Tag Archives: SMS Advertising

SMS Advertising Couples Perfectly with Digital Purchase Points

As business owners, we are always working to drive traffic to purchasing points.  This has always been the case, since the dawn of business practices, and while the manner in which we do so has changed dramatically over the years, one thing is certain:  when you have traffic, you have profit.

SMS advertising is helping hundreds of thousands of global organisations to drive “digital” traffic to websites and online catalogues.  Because smartphones have taken the mobile world by storm, consumers are using them much in the same manner that desktops were used in eCommerce practices witnessed 20 years ago.  One question remains, however:  How can we facilitate it?

Bucking Character Limits

One of the few drawbacks to SMS advertising involves the 160 character limits associated with text messages.  But, by creating a mobile-optimised landing page, you can easily include a shortened link with your text releases, redirecting your customers to informational pages and online purchase points.

In doing so, your company is leveraging the tools that modern consumers use to make purchase decisions!

Increased Response Rates

What is the average response rate for a print advertisement?  5%?  10% if it is incredibly captivating?  When using SMS to drive traffic, response rates reach figures eclipsing 90%!  This is an opportunity that is simply too great to pass up, for many businesses, and several industries have seen the inter-industry “pecking order” altered based on these response rates.

So, before crafting your next ad campaign, be sure to ask yourself:  “What response rates can I expect?”

If you are leveraging a mobile site and SMS advertising techniques, there’s a good chance that your ROI will be off the charts!

SMS Advertising Statistics – Texts Dominate Consumer Interest

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The advancement of mobile technology is delivering several varying perspectives for marketers that are implementing the direct SMS advertising strategies.  However, this doesn’t mean that all advancements will gain traction with your target market.  Newly released research statistics show that consumers continue to prefer text marketing communications over the mobile web offerings that many organisations have been embedding.  With nearly 40% of consumers stating that they prefer to receive text messages versus the 15% that mentioned that they prefer to access mobile links through their mobile phones. 

The impressive element of these statistics relies on the prevalence of smartphones in the mobile marketplace.  As the mobile device technology increases, consumers that interact with their favourite brands via the channel continue to prefer advertising on SMS over all other options.  Our belief is that the simplicity of the messages, when properly crafted, delivers all of the information that a consumer needs to know without involving extra steps or actions.  After all, in a fast-paced business environment, who really has the time to take unnecessary steps?

Mobile Vouchers

Consumers are generally unaware of mobile voucher viability in the SMS advertising arena.  Printed vouchers remain one of the most popular ways to redeem coupons with a retailer, but the reason is also predicated on a simple hang-up:  most consumers do not believe that a company will accept their mobile voucher.  If you would like to eliminate the use of paper in your redemption program, simply let your mobile consumers know that their mobile message is enough to redeem the discount or offer, and they’ll begin to gravitate toward the digital framework. 

Advertising on SMS channels requires a shifting of the expectations in your target market.  Habits do not disappear easily, so don’t be surprised when your clients continue to handle things as they have in the past.  What you must do, instead, is remind them that you are looking to shift the paradigm a bit, and that the digital renditions of all vouchers are just as effective (and in fact preferred) as the printed ones.

Voucher Popularity

The research numbers continued to show that vouchers are the easiest way into the “hearts” of your target consumers.  Nearly three-quarters of all consumers stated that they love to receive the offers, and because there is such little resistance (approximately 5%), it’s easy to see why implementing some type of “mobile-exclusive offers” can rapidly expand your mobile consumer base.

Mobile marketing has taken the industry by storm, and because it is versatile, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly (given the elimination of paper products), there are few things that can slow its expansion.  The consumer trends stated above add further credence to the notion that SMS advertising is more than a simple addition to the marketing industry.  Instead, it represents a complete shift in the communication channels, and as consumers continue to get accustomed to the various opportunities that are presented to them via their mobile devices, we will see furthered expansion, increases communication, and most importantly, expanding sales figures!

 

31% of U.S. Adults Prefer to Be Reached by Text Message [STUDY]

people-textingAlmost one-third of U.S. adults prefer to be reached by text message rather than a voice call on their mobile phone, according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Three-quarters (73%) of U.S. adults text and 83% of U.S. adults are mobile phone owners.

The study found that when it comes to a preferred method of contact, 31% of adults would choose a text message, 51% would choose a voice call and 14% say it depends on the situation. Fifty-five percent of heavy texters — those who exchange 50 messages or more a day — prefer texting to talking. This is the first year Pew has polled the preferred contact method, says the study’s lead researcher Aaron Smith.

“It’s fun to collect a trend but asking new stuff is always really exciting, because we never really know what to expect.” Smith says, admitting he prefers to receive text messages.

Young adults between 18-24 text most frequently, sending on average 109.5 messages each day or 3,200 texts each month. The average mobile phone user in that group sends or receives 50 texts each day or 1,500 texts each month.

 

SEE ALSO: Texting Teens: Typing Replaces Talking [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

The findings also reveal that mobile usage has leveled off among the U.S. adult population. These statistics are very similar to 2010′s results. On average, 41.5 texts are sent or received on a given day. The average adult sends or receives 10 texts each day. Cellphone users make or receive 12 calls on average each day.

The survey polled 2,277 adults over age 18, between April 26 and May 22. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 2.3% and plus or minus 2.7% among mobile phone users.

How do you prefer for people to contact you on your mobile phone? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Neustockimages

Burst SMS says “The perception of SMS media being invasive is starting to change. With marketers getting smarter with their online SMS campaigns and choosing their SMS advertising messages carefully recipients are beginning to appreciate the value of being alerted to something of value.”

CBS exec: SMS more valuable than QR codes

Broadcast network CBS has opted for SMS calls to action as opposed to QR codes within its print advertisments to draw in primetime viewers.

CBS is creating buzz for its fall lineup that includes five new series with SMS calls to action, which let consumers learn more about the TV shows. The ads bridge mobile, video and print.

“Everyone has phones that support SMS,” said Philippe Browning, vice president of advertising and operations at CBS Mobile, Los Angeles.

“QR codes have an added barrier with a download and although we are interested in it and have experimented with the technology, it doesn’t have the same value of a text,” he said.

Text tie
Print ads promoting the network’s new series are placed in People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly and Maxim magazine.

The ads are targeted towards specific demographics depending on which publication they appear in, but People magazine was the only title to feature all five ads.

For example, the upcoming CBS’ series “How to be a Gentleman,” which is a comedy about a quirky friendship between two men, will likely appear in Maxim.


Consumers can text the phone number on print ads to learn more about the shows

Each ad has a call to action that prompts consumers to SMS a phone number.

Consumers are then sent a text message with a link to a video clip promoting the show.

“Three out of the five ads give users a 60-second video, which is a substantial amount of time,” said Anne O’Grady, executive vice president of marketing at CBS, New York.

“Print is wonderful, but to take it to the next level, people actually need to see something additional,” she said.

With this campaign, CBS was interested in using SMS advertising because of its simple format that draws in any consumer with a mobile phone.

“We wanted to do something that everyone could interact with,” Ms. O’Grady said.

SMS is particularly useful for print advertisements because it makes a static medium more interactive by connecting readers to digital content. Also, there is no need to download an application.

“We try to use as many forms of marketing that we can get our hands on to reach our consumers,” Ms. O’Grady said.

“We wanted to use short codes because it’s an easy way to incorporate mobile and give users additional content,” she said.

Making the trek

CBS’ SMS-enabled ads are the latest string of mobile developments for the company.

The company launched an iPad companion in the past few weeks that lets viewers learn more about the shows and casts.

CBS also recently created an iPad app that plugged Star Trek fans into the beloved series (see story).

“CBS is actively working with all of its distribution channels to mobile, whether it’s with print, Web, broadcast or physical mediums,” Mr. Browning said.

 

Simple SMS Marketing Guide

What is SMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service and are generally 160 character text messages sent between mobile phones. SMS uses a unique network that alerts the recipient the second the message arrives. SMS is a very fast and personal communication method on par with a phone call in perceived trust.

Different types of SMS delivery

There are two main types of online SMS delivery. Direct connection where the SMS gateway is plugged directly into the telco’s in your country, and International routing. International routes are operated by SMS aggregators which a gateway can utilise to deliver more cost effective SMS campaigns than direct connection. Some international routes can be very unreliable and some providers will offer extremely cheap prices however you may end up paying the same as a more reliable connection as you still pay for messages not delivered.

The best SMS service will have a combination of good quality international routing and price. If you have a service that requires guaranteed delivery such as an emergency or alert service then you should use a direct local connection, even though this is still not 100% guaranteed to deliver it will give you the highest percentage of success. It will generally cost double though.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is the practice of building lists of mobile numbers than sending SMS advertising messages to those lists. Lists can be built in many ways but there are compliance rules set by the ACMA on how people consent to be opted into your lists. Unsolicited commercial messages sent to a person is called spam and is illegal under the Australian Spam Act 2003. Mobile marketers usually use an online SMS system to manage the SMS sending process. These bulk SMS systems range in price and functionality. The best SMS marketing platforms have a good combination of cheap SMS and web SMS features. Make sure you only deal with a reputable SMS gateway as delivery reliability can vary a lot.

Getting permission to send SMS

The idea behind consent is that the recipient should want to receive your message and find it useful when they do. There are two types of consent.

1. Express consent

  • An opt-in checkbox on a web subscribe form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completing the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
  • If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like to be contacted.
  • Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
  • If someone gives you their business card and you have explained to them that you will be in touch, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by SMS.

The recipient must be clearly aware that he or she may receive commercial messages in the future. You cannot send an electronic message to seek consent: this is in itself a commercial message, because it seeks to establish a business relationship. Keep a record of consent, you may need to prove it later.

2. Inferred consent

  • Through an existing business relationship. If an organisation has a strong relationship with the owner of the number such as a club member or service subscriber receiving messages may be implied.
  • Through conspicuous publication of a work-related number.

Consent may also be implied by the publishing of numbers on websites, in magazines or other publications. The recipient must be identified as relevant to your message. eg if you want to send information about a technology product the recipient must be identified as the IT manager. If there is a statement that unsolicited commercial messages are not wanted you cannot infer consent.

Building lists? 

Building a mobile marketing list should be done with care and good intention. As mobile numbers and SMS are a very personal way to communicate, people don’t want to receive messages from you that waste their time and are not relevant. By opting people in correctly and only sending them relevant and useful messages will they stay on your list.

Technically there are 3 ways to add numbers to your list.

  1. By a website for with an SMS opt-in check box
  2. With an SMS to a dedicated response number or short-code
  3. Manually

Incentivising people to join your list?

To get people to join a marketing list there are different ways to incentivise them. Some examples are:

  1. Run a competition with a prize
  2. Run a survey and share the results
  3. Offer future sale and discount information
  4. Promise and deliver useful, relevant and valuable information

Targeting

As text messages are personal you should follow these rules.

  1. Personalise the message, add the persons name.
  2. Identify yourself prominently in the message.
  3. Mention how they came to receive the message.
  4. If you are promoting a location, only deliver to that location.

The idea here is to collect a name and a post code when you collect your data. By collecting this information you will give your recipient a much better experience and they will be less likely to opt-out of your list.

Allowing users to opt-out

By law a commercial text message must contain an opt-out method. This can be a phone number to call but it is now industry standard to allow people to reply STOP to a message. This method requires delivery from a response number that can receive and process SMS commands. Some SMS software such as Burst SMS includes this for free in their accounts.

Engagement mechanisms

  1. Sending a promotional message is one thing but engaging your recipient is another. There are several techniques for engaging your recipient
  2. Add a mobile URL to your message that shows them more information and a form for interaction
  3. Include a response keyword that allows people to reply and get other automated responses back. These can be set up in sequence.
  4. Receive orders and books directly via response. Confirm via automated message.

These are just the very basics but building on these basics you can develop sophisticated mobile marketing campaigns that can quickly build great lists of loyal customers. As long as you keep your lists clean and respect your recipients wishes to stop receiving text messages from you then you will have great success.