The time for text message marketing has never been greater, as more and more people become inseparable from their mobile devices. Marketers are quick to realize that sending text messages to advertise their products and services is a very inexpensive way to gain the attention of their consumers.
The process of sending consumers regular text messages can be governed entirely by a computer program that has been specifically designed to send text messages periodically to a list of subscribers. However, many businesses are missing out on this amazing opportunity to connect with their local audience. Quite frankly, it’s because many of them simply do not understand how the whole process works and how it can benefit their growth.
If you are considering using text message marketing, but are not quite sure if it is the right fit for your business, here are 10 common questions and answers that will assist in your decision making.
What Is Text Message Marketing and SMS?
Text Message Marketing is a strategy that companies use to market their products and services via text messaging services. This service is called SMS, which stands for Short Message Service. SMS allows the exchange of short text messages between mobile devices. Normally, text messages cannot exceed 160 characters, which means your company’s messages can be short, sweet, and to-the-point. Once a message is sent, it is received by the SMS center, which then forwards the message to the appropriate mobile device.
Since all phones, no matter how modern or outdated, carry the ability to receive text messages, there will be no concern for customers that are unable to receive text messages on their phone. The market share includes all people who own a mobile phone, over 90% of American adults.
What Are Short Codes and Keywords?
Let’s say a mobile user sees a call-to-action telling them to text a certain keyword to a 4 or 5 digit short code. For example; Text Repair to 12345 to save 50% on your next Jewelry Repair! In this example, the keyword is Repair and the short code is 12345.
The user will enter 12345 as the phone number and type Repair in the body of the text message. Once the user sends the text message from their phone, the SMS service receives it and sends back a response with your message along with the coupon. Now, the store has a fresh, new prospect on their mobile list, which means they will receive all future text message offers from the store.
Short Codes are assigned by the SMS company. Keywords are chosen by the store for each campaign they run. Keywords are shared among all companies assigned to that Short Code. When you set up your campaign you can search to find an available Keyword to use.
How Long Will I Own My Keyword?
As long as you subscribe to the text messaging service the keyword is yours to use. Once you unsubscribe, it will be available for others to use. If you have a great keyword for a special occasion such as Christmas or Mother’s Day you can keep it and use it again the next year. If you use a Keyword for a special promotion that you do not plan to reuse, you can always delete it so that it does not count against your Keyword total.
What are Text Credits?
Credits are used for each message you send to your customers. One credit is needed for each message sent. If you send 3 messages to one customer you will use 3 credits. If you send one message to your list and you have 100 customers on your list you will use 100 credits. Incoming messages are free. You only use credits when you send out text messages.
Can I Send Text to Customers When Their Repair is Finished or is this Just to Send Bulk Messages to My List?
Yes, you can do both. In a program like Mobile 4 Jewelers you have a Campaign Manager to set up different types of campaigns to build and send messages to your list. These campaigns include Text Blast, Text to Win, Mobile Coupons, and many more. Only customers who have given permission to send messages may be entered into this section.
In addition, you have a Contact Manager where you can add your customer list and phone numbers. From here you can send individual messages to any of your customers. You can also set up and save your messages to insert into a text to your customer. For example you can have messages for jewelry repairs, watch repairs, appraisals, special orders and any other message you frequently send out. You can insert your message with a single mouse click and send it to your customer.
Isn’t Text Message Marketing Only Good for Targeting the Younger Crowd?
While those under age 30 send more text messages than older demographics, the over 30 crowd is quickly gaining ground. 45 to 60 year olds are the fastest growing text messagers and surveys reveal that two-thirds of those over 65 prefer a text message to a phone call. So, it really doesn’t matter what age group you are targeting - Text Message Marketing is a viable option.
How Many Characters Should My Text Messages Contain?
The context of limitations does not necessarily have to be applied here. In other words, a text message contains up to a maximum of 160 characters. Sending a message that contains more characters than that means you are sending two texts instead of just one.
The real question that you need to ask yourself is how long your text messages should be. The longer the text messages, the more information you can include in them. However, it is recommended that you refrain from being too long-winded. The most effective advertisements can get their messages across to the customer simply by being short and informative in one single message.
What Does Opt-in Mean and How Do I Know My Customers Want to Receive Messages From Me?
Opt-in is a short term for permission-based marketing. When a mobile user opts-in to your mobile list, this means that they are giving you permission to text them with future offers and other forms of valuable information. Studies show that approximately 70% of consumers WANT to receive text message offers from their favorite establishments. Customers are becoming more and more favorable to customer loyalty and branding efforts such as Text Marketing.
How Often Should I Send My Customers Offers Via Text Messaging?
The most important factor to consider when it comes to deciding how often you should send messages to your customer’s mobile devices is to determine what makes sense. A daily marketing message from your company may not sit well with most of your subscribers, so be careful not to bombard them. Otherwise, many of them will ignore your messages – or even worse, they will unsubscribe.
Sending a lot of messages too often can also flag your messages as spam, which could have a negative impact on your company’s image. On the other hand, do not wait too long in between messages. You want your audience to be excited about receiving your messages, so do not let the excitement dwindle. A weekly message is often found to be ideal. At a minimum you want to stay in contact with your customer list twice monthly, so they remain accustomed to receiving messages from you.
Also, consider sending your subscribers some helpful information from time to time, instead of hitting them with an offer every time they hear from you. This will go a long way in building trust and credibility, which results in longer subscriber retention and increased sales.
Do some testing to see how often you should send messages. It’s important to come up with a balance that works for your type of business and your subscribers.
What are Some of the Benefits of Text Marketing and How can it Boost My ROI?
Text Message Marketing is:
- Easy to Use - Sending out text messages is quick and easy to do. Not only is it easy for your business, but it’s easy for your customers since they are already accustomed to receiving and sending text messages.
- Locally Targeted - Text Message Marketing Campaigns can be designed to reach your target audience, including your local consumers.
- Cost-Effective - Text Message Marketing Campaigns do not cost a lot to run and maintain due to the inexpensive prices associated with sending simple text messages
- Permission-Based - Text Message Marketing is based on your subscribers opting-in, which means they give you permission to send them messages.
The benefits are in the fact that text messages are very inexpensive to send, so your overhead costs are minimal compared to traditional marketing methods that may require printing, postage, and more. In addition, since text messages are limited to 160 characters it does not take a long time to write out lengthy ad copy. While it doesn’t cost much to send a text message, the immediate response is more than 10 times that of traditional advertising methods. This means more profits for your business.
Text Message Marketing, as an advertising platform, is a very powerful tool that can serve any company’s needs in reaching out to a large number of consumers. In the fight to stay afloat during these tough economic times, your business needs all of the exposure you can get. In order to stand out from your competition, you need to utilize methods that show that you are digitally-savvy, as well as mobile-savvy.
Not only will Text Message Marketing help you generate more customers, it can help you keep those customers for a long time to come.
If you have additional questions about Text Messaging or Mobile Marketing, Brad Simon will be in the Southern Jewelry News booth during the August 3-5 Atlanta Jewelry Show. He will be signing copies of his new book “Mobile Marketing 4 Jewelers” and will be glad to discuss with you your Mobile Marketing needs.