How to Write Text Messages That Will Spark Action for Your Business

Text messages that cause action

In today’s world of increased drama online and off, it takes a little more something-something to get people to take action. And text message marketing is one way to get your customers to take the next step. (Of course, we’re talking about texts that users opt in to receive.)

If you plan to use mobile marketing to promote your business, make sure you maintain consistency and clarity.  Here are some tips:

Offer Value

One of the best ways to get attention is to make sure every text provides value. Customers love discounts, exclusive promotions and other offers. While you don’t have to give the store away, discounts provide a strong incentive for customers to engage with your mobile campaign.

Keep it Short & Sharp

Keep each message short and sharply focused. Text messages are limited to 160 characters anyway, so you don’t have much room. If you must abbreviate a few words, make sure it still looks professional (i.e. no text slang) and is very easy to understand.

Tell Them What to Do Next

It may seem obvious, but it’s best to give readers a nudge and tell them what to do next. By telling them what’s next (the “call to action”), you’re encouraging them to take that step. It’ll be easier for them to move forward in the buying process and redeem your offer, enter your contest, visit your store or call your business.

Text Frequently, But Not Too Frequently

You should decide early on how frequently you will text your customers. During the sign-up process, let them know how often they can expect text messages from your business. The frequency of messaging is important, because some subscribers may opt-out if you text too often. Whether your customer can buy from you as often as you text is also a good indication of how frequently you should send text messages. We usually recommend once a week, depending on the audience and campaign.

Make it Relevant

Make sure every message is relevant to your subscribers. For example, sending out messages about lunch specials in the afternoon or offering discounts on maternity clothing to a list that includes men aren’t likely to get huge responses. Consider the timing and the audience to ensure every message will appeal to readers.

Want to learn more about setting up a successful mobile campaign? Contact us or call us at (305) 505-5393 for help with setting up your (SMS) text message marketing.

Top Strategies in Mobile Marketing for Restaurants

“Get a free appetizer with your entree today.”

Trying to get more hungry customers to your restaurant? Consider mobile marketing. Text offers such as these can bring in new or repeat business with every message.

It can be extremely effective overall, if done right. Here is a quick rundown of the top strategies for restaurants to attract more business.

Provide Opt-in Incentives

To increase the number of mobile subscribers, provide an opt-in incentive, such as a discount or a small giveaway such as a free side or dessert. Users are more likely to sign up for your text messages if there is an instant reward for doing so.

Use Time-Sensitive Offers

If you want to improve the response from your campaign, why not reach out to your subscribers when they are most likely to be hungry? Sending a last-minute discount offer around lunch or dinner time will surely appeal to subscribers. However, you should never send text messages overnight, between 9 pm and 9 am!

Promote Your Campaign on Your Website

If you want your subscriber list to grow, promoting your campaign on your website will help. Include a call-to-action to sign up for your campaign with a popover message or other prominent display on the pages of your site that receive the most traffic.

Find Subscribers via Social Media

Social media can offer a steady supply of new subscribers for your mobile marketing campaign. Statistics show that users are more likely to use mobile devices to access social media sites. Ask for opt-ins via social media and watch your subscribers grow.

Make it an SMS Sweepstakes

Make it more exciting for your subscribers with a text-to-win campaign or SMS sweepstakes. Offer a prize for entry to your program and you’ll see an increase in the number of subscribers who participate.

Ask Customers about Their Preferences

As you use text message marketing to promote your restaurant, ask your customers about their preferences and then give them what they want. Whether it’s discount offers or more frequent texts or reminders about upcoming promotions, let your customers drive your campaign instead of simply guessing.

Want to learn more about setting up your own mobile campaign? Contact us.

Use Retail Sales Techniques on Mobile to Boost Sales

We all want higher conversions or more sales online, but how do you get there? Get in the retail shopping mindset. These real-world retail techniques will motivate mobile shoppers and increase sales.

Go Digital with Coupons

Who doesn’t love to save a few bucks? Coupons are a great way to increase your sales online.

Offer digital coupons for certain products, for a percentage off or for other bonuses. At checkout, all a consumer has to do is input the coupon code and viola—their total just decreased, which means they may be inclined to spend more.

Encourage customers to sign up to your text message program and you can easily send text coupons once a month or on a schedule.

Increase the Average Order per Customer

Many business owners focus on getting more customers and more sales, but what if you get each customer to spend more when they shop?

You can increase the average order size for a time with a Cash-Back Formula. What’s that? You know… that option to get $10 off when you spend $100 or $20 off when you spend $150. It’s more enticing to shoppers since it offers a hard amount they’d get back, $10 rather than a general 10%, for example.

If you’re offering to discount an order, how does this tactic increase the amount they spend? Well, if the average person spends $50, they’ll increase that to $100 to get $10 back and your average total during that campaign increases by $40. It’s sheer genius and a tactic Amazon has used for years with the offer of free shipping if you spend $25.

Build Loyalty with Mobile

Encourage new shoppers to become repeat shoppers with a loyalty program. Offer a certain percentage off after they place a certain amount of orders, or reward them with a free product once they spend a certain amount of money.

If your shoppers feel like they’re being rewarded, they’re more likely to become loyal customers.

By implementing these tactics, you’ll see an increase your online conversions and you’ll be in the money.

How to Boost Holiday Sales with SMS Marketing

Sorry about the picture. We couldn’t resist its cheeky stock-image obviousness. Happy Holidays!

It’s crunch time. Holiday shopping is about to get started and you want to make the most of it. One of the best ways to reach your busy customers this holiday season is to text them. Catch them while they are online researching gifts or out and about shopping with their mobile phones in hand, looking for gift ideas, places to eat, and where to save money.

Text message marketing will alert and remind shoppers of your product and get them on board for your holiday offers. Thorough a text they can be hyperlinked to an online product page or have a coupon saved right on their phone.

Here are some tips to get you started…

Start Early

The holiday season officially kicks off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but that’s no reason to wait. Get started as soon as possible to hit early shoppers. Don’t wait until December or right before Christmas. A text-to-win sweepstakes or a text coupon can get your sales running.

Text New Offers

If you plan to host a limited-time or one-day only sale, it’s a good idea to text your customers a day before the promotion is to take place. This will help customers plan ahead and you can always remind them of your promotion the same day, if needed.

Don’t Forget About Last-Minute Shoppers

Don’t forget the procrastinators. Many customers wait until the final days to buy. Some may be too busy to shop earlier, while others may still be holding out for deals. Use SMS text marketing to appeal to both of these groups with last-minute deals. This period may turn out to be the peak opportunity for increasing your sales.

After Christmas Sales

It doesn’t end Christmas day. Many retailers participate in after-Christmas promotions. However, if you plan to promote offers at this time, make sure you focus on discounts and special pricing.

Is Free Shipping on Your List?

Yes, free shipping has been done many times before, but there’s a reason… it works. Nearly half (46.7%) of consumers in a recent NRF study said free shipping promotions are important factors in their decision on where to shop during the holidays.

Follow the Rules

In your quest to get more sales, don’t forget the rules. Text marketing is regulated and messages can only be sent to users who opt in. Also, avoid texting off hours. Your store may be open 24 hours, but you shouldn’t send text messages in the early morning or late at night.

Ready to start with your own mobile campaign? Contact us or call us at (305) 505-5393 for help with setting up your text message marketing.

 

Sweepstakes and Contests: Do I Need Official Rules?

(This is a guest post by Donna DeClemente, a colleague and experienced marketer of sweepstakes and contests.)

We get asked quite often whether or not “Official Rules” are needed for a specific promotion. Some clients and prospects think that it’s only a small “giveaway” and it doesn’t include a major prize, so why not?

Recently I was asked this question from a long-time client and when I reviewed what they wanted to do, it was quite complicated. It didn’t offer a major prize, but it did include two different ways to enter, on Facebook and Instagram, along with photo upload.

So the answer is always yes. Whether you are planning to run a sweepstakes (giveaway) or a contest, there are rules and regulations that you must follow in order to be compliant. Therefore, you need to have a set of Official Rules that outlines the promotion and is your contract with the public.

Back in June I wrote this post that reviewed the differences between sweepstakes and contests and what the major objectives are for running either of them. To summarize, sweepstakes are a game of chance where the winners are normally randomly chosen. Contests on the other hand are a game of skill and participants usually are invited to submit some content (photo, video, essay, etc.). A panel of judges then chooses the winners based on criteria that are defined in the official rules.

Also, you need to know that any promotion that contains all of these three elements: Prize, Chance and Consideration (Purchase, Payment or Time) is an “Illegal Lottery” in the U.S. The Time element is the grayest area of all these. If you are planing to run a promotion that does include Consideration, then you must allow an alternate means of entry (AMOE).  Most social media promotions do not usually require consideration. However, writing about a product or taking a photo or video of the product in order to enter may be consideration.

For example, if the participant can take a photo of themselves with a product in a store, then a purchase would not be required. Or for example, if you’re asking them to take a photo of themselves with a pair of shoes “out and about the town” that would most likely require purchasing the shoes and therefore, Consideration. There is a fine line between the two. Another example is asking participants to take a photo while taking a bite of a doughnut or sipping a drink. They can’t return the doughnut or the drink then, so wouldn’t that require purchase? You need to ask if the participant can effectively compete without actually making a purchase.

Also a very popular trend on social media is inviting participants to earn extra entries by performing different tasks and challenges on various platforms. Not only do you need to follow the guidelines of each social media platform, you also need to keep in mind  the degree of effort that you are asking participants to perform to gain an entry. So how much time is too much and what can you really require? The Supreme Court did rule that watching a 30 minute TV show wasn’t too much time, so that’s a guideline to follow. But keep in mind that while awarding bonus entries for sharing/referring may not likely fall under consideration, it may be against Federal CAN/SPAM regulations.

Another thing to keep in mind is the FTC’s Endorsement and Testimonial Guidelines. They recently published a list of Q&A’s that state that when it comes to sweepstakes and contests, any incentive, no matter how minimal, such as an entry for making a post on social media sites, may be an endorsement. Thus it requires a disclosure. The use of the promotion title alone is not adequate, and they are encouraging including #Contest or #Sweepstakes or #Entry or a similar designation in a hashtag. The recent updated Q&A’s now states that using #sweeps as the hashtag is not enough and instead it should be #sweepstakes.

Another rising trend today on social media is running a sweepstakes or contest utilizing only a hashtag with no entry form. Entrants may be invited to post a tweet on Twitter or upload a photo on Twitter or Instagram utilizing a promotional hashtag. Many marketers like these types of promotions since it creates buzz and makes it easy for entrants. However, hashtag entries do not collect data on the entrants since there is no entry form to fill out. Data collection is the number one reason why marketers run sweepstakes and contests. Without collecting data this also can make it more difficult to contact winners. There are however, applications that you can utilize that include both such as what was discussed in this post.

So it all comes back to what your main objectives are for running a promotion. You need to consider what the risks may be and also be realistic in what you are asking participants to do. Most of all, be sure to cover yourself and your company by running a successful and legally compliant promotion that includes a set of Official Rules.

Donna DeClemente blogs on www.DonnasPromoTalk.com.