your endeavor.

An example of a specific goal is to use in your text message marketing program is to increase profits by 10 percent in the next quarter.

Measurable

In order to determine whether you are on target to reach your goal, you need to be able to measure your progress. This might be through analytics, accounting or other measures. You should be able to monitor the program and compare it to your goal at any point to see whether you are on target or need to make changes to get where you want to go.

For your text message marketing program, you will use data from your analytics, such as open rate, conversion rate, and opt-in rate to measure your success. To make your goal measurable, include numbers that reflect these measurements. This might be to add 100 new users in the next month. You can measure that by reviewing your opt-in rate.

Actionable

The A in SMART goals stands for actionable. This means that you are positioned to take actions to fulfill the goals. To go from a vague goal to one that is actionable, focus on something concrete. Add milestones that help you take action to attain the goal.

For example, rather than saying you want to drive more business, define it in such a way that you can take action with your text message marketing program. The goal stated above, adding 100 subscribers, is also attainable and actionable. There are tasks you can do to achieve it.

Realistic

Many of the components of SMART goals bleed into one another. For example, in order for a goal to be actionable or attainable, it also needs to be realistic. You cannot reasonably go from 0 subscribers to 10,000 overnight. However, it is realistic to aim to gain 100 in a month. Perhaps you might also be able to add a few thousand over the first few months. Although you might get to hundreds of thousands of subscribers, it takes some time to build to that point. That is where creating smaller goals and milestones will help you to follow through and meet your goals.

Timely


How long will it take you to add 100 subscribers?

The last key component of this type of goal is timely, or you might also define it as tangible or trackable. This means that there is a reasonable period of time in which you will be able to achieve the goal. It also provides you with a deadline to keep you and your team motivated. You might have other, long-term goals that will take years to meet. However, you will have smaller SMART goals that will help you to achieve them.

When creating your text message marketing goals, whether for a specific campaign such as a holiday marketing strategy <> or your objective for adding the program to your marketing efforts, it is important to rely on SMART goals. This will help you to develop a better plan so that you will ultimately reach, and might even surpass, your goals.

Contact us to learn more about how to incorporate your SMART goals with your texting program.

January 03, 2017

Leveraging Your SMS Marketing to Draw Crowds to Your President's Day Party

Although President's Day is not at the top of the list for holidays in which to celebrate with a party, any holiday has the potential to turn into an event to draw crowds into your club. Most places will go big with a Valentine's Day party around the same time. By choosing President's Day, you will stand out and attract those who do not like to celebrate Valentine's Day but still want to party!

As discussed in a previous post <>, holiday marketing provides you with an opportunity to utilize some creative marketing endeavors to stand out from your competition. SMS marketing is a channel that helps you to advertise and promote your event so that your party will become the place to be on the President's Day weekend or any other holiday you wish to celebrate throughout the year. A few special types of messages will help you to promote the event and attract new and existing clients to your party so that you reach your attendance goals.

Offers and Deals


Attract more people to your party with the right offers and deals.

One of the best ways to attract new people to your club to get your event going is to send out exclusive offers and deals. There are several types of deals that work well for a nightclub. It is typical for nightclubs to price their alcoholic drinks with the idea that a significant portion of their profits comes from alcoholic drinks. That is why offers and deals that get people into the club work really well. You have people in the club, and then they will buy alcohol, helping your bottom line. This includes:

    • Free Entry (could be before a certain time or all night)

 

    • Percent off admission

 

  • Money off admission

You can also choose to provide deals on food and drinks, such as buy one get one free or a percentage off of the bill. A BOGO works well, especially if you do not give the free beverage until later. This will keep the beverage fresher so that it tastes better when the person drinks it, increasing the chance they will decide to order another one.

Contests

It is easy to run a text-to-win contest using your SMS marketing program. As an added bonus, you may increase the number of subscribers to whom you can promote future events at your club. Promote the contest on your typical marketing channels, including social media, billboards, flyers, posters around the club and anywhere else. Tell people to text in a keyword to a phone number to enter. For your President's Day party, run a contest that is presidential-themed.

Enhance your reach by making everyone a winner by providing a small prize, such as free admission or a free drink, to everyone who enters. This serves to not only increase excitement about the contest, but it also brings people into your club even if they do not win the grand prize. Just make sure that all prizes are exciting enough to entice people to take action.

VIP Access


Provide special access to your loyal subscribers to motivate them to come.

Your SMS marketing campaign also works well as a loyalty or VIP club. It is possible to group your list based on how often they attend your club, or everyone on the list can be a VIP. You can use this by sending out a message targeting your VIPs that offers them exclusive access during the party. This might be an early entry, ability to bypass the line or a special seating area. People who might have been on the fence about your party will be more likely to come if they feel special by being part of the VIP guests at your party. For an added impact, personalize the message by including the person's name.

There are many ways to use SMS marketing to complement your President's Day weekend party and draw a larger crowd. Just be sure to create a smart plan that helps you to get the most out of the channel <> so that it helps you to have an amazing event.

Ready to increase the attendance at your party? Try ClubTexting for free.

December 29, 2016

Expert Interview Series: Laurie McCabe of SMB Group on Technology for Small Businesses



In her role as cofounder and partner at SMB Group, Laurie McCabe has earned widespread recognition for her thought leadership, experience and insights in the SMB technology market.

Here she discusses the technology challenges facing small businesses today and the must-have tools to overcome them. Read on:

What is the mission behind SMB Group? How did you become passionate about helping small businesses?

Both myself and my business partner, Sanjeev Aggarwal, had been industry analyst focused on the small and medium business market for many years. We felt there was a gap in coverage - most IT analyst firms concentrate on technology as it relates to large companies. So we created SMB Group to focus exclusively on how SMBs use technology in their businesses.

What are some of the technology challenges facing small businesses today?

Our research shows that small business goals remain consistent over the years. How do I grow revenues, attract customers and operate more profitabily are always at the top of the list.

But these challenges loom larger today because digital, social and mobile technologies are changing how businesses and customers interact in a fundamental way. Technology shifts power to buyers.

For instance:

    • The internet makes it easy for buyers to do more research on their own before connecting with vendors.

 

    • Social media gives buyers access to ratings and reviews from thousands of other people that have tried a product or services. to .

 

    • Mobile devices put the internet it peoples' pockets for anytime, anywhere access to information.


So small businesses need to have a strategy to evolve and tools to help them meet these rising expectations.

From where you sit, what are some must-have tools for SMBs today?

Of course, every business needs to keep track of money going in and out of the business, so an accounting or bookkeeping solution is often the first type of business software that many small businesses buy.

Today, small businesses also need tools to attract, engage and transact with customers, which are usually called customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. There are lots of solutions out there for small businesses, but I recommend looking for a solution which integrates sales, marketing and service, and enables you to integrate social media interactions into these functions so you can easily bring the voice of the customer into every part of the customer life cycle.

What are the most useful tools for SMBs for mobile and social media marketing?

Most businesses need solutions that let them easily monitor, post and respond to what people are talking about across the different social networks that are relevant to their business, whether via your desktop or via a mobile device. But it doesn't stop there. A good digital marketing strategy connects your website, nurtures leads, includes online and mobile advertising and provides analytics so you can figure out what's working and what's not.

How should small businesses be incorporating mobile marketing into their marketing strategies?

First, they need to recognize that people are increasingly spending more time engaging and transacting on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. So now is the time for small businesses to create a mobile marketing strategy.

The good news is there are lots of choices out there in terms of how to do this. The bad news is that it can be very challenging to figure out which one is the best fit for your business. So you have to start with an internal assessment. I think having a mobile-friendly website is table stakes for all businesses. From there, think about what you're trying to accomplish For instance, a small local services business, like a salon or dental office, will want something that helps people in their local community find them, book appointments, share reviews, earn loyalty points, etc. within a local geographic area. Meanwhile, for an online commerce merchant selling products all over the world, mobile payments and in-app messaging may be the must-have capabilities.

What SMBs do you think have been especially innovative with their mobile marketing? What can we learn from them? What are the most exciting technology innovations for small businesses you're following right now?

For small businesses, it all boils down to making complex technology solutions easy to use. If they're not drop dead easy, most small businesses won't use them. In the mobile marketing area, vendors are making mobile marketing tools easier and easier to use, while at the same time incorporating more capabilities, such as push notifications, in-app messaging and many more, to help you market your business. Making solutions very easy to use is a key because it enables small businesses - who may be hesitant to get involved with mobile because they are afraid it will be too hard to do or too time-consuming.

Looking for an easy-to-use mobile marketing solution? Try ClubTexting for free.

December 21, 2016

Tips for a Seamless Integration of Your Texting Campaign

Text message marketing complements any type of marketing and promotion you already do. There are many areas with which texting works to build a stronger marketing campaign. Effectively integrating your marketing efforts helps increase your success for all campaigns, especially holiday campaigns <>. Although it is easy to incorporate your texting campaign with any of your marketing efforts, it really complements email, social media, blogging and print ads.

Email marketing


Ask your email subscribers to sign up for your texting campaign.

When you integrate SMS marketing with other channels, it goes both ways. For example, it is possible to use your email marketing campaigns to increase your subscribers for your texting campaign and vice versa. Send a text out to your subscribers and ask them to send a text with their email to join your newsletter. This has the potential to bring in more people to your newsletter, and you might also be able to sign them up to your text marketing program as well.

Conversely, ask anyone who signs up for your email newsletter to also sign up for your texting campaign. By capturing all the information at once, it is more likely people will do so. Additionally, you can also include promotion about your SMS marketing program in your email newsletters so that interested clients will sign up at a later date. Make it easy for them to do so; otherwise, you will end up losing them.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing provides a way to utilize people's personal networks to build your brand. You also have the ability to connect directly with your followers, creating a more intimate relationship with your clients and customers. A texting campaign helps to build that personal relationship even more. Most people do not view texts as marketing, since it is not as saturated with ads and spam as other forms.

Therefore, take advantage of the close relationship of both mediums to relate even further with your fans. Ask your social media followers to join your texting campaign and vice versa. Any time you run a campaign on one, cross promote on the other.

Blogging

Blogging helps you to continually bring in new clients to your website. This is because you can find ways to increase your organic traffic through optimizing it for SEO and providing information people want. Once people on your page, you have the ability to get them to sign up for ways to remain in contact with you, like your texting campaign. Similar to email marketing, have a way to capture information from them on your blog form, including their mobile number. Alternatively, have a call to action that includes a keyword and your number so they can easily opt in.

You can also promote your blog to your text messaging subscribers. Send out a brief description of the blog and a link. This will keep customers engaged with your brand, increasing the chance they will continue to choose you when it comes time to take advantage of your goods or services. Just be sure to remain within the 160 characters for the text message and make it easy for them to link to the blog.

Print ads


With SMS marketing, people can take action from wherever they see your ads.

Text message marketing is the perfect complement to print ads. It is a strong call to action that helps improve the efficacy of your ads. Simply add a keyword and your number to all of your print ads to give an easy way for customers to take action upon seeing your ad. Add in an incentive, like an offer or a deal, for greater efficacy. You can also use print ads to promote your texting campaign and get more subscribers.

For integration to really work, it is necessary for you to create unique content of value that is exclusive to the medium. For example, the deals you offer through email might be different than those through text. This increases the chance that people will sign up to follow you across the board. With a seamless integration, you can run a holiday campaign <> or any other campaign that has a higher reach, because you will talk to the customer anywhere they are, whether email, blogs, social media, print media or texting.

Contact us to learn more about integrating your marketing campaigns.

December 08, 2016

Expert Interview Series: Gil Shapira of TeleMessage About the Impact of Mass Text Messaging



Gil Shapira is the VP of Business Development at TeleMessage, a leading provider of business mobile messaging offering mass messaging and secure compliant mobile messaging solutions. Gil recently spoke with us about the growth and capabilities of mass text messaging and gave us a glimpse as to what the industry will look like in the future.

Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to co-found TeleMessage?

TeleMessage is an established company which has provided robust messaging services for the last 16 years. It all started when we were backpacking around the world. We were looking for low-cost ways to exchange messages between travelers and families back home, and the idea was to send messages to phones from a web portal.

What are some of the benefits of mass text messaging that aren't necessarily seen when relying solely on emails?

Nowadays, people are looking for a mobile-first solution, and I believe that the tremendous growth of text messaging speaks for itself. Mobile messaging is the fastest growing online trend and behavior (passing social networks). It passed three billion mobile messaging app users worldwide. If you take into account SMS messaging, you can actually reach seven billion mobile users worldwide - which is the single most ubiquitous communication channel in a fragmented chat apps world.

Mobile phones take up the most digital time and attention, and chat and messaging apps are amongst the most-used services on phones. Unlike email, text messages usually receive a response within 90 seconds. Moreover, in most chat apps, you know whether recipients have received and read the message.

Chat apps offer far more services and features than email. They are built for mobile devices because they are faster, instant, and more secure. Plus, they allow voice and text, group chat, file sharing, channels, stickers, media, and video messages. And they are clearly better-suited for a world that is concerned with security and privacy.

If someone were to say to you, "I don't need mass text messaging. I'll just communicate with my clients and customers through social media," how would you respond?

I would not rule out social media as a channel; but for the majority of companies as well as customers, mobile is clearly the preferred channel of communication. It's uncommon to find companies doing social engagement and not doing mobile engagement. Surprisingly, there are still a lot of companies that are not utilizing mobile texting at all. Some companies are still doing only voice or email, and they are missing out on big opportunities in both cost savings, proactive engagement, and improved efficiency and innovation.

In what situations are automated voice broadcasts more practical or effective than simple text messages or emails?

There are still many use cases where voice is a very important channel.

Let's take an example of emergency notifications with time-critical information. If you would send it only via email or text, people might not notice an email or hear a beep of an SMS arriving. But if the phone starts to ring and vibrate, they will surely notice it.

In our platform, we have the ability to track delivery confirmations or send chasing messages that will try to reach people across many channels, including IP push notifications to apps, SMS, MMS, voice calls, faxes, and emails.

Do you have any tips on how to craft a mass text message if time-sensitive responses are critical to the campaign?

Try to make it personal. Schedule the message to be sent at the best time to trigger a response. Don't send too many messages; people are already overloaded with messages and information.

Other things to consider:

    • Try to utilize templates and plan for two-way interaction.

 

    • If you can, try to automate the process by using APIs.

 

  • An email to SMS might be a good solution for some companies using Outlook as their main messaging tool.

When utilizing mass text messaging, what are some important metrics to keep an eye on?

This needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, since different companies and services have different goals and metrics.

For example, some are trying to decrease support calls into their call center and might measure how many hours they saved by sending proactive alerts. Others want the opposite and are trying to generate more responses and calls for ordering goods and services. What is truly important is to choose a messaging solution vendor that can provide tailored reports and statistics.

Tracking message delivery statistics is a must for everyone, since the quality of delivery is of great importance. Though companies are not aware of it, there are different routes and ways to send messages; and there are also regulations about when you can use long codes or short codes, as well as what information needs to be delivered to subscribers and the processes for opting in and out of a messaging service.

Tell us about the future of mass text messaging. Will another method of messaging render it obsolete, or will it remain a viable type of communication for the foreseeable future?

The future for messaging is very bright. It's the preferred communication channel for the younger generation, and social messaging still has a lot of room to grow.

On the enterprise front, since consumer chat apps are overtaking enterprise communication, we foresee companies embracing similar enterprise messaging apps for internal communication. Enterprise apps have far more requirements that encompass the administration of users, compliance and regulatory requirements, greater security and reliability demands, and IT integration needs.

Another concern for companies is the fact that their employees are chatting with customers over these consumer channels even though there is no record of this communication and interaction in the enterprise. Solutions which solve this need driven by compliance and regulation will clearly emerge, and we are already offering text archiving solutions.

On the messaging apps front, Asian messaging apps are far more advanced, and we can assume that the Western chat apps will follow many of the trends that are successful in China. This means far more power will shift towards companies like Facebook (which owns FB Messenger and WhatsApp), as well as far more e-commerce, brand engagement, and paid services done via chat services.

As for chat bots, they will clearly change the way we communicate. Our vision of the new hype is the following:

Today:

  • Smarter bots evolving; bots combined with human engagement
  • Messaging bots will overtake vertical apps; companies and appliances will utilize bots instead of apps
  • Far greater power for companies running these chat services
  • More bots with personality

In ~5 years:

  • Singularity point: natural language processing + AI + semantic search + image and voice recognition + location + connected IoT
  • A blur between messaging bots and intelligent agents - you won't know if you're talking to a human or a machine

In ~10 years:

  • Sensor maturity, advanced machine learning
  • AI systems make automatic recommendations
  • Bots will be the new APIs

To summarize - these are the main trends we see in messaging:
* Messaging chat apps becoming a major channel for customer interactions and communication
* Messaging chat apps becoming a major source for e-commerce transactions and payments
* Chat apps and messaging being used by brands for acquisition and retention phases
* Enterprises embracing chat apps as a main communication channel
* Chat bots with artificial intelligence and personality

Want to see if mass text messaging can help your organization? Contact us today!

December 06, 2016

How Mom and Pop Stores Can Use Group Texting for Success

As a mom and pop store, you constantly have to compete with the large chains that establish a footprint just down the road, as well as all the offers available online. It can be tough, but you provide things that these larger companies cannot, such as above-and-beyond personal service. It is essential to find additional ways to stand out from the competition that are not based solely on price so that customers choose you.

Group texting provides a way to engage with customers and market your business. It is a cost-effective marketing solution that is easy to implement, and it is highly versatile, making it easy to integrate with your existing marketing strategy.

Above-and-Beyond Customer Service


Customers come to you for your service. Provide even better service with texting.

As a mom and pop store, your customer service is one of your most marketable components. You treat your customers like family, and your service far outdoes that of the competition. Take your customer service one step further with texting. It provides a great medium for transactional messages. Plus, it is a two-way communication tool through which customers can contact you about any customer service issues. Many customers prefer dealing with customer service through text. Providing that platform helps you stand out from the crowd and it adds to your above-and-beyond customer service.

Reminders

Another way to use text messaging for your mom and pop store is to send out reminders. This might be appointment reminders if you have a service-based business. It also might be reminders about any events that take place at your store, such as a customer appreciation party or a special sale. Texts are read within a few minutes of receipt, so they make a strong reminder. You can send a message the day before or the day of the event to ensure that people do not forget. This increases your attendance, which in turn boosts your sales.

Personalized Messages

Personalized messages have significant power and texting provides a way to send them. You can easily group your subscribers into categories according to preferences, shopping behavior, and demographics. Then, send targeted messages based on these parameters so that the messages your customers receive are personally relevant to them. You can even create a loyalty club through which you send specialized coupons, rewards, and other offers only to those in that group. Other examples of personalized messages might be birthday rewards or notifications of new merchandise.

Exclusive Coupons and Deals


Send your customers exclusive deals to get them to visit your store.

Coupons and deals are strong motivators for shopping. Your texting subscribers are a great audience for your store. They are already interested enough in your company to receive texts from you. With the right coupon or offer, they will be ready to take the next step and visit you. This can be said for any medium through which you send offers, but texting makes for the ideal one.

Around 98 percent of texts are opened, often within the first minute. This means you can feel confident that your offers are actually seen. Plus, they are easy to redeem, since all customer need to do is show the text. Most people already have their phone on them, so they do not have to worry about forgetting to bring the coupon. That is why mobile coupons have a much higher redemption rate than others.

No matter how you choose to use your SMS marketing campaign, it is important to always provide messages of value to your customers. This ensures that they continue to want to receive your group texting messages, and that they continue to view your company in a positive light.

Ready to see how texting can help your store? Try ClubTexting for free.

December 02, 2016

Using SMS Marketing at Every Point in the Sales Funnel

You probably focus a lot on the sales funnel. You look to find ways to bring more people through it, as well as determine where there might be some hiccups. SMS marketing provides an opportunity to hit potential customers at every aspect of the funnel. It is highly adaptable, so it easily fits into any or all of the efforts you put into creating leads and converting them into customers down the line.

Bringing in Leads


Add texting to all the marketing ideas your team develops.

SMS marketing might be a permission-based marketing tool, but that does not mean it cannot provide assistance at the top of the funnel. It is a highly versatile medium and one of its great potentials is as a powerful call to action. Including a keyword and number to text on existing marketing collateral increases the number of people who act on it. This can help you to reach more people as potential leads to start the journey into your sales funnel.

Nurturing Potential Customers

Once you have people in the funnel, it is time to start nurturing the leads into customers through building a relationship. Having people opt-in to your SMS marketing program provides a way to engage them and keep in touch with them. It is important that you do this wisely.

People are open to receiving texts from brands, but they still expect there to be value in the texts. Take the time to build content of value that speaks to your target audience. This might be in the form of reminders, information about your company, deals, and coupons or helpful information. Be careful not to oversaturate your leads with messages. The best frequency is typically between two and four texts per month, although you might find that your audience prefers more or less frequent texts.

Converting into Action

Once you have built a relationship with your potential customers, it is time to convert them into action. Text marketing programs provide several ways to do this. You can send out offers and deals that inspire customers to act. You can remind customers about exciting events, run contests to increase engagement, or provide other programs that get people interested in your goods or services. Take advantage of the immediacy of texts by sending out timely deals, especially those that quickly expire. This will motivate people to act.

Customer Retention


Texting leads to happy customers that return again and again.

SMS marketing also helps you to retain customers. Not only do you have a way to remain engaged with customers that is more effective than email, since texting has eight times the engagement rate of email, but it also serves as a solid customer service tool. Customer service has become an increasingly important component of sales because people more and more use their emotions to determine where to shop rather than prices. Many customers prefer to deal with customer service issues through text. By offering this, you will create a positive relationship that will translate into customer retention and loyalty.

It is easy to fit SMS marketing into each component of the sales funnel. It provides a versatile and cost-effective way to draw in potential leads, engage with them, convert them, and retain them so that you increase the number of customers and grow your business.

Ready to add this to your sales funnel? Try ClubTexting for free.