SMS Marketing More Than Just LOLs & OMGs


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You have no doubt heard how important mobile marketing and sending well-timed SMS messages have become. This guide will fill you in on why.

There is more to typing in your message and sending a text to the masses. Learn more about:

What SMS Marketing Is
All The Best Practices
Building A List
Reports and Tracking
Industry Examples

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SMS Marketing More Than Just LOLs & OMGs

  1. 1. SMS MARKETING More Than Just L OLs & OMGs
  2. 2. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs This guide is for organizations of any size or individuals wanting to learn the basics of SMS marketing for business purposes in order to generate new leads and engage users. SMS MARKETING More Than Just L OLs & OMGs By Michael Cusden Michael Cusden, an inbound marketing manager at SimplyCast, is responsible for creating ebooks, whitepapers and online marketing guides. Michael is a prolific blogger who also manages content for SimplyCast’s website and user application. He has expertise in content marketing, social media marketing and occasionally has time to tweet about it. As he does not want you texting him, you can learn more @michaelcusden or @simplycast The use of text-messaging, or SMS as it is known, is on the rise while email usage is on the decline. On top of this, more mobile phones are sold around the world every day when compared to personal computers. As a marketer, if you want to reach consumers with highly targeted campaigns, you had better put a mobile marketing strategy in place now. This whitepaper, explains why mobile marketing, particularly SMS marketing, is the ideal platform to reach consumers. Most of us are familiar with SMS text messaging, but applying effective SMS marketing to your business may seem difficult. That is why I am here. After going through this guide, you will be able to have SMS campaigns up and running and you will start to see the benefits of the medium right away. 2
  3. 3. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 A Primer on SMS Marketing 6 Best Practices 12 List Creation 14 Creating a Campaign 19 What Metrics to Track 23 Industry Examples 27 Conclusion Copyright SimplyCast 2013 3
  4. 4. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs A PRIMER ON SMS MARKETING What exactly is SMS marketing anyways? You know, the texting of quick messages that everyone is doing. We are not talking magic or witchcraft. Nope, it is pretty simple to understand. If you look around, everyone has a mobile phone attached to their hand and are waiting for it to beep. Now, all you have to do is send them a text message that adds value to their lives and engage them to take action. Seems simple enough, right? Well, just like other types of online marketing, there are those who do it well and those who don’t. Guess who gets the engaged reader in the end? Yep, you guessed correct, the ones who do it right. The goal of this guide is to highlight just how important mobile marketing is and how sending welltimed SMS messages will benefit any business. The mobile world is growing at a rapid pace. We all know that. Email is becoming white noise, while people continue to pounce when getting text messages. Now is the time to get ahead of the curve and read all about how to do SMS marketing the right way. Studies are predicting that by 2014 mobile Internet usage will surpass desktop Internet usage. Now do you see why you need to get with the program? Before you know it, your message will be the one triggering beeps, whistles and good vibrations. What is SMS Marketing SMS marketing, simply put, is marketing using a mobile phone. SMS stands for short message server, otherwise known as text messaging. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 4
  5. 5. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs SMS marketing is done using a mobile device to transfer marketing communication to interested consumers. It is an area that is gaining a great deal of interest by businesses both large and small due to its ease of use and the high rate of success that can be achieved. That being said, it is not ideal for every business and that is something you need to figure out first. Do you have a list of phone numbers? What are the downsides (if any)? How will you send your message to everyone at once? Why SMS Marketing Works SMS marketing works because a text message is the most engaging marketing tool that was previously not available to small businesses. Recent data shows that over 90% of text messages are read within the first five minutes. That alone should signal to business owners that text messages are more effective and a low cost means of promotion. • Mobile or Smartphones are easily the most common accessory carried around by people. That is not going to change. According to Google, 91% of the population has a mobile phone already. • Add to that, more consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices. If you send a well-timed, informative text, most of the people will at the very least open it. • SMS marketing is cost effective. Sending a text is similar to the cost of email marketing and much less expensive (and less time consuming) than direct mail or traditional advertising. • SMS is simple and effective, while not allowing extra sales or marketing fluff. You don’t have space to waste on words. • Text message marketing is a simple and effective way to reach customers. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 5
  6. 6. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs SMS MARKETING BEST PRACTICES Before you go off and start blasting your company message to everyone’s mobile phone, there are rules in place and suggested protocols you need to follow. If not, you are not only turning off your customers’ interest but you could be putting your whole business in jeopardy. Most of the same rules apply as other marketing mediums so if you have ever done email marketing or fax marketing, you will be in great shape. The main goal when doing SMS marketing is to provide value. Please always follow this one rule of rules. Customers are opting in to receive your message because they want value. Do not just send out the standard offers and information that can easily be found elsewhere. You need to make the client feel special, as if you were sending the message just for them. People have a very special relationship with their mobile phone and you don’t want to infringe on that with junk. If a customer allows you into their mobile space, don’t take it for granted. They will remove you and never let you back in. They may even tell other people about their negative experience. Consider Why Y Are Using It ou The message you are sending is clearly the information you want to convey but what does the user want from you? If you think in those terms when you are crafting your message, it will be very helpful. What useful information can you provide in response to a keyword for example? One of the best uses for SMS marketing is customer service. When Y Are Using it ou For many, text messages rank higher than email, tweets, Facebook updates or even the actual phone. So that means the vibrate or chime is set to go off. Consider this for sending times. Do you really want to wake someone up with a vibrating phone, just so they read your special deal on flip flops? That person will be very unhappy. You will get an open but no engagement or action. A good rule of thumb is to try and stick to business hours of your company. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 6
  7. 7. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Don’t send after 9 pm local time or before 11 am local time to avoid aggravating night owls and early risers. This is why it is good to think ahead and request time zone information from clients so you can send your SMS in waves. The Opt-in is A Must You have heard this one before and we can’t make it clear enough. You should always obtain the prior consent of the recipients before sending out your marketing and promotional messages. This includes SMS, email, voice or any other kind of promotion. Unsolicited communications should not be sent to your target audience ever. Not only are there legal requirements to do so (any reputable service provider won’t touch purchased lists), but also obtaining permission will improve the success of your campaign as people are more likely to be receptive to messages when they have given their permission to receive them. If you think of messages you have received via text that you didn’t opt-in for, you probably trashed them. Be Crystal Clear With Message Creating the content of your messaging is no different than a message communicated via any other form of advertising. It needs to be relevant to the intended audience and very clear on who it is coming from. Identify yourself right away. Mobile marketing must contain the identity of the sender and a valid contact address (this can be done within the body of the message or as the sender ID, also known as an Alpha Tag). The contact address could be a web or physical address where a consumer may send an opt-out to or to request a full copy of the terms and conditions. Take advantage of common text language abbreviations which will allow you to say more within the standard 160 characters of an SMS. Remember that SMS is supposed to be interactive. Your message creation should have a strong call to action to exploit the opportunity to encourage a response. An example would be “for more info send the word MORE to 70011.” Then you follow up with the meat of the offer. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 7
  8. 8. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs It's All About Timing You have heard this before when it comes to how you do your marketing. Timing is everything. You need to engage with the customer at the ideal time for a sign up or purchase. When you actually send is very important when it comes to mobile. If you can master the art of sending when your customers are in the mindset to buy from you, that is gold. For retailers, this would be early evening when people are out of the office and on their free time. It of course comes down to what your product or service is and knowing as much about your customers as possible. Gather these preferences at the point of opt-in if you can. On your full site opt-in page, request all the critical information and permissions you will need. Request time zone/area code, critical segmentation data, and specific program permissions. If you add programs down the road, you will need to get new permissions, so the more comprehensive you can be at the outset, the fewer subscribers you will lose as your program expands. Engage Right Away Understand that your sending works before you even begin to collect phone numbers. When someone signs up on your website, they need to get a confirmation to their phone right away. If this message does not come for weeks or months later, the user most likely won’t be interested anymore and you will lose a significant portion of your reach. Vanity is Recommended Start to use a numeric vanity short code in your messages. It’s fine to use a shared short code in the beginning, but if you want to achieve the best results, invest in your own. When you share a code, you share keywords, so a “stop text” unsubscribes an individual from all programs. Brief, logical, common keywords get used up quickly. Vanity short codes represent a commitment to a great program and if you don’t have that you can’t grow. It is important to remember that most users are not texting on a traditional telephone keyboard, so the digits that spell out a name are far less useful than easy-to-remember numbers, such as 121212 or 777777. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 8
  9. 9. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Universal Opt-Out Command The universal opt-out command is the word “STOP”. When a consumer sends in the word “STOP” to the mobile number (or SMS Short Code) attached to a campaign, the consumer’s mobile number should be removed from the campaign database and broadcasting of campaign messages to their mobile number should cease. You need to be very proactive and transparent about your opt-out process. If someone wants off the list, you need to follow through. Now that we have covered the main best practices, we want to take a moment and focus on some of the more dry and legal rules of SMS. Don’t worry, it will be quick. But we do know you will want to read then over. The rules are simply called the mobile marketing code of conduct and are put together by the Mobile Marketing Association (meaning this needs to be taken seriously). The following is an excerpt from the MMA’s mobile code. 1. Notice: provides consumers with the information they need to make choices about a marketing program. Marketers must provide information about the products/services offered and the terms and conditions of the program. If you have a web page for users to join your mobile marketing list, for example, the page should specify what types of communications the user will get, how often, and other important details. 2. Choice & Consent: enables consumers to control which mobile messages they receive. Marketers must implement an opt-in and opt-out process to obtain consent from the user for all mobile messaging. This can be via SMS opt-in, a web form, or other method, as long as the opt-in and opt-out mechanisms are clear and easily discoverable. Program messaging should include opt-out instructions on a regular basis. 3. Customization & Constraint: provides relevant and responsibly tailored messages. Marketers should use information collected about users to customize marketing to their needs and interests, and any user information that’s collected must be sensitively and responsibly handled. Mobile marketing messages should also provide value to the user (i.e., avoid sending irrelevant or unwanted messages). Copyright SimplyCast 2013 9
  10. 10. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs 4. Security: procedures and policies that protect consumers’ information. Marketers need to implement “reasonable technical, administrative, and physical procedures” to protect all user information collected. If you gather information like cell phone numbers and names, that data needs to be safeguarded so that only those who need to access that information do, and that the information is not transferred, changed, or disclosed for unauthorized purposes. 5. Enforcement & Accountability: requires MMA members to comply with the Code. The Code is included in the MMA’s Consumer Best of Practice Guidelines. As of now, there’s no third-party enforcement of these guidelines, so it’s the responsibility of marketers to ensure that their programs are compliant with the standards above. All programs must comply with federal and state laws, as applicable. “Msg & Data Rates may apply” must be clearly added on promotion/advertising. Cost of premium or other fees must be clearly stated as well. Advertising must note that participation requires users to be 18 years or older or have parental/ guardian permission. Selling mobile opt-in lists is prohibited. The STOP and HELP keywords (not case-sensitive) should be featured in advertising and messaging to offer subscribers the opportunity to cancel or get more information about the program at any time. The Do Not T ext list Unlike email, which relies on filters that are far from foolproof, it is entirely possible to block commercial texts. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission prohibits automated dialling, which includes mass SMS, without the express consent of the called party. India has already instituted a Do Not Text list. Telecommunications companies exist to serve their customers, not marketers. SMS can be an entree to a customer’s inner circle or it could go the way of telemarketing. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 10
  11. 11. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Avoid the “Cold” T ext Did you really think you could send an SMS blast to a bunch of people who are not expecting it and get positive results? Instead, offer customers the opportunity to sign up for SMS through your website, Facebook page, blog, or through short codes. Much like the dreaded telemarketing call during dinner, an unwanted cold text leaves the same bitter taste in customers’ mouths about your company or product. Offer a Variety of SMS It is highly recommended to offer several different types of SMS campaigns for your customers, letting them opt-in for as many as are relevant to them. For example, try an SMS strictly for promotions only available through that service. Or, include an SMS specifically for company updates and news. If your company is using short codes, customize the digits for the specific type of SMS. Simplify SMS Features SMS marketing is a two-way street, where customer-to-company interactions should be simple. Like we have mentioned already, ensure that your SMS includes a feature where customers can text directly for help or technical issues. Allow customers to text “HELP” for assistance and “STOP” to unsubscribe. Don’t create frustration or hoops to jump through. Yes, it is bad that a customer wants to stop receiving messages from you but you should not punish them for it. Always T & Analyze est To better understand what works and what doesn’t, analyze your data after each SMS send. Is there one type of SMS that is doing better than another? Are more customers signing up through short codes or an online opt-in form? Are SMS promotions more successful than another marketing strategy? Compare data within SMS and also compare the data collected through other marketing strategies. This will not only provide a better understanding of how customers are interacting with your company, but also point out how customers like to receive your information There you have it, all the best practices a person could need to properly do SMS marketing. Because the channel of communication is so easy to start, many jump right into sending without knowing the rules first. So, how do I build a list to send to? Great timing. List creation is up next. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 11
  12. 12. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs SHARE! LIST CREATION A great campaign starts with a list. A list full of opt-in subscribers who want to receive your message. But where does one get the list? Should you buy it or build it? If you don’t have their permission, then all you have is data that you should not send to. Just like with other forms of marketing, there are numerous ways to create a list for SMS marketing endeavours. These include adding a signup form to your website, adding contacts one-by-one, mass uploading already gathered lists (opt-in) and of course the old school offline strategies that seem to be overlooked. What I want to focus on here is what the differences are for SMS and what you need to focus on when it comes to growing and managing your client lists. One of the biggest problems when it comes to SMS marketing is that companies still send their message out into the unknown. This means sending to users who have not opted-in or who have opted-in but have no idea you will be sending to them. For this reason, you need to think less about the bulk send and focus more on a targeted list. Sending to a targeted list increases the chances of a user acting on your message. A good way to go about growing an SMS list is to run contests or promote a short code in an existing marketing campaign (email, fax, survey, social etc.) Creating a list for SMS purposes can be more closely compared to Fax marketing or Voice as you are collecting a phone number. You should add Name, Email and Phone number to your form. The rest you can ask for later on. To make things even easier, I recommend you set up your list as follows before uploading. Make sure the phone numbers in your list are in their own column. You can upload additional information such as name, address, etc. with the phone numbers, but the phone numbers need to be separate from the rest of the information. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 12
  13. 13. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Uploading Lists If you already have an opt-in list that you need to upload, most SMS Marketing Providers make the task simple. As long as the document is in some form of spreadsheet, the information will be uploaded for use and edited in no time. Common formats for uploading include CSV, EXCEL and plain text. Managing large lists of data can be time consuming and difficult for online marketers with limited resources, so that is why it is important to find a list management service that makes everything easy, while still providing the features you need. Signup Forms Instead of asking new subscribers to send their email address, depending upon your business needs, you may want to simply collect their phone number to communicate to them via SMS. The collection process is the same as collecting an email address. Create an enticing offer and ask new subscribers to register for your SMS program. In this case you will want to send an SMS confirmation as opposed to an email confirmation to welcome the new subscriber to your SMS program. By adding a signup form to your website or blog, you can begin the process of gathering opt-in readers who are excited to receive communications from your company. With just a little copy and pasting, you can add a signup form in minutes. Numerous services will allow you to customize your form and then generate HTML code that you can add to your website or landing page. Your signup form will automatically connect to a list management system where you can monitor, edit and split the data however you choose. If you have already used email marketing before, you will be very familiar with this process. The placement of your offer is just as important as the actual offer. At a minimum, include the offer on your brand’s website. This is especially important for those companies that have mobile web applications. Sending a quick SMS message on a cell phone is often easier than subscribing via the web. Other opportunities include banners in store fronts for those that have them, a collection point on your Facebook page, and within your promotional or newsletter emails. In general, you can ask for SMS subscriptions anywhere you would ask for email subscriptions. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 13
  14. 14. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs CREATING A CAMPAIGN Now that you have all of the best practices under your belt and have a list of opt-in users, it is time to make that first campaign. Putting together an automated SMS campaign is a dream for those who want to get to the point fast. At the same time, the limited space to work with can really leave you nowhere to hide. Ready? Yes? Good. What types of messages are best communicated via SMS? Send text for information – The most common type of two-way communication for SMS marketing purposes is sending information. Use this type of campaign to reply to interested customers with company information, specials and promotions. Message content can include web addresses, phone numbers and text to make it easy for customers to connect. Again, pretty simple and to the point. Just be ready to respond quickly to questions to keep the user happy and engaged. Send one way reminders – Choose this type to send messages to individuals immediately or to schedule messages for future distribution. It is ideal for appointment reminders for doctors, dentists, auto service centers, spas and any business that is looking for a fast and easy way to send out reminders. Send autoresponders – This form of SMS is ideal to send a bounce back offer, message or reminder at a specific time after the user sends an inbound text. This is ideal for restaurants to send coupons automatically and help drive traffic back to the physical location. Send a text to win – Most likely what people are most familiar with. Brands use this example to create a mobile game to register mobile users for a random text-to-win contest. Then ideally it is set up so the campaign management service picks a random winner and sends alerts to the winner and all of the participants. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 14
  15. 15. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Send a mobile coupon – No more paper coupons. They are so 1990. Save customers the trouble of having to keep track of paper coupons by creating a mobile coupon. Once you have a coupon created, send out the coupon text messages with a unique numeric code to validate the coupon and to provide a way to track redemption rates. Send subscription texts – Send a text to users so they can subscribe and get a series of informative text messages on a regular basis. This feature is meant for advanced campaign users providing daily messaging to customers. Remember the tips should be short and to the point. Send a series of questions – Depending on your product, service or purpose, you can engage users with a question to entertain them and provide ongoing product or company exposure. Create a series of questions, with multiple-choice answers that can be sent out serially. Think of this as a poll question or something more fun. A good example who be a post experience survey. Of course it needs to be said that SMS marketing is not applicable for all types of messages that you want to send to your clients. You need to remember the purpose of the medium. That is: to be interactive, engaging and quick. SMS is best used when you want to communicate short and timely messages. This would include: • Breaking news for news groups • Exclusive sales events for retailers • Alerts and transactions for banks • Polls and survey questions • Registration for sweepstakes What to Include & Not to Include When creating any SMS marketing message there are some very basic things you need to include. Without the basic information in place, you are setting yourself up for some poor results, even legal results. Since SMS is limited in size, many try to save precious characters in a variety of ways and sometimes forget to include the most basic of information. With SMS being just 160 characters, one would think it would be pretty easy to write up a message and send. That can be a real trap. SMS is a very personal and direct medium and without considering the content, delivery and calls to action in your message you could potentially see a lot of opt-outs from your list. However, when carefully constructed, SMS can be a powerful and well regarded part of your marketing strategy. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 15
  16. 16. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs SHARE! Skip the Cutesy Text Lingo If you think that sounding like a teenager will make you seem cooler, hipper and more in the know, then you are sorely mistaken. In fact, most of the people you are reaching out to are not teenyboppers but adults with expendable cash. Unless, of course, your products and services are entirely directed at the high school set, then by all means try to fit in. Keep in mind that looking fake is another way to turn someone off. Sure, text lingo is today’s shorthand and it is quicker to type out. But as a savvy professional you have all the time in the world to create your SMS message. You are not communicating in real-time with your customers over text and, because of that, you don’t need to chat as if you are. If you can’t fit the message in without using short cuts, you should rewrite or reconsider what you are trying to say. Stick to a Single Message With all of your other promotions running, it seems natural and almost mindless to stick several different sales into your SMS marketing. Remember that you’re limited to 160 characters and that, quite frankly, isn’t a lot of space to write. Keep your focus on one message at a time. Not only are you using every character available to get across what you are pushing, you are also not confusing your subscribers with multiple messages. One message = one topic. Time Your SMS Correctly The beauty with text message marketing is that there is not much of a delay between the time your message is sent and the time it is opened by your subscriber. As a rule, text messages are opened faster than emails. Perhaps it’s due to the incredibly personal way of communicating: you’re message is in their pocket or purse. Look to the time and day that your customers are most active with your SMS. Though each business is different, in general, most people are more inclined to act on marketing messages later in the afternoon, towards the evening and often on the weekends. So, send your messages on the top three days and times and watch your conversions soar. Make sure to target your lists based on where people live. Receiving a text at 3 am is not going to do much for your image in that customer’s eyes. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 16
  17. 17. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Make it Easy for Customers to Purchase It’s important with any marketing strategy, especially SMS, that cashing in on your promotions is quick and painless. If you make your customers jump through hoops to get their 20% discount, they’ll just as soon turn it down instead of using it. A note about promotional codes: ensure that they’re easy to remember. For example, SHOE40 is far easier to remember than SHOE4U1234, especially if the discount is 40% off their next purchase of shoes. Link to Your Other Promotions As long as your message remains shorter than the 160-character maximum, you’ll be able to link to your online life. But don’t over do it because you’ll waste valuable space on the other end. So the best thing to do is offer links that are relevant to your promotional message. Also, set up a directed landing page that offers more information regarding your deal as well as additional links to your main website and social media pages. Start Your Message with “Action” Words Action words are nothing more than verbs, and starting off sentences with verbs makes for more lively prose and cuts to the chase faster. Verbs save precious character space by replacing a whole bunch of unnecessary words. Also, verbs inspire action on the part of the customer. Consider these action words to start your message with: buy, sell, jump, run, save, spend, purchase, stop. Whatever action you want your customers to take, start your message with that. Write Short Sentences By nature, text marketing doesn’t support long-winded descriptions of your promotions, products and services. You only have 160-characters to get in, get out and get it right. If you tend to write nicely worded sentences, then try breaking them apart. Short sentences do many things for your text messages. First, they give your subscribers plenty of space to forward your message to their friends and include a personal message of their own. Second, short sentences force you to get to the point quickly and efficiently. Third, writing short sentences actually improves the way you write. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 17
  18. 18. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Use “Sentence Case” Writing in sentence case is like not writing in text lingo. They essentially go hand-in-hand. Why? Typically, with text lingo, CAPITALIZATION comes along for the ride (think “UR”). There is a special place for capitalization in text message marketing, namely to highlight an action like a SALE. But, using capitalization throughout your message is poor form. It is exceedingly hard to read on a small screen. Got a tip that was not mentioned? Let us know in the comments section. Your fellow SMS experts will appreciate it. Short Codes A short code is a special five to six digit phone number. The application of short codes are manifold. Mobile phone users can send SMS text messages to short codes to retrieve information, redeem mobile offers, join alert notifications, vote in a poll and much more. Testing Testing is always a huge part of your marketing strategy, no matter the channel of communication. A blunder on a huge SMS campaign will not only waste money but will also damage the brand. While the text message format does lend itself to short form lingo, as a business you should stick to your overall style. Don’t try to appear as something you are not. Send a few test messages before the real one. Have everything perfect before opening it up to your list of valued customers. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 18
  19. 19. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs TRACKING RESULTS AND MEASURING SUCCESS The best marketers, no matter the medium, learn from what works and what does not work. This, of course, goes for SMS marketing as well. That’s why measurement is so important. You should be measuring everything from how your database grows and shrinks to the volume of recipients responding to a call to action. Taking into account the cost per recipient of your campaign can help you understand how to make it more cost-effective too, particularly when weighed against the money you have made from those who responded to your calls to action. In order to measure your SMS marketing success you need to know what metrics to look at. Before Y Begin ou Always set the parameters of your metric analysis before actually starting the monitoring process. If you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. Ask yourself these questions: • What are your goals for your SMS marketing campaign? • Do you have any standards already set for your SMS campaign? • What do you hope to learn from the data? • How are you going to use the data collected? Subscriber List The subscriber list is only one thing, but understanding where your numbers are coming from is even more valuable. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 19
  20. 20. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs First, look at the total number you have. Does it match up with your target market? Then, ask these questions: • Where did the opt-ins come from? • How many came from your website? • How many came from your email marketing campaign? • How many opt-ins came in from your other promotions? • Did you collect their information first, through opt-ins? • Did subscribers sign up on their own? • Which campaign is the most effective? New Subscribers Clearly, most of the answers for these usually stem from the questions answered from your basic subscriber list. All of the questions above apply to this metric as well, but it also narrows down how effective your SMS promotions are. Understanding where new subscribers are coming from will help you tailor future promotions. Some additional questions to ask: • How many new subscribers came from a forward or a recommendation from a friend? • How many came directly from a promotion or offer? Opt-Outs Sure, opt-outs are a bummer, but they are incredibly helpful. If you have a mechanism in place that allows subscribers to let you know why they’re opting out, then that is valuable. A simple form will do the trick. Never underestimate the power of opt-outs; it’s the best place to learn and ultimately to grow. Again, here are some questions to ask when analyzing these metrics: • How many subscribers opted out after a special offer? Meaning, if you publicized a discount for signing up for your SMS messaging, how many of them opted out after they received their discount? • Is there a pattern of opt-outs? Say, is there a flux after a certain type of SMS message? Copyright SimplyCast 2013 20
  21. 21. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs • What is the demographic of those who are most likely to opt-out? • To determine your comprehensive growth rate for your SMS marketing campaign, take the total number of opt-ins and subtract the number of opt-outs; divide by your total list number, and you will get the percentage growth of your campaign. In some ways, opt-outs are more important to the overall success of your SMS marketing campaign than any other metric you can analyze. Subscriber Action Okay, you have sent out your latest SMS marketing message. What did you want your subscribers to do? If there was a specific call to action or goal, start there. • How many of your subscribers did what you asked them to do? • Aside from your call to action, what else happened with your SMS message? • How many visited your website? • If you included a promotional code or discount in the SMS, how many cashed in? • How many subscribers contacted your business for additional information or to ask questions? • What is the percentage that visited your social media sites? • How many subscribers forwarded the text to others? • How many of those forwards resulted in direct action (visited website or social media)? Sales For most businesses, the bottom line is how much this marketing strategy is costing the business. Essentially, what is the return on investment for each campaign? Ideally, the result is in an increase of direct sales. Though the other SMS marketing metrics may be positive, looking at the number of sales generated directly from your SMS campaign is the most critical one. By understanding the previous metrics, you’ll be able to make changes and increase sales. So, until you make the necessary adjustments to your other metrics, the sales metric is somewhat meaningless or misleading. Finally, there are still some important questions to answer: Copyright SimplyCast 2013 21
  22. 22. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs • Directly, how many sales resulted from your most recent SMS message? • What is the average percentage of sales per SMS? • If directed to another channel, say, to your website or social media site, how many sales resulted? • Is there a return of investment? For this, consider not only money spent but also time spent by your staffers to manage and launch each SMS campaign. By answering the questions above, you will not only know how your SMS campaigns are doing, but you will see what needs a tweak and what needs to be dropped altogether. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 22
  23. 23. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs INDUSTRY EXAMPLES Before sending you on your way to create winning SMS marketing campaigns, you are probably wanting to read some examples of how different companies around the world are doing it. Here are some ideas to get you inspired. It does not matter whether you are in retail, B2B sales or the service industry, there is a way for automated SMS to work for you. Reminder Notifications It is a simple fact that people forget stuff, get their times wrong and are so busy they can’t keep things straight. Just as you would leave a note for your teenager to pick up milk, you can drop a note to your clients to remind them that they have an appointment in an hour, or a day. Why does this work so well? Because it is personalized and it increases the bond that your customer has with you – even if they were planning on not attending, they will feel obliged to if they get a text-message reminder at just the right time. Here are two examples from the airline and the logistics industry. In the case of a passenger who has pre-booked a flight with your airline, you can update them on any changes to that flight. If you know in advance that a flight will be delayed for whatever reason, then send them a text message to let them know. This will save them time, so they don’t head to the airport several hours early. They will appreciate that they were informed, they will be able to make alternative arrangements to get to the airport and they will be able to wait out the delay in the comfort of their home or hotel, instead of the airport. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 23
  24. 24. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Another example comes from the world of logistics and home-delivery or in-home service. This could be anything from receiving an important package to getting your cable installed. It would work like this: give your clients a one-hour heads-up to the fact that the delivery or service person would be at their home with the package or service within the next hour. Yes, giving your customers exact timings for a delivery is not entirely possible or ideal but anyone who has ever waited at home all day wants to be kept updated. Traffic gets bad, routes get changed and things happen to delay the delivery appointment. But if you equip your delivery vehicles with satellite navigation linked to your central system, and are able to send an SMS to your client once the vehicle is in the neighbourhood, the customer could be better prepared to be available, while still being able to proceed with their day. Appointment Notifications Tired of dealing with no-shows and last-minute cancellations? When a client or a patient fails to turn up for their consultation you end up wasting away the hour, watching money go down the drain until the next appointment shows up. While adding a non-refundable deposit prior to the consultation is a great back up plan, you want to have people show up. To help avoid these situations, you have two options. You can, first, alert them about their appointment via SMS. This will improve the chances of appointments being kept, or people contacting you to say they are not coming. Second, you can try to fill open slots in real-time. Set up an SMS-style waiting list and when you have a no-show send out a message alert to everybody that is on your waiting list. That way, as soon as you receive a last-minute cancellation, you can send a quick blast of texts out to a dozen or so local clients, letting them know that a slot has opened up, and if they are available they should get you on the phone as soon as possible. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 24
  25. 25. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs This is a great idea to ensure that your time and money are not lost on no-shows. An SMS message is the best medium for this because of the urgency of the nature of the request. People don’t read emails straight away, particularly if they’re from organizations rather than individuals. Safety and Security If you are in an industry where you are providing peace of mind and safety, then speed is of the essence. Imagine that you have gone out for the afternoon. While away, somebody jumps the fence and attempts to break into your house. The minute the alarm sounds, you receive a text message that tells you something is wrong at home. You now have various options. You can call the police, you can immediately alert a neighbor to let them know that your alarm is not going off by accident, or your alarm system company could alert you to say they have already contacted the police. Either way, action is being taken and you know what is happening A similar technique can be used in a hospital setting. If your patient notes include contact details for family members, then in the event of an emergency admittance a standard text message can be sent to the people who need to find out about it. An example could be: “One of your family members has just been admitted to hospital, please dial [insert number] for more information” Promotions A well-timed SMS can have your customers beating down your door. Imagine for a minute that you just got a shipment of the hottest gadget in tech. Give your opt-in customers the inside scoop. Send out a quick text saying that the items have just arrived and will be on the sales floor in the next hour. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 25
  26. 26. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs Not only do you reward those who have signed up to your list, you will sell the items that much quicker. This can even be a selling point to sign up to the list in the first place. Fundraising and Non Profits Mobile marketing has become a must-have for large fundraising campaigns. You may have seen on billboards, or televised charity events, an invitation to text a specific message to a specific number in order to make a donation. “Text HELP20 to 12345 to make a $20 donation” All a person needs to do is take their phone from their pocket, spend a few seconds entering a number and hit the send button. The cost to you is minimal and it adds an extra way for potential donors to support your cause. It is also easier and less invasive than asking people to go to your website, take out their credit cards and fill in all their billing details. Copyright SimplyCast 2013 26
  27. 27. SMS Marketing: More Than Just L OLs & OMGs CONCLUSION SMS marketing is an exciting and promising tool. Used correctly, it is one of the best ways to reach people at a low cost with a high level of response. Better yet, a large investment is not necessary to prove that SMS marketing works for you. A low cost campaign can be preformed and the response can easily be measured. Let SMS marketing work for you. By following best practices when it comes to list building, message creation and when you schedule to send your text messages, you will be on your way to becoming a master of mobile. Get In T ouch 1.877.323.6572 Copyright SimplyCast 2013 27