6 SMS Marketing Tools to Build and Retain Your Customer Base

Many successful brands and businesses have smartened up to the fact that SMS marketing can become a very powerful tool they can utilize in placing their marketing message in front of their customers while doing it in a more cost-effective way in comparison to other online and offline marketing channels.  The number of mobile devices and their users is on an exponential rise. If you own a business, this should be a clear sign that you need to incorporate mobile marketing into your overall marketing strategy in order to build and nurture relationships with your potential and existing customer base. This article will provide you with an analysis of 6 SMS marketing tools you can utilize to engage and connect with your customers so they can hopefully become customers for life.

1. Text To Join

text to join campaignsThis is a tool designed to attract new customers by inviting them to become a part of your text subscriber list. It will allow you to send them your marketing messages directly to their cellphone without the need of downloading an app or login in to any other online account. This has proven to be an incredibly effective marketing strategy due to the fact that as many as 90% of mobile device users read their text messages and more than 85% of them do so within 20 minutes of receiving them. This technology enables customers to text a specific keyword (which a business owner chooses) to a unique “short code”. Short codes are defined as short phone numbers that are shorter than normal phone numbers and are easier to remember. Businesses are able to receive “short codes” by paying a flat or monthly fee to a provider who can deliver this service to them.

Here is an example of using a text-to-join technology and explanation of how “short codes are” used:

Text Info to 82257

When a customer you are targeting types the keyword ”Info” to the short code “82257”, the customer will get an SMS providing further information about accessing information, product or service that the business was promoting. At the same time, customers are subscribed to the list of people who will be receiving future updates and any related information regarding the services or products that business is promoting.

2. Text/Mobile Coupons

By offering text/mobile coupons, a business owner can solidify their relationship with an existing customer base by offering them SMS offers and discounts on their products or services. This technology works very similarly to the “text to join” as explained above. The customer receives a “shortcode” to which he or she needs to send a specific keyword to. The “shortcodes” and the keyword are provided by the company that is offering discounted products or services. Once the customer sends these details via SMS, the company will typically send the text back that contains instructions on how to redeem the SMS coupons and also include a link to the coupon or the company’s website. These coupons can then be redeemed online or offline, depending on where and how the business operates.

3. Web and Social Media Sign Up Forms

Integrate SMS marketing with Socila Media channelsAnother method of attracting new customers is by using sign up forms on various web and social media properties, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The typical sign-up form contains the fields that capture the basic information of a potential customer: their first name, surname and email address. Every business owner who has the foresight to add a “mobile phone number” field to their sign up forms will put themselves head-and-shoulders above their competition as their response rates will skyrocket. This is due to the fact that they will able to attract new client base using mobile devices, in addition to using traditional marketing channels.

4. Group Text Alerts and Text Reminders

Businesses can use Group Texting and Text Reminders to send bulk SMS text reminders and alerts to all of their customers at the same time. These features can be used for numerous occasions and situations:

– Promoting daily or monthly product discounts and special sales
– Announcing new offers, products and services
– Sending texts that do not pertain to any specific product or service but are used as relationship builders, such as sending inspirational quotes and messages.

These SMS marketing tools are specifically designed for customer retention purposes by peaking the client’s interest in your products and strengthening the relationship you have with them. Group Text alerts and Text reminders are used when you do not want to send an SMS to a specific segment of the customer list but to the entire customer base.

5.Text Feedback

SMS marketing allows you to communicate with the customer at the exact point when he or she receives your text message or purchases a product from you. This provides you with a perfect opportunity to receive instant feedback from them. Therefore, it is essential to be able to install an effective customer feedback system by designing mobile questions, customer surveys and suggestions in order to understand their needs and how they feel about your business. If you want to incorporate text feedback into your campaign, you need to provide customers with a phone number they can access on their mobile devices after which they can enter their feedback. The results are then instantly updated on your website. This simple step increases customer engagement exponentially and they are very likely to become repeat customers. Also, the probability that clients will provide feedback is very high as SMS marketing makes is simple and easy – all that is required of them is to do is tap a few buttons on their mobile device and they are done.

6. Mobile polling

If you need to determine what your customers are thinking, all you need to do is simply ask them. That is why mobile polling is a great tool that should be used in all mobile marketing campaigns. People like to be asked their opinions on issues and if you incorporate mobile polling in your campaign, the way that your customers engage with you will improve substantially. Mobile polls don’t require you to install any special software and they can be created quickly and easily. The customers send their votes by SMS to a specific phone number and you can view the results of the poll on your website.

SMS marketing provides a powerful channel to attract and retain customers, build a solid relationship with them and keep them engaged with you and the marketing message your business is trying to convey to them. Six mobile marketing tools explained above have hopefully shed new light on how and why every business should implement them in their campaigns because SMS marketing and mobile devices are definitely here to stay.

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Why SMS Marketing is a “MUST HAVE” Tool for Any Brand

Definition and Characteristics of SMS Marketing

The penetration of mobile devices in the American society brought with it vast business opportunities. One of such opportunities is the use of SMS as a marketing strategy. This refers to the use of mobile devices with the aim of promoting a certain product or service. It entails sending of a message by a company to a consumer and subsequent communication.

There are several characteristics of SMS marketing. First, it involves the use of an SMS enabled mobile device in communication. Second, the company writes short and concise message to its clients. Third, it is sustained by the use of keyword and short code. Lastly, it has both the opt-in and opt-out features.

How Brands Are Using SMS Marketing

Times Square SMS keyword exampleQuite a number of brands have adopted the use of SMS in their engagement with consumers. They do this through a number of ways. First, it can be used in service-related businesses. These include dental and home technicians’ services. Studies reveal that SMS appointment reminders lower the likelihood of absenteeism in strategic meetings and appointments.

Second, SMS marketing can be used to encourage customers to interact with your brand. Brand awareness can be effected through digital strategies. For example, Share A Coke campaign has used text messages to establish and maintain a personalized relationship with clients in order to promote its brand.

Third, it entails a short but strong call-to-action message that increases the rate of conversion. For example, in May 2012, Starbucks used a well-articulated text message in order to promote its annual Frappucino Happy Tour Campaign. In addition, it makes local advertising actionable.

Lastly, brands have used SMS in order to enable the public to participate in sweepstakes. This is enabled through the text to win service. In connection to this, anyone can join a Mobile Sweepstakes as far as he or she is eligible. This is more applicable in cases where a company does not have enough time to do traditional advertising.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

There are various benefits associated with the use of SMS marketing.

  • To start with, one of the greatest advantage with using text messages for marketing is their instant deliverability and readability. Key players in the marketing industry have investigated the deliverability and readability of SMS texts. Whereas there has been a variance in findings, most of the studies say that text messages are read within four to seven seconds and they have an open rate of 95 %.
  • Second, SMS marketing offers instant opt-in opt-out options. The advantage with this is that it ensures the privacy of the recipients. In other words, it is those who want to engage with you that go ahead to continue receiving or responding to your messages. Similarly, potential clients can opt-in for the texts instantly using the text to join service.
  • Third, SMS marketing has a wide market potential. The advantage with this is that a campaign can reach a large number of people. Consequently, this increases the visibility and exposure of a company and hence increases the rate of conversation. It should be noted that the advance in technology makes the use of mobile usage cheaper and more accessible, much to the advantage of the business community.
  • Lastly, one can use a mobile device anywhere and anytime. Thus, one can read a text message anywhere and anytime in order to read SMS offers and alerts. Moreover, text message marketing can be assessed even when one is in a meeting. This is unlike traditional forms of advertising which do not offer convenience.Conclusion
    The increased use of mobile devices means that SMS marketing will remain a relevant marketing strategy. In fact, it will gain more prominence as more consumers buy mobile gadgets. The value of SMS marketing cannot be underestimated. Overall, SMS marketing is a viable and sustainable marketing strategy.

Power of SMS Marketing

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Benefits of SMS marketing for the Food and Entertainment industry (restaurants, Bars, Comedy clubs, etc)

SMS Marketing or Text message marketing has become a popular and powerful communication, engagement and marketing tool for businesses and organization. 90% of American adults own a smart phone and 81% of cell phone owners use their phone to send and receive text messages. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

These are powerful facts that businesses and organizations cannot afford to ignore. SMS marketing has proven to be an effective channel for the Food and Entertainment industry – bars, restaurants, night clubs, school cafeterias, comedy clubs, etc. As in many other industries, if implemented correctly, this is an effective way to grow customers, increase sales and build brand loyalty. By using SMS offers and alerts, different organizations in the Food and Entertainment industry can efficiently and quickly reach out to their client base by sending targeted text messages. Also, they can use different SMS marketing engagement methods such as text to win, text to join, mobile surveys and more to attract new customers to join and participate in product competitions or promotions. SMS marketing is now being used to communicate crucial sales data, product launches, up-to-date company information and other critical data involving customers and events.

Below are some of the main benefits that highlight why SMS Marketing is a great tool for the Food and Entertainment industry:

  • Drive Sales with a simple Text Message – A short straight to the point message can help bars and restaurants drive foot traffic to their doors. Everyone likes to a good deal and feel appreciated. A simple text message such as – Come by our store today and receive a free drink with your meal – can be very powerful and persuade your existing customers to come in and purchase from you. Also, another way to bring new customers is to offer a discount if they join your VIP SMS Program. When they text your keywords they receive a promo code or a text message with instructions on how to redeem their prize.
  • Engage Customers – Different engagement methods such as text to win / Text sweepstakes and text surveys, are a great way to engage your customers, make them feel appreciated as well as obtain useful and meaningful feedback that helps businesses ensure they are providing the right services and help them improve their services.
  • Drive brand loyalty – By engaging your customers, offering specials and inviting them to special events companies also ensure that they are always in their customers’ minds and building their reputation. As discussed above, SMS marketing helps drive brand loyalty via different programs. When the customers are involved in the business, they always think they are part of it and have an emotional investment.
  • Immediate and meaningful messages – Text messages are read within minutes of being received. Also, many customers don’t like reading a lengthy message, so SMS is a perfect way to ensure you have a quick way to reach and attain their attention. The SMS marketing offers a way of communicating information in short and precise manner. Business owners also save time preparing the message because it is short.
  • Fast, economical and efficient – sending a text message to hundreds or thousands of customers takes minutes if not seconds. In the food and entertainment industry, there are many events some happening within a short notice. The SMS marketing may be the only fast, efficient and economical way to inform a group of customers if the event occurs in a couple of hours.

SMS Marketing for entertainment industry

In summary, SMS marketing is benefiting many businesses in the Food and Entertainment industry to communicate with their large customer base and promote their businesses and drive brand loyalty and brand recognition by using this new form of marketing. Since the technology continues to improve, the benefits of text message marketing can only increase. SMS alerts and offers, text to win, text to join services help add a competitive edge to business and the products in food and entertainment industry.

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Text Messaging Marketing in Religious Institutions

Religious institutions are great at testing out and taking advantage of different technological tool. They have found the perfect balance of using tradition and innovation. Churches, mosques, synagogues as well as religious schools are very receptive to technology and open to keep their members engaged via different means.

One of the technologies that can be best utilized by churches and other religious institutions is SMS marketing. Text messaging marketing uses the mobile devices to send promotional information to a high number of cell phone users. It is estimated that a Short Message Services are read within four minutes of sending, and this makes them an effective tool for use by churches that want to reach a high number of individuals within a short time.

SMS Marketing for churches

Text to join and SMS Alerts

Text to join is a service that is used to collect phone numbers and email addresses that can then be used to communicate with them in the future. Churches and other religious institutions can use this service to ask their members to join their texting and e-mail alert programs and start communicating with the members on regular basis. SMS alerts are the easiest way that churches and other religious institutions can use SMS technology in their work. Text messages can be used to reach members of congregations with various messages. Religious institutions can perform their core functions of increasing spreading spirituality messages through SMS. In this manner, institutions of religion can reach many people, and hopefully influence their beliefs. SMS alerts can be used to communicate from a church to congregants about special events of the institution. Conferences, meetings and other events can be communicated to members inexpensively and fast. In matters spiritual, churches and other religious institutions can send SMS alerts to members periodically to strengthen their faith. For example, churches can send daily SMS alerts with bible verses.

Mobile Surveys

Religious institutions also need quality control methods to ensure that the services that they provide their members are satisfactory. Mobile surveys are an easy and economical to use; member are required to respond to questions about a particular issue using text messages. The results are then collated and such institutions use the results to improve their services. Better services translate to satisfied and spiritually sound members.

Text to Screen

Text to screen is a service that uses SMS to engage members of an audience. Using a designated short code and a keyword, a text message is sent, and then displayed on a big screen projection device where a greater audience can view its content. In religious institutions that have large audiences, this is a great way of communicating and engaging members. Texts by members of the audience in form of questions and comments can be relayed live on a display during a church service. This increases audience participation, and the message of the church is received more effectively.

Text messaging services is a good and effective technology that churches and other religious institutions can employ to effectively reach their audiences with their messages. If well utilized, they are also a great way of generating income for such institutions.

 

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How schools, universities and educational institutions can leverage SMS Marketing and SMS Alerts

In today’s world, technology has become one of the most significant ways of getting information. It is also one of the most convenient ways that people communicate with each other. Short message service (SMS), also referred to as texting, is one of them. This is becoming more and more popular in schools and universities among students, teachers, professors, and school administrators. Below are a few examples and ideas on how schools, universities and other educational institutions can leverage the power of SMS marketing and SMS alert services.

Informational SMS Alerts:

One way that schools and universities use SMS is for information purposes. For example, administrators, deans, or school principals can notify either the parents, the students, or both about events that will take place. New prospective students can text in a keyword to a short code to receive enrollment information, request an onsite campus visit, campus maps etc. Also existing students can sign up for class and alerts, such as class schedules, campus events, graduation ceremonies and any other on campus related activities. Text Messaging is a simple, direct and cost effective way to keep students informed and engaged.

Emergency SMS Alerts:

SMS alerts have become a great option for campuses when it comes to emergency alerts. A simple text message to join the school emergency alert program provides great comfort and safety feeling to students and parents. Schools and universities can then leverage SMS alerts to keep students informed about weather alerts, school closing, on campus awareness etc.

SMS Marketing for Universities

Mobile Surveys and Feedback:

Text message surveys have become popular among students as this is an easy and trendy way to get feedback from students. Universities and colleges are making Mobile Surveys an option for students to participate in sharing their experience about campus activities, events they would like to see on campus and about their overall experiences in college. The use of this technological source makes it easier and fun for students so the participation rate is higher than sending out an e-mail or filling out a paper survey. Also, Mobile Surveys offer great reporting and survey results that allows school faculty and staff to focus more on addressing the students feedback than spending time on organizing the answers.

On Campus Sales and Offers:

SMS marketing is also a great tool for campus cafeterias, bookstores and any other places that offer discounts to students. An example is displaying a call to action in front of the cafeteria or within the cafeteria:

Text OFFERS to 82257 to join our Text VIP program and receive our specials and alerts.

This simple step will sign up students to weekly cafeteria specials that offer discounts and specials. To learn more on how to leverage SMS Marketing for on campus cafeteria you can also ready our Sodexo Case Study.

SMS Marketing and SMS alerts have become a great way to communicate and engage with on campus students, faculty and staff. This is a simple channel that offers great benefits to participants and subscribers (students and faculty) as well as to system managers (faculty and staff). SMS is cost effective, immediate and provides great reporting capabilities. Overall this is a channel that schools and universities can no longer afford to ignore.

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