The Future of Sales and Marketing: SMS

OpenMarket – January 14, 2016

Technologies and trends in the marketing field are steadily evolving, so if you want to stay ahead of the competition, you have to keep up with them and adopt them … or at least adapt your strategy to accommodate their existence. Traditional marketing methods, such as billboards and magazine ads, pale in comparison to newer methods like SEO and social media marketing because the latter take full advantage of how people communicate in the digital era.

One of the biggest new methods—yet one of the least tapped by businesses—is texting. It’s the most frequently used feature on smartphones, and 97 percent of Americans text at least once a day. Imagine being able to reach 97 percent of the population with a sales and marketing campaign! That prospect should appeal to anyone.

But why do people prefer mobile messaging above other communication formats? And how might you employ SMS and MMS messaging to promote your brand?

Why Modern Consumers Prefer Mobile Messaging

Man texting on mobile phone

To be an effective mobile marketer, first you need to understand why so many consumers prefer text messaging. There are a handful of basic reasons for this:

  • Immediacy. People appreciate that text messages get sent and received instantly. It gives a feeling of instant connection, almost as if one were in face-to-face conversation with the other person, and any messages received are guaranteed to be written recently; that is, unless they were scheduled in advance, but most average consumers can’t tell the difference.
  • Conciseness. Most text messages (the effective ones, anyway) are short and to the point. People are constrained to be concise, which means more significant information will be conveyed in fewer words and less time.
  • Convenience. Mobile phones are just that: mobile. You can carry them anywhere, and send and receive text messages with minimal interruption to the rest of your daily life.
  • Low pressure. Sales and marketing messages are particularly effective over text because there’s less pressure. There’s no human component that people have to deal with, so users may take more time to think about their decisions, and that makes them feel more comfortable.

Ideas for Sales and Marketing

If you’re looking for ideas for how to get started with a mobile-centric sales and marketing campaign, here are 10 that should spark your imagination:

  1. Signup Requests. Are you working on building up an email list or getting people to sign up for a free trial of your latest software? If you have any information about your customers’ or prospects’ phone numbers, you can use this to text them the signup information. You can even include a call to action.
  2. Tips and Tricks. Assuming you have a list of active text-message subscribers, you can use MMS messaging as a platform for a miniature content marketing campaign. For example, you could send out short, “tip of the day”-style comments, or weekly tricks related to your industry. You could also link to videos or longer pieces of content that you want to promote.
  3. Unannounced Sales. A sure way to encourage brand loyalty is to give your customers something to which other people don’t have access. You can use text messaging to your advantage by texting out officially unannounced sales, deals, and other incentives. It makes the recipients feel exclusive, and gives them an extra incentive to continue to receive your texts.
  4. Contests. If you don’t have a current list of phone numbers, a contest is a good way to get one. Offer a free product, a special offer, or some other type of giveaway; the key is to permit entry only when a user texts a certain message to your number. The contest will generate attention for your brand, and render more numbers to text in the future.
  5. Votes. Votes are another way to generate lots of new phone numbers, especially if it’s about a topic that many people care about. For instance, you could invite a group of people to text whether they agree or disagree with a particular issue—and as a bonus, you might be able to use the poll data in a future application.
  6. Surveys. Surveys are best used as follow-ups to a preexisting sale or other customer interaction. You can send these out in an automated fashion, and encourage all your customers to give you their thoughts on your brand. Use this information to improve your business.
  7. Coupons. As another example of an exclusive incentive for being a text message subscriber, you can send out coupon codes they can use in your online store (or in another application, as you see fit). The coupon itself is up to you.
  8. Reservations and Appointments. Reservations and appointments are good ways to get your customers’ phone numbers for future marketing opportunities. Ask users to sign up for automated reminders: They’ll appreciate the extra feature. Then, after the appointment, you can use text messaging to set up a new appointment or a recurring schedule.
  9. Event-Based Messaging. This is exceptionally useful if you’re hosting a major event, or you’re involved in a popular trade show. Ask for attendees’ phone numbers, and send out text messages with event-based updates, such as when speakers go onstage, quotes from memorable presenters, or mini-events happening in the area.
  10. Tie-Ins With Other Platforms. Finally, you can tie text messaging into your other marketing campaigns. You might text your email subscribers a reminder to check their email for the latest blast, or you could ask new text subscribers to follow your brand on Facebook or Twitter.

These ideas aren’t the only possible options; push your creative limits and try to come up with some of your own. The main goal is to reach your customers with a familiar message but in a newer, more convenient way, and there are countless applications in a variety of industries waiting to be imagined.

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