Text Message Marketing Best Practices

Text message marketing can be extremely effective. However, there are a few guidelines that must be followed. They help you get the most return and make sure your program follows federal rules. When done well, a text message marketing campaign can yield fantastic results. To make the most of your text message campaign, here are best practices.

  1. Stay professional
    While it may be tempting to use texting shorthand or abbreviations it’s best to avoid them (think ‘u’ instead of ‘you’) and  only use regular abbreviations when necessary to save space (“exp.” instead of “expire,” for example). Your brand’s message should still be a professionally crafted message. Also, brevity is key – do not try to fill all 160 characters if you don’t need to.
  2. Make it easy
    Opting in (or out) of any text message campaign should be easy for the user. Keeping codes short, or asking the user to text a number should be something short. Pro tip: the best way to get a large number of entries on your list is to host a sweepstakes. Keep it short and easy to get the biggest number of entries!
  3. Plan what, then when
    It’s important for these text messages to come at a time that will not seem intrusive to the client. Acceptable hours for your text to go out should be business hours, around 9 am – 6 pm. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a client’s personal phone and to be respectful of it.
  4. Comply with the TCPA
    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was made to protect the very people you are trying to market to. To avoid any legal issues, make sure that everyone on your mobile list has opted into receiving messages from you. There are also certain messages that should be included in your opt-in language (“Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to stop. You provide consent to receive autodialed text messages.”)

These tips will  help improve customer response and ensure a successful campaign.

Using Mobile Coupons? See Examples From Top Retail Stores

Have you used mobile coupons for your business? Top retailers are sending them as often as once a week.

Whether you offer discounts weekly or monthly, there are plenty of opportunities to get your customers in the door. Best of all, these opportunities are only a click or text away.

All a consumer needs to do to sign up is text a word to a short code (a 5 or 6-digit number) and they’ll opt in for coupon updates sent directly to their phones. To quit, they simply text “STOP” to the same number.

Here are mobile coupon examples from top retailers:

1. Old Navy

Mobile coupon offer:  “Top off your long weekend with up to 50% off the entire store thru Mon., plus 50% off all fleece tops on Sat. only. Select styles, limit 5/person.”

2. Pet Supermarket

Text PETS to 65047 for pet deals and enter for a chance to win free pet food for a year!  Example coupon:  “We have treats, toys and gifts for furry family members. Plus get $5 off $25 or more w/ coupon 12420. Exp 12/21/14.”

3. Bed, Bath & Beyond

“Your mobile offer for 20% off 1 item in-store or online is here! [Link]”

4. Macy’s

Earn an extra 15% off by texting COUPON to 62297.

5. Target

Sign up online for mobile alerts such as this one: “Stock up for the Big Game with these Mobile Coupons! Click xxxx… Exp 2/4”

6. Family Dollar

Tell the cashier to use code 59409 and save $.50 on select Tylenol cold products.

7. Payless Shoe Store

Payless offers a 20% off coupon for texting PAYLESS to 747474.

8. Kohl’s

Enjoy 20% off at Kohls.com by texting SAVE02 to 56457. 

9. Avenue Women’s Fashion

“Take $5 off any purchase of $20 or more in store or online. Use coupon code xxxxx in store or code xxxxx at avenue.com.  Expires in 10 days.” To sign up, text AVENUE to 40679.  (Also a Valentine’s Day coupon below.)

10. JoAnn Fabrics

Text BEADS to 56266 (JOANN) to receive 20% off a purchase, plus five more coupons a month.

The Pros & Cons of Amazon Giveaway for Marketers

One of the biggest online retailers just got into the sweepstakes game today with Amazon Giveaway. And it looks like an attractive option. Running a sweepstakes involves a bit of work after all. There are entry forms to create, rules to write, prizes to ship out and even tax issues to handle.

Amazon handles most of that. So we can see why a self-service tool like this will appeal to “everyone from authors, aspiring artists, non-profits, brands, bloggers, social media gurus and more.”

But if you’re a brand marketer or have your own business, there are a few cons to consider as well. First, let’s go over how it works…

How it Works

  1. Select a prize on Amazon and pay for it.
  2. Use the wizard to set up the sweepstakes.
  3. Get a link you can share by email or on social media.
  4. Entrants click and log in to Amazon to enter (they must have an account).
  5. Entry is an easy instant-win process.
  6. Amazon notifies the winner, ships the prize & handles tax reporting.

Sounds easy right? But there’s more to consider. Here are the pros and cons to using Amazon Giveaways for your sweepstakes:

PROS

  • Easy to set up
    You can leave most of the work up to Amazon, including entry setup, (some) rule requirements, winner notification, prize fulfillment and tax reporting.
  • Easy to enter
    It’s as easy as logging in and clicking two times to find out if you’re an instant winner.
  • More than a million prizes to choose from
    Electronics, books, home appliances… you name it, Amazon probably has it.
  • Option to build your Twitter following
    You can build in an option asking entrants to follow your Twitter account. This could help you grow your Twitter following obviously (a tweet doesn’t seem required though).

CONS

  • Who entered? You won’t know
    This is the biggest drawback of using the tool: you won’t know who entered. Sure, you’ll find out who won and may get a boost in Twitter followers, but that’s about it. As marketers, we all want to gather information from entrants (email or perhaps other details), but with Amazon Giveaway this is not an option. Per our contact with the company, all you’ll get is the winner’s name and address.
  • Website traffic? Yes, to Amazon
    Having the entry on Amazon means your prospects or customers will be visiting the big A’s site, not yours. Remember, all you’re getting is a link to the giveaway. We suppose you could set up a landing page or blog post to post the link on your site, but all your traffic will leave and will surely get hooked into wandering around this behemoth’s site, rather than your own. (The thank you page doesn’t link back to your site, in case you’re wondering.)
  • Official Rules are still your responsibility
    Some of the legal aspects are handled in the setup. For example, the overall prize value can’t exceed $5,000 (otherwise, you’d have to file a surety bond in certain states). This is helpful, but you’ll still need to create Official Rules for your sweepstakes and host them on your site.
  • Brand-centric or high end prizes are ruled out
    Yes, there are more than a million products to choose from, but there are still limits. You won’t be able to offer your own merchandise (unless it’s available on Amazon), gift cards to your store/site or items excluded by Amazon such as digital songs, movies or apps, along with Marketplace items (sold by third party vendors). Trips, cars and other luxury goods are also ruled out.

Longer-term benefits are missing

This tool will be great for Amazon’s business, but won’t give you all of the benefits of a good sweepstakes—especially, the ability to contact entrants after the promotion. You’ll get a temporary buzz boost, extra Twitter fans and the goodwill of offering a free prize, but the longer term benefits are missing.

Overall, Amazon Giveaway is a great option if you’re not worried about building your email (or mobile) list or don’t want the means to further contact entrants . But, for us as marketers, we consider that a primary goal.

Visit the site to try the tool for yourself.

How Mobile Coupons Win in Redemption

The days of clipping coupons from the weekly ad will soon be coming to a close. More than 75% of shoppers have redeemed a mobile coupon from their smartphones and that number is expected to rise.

Our clients have seen an increase in mobile coupon redemption of 7% to 12%. Compare that to the average 1% to 2% redemption for paper coupons. Since mobile coupons are so easy to sign up for and use, it’s plain to see how they’ve become so popular.

Another reason for its adoption is smartphone use. Smartphone users are typically highly engaged users, used to having a wealth of information at their fingertips. For a whopping 59% of these consumers, digital coupons influence their purchasing decisions.

What does this mean for you?

Not only does a mobile coupon increase the likelihood a user will buy your product, it also lets you continue to market to repeat buyers. You have the potential to increase the number of visits and the average sale as well.

Even for products consumers haven’t tried, mobile coupons are effective. As reported by Forrester Consulting, 47% of consumers are likely to try a new brand when receiving a coupon on their smartphone while shopping in-store.

While traditional forms of marketing, such as print and mass mailers, do have their place, mobile coupons will play a key role. Many large retailers have already introduced digital coupons as part of their promotional campaigns.

This trend won’t be slowing anytime soon, either. Per Juniper Research, mobile coupon users are expected to top 1 billion by 2019.

With more consumers using coupons than ever, it only makes sense to go mobile with your coupons. They allow you to connect directly with the consumer in a way that’s immediate and personal—you’re communicating on their mobile phones, after all.

Mobile Marketing Quotes for 2015

As industry insiders, we’ve been immersed in predictions of mobile marketing’s rise to prominence for years. If you’re a marketer, you might even be tired of hearing them. But they’re no longer foresights of the future. They’re the insights of today.

Take a look at these mobile marketing quotes from experts and ask yourself if you’re ready to make your move in mobile.

Mobile Marketing Quotes for 2015

“If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished.” – Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola

Mobile quote by Wendy Clark

 

“The trend has been mobile was winning. It’s now won.” Eric Schmidt, Google (2014)

Mobile quote by Eric Schmidt, Google

 

“Mobile is a lot closer to TV than it is to desktop.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Mobile marketing quote by Mark Zuckerberg

 

“Mobile is not the future, it is the now. Meet your customers in the environment of their choice, not where it’s convenient for you.” – Cyndie Shaffstall, Spider Trainers

Marketing quote on mobile environment

 

“The future of mobile is the future of online. It is how people access online content now.” – David Murphy, Mobile Marketing Magazine

The future of mobile

 

For a little humor…  “I want to be buried with a mobile phone, just in case I’m not dead.” – Amanda Holden

A little mobile humor

 

“2015 will be the year of “mobile-first.” Get it to work on mobile first and let all other platforms follow. We’ll all be sick of hearing it by the end of the year.” – John Fox, Venture Marketing

2015: The year of mobile first

 

“SMS text messaging has proven its marketing value in reaching consumers at scale.” – Marcos Menendez, Momares Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing quote by Marcos Menendez

 

“We still see most of our clients cramming PC experiences onto phones when they should be thinking in terms of mobile moments instead.” – Julie A. Ask, Forrester Research

Mobile moments by Forrester Research

 

Forrester estimates that less than 4% of businesses are ready to take advantage of opportunities presented by mobile. Julie Ask, an analyst, outlines a few good strategies to get started in this article in Media Post.

Beside Julie Ask’s quote, most of these statements were made during the Mobile Retail Summit.