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May 24, 2016

Can Mass Texting Boost Your Magazine's Readership?

It is important to find creative ways to attract new readers to your magazine so that you can continue to prosper. One unlikely, but incredible, tool to use is mass texting. It provides a way to connect with a large number of potential and current readers without breaking your marketing budget. There are many ways to take advantage of these benefits when promoting your magazine to increase your readership.

Engage Your Readership


Use texting to engage your readers so that they want more

As a magazine, it is essential to create loyal readers. One way to do this is to really engage them, and not just through the articles in your magazine. Mass texting has a very high engagement rate, roughly eight times as high as email. To reach this level of engagement, it is vital that you send messages of value to your text message subscribers so that they feel compelled to take action. Ultimately, what your audience deems valuable is dependent upon a multitude of factors, including their interests, behaviors, demographics, desires and relationship with your magazine. However, there are a few key factors that subscribers tend to see as valuable. This could include sending offers and deals for your magazine and partners, providing exclusive additional information complementing your latest issue, offering customer service through text and more.

Find a New Audience

Text message marketing also provides a way to help you find new readers to add to your list of subscribers. You can do this through adding a texting call-to-action on your current marketing campaigns. It does not take much space to include it, as you simply need to include your short code along with a keyword. For additional punch, choose a keyword that complements your ad while also attracting attention, such as a witty play on words. People carry their phones almost everywhere, so they can easily respond to your marketing collateral when they see it. Texting has a higher response and action than other call to actions. It gets get customers to take action and engage with your magazine. It can increase the number of interested leads with a high possibility of eventually turning into readers.

Make Sure Your Magazine Covers What Your Audience Wants


Use texting as a way to ask your readers what they want to read.

Mass texting provides a way to send out surveys and polls to discover what your audience wants to read. The easiest and most efficient way to find out what your audience wants is a texting poll. You ask a question and provide a few keywords to represent each of the possible answers. Then, your audience texts back to vote for their preferred keyword. You see which keyword has the most votes, and that one is the winner. You can do this to poll viewers on a future article, magazine cover and more.

If you want more in-depth responses, send your text message subscribers a link to a survey. Offer everyone who answered the poll the opportunity to follow a link to a more in-depth survey.

Mass texting provides a great way to engage with potential and current readers to help increase your magazine's business. You can connect with your readership outside of your issues and find ways to ensure that you create content they most want to read. This keeps your subscribers active and increases retention and renewal rates. With the right SMS marketing program in place, you will find that your magazine gains readers and you have a wider reach, helping your overall business.

Contact us to learn more about how text marketing has the potential to improve your business and help you connect with your readers.

March 24, 2016

Expert Interview Series: Roger Wu of Cooperatize on Best Practices for Using Sponsored Content



Roger Wu is a co-founder of Cooperatize, the leading platform for brands to buy sponsored content. We recently checked in with Roger to learn more about best practices for using sponsored content. Here's what he had to say:

What is sponsored content? What sets it apart from other marketing/web content?

Sponsored content is an article or story written by the publisher in their voice, while integrating your product or brand into it. The publisher guarantees a certain amount of traffic to the story at a higher rate than banner advertisements, which covers not only their content production but also their distribution costs.

Sponsored content is different from traditional content in a variety of ways.

  • First, the publisher guarantees a minimum number of impressions, whereby the story acts like an advertisement. If the story exceeds this minimum, it acts as "PR" or earned media.

 

  • Secondly, it should not impact your search engine optimization since the anchor tags are flagged as "no follow."

 

  • Third, it is clearly marked as sponsored or advertisement per the rules of the FTC.



Why are brands turning to sponsored content to build an audience?

There are a variety of reasons why brands are turning to sponsored content:

  • Influencer and social media marketing are hot; people trust local celebrities or "influencers." Brands see influencer marketing as a more cost effective way to reach their target audiences since influencers are not as expensive as celebrities and have a more targeted audience set. Sponsored content gives influencers the ability to create longer form content to showcase their thoughts.

 

  • We now live in the world of infinite content. Everyone is a publisher. Everyone is creating content. If something is not promoted, most likely it will not be seen. The ROI on an organic mention is more likely to be worse off than ever. Sponsored content, with its guaranteed distribution, helps brands to cut through the noise and ensure that prospects now know their story.

 

  • Ad block has rendered display advertising as futile. With the rise of social networks and content marketing, sponsored content plays into these new trends.



What brands do you think are using sponsored content most effectively? What can we learn from them?

The obvious simple answer is Netflix. They've run sponsored content effectively with The Atlantic about strong first ladies in conjunction with "House of Cards" to reach their politically savvy audience. Sponsored content for "Orange is the New Black" ran in the more liberal minded New York Times about how the experience of women incarcerated differs from that of men. Finally, an article about the economics of Pablo Escobar and the drug trade ran in the Wall Street Journal in conjunction with "Narcos."

Each of these articles tell a story and while Netflix is in the business of brokering stories to your home, they created a story that was relevant to the given audience.

Furthermore, none of these stories asked for the business. There was never a "Subscribe to Netflix" button or some other call to action about a subscription. If there were, the campaigns most likely would have failed. We now know that these great shows are only available on Netflix and even if we didn't, a quick Google search would yield that information.

Brands need to understand that the value of a good story is not a click thru, but rather mindshare; in our new on demand economy we can get anything we want, the key is to have enough mindshare when the time is right to buy that product. Click-thrus are a false short-term metric that is being measured at the expense of the more valuable long-term metric of story recall and brand building.

What are some best practices for creating a marketing strategy using sponsored content?

  • Create publisher guidelines that fit your marketing goals but also give the publisher some creativity. You want them to tap into their creative juices, but if they feel too constrained they'll end up writing another "5 great things ... " article.

 

  • Make sure you enforce the impression count and ask what constitutes an impression. Some provide basic metrics, like a publisher's Twitter followers and monthly unique visitors. While big numbers might look impressive, we need to remember that a tweet is on average seen by 1 to 2 percent of followers and about 1 to 2 percent of those followers engage; monthly unique visitors which many get confused with a magazine's circulation, is an aggregate metric from ALL stories, and more likely than not, 95 percent of a publishers online traffic comes from 5 percent of their articles. As a marketer you don't necessarily care about this, you want their audience to see the article that was written and created about you.

 

  • Use data to make better content. While publishers will get you the requisite number of views, you need to look at what stories are resonating with your audience. Look at the engagement on each story: if people are not responding to it in terms of reading it all the way, maybe it's the wrong message. Content marketing is not as easy to tweak as AdWords, but you can still use data to figure out the most effective stories.

 

  • Tying content into the rest of your marketing is highly effective. We've found that content marketing and sponsored content in conjunction with retargeting display advertising leads to better brand recall and conversion.



What about dos and don'ts for writing sponsored content? How can we keep readers engaged?

  • Do adjust for factual accuracy. If your product doesn't do X, Y, and Z and the publisher says that it does, let the publisher know that it doesn't.

 

  • Do provide guidelines for what you are looking for. It's hard for a publisher to guess what you want.

 

  • Do allow for some leeway in creating content. Just because you paid for it, you shouldn't want to force your hand. The publisher knows their audience best and is the storyteller.

 

  • Don't try and adjust for editorial. For example, if a writer says "I liked that product" don't ask them to say "I really liked that product."

 

  • Don't ask for an advertorial. There's a reason why those didn't work. Audiences don't want to read about why your product is the best; rather they want to know how it integrates into the rest of their lives.



What are the biggest mistakes you see brands making when it comes to sponsored content? How can we avoid making them?

In addition to some of the don'ts listed above, a lot of brands try to work directly with influencers. I wouldn't suggest that, as there's a reason why platforms like Cooperatize exist. By going direct, it's similar to buying a car off Craigslist, versus buying a car on eBay, which ensures reputation.

Furthermore, we are fully compliant and up to date with Google and the FTC. Platforms ensure that brands are compliant, as it's not recommended to try and cheat the Google algorithm or skirt around the U.S. government's rules.

From a pricing perspective, brands need to move off the CPM anchor of display advertising. Sponsored content not only encompasses content creation but also distribution. To put this into perspective, tools like Outbrain and Taboola charge up to $2 per click to content (that is already created) as opposed to display advertising charging $2 per thousand impressions.

What are your favorite tools for promoting sponsored content? What doesn't seem to work as well?

Facebook and Twitter are still the kings when it comes to paid distribution. The targeting is very specific, which will allow you to get quality views at a lower price. Publishers that have a sponsored content carousel on their home page is also a great tool. StumbleUpon is a nice way to get organic visitors to your content. Lastly, we sometimes use Outbrain and Taboola, although we've noticed that the reader quality is not as high.

What is the future for sponsored content?

We truly believe that sponsored content is the future of monetization for publishers. As long as publishers provide real metrics and continue to promote and make their content high quality, we see this as overtaking the economics of display advertising in the coming years.

Connect with Roger on Twitter.

Try ClubTexting for free today.

December 04, 2015

Why Integrating your Text Message and Social Media Marketing Makes Sense

Do your social media followers know that you're using text messaging to engage with customers? If not, it is time to tell them! Your social media followers already have a positive opinion of your company and want to remain in contact. That makes them the perfect target audience for your text marketing campaign. Integrating your social media and SMS marketing campaigns provides you many benefits, helping to capitalize on the lucrative advantages of both mediums.

Target an Attentive Audience


Your followers and subscribers already have a positive relationship with you.

Social media followers and text message subscribers are attentive audiences for your marketing efforts. They have already indicated an interest in your business. They generally have a positive feeling toward your company and plan to visit it in the future. This means they may also be willing to sign up to communicate with you in another way, whether that is email newsletters, social media following, or text message marketing. You can promote your text message program to your social media followers and vice versa to expand the reach of both efforts.

Increase Customer Engagement

Having a large number of followers on social media may seem like the ideal goal, but the real prize is having a significant amount of engaged followers. These are the people that interact with your posts -- commenting, liking, or sharing with their followers. You may have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of followers, but if they do not engage with your posts, then you have gained little.

You can increase the level of interaction by integrating your social media and text marketing campaigns. For instance, you can run a text to win competition, asking your followers to text a particular keyword for the chance to win. Alternatively, you can use your text marketing list to promote your social media campaigns and get people to actively engage online. For example, you can text your subscribers and ask them to like and share a post for a chance to win something.

Similar but Different Messages


Your social media and text message offers should be unique to the particular medium.

Integrating your social media and text marketing campaigns helps you to grow your reach and engage with customers. However, it is important that you still maintain the two channels as unique marketing forums. In order to benefit from both, your customers must want to sign up for both. This means that they need to see the value in following you on social media and signing up to receive text messages.

You can create unique value by sending similar but different messages through the various channels. It is also helpful to offer different categories of messages across the different channels. For example, you could reserve your mobile program for offers and your social media accounts for news or tips. This provides you with extra space to reach the same people without over-saturating them with messages from one source.

A strong marketing plan integrates multiple marketing channels so that you benefit from their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. If you haven't integrated your mobile program with your social media, it may be time to start. Contact us today to get started!

January 30, 2015

How to Use Social and Text Message Marketing Together


Text message marketing can help you connect with more customers this year. Photo credits: danielfoster.

You know the old saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." When it comes to marketing, it certainly holds true. While you may be reaching some customers by focusing your marketing efforts on one channel, an integrated marketing strategy can help you attract more patrons to your business this year. If you're already using social media or mobile marketing to reach your target audience, you're off to a good start. Here's how to use the two channels together in order to maximize the impact of your marketing campaigns.

Learn More About Which Social Networks Are Popular with Your Audience

Before you jump into social media, it's important to find out which sites are most popular with your audience. To gather the information you need, you can either talk to your customers informally while they are hanging out at your club or restaurant or conduct a formal customer survey about social networking behaviors. This is an important step in the marketing process. After all, you wouldn't want to waste your time sharing content on a social networking site that's unpopular with your target audience.

Use Social Media for Networking

After you've determined where your customers are spending time online; it's time to get started with social media! Create an account for your business and share some interesting content. Rather than using social networks exclusively for promotional purposes, consider engaging your customers in a dialog. Creating an interesting, fun social media presence will help draw attention to your business. Remember, social media is the new word-of-mouth, so it's important to add some personality to your social networking presence in order to maximize your return.

Get Started with Text Marketing to Share Special Promotions

Social media and text message marketing can complement each other very well if businesses use these channels correctly. Many businesses use social media to not only engage with customers, but to collect important information about their audience. Demographic data such as age, sex, location, and interests collected through your business social media profiles can be used to create more personalized text message marketing campaigns. There's a lot of buzz about personalization in the mobile marketing industry today, and there's a good reason for it. Personalized marketing campaigns help businesses stand out with their target customers. If you are interested in developing a more effective text message marketing effort, taking a look at your businesses' social media profiles can help you personalize your campaigns.


Use social media and text marketing together to broaden your reach with potential customers. Photo credits: peterras.

Taking an integrated approach to your business marketing efforts can help you reach a larger audience. Before you get started with social media, make sure to find out which channels will be the most impactful for your business. Once you've determined which social networks your customers are using most frequently, start engaging with them on these platforms. Use text message marketing to share information about special promotions and complement your social media marketing efforts. If you are interested in launching a text message marketing campaign for your business, try ClubTexting for free today!

January 09, 2015

Why Your Text Message Marketing Efforts Might Get Rejected


An effective text message marketing campaign can help you reach more customers.

Have you ever opted out of a text message marketing campaign? Chances are you have. Perhaps you opted out of receiving communications from another business because the messages came too frequently, or maybe the content simply wasn't relevant for you. If you are thinking about using text messaging to reach new customers for your business, it's important to learn from others' mistakes in order to increase your conversion rates. Here are three of the most common reasons that consumers reject text message marketing campaigns.

The content isn't relevant or helpful to them

One of the major reasons why potential customers opt out of text message marketing campaigns is because the content simply isn't relevant or helpful. Businesses may make the unfortunate mistake of targeting the wrong audience or excluding incentives from their text campaigns. It's important to remember that consumers are more likely to opt-in to campaigns that provide them with a special discount or incentive in exchange for their subscription. Taking the time to do some research ahead of your campaign can help you effectively target the right audience and come up with an enticing offer that your potential customers simply cannot refuse.

They are receiving too many messages

Message frequency is an important consideration with any text message marketing campaign. If you send too few messages, your campaign may not be as effective as it could be because your brand is unlikely to stand out among potential customers. Alternatively, if you distribute messages too frequently, recipients may become annoyed and choose to opt out of your campaign. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that every message you send creates value for your audience. Sometimes that means getting creative to come up with content that's helpful. Other times it means scaling back a little to exclude content which lacks substance.

The tone is inappropriate

Many potential customers choose to opt out of text message campaigns because of message tone. When it comes to text message marketing, your tone should be professional yet conversational. While you want to keep communications somewhat light, it's a good idea to avoid humor and colloquialisms when addressing potential customers. Coming across as too informal in your communications can cause your audience to reject your text message marketing campaign. Before you launch your campaign, think about how you'd speak with a customer on the phone and use that information as a guideline to develop a more effective text message marketing effort.


Maximize the return of your text message marketing campaigns by paying attention to message relevancy, frequency, and tone.

As with anything else in life, some marketing campaigns are more effective than others. Whether you're just getting started with text message marketing or simply want to improve your conversions, there are a number of things to think about. Potential customers may reject text message marketing campaigns if the content isn't relevant or helpful to them, if messages are sent too frequently, and if the tone is inappropriate. Use this information to help improve conversion rates on your next text marketing effort. If you're interested in reaching new customers via mobile, try ClubTexting for free today!

August 31, 2014

5 Surprising Beneficiaries of Text Message Marketing

Did you know that 99% of all text messages are opened? In comparison, less than 20% of emails in every industry are opened, and cold calls hover around a measly 6% success rate. Text messaging has been around over twenty years, yet it continues to be a form of communication that is personal and trusted by mobile users.

Mass text messaging delivers valuable information to your customers in real-time, whether you want to promote your upcoming fashion sale or send out a last-minute coupon for a popular dish in your restaurant. There are countless businesses that can benefit from mass text messaging, some of them may even surprise you!



From a simple text message you can increase sales, get your message shared across social media, and create an effective campaign to reach customers.

Entertainment Businesses

Bars, clubs, concert venues, businesses that promote entertainment have been leading the way in mass text messaging since the beginning. Entertainment businesses are perfectly set-up to interact with their clients and customers through text whether to promote upcoming shows, drink specials, or even announce last-minute VIPs. 2-for-1 coupons and discounted entry fees are an easy way to get customers through the door, and all they need to do is show the message on their phone.

Professional Businesses

Mass text messaging may not be as common in professional businesses, but there is a giant market just waiting to be tapped into. Businesses such as hair salons and gyms can easily send coupons or daily specials to their clients, reminding them that they are overdue for a cut or workout. Businesses such as doctors or dental practices may go about their promotions in a different way, but there are plentiful opportunities to reach clients through texting. Appointment reminders, whether scheduled or recommended, are a great way to get-in-touch and keep clients coming in.

Retail Businesses

Retail businesses already know that they need to keep with the trends to stay alive, so if your retail business isn't already compiling text subscribers it is time to join the party. Sending out texts inviting customers to special events, in-store fashion shows, and invite-only sales is a great way to make them feel like they are part of an exclusive club. Discount coupons and new stock announcements are also effective strategies for getting those shoes and dresses off the shelves.

Online Businesses

Online businesses are prime candidates for text messaging promotion, enabling current and prospective customers to click over from their text and land straight on a website. Sending out last-minute deals and one-day only discounts is the easiest way to expand sales through simply messaging your customer base. Get people on the website = more sales.


Mass text messaging makes it easy for online businesses to bring customers directly to their website and increase sales.

Food Industry Businesses

The food industry is perfectly poised for mass text messaging services. With good timing, you can have text messages promoting your lunch special on the phones of loyal patrons, right when their stomachs start growling. Texts announcing weekly specials, new menu additions, and even specially priced happy hours are a great way to remind customers that they need a night out with friends and a good bite to eat.

Mass text messaging gets your business's message straight into the hands of those you most want to reach. You are almost guaranteed that they will not only open your promotional message, but read it. You can't get effective advertising that is this personal in any other format.

Jessica Galbraith is a full-time writer and author of the travel blog The Fly Away American. She is an avid texter and always open up a new message.

August 03, 2014

Scented Text Message Startup Still Smells Victory After a Taste of Failure

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Vapor Communications, a company that transmits aromas via text message, has failed to meet its $150,000 crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo – but is promising to press on with the money it did raise. 

The technology was partly invented by Harvard University professor David Edwards. It has thus far raised close to 30% of its goal, with 176 backers pledging $47,000 to the project. Despite falling well short of their target, Vapor Communications will continue to work towards a viable commercial version of the technology. Plans are afoot to move their office from Paris to Cambridge later this year, and a company statement said:

“We expect that the evolution of the product over the coming months will increasingly attract the interest of consumers.”

Vapor Communications was founded last September as a way to bring Edwards’ oPhone hardware to market. The oPhone comes with small ‘scent cartridges’ that communicate with an app on the iPhone. Pre-sales were strong, with the $149 retail price seeming just right to enthusiastic food bloggers and others with an interest in sharing scents.

But critics suggest that this need to buy extra hardware is an impediment to success. In a world governed by cloud-based data and in-built apps, the less physical stuff you need to accumulate, the better. The vast majority of smartphone experiences require nothing more than a download, which makes apps like oPhone and oSnap a hard sell.

Nevertheless, the developers’ aims are laudable. It’s true that a huge part of our eating experiences are influenced by aroma, and that there is plenty of interest in communicating smells in the same way audiovisual content is shared. Whether that interest extends beyond those in the food industry to the consumers they serve remains to be seen. If and when then happens, the oPhone will be well placed to meet the demand. For now, lovers of madcap tech concepts can only hope Vapor Communications continues to grow in it’s new UK home. 

October 04, 2011

Missing The Point Of The iPhone 4s Announcement

Ios-5There's been a ton of coverage about today's announcement from Apple of the iPhone 4S - and the lack of an announcement of an iPhone 5. We think most (but not all) commentators aren't paying enough attention to the now free iPhone 3GS (with contract). Think about how many people have Android phone not because they are really interested in an Android phone, but because every carrier has a basket full of free Android phones. Now, when someone walks into an AT&T, Verizon and Sprint store (pending confirm on Sprint 3Gs availability) and they can get a free iPhone 3GS. Yes, it isn't one of the plethora of '4G' questionable battery life Android devices and it is an older product - but we wonder how many consumers will take a free, older iPhone 3GS that runs iOS5 over a free Android running who knows what version of Android.

And we're just talking about the United States.

 

December 17, 2008

Mobile Phone Regulations in the Workplace

With mobile phones such a regular distraction in our everyday lives, aren’t there rules in place to stop our electronic lifelines from interfering with our work?  Our friends at the UK-based blog Mobile Phones & Safety have complied a great commentary on the topic of mobile phones in the workplace, which includes best practices that we believe all offices should take into consideration.

Read the full post here.