January 28, 2013
How to Save Marketing by Text Messaging
Many businesses are looking to do more marketing than ever before with text messaging, and it's already a very popular method with many retailers. But as a recent study from Experian PLC has discovered, there are certain things that need to be done in order to keep text messaging as a viable and useful tool in the marketer's toolbox.
Recent studies show that text messaging is a valuable marketing tool indeed. It showed that 23 percent of retailers in Forrester Research's (News - Alert) "The State of Retailing Online 2012" are using it, which makes it a fair bet that that's about the number that are using it across the nation. But text message marketing isn't as easy as sending out a bunch of messages in hopes that someone comes in and starts buying. No, there is a certain amount of preventative maintenance that needs to be done in order to keep this particular strategy firing on all cylinders.
First, having a sound foundation can go a long way. Knowing what text message marketing can and can't do, and managing expectations accordingly. Remember that text messaging does a great job in terms of immediacy and intimacy; this is a tool that impacts customers who are right by their phones, and commonly, while they're out of their houses. Smart marketers will take advantage of this to focus on calls to action and immediacy of response: "now" is the key time metric when marketing by text message. Include an incentive to respond immediately or at least within an hour or so.
Next, realize the true reach of text message marketing. As was the case with e-mail before laws got involved, and to a similar if somewhat lessened extent now, it's easy to fire off tons of messages and hit tons of people. This means that companies should be--if they're not already--carefully managing their text messaging lists and actively recruiting new opt-in candidates. Consider, again, using special offers as the lure; the promise of a certain discount in a text message can both fuel immediacy and willingness to receive the messages.
Then, consider the limitations of the medium. Text messages should be short, but trying to fit a complete marketing push complete with call to action into 160 characters isn't easy. Building marketing campaigns around short, intense bursts will do nicely in the text messaging arena.
Finally, it's important to track text message marketing efforts. Granted, it's important to track all marketing efforts with an eye toward what works and what doesn't, but at the same time, it's especially important to do so with text messaging. Many consumers will opt into a campaign for a reward and then opt out again to stop the flow of messages, until another good campaign comes along. With stronger mobile ties, and better dependencies, these consumers can be made into better overall customers.
Text messaging marketing is a great tool to have on hand. It can reach large numbers of people rapidly, inexpensively, and with minimal need for staff to babysit the program while it runs. But it's not as easy as just setting up the launch and forgetting it exists; there are certain maintenance steps that can make the system more effective. Keeping these points in mind will increase the likelihood of a successful campaign, and in the end, that's what really counts in a marketing effort.
Edited by Carlos Olivera
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