Creating the RIGHT Content for SMS Alerts

What tone do you use when releasing your SMS alerts?

It’s surprising how many marketers do not read their messages aloud before hitting “send”.  This practice can lead to dwindling interest in the messages being delivered.  Further, failing to capture the attention of consumers can leave your brand wondering:  “What happened?”

To ensure that your SMS alerts are properly representing your organisation and intriguing its consumer base, follow a few simple steps before releasing the message to the public:

(1)    Create Interesting and VALUABLE Messages

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not all consumers find your company interesting.  Sure, they make purchases from time to time, but overall, notifications about company practices that are not directly impacting the recipient will not be well-received.

During the SMS creation process, always be sure that you are speaking DIRECTLY to the recipient.  What do they like?  What offer are they most likely to redeem?  Where’s the call-to-action and value?  You should be able to answer all of these questions easily for each message delivered.  If you can’t, recreate the message!

(2)    Double-Check the Message

It’s good practice to ALWAYS check messages for errors.  But, don’t stop there!  Read the message aloud to see if it “flows” properly.  Another good technique, which we have witnessed to be quite beneficial, is sending a “test message” to members of the marketing team and other parties that will be HONEST with you about the release.  If they sign off on it, you’re good to go!  If not, it’s back to Step 1.

(3)    Release the Message at the Proper Time

Now that you have crafted the PERFECT message (because you’re an incredible marketer), it’s time to send it.  However, if the timing is off, even the best messages can lead to opt-outs, so be sure that you are sticking to business hours or prime purchasing windows.

Ask yourself a simple question before sending:  “Would I mind receiving a message from a brand that I patronise right now?”  If the answer is no, wait until tomorrow.  Who really wants to hear about a special sale at 8pm on a Tuesday night?

The content within your SMS alerts will ultimately “make or break” your campaign.  Follow these simple steps to ensure proper content creation, and your strategy will be the better for it!

Using SMS Service to DELIVER on Promises

Once a marketer has sifted through the various SMS services and settled on a particular provider, it isn’t uncommon for said marketer to get a little “overanxious” with the initial deliveries.

Today, we’re going to go over one crucial element to mobile marketing:  saying what you mean!

SMS services are not simply a channel in which we can tell customers anything we like.  Instead, at opt-in, there is usually a certain level of expectation from the consumer’s perspective.  Perhaps you promised them a digital coupon?  Maybe a nice discount on their next visit?  Regardless, of what the offer was, one thing is certain:  If you don’t deliver, they won’t be around to receive another message.

Let’s explain why…

Building Trust

Just like any other medium, mobile messages are another way in which we can establish a relationship with a particular consumer.  In the early stages, it’s imperative that we do EXACTLY what we said we would do at sign-up.  If you offered a coupon, they should get it right away!  If you promised, a discount, include it with the welcoming message!

Failing to deliver decreases trust in your brand, and can get the newly established relationship off on the wrong food.  If you can’t get deliver on your mobile strategy, how can you deliver when they trust you with their next order?

Maintaining Continuity

Once the initial message has been sent, we must continue to forge this relationship based on interest and need.  It’s ok to mix things up, as that’s always recommended, but be sure that your campaign is staying on topic.  If the VALUE is always there, participants will enjoy the messages.

Don’t Make Breaking Up Difficult

So, the beautiful company/customer relationship has come to an end, huh?  Hey, they opted-out.  It happens.  But, don’t take things personally!  The best we can do when this occurs is be sure that the opt-out feature works properly, and take a few moments to consider what may have caused the opt-out.

If a trend is occurring there is an issue with the content you are delivering.  When you have a large mobile customer list, there will always be a few who elect to leave the campaign.  Anytime this number spikes far above the norm, adjustments are necessary.

Mobile campaigns are a great way to interact with customers.  However, if you make claims about offers and special promotions and then fail to deliver on those promises within the first couple of messages, you’ll lose participants just as quickly as you gain them!  Give consumers what you promise, and your campaign will be the better for it!

Text Marketing: 21st Century VALUE Creation

Text marketing provides a unique contact point between a company and its customers.

With mobile phones taking over as our preferred communicative method, we, putting on our consumer hats for a moment, are using these devices in every way possible.  From keeping up with friends throughout the day to checking prices on products while in the store, mobiles have quickly become our personal assistants.

With this in mind, what brand wouldn’t benefit from having the “ear” of a consumer’s personal assistant?  This dynamic is why marketers all over the world are adopting the technology and including text marketing in their advertising strategies.

VALUE in the 21st Century

Remember when coupons came in the newspaper?  Some still do, but that trend is changing rapidly.  Because businesses no longer have to use “blanket” strategies to interact with consumers, many are pulling out of the archaic strategy and moving towards a more direct approach.

These “blanketed” strategies can be great for raising awareness, but they could deliver substantial blows to one’s marketing budget.  With so much capital being spent on consumers that simply aren’t interested, companies can easily improve effectiveness of allocated budgets by simply interacting with target consumers DIRECTLY.

As they filter through your store (brick-and-mortar, online, or otherwise), let them know that they can receive intriguing benefits by signing up for your brand’s mobile campaign.  Once they have opted-in, you can now market DIRECTLY to them, learning more about their preferences.  By honing your approach over time, you can be sure that every customer is getting the advertisements that best induce sales.

Text marketing isn’t a new concept, but with so many consumers now using mobile websites and the like, the technology has been upgraded from “intriguing” to “imperative”.  With a bit of practice and some intuitive research, your marketing department can interact intimately with the very consumers that are making regular purchases!

What to Look For in a Wholesale SMS Provider

Choosing the right wholesale SMS platform for your company’s advertising campaign is crucial to the success of the strategy.

With so many features being touted on the various platforms, we felt that it would be beneficial to our readers to break down the important elements of an interface, ensuring that ROI figures remain high and that the desired results ensue.

So, before signing on with any wholesale SMS provider, be sure that they offer these important features:

(1)    Metrics

Tracking metrics is a MUST to any savvy marketer.  What messages resonate well with your target market?  Which messages lead to increased opt-outs?  When you can answer these questions with a few simple clicks, you can be sure that you are honing your strategy properly, improving relationships with consumers and ensuring profitability from the investment.

(2)    Keywords

Keywords are important when “segmenting” your mobile customer base.  Simple, one-word responses allow participants to make “choices” throughout the campaign.  For example, if a customer prefers one location over another, they can respond to your query with a single keyword.  They are now automatically grouped with other consumers who prefer that same location, giving your marketing team the ability to send location-specific messages to an entire segment of the mobile customer list.

(3)    Comprehensive Pricing

Unfortunately, some organisations do not give you all of the pricing details up front.  Sure, they’ll quote a rock-bottom price, but is that really what you pay?  Be sure to ask questions about the “total” or “comprehensive” cost of the SMS service before signing up.  This will help you maintain a lower ROI threshold!

Wholesale SMS services have become a window into the lives of modern consumers.  Be sure that you are selecting a platform that allows for growth, as you will undoubtedly want to explore the wide range of tools available with quality providers.  In doing so, you can be sure that you only have to make this decision once!

Understand Reporting Tools Before Launching your Next SMS Promotion

When running an SMS promotion, we cannot understate the importance of REPORTING functionality within the platform!

Because, as marketers, we must always know the status of our releases and how they are being received by consumers, solid reporting information can go a long way towards letting us know whether or not our SMS promotion is having the desired effect on our target market.

Consider the following elements as KEYS to understanding a mobile release report:

Delivered Messages

The “Delivered” rate should show how many of the messages were delivered to recipients.  Our platform, for example, lays this information out both as a total figure and a percentage.  This is a great way to gauge how many legitimate contacts you current have on your mobile list.

Bounce Rates

“Bounce Rates” are directly tied to “Delivered Messages”.  This figure will let you know how many messages WERE NOT delivered to recipients.  The reasons for non-delivered messages can vary:  invalid contact number, technical issues, et cetera.

When combined, these two figures should total 100% of the mobile list.

Opt-Outs

Knowing how many consumers have “opted-out” of your campaign is very important!  If you are testing various promotion styles, keep a close eye on this figure.  If it is rising, you know that you have to adjust the mobile approach.

Pending

There will be times when messages are “waiting” to be delivered due to technical issues.  Once the issue is resolved, either through the recipient’s mobile carrier or the platform’s gateway, these messages will be delivered.

Responses

Keywords are an important part of the mobile “puzzle”.  Knowing how many consumers respond to your promotion gives you a good idea of how well the message is resonating within the target market.  Expect this number to increase as you use more keywords to improve the user experience.

Information is the key to mobile success!  Anytime you are researching SMS platforms, always be sure to inquire about the reporting tools, as they can have a HUGE impact on the campaign’s ROI.  For more information about OUR reporting tools, you can visit

http://burstsms.com.au/features/reporting-data

Tracking Dialogue with Two Way SMS Technology

Conversation is the key to selling!

While this notion has been paraphrased countless times, it’s true – consumers want to be heard, not sold.  This is why two way SMS technology has become such an important part of the sales process.  The immediacy of the conversation plays an important role, but as you’ll see, it’s the COMPILATION of information that really proves valuable for the marketer’s organisation –

The Nature of Modern Conversation

Before we dive into how two way SMS is important for the sales process, let’s first take note of how modern conversations occur.  How many text messages did you send or receive today?  If you’re a “light” user, you may say “one or two”.  However, the average mobile user (age 24-30) sends more than 100 texts per day!  More than 100!!

What does this tell us?

It lets us know that conversations are occurring via SMS on a daily basis.  See the opportunity, yet?

Company/Consumer Interaction

When using a 2-way SMS platform, an organisation has the ability to not only reach out to target consumers, but also process their responses.  Whether you are attempting to make a sale or simply want to inform customers about upcoming events, the conversations that occur can only help your company better understand the ever-changing needs of a consumer-base.

But don’t these conversations get confusing as the back-and-forth reaches multiple message figures?  Yes, it certainly can…unless you have the right technology.

Many platforms will compile the conversation occurring between a mobile consumer and your SMS campaign in an email format.  This allows your customer care or sales team to monitor the relationship closely, searching for ways to improve the customer experience or finalise a reservation or sale.  This communicative style is the epitome of convenience for the consumer, and can lead to dynamic relationships for your organisation.

Tracking the dialogue between a consumer and your brand will go a long way towards forging lasting relationships with a target market.  Because SMS has become the world’s preferred method of communication, companies that have a solid presence on the channel can reap incredible benefits.  In this case, 2-way SMS technology is a tool that few organisations can live without!

Why an SMS API Improves Campaign Success

A mobile campaign platform’s SMS API (Application Programming Interface) impacts consumer opt-in rates in ways that many do not realise.

Setting up an account is simple enough, but without a solid understanding of HOW the interface can be leveraged, a mobile strategy may find itself “falling flat” with consumers.  But, as always, we’re here to help, so here are a few explanations on the key components to properly utilising an SMS API:

Virtual Numbers

Before beginning any campaign, a virtual number is essential.  Without one, how will consumers respond to any of the messages?  The campaign’s response number will act as a “portal” of sorts, giving participants the ability to ask questions, respond to surveys, etc.

Keywords

Keywords are IMPERATIVE for a successful mobile strategy.  Remember, the purpose of an SMS campaign is to maximise convenience for customers, while opening up a new conversational channel between the consumer and provider (that’s you).  So, single-word responses from consumers can allow them to customise their mobile experience, and help your sales team develop a more detailed profile of the company’s customer-base.

Automated Responses

This is where the platform’s API flexes its muscle!  Automated responses are a sure-fire way to exhibit the true value of participating in your mobile campaign.  Anytime a consumer responds with a keyword, you can set up an automated response message tailored to that specific keyword.

The end result?  A customisable experience that every consumer can enjoy.

If Consumer A prefers one product or service over another, let them tell you via a specific keyword.  If Consumer B prefers to order online versus at your brick-and-mortar location, let them tell you via a specific keyword.  See where we’re going here?

Automated responses showcase the immediacy of SMS technology, while giving your organisation the ability to send INTEREST-SPECIFIC offers to consumers.  When we are able to keep our marketing messages specific, sales ensue – it’s that simple!

Highlighting WHY SMS Broadcasting Leads to Marketing Success

The effectiveness of SMS broadcasting hinges on the consumer obsession with mobile devices.  Recent data points out that the average mobile user looks at their device more than 100 times a day!  This point, in and of itself, makes mobile marketing a necessary pillar in any organisational campaign.

Don’t assume that this statistic is the only thing driving the mobile revolution, however.  SMS broadcasting appeals to consumer due to a wide variety of reasons:

Going Paperless

Remember when you would receive coupons in the mail?  In some regions, you may still.  But, for the most part, the world is shunning paper and moving to digital documentation for just about everything!  Consumers are redeeming mobile coupons at a higher rate than we have ever seen, making the strategy not only effective, but cost-efficient.

Immediacy

The world has quickened its pace, hasn’t it?  Everywhere we look, people are bustling, devices in hand, accessing information at speeds not previously seen.  You can capitalise on this trend by linking your brand directly to those devices!  Remember how we mentioned that the average consumer checks their device more than 100 times a day?  Compare that to email efficiency, and the rest becomes obvious…

Sheer Reach

Billboards may always have a place in the marketing world, but when you can target consumers WHEREVER they go, you have an advantage over the competition.  And, because each participant has declared interest in your brand, you can be certain that there is no waste in the advertising budget!

SMS broadcasts are an integral part of any successful strategy.  While they are incredibly easy to start, extensive testing is required to “master” the techniques associated with proper usage of the technology.  Refer to some of our other blog segments to learn more about how you can become a “Mobile Marketing Master”.

Using a Web SMS Interface to Improve Company Communication

The right web SMS utility can dramatically improve office organisation, as the immediacy of the technology ensures that team members are always “on top” of real-time changes.

Though mobile technology is often touted as a great way to reach out to customers, many who employ the use of a web SMS interface are learning that there is another hidden use that can change the way offices communicate!

How many departments does your company have?  Three?  Ten?

Regardless of the size of the organisation, a single computer can manage ALL of the inter-company communications.  Team members that are currently traveling can receive real-time notifications of changes to meeting times or product delivery information.  Further, because many professionals are relying on smartphones to maintain sound schedules, the immediate notifications centralise all of the information.

And, because the mobile recipient list is easily segmented into “sub-groups”, each department can receive messages that are relevant to their particular task or position!

Documentation

Another important feature that a web-based SMS interface offers involves our ability to document communications between employees and the central office.  Maintaining records of specific information can save a company PLENTY of hassle, should anything be called into question at a later date.  All of the messages are stored in a database than can be accessed at any point in time.

Company News

Did one of your salespeople just land the company’s largest account?  Let everyone know about it!  Positive messages such as these are a great way to improve corporate morale, while offering praise to those that continually earn it.

A desktop SMS interface can play an important role in a company’s communication model.  By keeping employees informed, you can be certain that everyone knows EXACTLY what is occurring as it occurs.  It is said that “information is power” – be sure that your team members have the information they need to push your brand to new heights!

Avoiding the “Billboard Mentality” with your Mass SMS Campaign

The “billboard” mentality plagues many mass SMS strategies, leaving many brands with poor ROI figures and a confused marketing department.  After all, isn’t adopting mobile marketing supposed to WORK?

Well, yes, mass SMS technology IS incredibly effective, but if you’re sounding off like some mobile billboard, you’re likely alienating customers and damaging your brand in the process.

How can we avoid this style of mobile marketing?  We’re glad you asked…

These steps will help elevate your SMS campaign to functional heights and reduce attrition rates immediately:

(1)    Personalisation

One thing billboards can’t do – use each viewer’s name!  While the content of the SMS release will likely be the same for most consumers (segmenting aside, of course), personalising each message with name or location information is crucial.  This lets the recipient know that you are truly leveraging the technology properly, and helps to foster a sound foundation for the relationship we are attempting to establish.

(2)    Order-Specific Information

One place that we can’t become “cookie-cutter” is order-specific information.  Through your mobile marketing platform, you have the unique ability to segment consumers based on what they recently ordered.  If a local dry cleaner knows that a particular customer has his business suits cleaned bi-weekly, why not leverage this information?

Grouping the consumers into specific categories won’t take much time, but the results can be monstrous!  If the previously mentioned customer receives a coupon for business suit cleaning, what are the odds that they use it?  Pretty darned high!

(3)    Respecting the Opt-Out

Consumers don’t have the ability to tell a billboard:  “Hey, I don’t want you there.”  But, they certainly have that ability when it comes to mobile marketing.  Customers opt-out of mobile campaigns for a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain:  If they do, you’d better respect it.

Failing to honour an opt-out can lead to a branding nightmare for the company, as well as a stiff penalty from consumer advocacy groups.  Trust us here, if they opt-out, honour their wishes!

Billboards are a fantastic marketing tool, but be careful not to confuse your mobile campaign with a print marketing strategy.  Taking the time to personalise each message can work wonders for your brand, and let your customers know that there is REAL value in the messages they receive from your organisation.