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How to-conduct-an-effective-sms-pilot-program

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  • 1. How to Conduct an Effective SMS Pilot Program Profound Mobile Marketing It’s only just begun Written by Marwan Soghaier WHITE PAPER | MAY 2010 THE DIGITAL MARKETING COMPANY mobileStorm | PROFOUND MOBILE MARKETING Copyright © 2010 mobileStorm Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 2. THE DIGITAL MARKETING COMPANY mobileStorm | PROFOUND MOBILE MARKETING Copyright © 2010 mobileStorm Inc. All rights reserved. Published by mobileStorm Inc. 7900 Haskell Ave Van Nuys, CA 91406 Telephone (818) 465-6500 Facsimile (877) 801-4208 Copyright © 2010 No part of the contents of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of mobileStorm Inc. mobileStorm is a registered trademark of mobileStorm Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. www.mobilestorm.com
  • 3. mobileStorm | PROFOUND MOBILE MARKETING Copyright © 2010 mobileStorm Inc. All rights reserved. How to Conduct an Effective SMS Pilot Program To evaluate the true effectiveness of SMS and its potential contribution to your organizational goals, there’s no better method than conducting a well planned SMS pilot program. Since its sole purpose is to demonstrate what new markets can be penetrated and what hurdles can be jumped using SMS, an effective pilot program requires detailed planning, solid measurement, and constant optimization throughout the promotion, followed by a well thought-out go forward plan once the pilot is finished. Planning A detailed, well thought-out plan for your pilot program is paramount in getting results. The two most important aspects to think about are clearly defining precisely what your objectives are and having a procedure in place that generates measurable results. Loosely defining either, or leaving any aspect to chance, is the biggest reason pilots fail to generate useful results. It’s also important to allocate appropriate time and resources to your pilot; otherwise, your results will be skewed by the resulting unrealistic environment. The best way to plan appropriately is to use benchmarks from campaigns in similar industries or campaigns that targeted similar audiences. This will at least give you a sense of scale in resource planning and allow you to accurately evaluate your potential ROI if the program is scaled up to the organizational level. The next step is to define what you’ll be offering your target audience via SMS. In order to develop a database that performs, you’ll need a clear-cut strategy in terms of what you want to accomplish to ensure you’re able to come out of the pilot ready to hit the gas pedal. In general, there are three broad categories for your SMS pilot: 1. Incentives. Here, the value is in the incentive you’re providing. This can include sending coupons, special deal notifications, secret sale dates, and more. Consider having this incentive available exclusively via mobile as well, which provides the added value in distributing your message using this very unique and powerful medium. 2. Informational alerts. Here, the value is in the information you’re providing. An alert about an upcoming event is a good example, or providing an account or loyalty balance is another. The target audience will see value in receiving this type of information and will be appreciative as a result. 3. Interactive. Here, the value is in the interaction you’re providing. In looking at your target audience, will a poll, trivia contest, or a text-to-screen promotion work to keep people engaged? This SMS-based interactivity may work well in venues like restaurants, bars, or other places where offering active entertainment will keep people on site longer. It’s important to measure sales with and without the promotion when choosing this path. During your pilot, you’ll likely want to make sure you test a variety of programs to see how SMS can be best utilized for your goals. In doing so, limit, categorize, and organize the programs you want to try into three sets:
  • 4. mobileStorm | PROFOUND MOBILE MARKETING Copyright © 2010 mobileStorm Inc. All rights reserved. First priority: Choose one to three programs to launch ASAP. These should be the programs you feel are easiest to measure and the most likely to achieve results. Second priority: After you have a good feel for the first set of programs, switch to two to three others to find out if they perform better or worse than the first set. At this point, you will have learned enough to be able to give the less obvious programs a better chance of success. Third priority: This should be a set of promotions that you’d like to try, but perhaps the success or failure of the pilot doesn’t depend on them. You may only get to utilize this last set of programs if things move quickly. Even if you don’t, by now you’ll be in a better position to understand how promotions operate and judge whether or not you want to plan to evaluate them in the future. In planning your strategy, only choose to evaluate the criteria that you can measure. If you can’t measure it, you can’t prove the viability of the pilot potentially converting into an on-going program. This negates the point of conducting a pilot program in the first place. In addition, it’s important to choose programs that can be easily measured inside the pilot time and resource restrictions and that don’t have to extend past the pilot end date. Things like loyalty programs, ongoing alerts that people may come to depend upon, and other programs where the value lies with ongoing communications are much less appropriate for a pilot since it may hurt your brand if you stop sending and your audience isn’t ready to stop receiving. For example, you wouldn’t want to start a newsletter program and stop after one issue. It’s also similarly advisable to avoiding promotions that require integration with other systems, as this may spoil valuable relationships with outside organizations. During the Pilot Once you’ve thoroughly planned your strategy and launched your SMS pilot program, it’s vital to set a regular schedule to review results with stakeholders on the project. This should include the project manager(s), partners or vendors included in the pilot and those who will benefit from the end results. When reviewing statistics and data coming from the pilot, it’s a good idea to consolidate the various measurements into a single dashboard for easy viewing and analysis. It’s also good practice to keep a close eye on the “unsubscribe” rates to measure how well your audience is engaged. Once relevant data starts rolling in, it’s important to be continually optimizing all aspects to ensure an effective outcome. Here are some main points you should be optimizing throughout the trial: • When you’re sending SMS, or when the promotion is active • When you’re promoting a text-in or any other “joining” activity • How you’re asking users to join the promotion • To whom you’re directing your promotion
  • 5. mobileStorm | PROFOUND MOBILE MARKETING Copyright © 2010 mobileStorm Inc. All rights reserved. Optimizing your messaging throughout the trial also gives you an opportunity to see what will happen to your results without large variables that could end up having a huge consequence in the end. During the trial, plan for success and for what you’ll do when the pilot is complete. Do you need to add resources? Was there something you missed that’s now become obvious to you? Do you need another measurement to be sure of what’s happening? Asking yourself these questions during the pilot gives you plenty of time to fix anything that requires modification. After the Pilot After you’ve completed the pilot, you should be in a position to know how the promotions you’ve chosen operate and that you can subsequently make informed decisions going forward. Have a debriefing meeting with your stakeholders and identify what went wrong and what went right. If you’ve identified something that went wrong, do you know why? Do you know exactly how to fix it in the future and what the potential results would have been if it had never happened? Ask yourself what the projections would be if you were to extend the pilot long-term and organization-wide. If it makes sense to continue with the promotions you’ve trialed, it’s important to continue directly into the adoption period. Otherwise, you risk losing momentum in your campaign, progress within your audience, and the results you have worked so hard for. If you’re one of the many organizations that are seriously considering evaluating the potential benefits of using SMS, there’s no better method that rolling out a comprehensive pilot program. It is the best way to understand the various aspects of the medium and see first- hand the overall effectiveness that SMS campaigns can bring to your organization. If carried out properly, you’ll know without a doubt whether or not SMS is the right choice for your promotions.
  • 6. mobileStorm | PROFOUND MOBILE MARKETING Copyright © 2010 mobileStorm Inc. All rights reserved. About mobileStorm Inc. Based in Los Angeles, with more than a decade of email and mobile messaging, mobileStorm has successfully delivered more than three billion messages on behalf of thousands of premier customers such as Overstock.com, NASCAR, American Idol, Kaiser Permanente, and Ashley Furniture HomeStore. mobileStorm is at the forefront of the digital marketing revolution, providing a turnkey SaaS email and mobile messaging platform. mobileStorm has created the most complete solution available while providing expert advice, legendary customer service, and marketing technology that drives ROI and revenue lift for mobileStorm’s customers Find out more by visiting www.mobilestorm.com 866-492-7886 sales@mobilestorm.com mobileStorm Inc. 7900 Haskell Ave. Van Nuys, CA 91406 T (818) 465-6500 F (877) 801-4208 www.mobilestorm.com

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