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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.

November 30, 2016

The Ultimate Guide for Effective Texting Campaigns for Any Holiday

During the winter holiday season, many companies launch strong campaigns to take advantage of the large number of people searching for holiday gifts.

It is also customary to use the excitement about any holiday to advertise a sale or promote goods and services. Think about how Columbus Day has become less about celebrating the discovery of the Americas and more about mattress sales.


Run a texting campaign to take advantage of the holiday shoppers.

Running a texting campaign during this time provides a way to support your overall marketing efforts. The more than $650 billion spent during the winter holidays, including Christmas, makes it the perfect model on which to create holiday promotions throughout the year.

There are several steps to take to create a more effective text marketing campaign that works not just during the winter holiday season but for any of the holidays that take place year round.

What Are Your Goals?

Before you go too far down the rabbit hole of creating a dynamic text marketing campaign for the holidays, it is important to understand your goals. Ask yourself some questions:

    • Do you want to increase profits by a certain percentage or move inventory?

 

    • Is your promotion more about building brand awareness and increasing traffic, whether online or in person?


Having a strong idea of the objective of your efforts helps you to create a stronger plan that will actually meet those goals.

To do this, get your team together for a brainstorming meeting. Ask everyone what they believe the objective and goals of the program are. When going through the different potential goals, make sure to keep SMART in mind:

    • Specific

 

    • Measurable

 

    • Attainable

 

    • Realistic

 

    • Timely


A good example of a goal is to increase holiday sales by 10 percent.

Why Do You Bother With Holiday Marketing?

One place to start is to think about why holiday marketing is important in the first place. People are trained to know that certain holidays are synonymous with deals to buy gifts and personal items:

    • Black Friday

 

    • Cyber Monday

 

    • Labor Day

 

    • Columbus Day


Although this provides an opportunity to promote sales, it also means that you are competing with hundreds of stores in a wide variety of industries.

During the brainstorming session discussed above, ask your team why you are even bothering with holiday marketing. Are you doing it just because it is what is done, or do you have another reason?

Even if your sole reason behind it is because everyone else is doing it does not mean that you will have a lackluster marketing campaign. However, it does mean that you might just be going through the motions if you do not take a moment to focus on creating a dynamite campaign.

When Is the Best Time To Start?

It is not enough to promote your holiday marketing in December. Marketing surveys point out that in October, 26 percent of digital shoppers are already getting an early start on their winter holiday shopping. Almost half start in November. Some people start in September or even earlier!

If you start too late, then you miss out on all of those early shoppers. Therefore, consider running some deals throughout the fall. Or you might simply just start advertising your holiday sales weeks ahead of time so that people can plan accordingly.


Don't be afraid to start your promotion early to catch shoppers.

Early planning is not just about letting your customers know about your sales; it is also ensuring that your company is ready, too. Inform your employees about the sale, making sure that they have all the information necessary to answer questions from customers.

Give yourself plenty of time for creating the marketing material for your promotions so that you can ensure it is perfect. However, finalize the promotion late enough that you can make any last-minute adjustments you need to based on any current events or feedback from customers so that you remain relevant.

For your texting campaign, this early preparation includes the following:
Develop a strong strategy.

    • Determine how often you plan to text customers.

 

    • Consider what types of offers you plan to send out.

 

    • Create a calendar so that the texting offers complement other deals without oversaturating.

 

    • Decide how you plan to promote your text marketing program to increase the number of subscribers.

 

    • You might choose to have a push for subscribers months prior to the big holiday event for greater impact once you launch your holiday texting campaign.

 

    • Choose who will be in charge of reviewing the content and handling any issues that arise.



How Do You Integrate?

Text marketing works a little differently. It is an immediate medium since most messages are opened within just a few minutes of receipt. This makes it a great medium for last-minute deals and reminders about sales. This complements your program, especially if you take the time to integrate your text marketing smartly.

During the initial planning stages for your holiday text marketing program, consider where it fits into the rest of your marketing efforts. A texting campaign complements other channels really well. You can ad it as a call to action on your

    • TV and radio spots,

 

    • print ads,

 

    • digital marketing properties,

 

    • social media accounts

 

    • and more.



This works two-fold: first, you increase the number of subscribers and second, you increase the engagement and success of your other marketing channels.

Taking the time to strategize how you will use your texting program prior to running any of your holiday offers or advertising campaigns helps you to integrate in the best way possible. You can determine where to place your texting campaign in the sales funnel and how to best use it to increase the efficacy of the rest of your marketing efforts, and vice versa.

For example, use texting as a call to action with your print ads that provide early promotion of your holiday deals. Then, text your subscribers reminders about the sales the day before to increase the number of people who participate.

How Do You Promote?

In order to get the most out of your texting campaign -- and your holiday sales -- you need to create increased awareness. To do this, it is necessary to promote your campaigns.

It is even more important that you let people know about your texting campaign early because it is a permission-based medium. This means that you have to have people sign up before you can send them messages.

Many of the traditional forums for promotion also work for your texting campaign:

    • Flyers

 

    • Print ads

 

    • In-store signs

 

    • Digital banners

 

    • Blogs

 

    • Email newsletter mentions

 

    • Social media posts

 

    • Radio and TV spots



Any way that you traditionally announce news to customers will also let them know about your new texting promotion.

However, do not just let them know and expect them to sign up. A common way to do this is exclusive offers and deals, including a special coupon just for signing up. Do this early enough to capitalize on the number of people who sign up when the holidays roll around.

Plus, strategically send messages throughout the year to keep people interested in staying on your list so that you only have to build on it each year, rather than having to rebuild it.

Who Is Your Audience?


Create targeted messages based on your ideal customers.

An effective holiday text marketing campaign always keeps the audience in mind. This is because you want to strive to create content of value each time you send out a text message, especially during the holiday season when people are saturated with marketing messages. Therefore, spend some of your planning stage determining who your audience will be.

To do this, gather as much information as you have about your customers:

    • Shopping data

 

    • Demographics

 

    • Behavior patterns

 

    • Survey results

 

    • Market research


To find this information, it might be necessary to directly ask your subscribers to provide it. Because many people might opt into a text marketing campaign with a simple text, you might not have that much information about them. If that is the case, then you might want to create a persona of your ideal target audience.

You do not have to stick with just one target audience. It is easy to divide your subscribers into lists based on their personal data in order to send personalized, targeted messages. This also enhances the effectiveness of the campaign.

What Offers Should You Use?

Once you have completed the prep work, determining your goals, audience, calendar, integration and other components of the structure of your marketing strategy, you can start focusing on the fun part: the text message content and the offers themselves.

First, consider what type of offer you wish to send, whether a BOGO, a percentage of purchase, dollar amount a price, a free gift with purchase, free shipping or something else. It is most important that you choose something that is attractive while also not hurting your profit margin. For the best impact, create something unique and exclusive, as this further motivates the customer to take advantage of the deal.

The words you use also helps to create the best redemption rate. Choose active verbs and words that impart urgency. For example, Buy Now, Redeem Today, Limited Time Offer, and Click to Activate This Exclusive Deal all motivate customers to take the action you want them to do. Be sure to make it easy for customers to redeem them; otherwise, you will lose out on a lot of sales.

How Do You Stand Out?

Now for the fun part: making your content unique, attractive and fun so that you stand out from the competition. Do not be afraid to include some of the personality of your company in the messages.

One common way to do this is to add some humor into the messages. However, do not become too unprofessional when you do so. Puns and simple, unoffensive jokes are easy ways to get creative without worrying about losing customers.

An example of a Christmas offer with some humor is, "Don't be a Scrooge. Use this 20% off coupon to buy your loved ones gifts. Expires [date]."


Get your team together to brainstorm creative ideas for messages.

One of the reasons to jump onto holidays in terms of marketing is that you can create themed messages. A simple template for dynamic holiday-themed messages that lead to a successful campaign is the following:

    • Character/holiday allusion

 

    • Offer/deal

 

    • Active language

 

    • Urgent/motivating language

 

    • Expiration date

 

    • Company Name

 

    • Stay within the 160 character limit

 

  • The right timing

Use your creativity to decide upon promotions, deals and content that sounds just like your company rather than the same old, boring offers that everyone sends out. This helps you to stand out from hundreds of promotions circulating during the holiday season.

What Is Success?

Before you start sending out your messages, consider how you will measure success. Most texting platforms have analytics that detail the open rate, bounce rate, conversion rate, click-through-rate and other metrics similar to other digital properties.

Look at your starting point and set a realistic finish point that means your program is successful. Reviewing your original goal will help you with this. For example, if you wish to increase profits, then you might focus on the number of conversions your text messages create.

Remember that a strong texting campaign takes some time to build. You might need to do some trial and error, which is why it is best to start your text marketing program long before the holiday season. This gives you time to work out the kinks so that you can take full advantage of the medium when it comes time to promote your sales.

Ready to get started on your holiday texting campaign? Try ClubTexting for free.

November 29, 2016

4 Tips for Creating the Best Objective for Your Texting Campaign

Although the word objective is a synonym for goal, it has its own nuances that make it unique. In business, objectives are more specific than goals and should be used to explain strategic or planning activities. They should be easily measurable and provide a reason for implementing a program like SMS marketing.

It is essential to have a strong, clear and defined objective for your texting campaign. Otherwise, it is difficult to assess whether or not you are succeeding. You might also end up with a lackluster program that does not provide the returns it could.

Unfortunately, many marketers simply launch an SMS marketing campaign with no real objective, or at the least a vague concept. Rather than falling in with the 57 percent of marketers who do this, take the time to create a strong, clearly defined objective for your texting campaign using one or more of the following tips.

Ask the Deep Questions


Before you start texting your customers, ask questions to make sure your campaign has a clear purpose.

Developing an objective starts by asking questions. Begin with a simple why. There is probably some reason behind your decision to launch a texting campaign. Perhaps you have heard about other companies having a strong response or you simply are amazed by the 98 percent open rate. There is no wrong answer. In fact, it is fine to have multiple reasons.

In addition to the why behind your actions, consider how you see it helping your business and fitting with your overall marketing strategy. Although text message marketing works well as a stand-alone campaign, it only reaches its full potential when it is integrated into your overall strategic plan. It should complement key marketing channels, including email, print ads, and social media. Ask yourself and your team what you hope to achieve by running the texting campaign.

Look for Patterns

When you ask these questions, allow room for brainstorming and pursue different avenues of thought, following up questions with more questions. Document all the reasons you come up with. As you discuss these components, see if you notice any patterns emerging. Perhaps you and your team continue to talk about brand awareness or increasing sales. As you start to see the common grounds, make note of it. There might be more than one, so do not limit yourself at this stage.

Take Your Business Goals Into Account

As you are brainstorming the objective behind your texting campaign, take adequate time to think about your overall business goals. See where text messaging might fit to help you achieve those goals. Your objective will most likely relate to or complement those goals.

Think SMART Goals


Have your team keep SMART goals in mind while creating your objective.

During this process, keep in mind SMART goals. This is an acronym for

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Attainable,
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Your objective should have many of the same concepts in it. You want something specific for which you have the tools to measure that is also a realistic and attainable endeavor. Using the ideas you have brainstormed and the patterns you have discovered, create the main objective for your campaign. Verifying it is SMART.

Building an objective for your texting campaign has many parallels to creating your goals. However, you want to be more specific so that you and your team understand the point of running the campaign. This helps you to build a strong program that will achieve not just the objective but also your business goals. The clearer and more defined your objective, the stronger your program will be.

Got your objective ready to go? Start your campaign bytrying ClubTexting for free.