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No-Fail Tips for Building Your Text Message Marketing List

To get the most out of your text message marketing campaign, you need to have a large pool of subscribers. How do you get there? There are many different avenues you can take, but some of the simplest yet most effective ways rely on the marketing and advertising efforts you already have in place. 

Looking for some ideas for no-fail solutions to build your SMS marketing campaign? Try the following.

Tap Into Your Email Subscribers 

Consider creating email and text marketing campaigns that complement one another. Use your marketing emails as a way to inform clients about your texting program. Include a call to action in your email messages inviting subscribers to sign up to receive your text messages.

Just make sure that you provide incentives as to why it is important to join both, such as exclusive deals and information. For example, you might have an email newsletter that promotes your new products or services while your texts focus on providing offers and deals. Your clients will not wish to receive emails and texts that say the same thing.

Leverage Your Social Media Followers

Your social media followers already like your company enough to follow your posts or tweets, so why not encourage them to join your text marketing program?

How do you do this? You could run a text-to-win contest and promote it on social media. You can also incorporate your text marketing information into your social media profile. Occasional posts promoting your texting campaign, especially if you're sharing exclusive offers and deals, also encourage more people to sign up. 

Use as a CTA on Print Ads

Another easy way to promote your text message marketing program is to incorporate it into your existing marketing collateral. It makes for a strong call to action on all your print ads. No matter where people see your posters or print ads, they can grab their phone and text the keyword to your number. 

Incorporate onto Your Website 

Another place ripe for promoting your texting program is your website. When people sign up for an account, include a place for receiving text alerts just as you do with your email newsletters. Incorporate your keyword and number into a graphic that is on all of your pages as a way to communicate with you. 

Don't Forget Your Other Media and Ads 

There are many other ways in which you can simply leverage your existing marketing collateral to promote your text message marketing campaign to grow your list. A few examples include: 

  • Event announcements 
  • Event programs
  • Podcasts and radio shows
  • YouTube videos
  • Webinars 
  • TV and radio advertisements 
  • In-store signs and posters
  • Flyers and brochures 

The big takeaway? Let people who are already interested in your business know about your texting campaign. This might include those who already actively follow you on another medium, such as your email newsletters or social media accounts. It might also include targeting potential customers via your website. 

Through leveraging your own properties and marketing collateral that you already produce, you also reduce costs for promoting your text message marketing. Before you know it, you will see your subscriber list start to grow. Contact us to learn more about building a strong SMS marketing campaign.

4 Marketing Trends You Need to Watch

How well do you keep up with the latest changes in marketing? If you want to have a fresh and engaging brand, it is essential that you remain on top of marketing trends. Here are four you should be watching right now.

Revival of Email 

Email marketing is not dead. In fact, some companies are reviving their newsletters and other email marketing tools. Social media algorithms have changed, making it harder for brands to have control over which of their followers see their posts. As a result, social media marketing has lost some of its luster; instead, they prefer email marketing thanks to its direct route to consumers. 

To take it even further, consider implementing a text message marketing campaign. It gives you the control of what content your users see. Unlike email marketing, which has about a 30 percent open rate, texting has an almost 100 percent open rate.

Company Culture and Authenticity Matters 

Consumers often make decisions based on their emotions and experience with a company rather than price and other objective factors. This is especially true for millennial consumers, which is why branding and customer engagement have become so important in marketing. Expect these factors to become even more important in the coming years. Focus on creating an authentic brand and make the customer experience a priority. 

The Importance of Mobile Marketing Grows 

At the end of 2016, more consumers used mobile devices to access the internet than desktop computers. To further emphasize the importance of mobile, Google is ushering in a mobile-first index. This prioritizes the web version of a company's web page rather than the desktop for SEO ranking purposes. This makes having a mobile marketing campaign that much more important. 

Chatbots and AI

Chatbots and artificial intelligence continue to drive the future of marketing. More and more businesses are implementing chatbots so they can provide 24/7 service for customers without needing to hire additional employees. 

Chatbots and AI also will alter the way in which people search for things. As more and more people adopt devices like Siri, Alexa, Google Home, they are relying on voice search more frequently. This changes the way in which they receive the information as well. As such, businesses will need to aggregate their information to ensure that their website and company information is found in these type of searches in the same way as traditional website searches. 

Paying attention to marketing trends can help you stay ahead of your competition and provide better service to your customers. Interested in learning more about you how can improve the customer experience? Text message marketing can have a big impact. 

Contact us to learn more about the great ways that text message marketing can help your business grow.

3 Great Ideas for Last-Minute Event Promotions

The last thing you want is to have an empty dance floor at your club. Not only does this affect your income for the night; it also could impact your reputation. When you look at ticket sales and see that you might have a slow night, there are a few last-minute marketing strategies that you can use to increase attendance.  

Targeted Invites 

Target messages to those who have attended events in the past to generate interest.

One of the best ways to generate more interest for your event (even at the last minute) is to target the invitations. At this point, you have likely sent out information to your text marketing subscribers, and you have probably promoted the event through other marketing channels. Rather than continue to try to reach a wide audience, focus on those who will most likely want to attend. 

Send text messages to those who have come to similar events in the past. Run paid campaigns that target a specific audience based on demographics. Customize the message to appeal to the select audience to increase the efficacy of your campaign.

Special Offers 

People love to save money, so special offers are a great way to get people to act—even at the last minute. Avoid simply discounting all of your tickets; instead, motivate people to take advantage of the offer by making it exclusive. For example, try the following:

  • Send out exclusive discounts through your text marketing program
  • Email targeted audience members with a special deal 
  • Limit the deal to the first 100 people who respond 
  • Run a contest on social media 

Build Hype with Social Media 

To get people to your event, you need to build interest and hype. Making it feel as though tickets are scarce is one way to build hype, but it's sometimes not enough. It is also beneficial to start a thread on social media and get your followers to join in the discussion. Choose a hashtag to start trending on Instagram and Twitter. Ask your Facebook followers to share the event with their friends. As people see their friends posting about it, they become interested in learning what all they hype is about. 

Motivate your subscribers to text their friends to join them through offering a reward for doing so.

You can also similarly leverage your text marketing program. Ask your subscribers to share your texts with their friends and offer a special discount or reward if they bring friends to the event.

When you run last minute event promotions, focus on the platforms that allow for immediate responses. Text marketing is one of the best marketing channels for last minute promotions; people typically read and respond within seconds. In fact, texts have a 98 percent open rate, while email only has an (approximately) 22 percent open rate. You may also drum up some last-minute interest by promoting your event on social media. 

Ready to start with text marketing for your business? Contact us and boost your attendance even at the last minute.

How a Texting Campaign Broadens Your Reach

To continue to grow your small business, it is essential to find new leads. One way to do this is to broaden your reach to engage with a wider pool of potential customers. There are many ways to do this, and one of the most successful is SMS marketing. What's more, reports indicate that people do want to receive texts from businesses, so you are reaching out using a medium to which people are responsive. 

How does texting help you broaden your reach? There are a few key characteristics to consider.

Everyone's a Potential Lead 

Almost everyone owns a cell phone, giving you a wide pool of potential leads.

One of the best reasons to add texting to your marketing strategy is that it opens up the potential pool of leads to almost everyone. Granted, texting is a permission-based medium, so it does have some limitations. However, over 95 percent of Americans own an SMS-enabled cell phone. 

It's clear that a high number of people own SMS-enabled phones, and the good news doesn't stop there: most of them actively use texting. More than half of consumers also feel that text messages are an effective way for businesses to get in contact with them. Therefore, when you run a texting campaign, every mobile user becomes a potential lead. 

Cross-Generational and Socioeconomic Lines 

The numbers above are not just related to a particular demographic. A texting campaign gives you a chance to interact with customers across generational and socioeconomic lines. Although Millennials and Gen Z'ers are known for texting, older generations text almost as much as their younger counterparts. Texting provides a way to connect with all your potential customers, whether your clientele is mainly made up of young people or older people. 

Texting campaigns also allow you to broaden your reach by crossing socioeconomic lines. For many people, owning a computer and having continual access to the internet remains out of reach due to the expense. However, most people still have an SMS-enabled phone. For many families, this is a primary communication tool, and it may also serve as their only means of access to the internet. This population might not be able to connect with you on social media or through email, but they will have the ability to communicate via text message. 

No Special Equipment Needed 

Potential subscribers require no special equipment, other than an SMS-enabled phone, to receive texts from your business. With a texting campaign, mobile users do not need to worry about downloading a special app to get alerts from you or to take action on an ad. This also makes it simple for new subscribers to join your program. They already have their phone, and they simply have to text a keyword to a special code in order to participate. The easier an action, the more likely people will do it.

Integrating SMS marketing boosts all of your marketing efforts.

Running a texting campaign has the potential to connect your business with a much wider audience. You do not have to worry about alienating any particular demographic since everyone has access to the same information.

Ready to see how texting broadens the reach of your marketing efforts? Try ClubTexting for free and grow your business.

5 Simple Steps to a Strong SMS Marketing Program

Ready to start your SMS marketing program? It does not take much to get going with this marketing channel. After taking just five simple steps, your program can be up and running. Be sure to follow our tips so that you develop a foundation for a strong program that achieves your business goals.

Create an objective

Get your team together to work out goals for your campaign.

Before you go too far down the path of creating your SMS marketing program, you need to develop a clear objective. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is to run a campaign with no clear goal in mind. In fact, 57 percent of marketers continually work without a defined objective with their campaigns. The problem with this is that it leaves you rudderless, so your campaign flounders. You might try to do too much, or you might not have an idea of how to structure your messages to get people to take your desired action. 

So, how do you create an objective? You and your team get together to determine what you hope to achieve from your text marketing program. Goals might include: 

  • Increasing your reach
  • Finding more customers 
  • Boosting sales
  • Moving products
  • Improving the customer experience
  • Engaging with customers 
  • Promoting your business 

The most important thing is that your objective is clear, defined, and manageable. It is best to concentrate on one main goal in the beginning. Additionally, make sure your objective aligns with your overall business goals, as well as the objectives of your other marketing channels. Your texting program does not live on its own, so from the beginning, you want to see how it complements the rest of your efforts.

Choose a keyword

Now that you have an idea of what you want your SMS marketing campaign to do for your business, it is time to choose a keyword that will help you to achieve your goal. You will most likely have more than one keyword over the course of your campaign. Keywords act as the foundation for your efforts. They are the words that you use in your promotional materials to motivate subscribers to join your campaign. 

How do you choose the right keyword for your business? Well, you ideally want something that is simple, appealing, and memorable. It is best to work with something relevant to your industry, company, or the campaign itself. Just be sure to keep it short -- to one word -- and do not use special characters. 

Promote your campaign

Once you have your keywords, you are ready to start promoting your campaign. SMS marketing is a permission-based medium, so it is essential that you have permission to text everyone on your subscriber list. How do you grow your list? By promoting it! Luckily, it is easy to promote your texting program. You can choose to create marketing materials related to your program and make sure they get to your potential subscribers. Additionally, you can simply add a blurb about the program on all existing marketing collateral as a call-to-action, since it takes little space.

Where should you promote your campaign? The possibilities are endless: 

  • Flyers
  • Email newsletters
  • Vehicle wraps
  • Billboards
  • TV ads
  • Radio spots
  • Posters
  • Print ads
  • In-store promotions 
  • Blog
  • Webpage
  • Social media profile

Wherever you normally market your business serves as a potential place to promote your campaign. The best places to push it are in the areas where people already follow your company. For example, those who follow your social media profiles or subscribe to your email newsletters are already predisposed to engage with you. Therefore, they make the best audience to initially target, especially if you provide them with an incentive to follow you on another channel.

Send texts

Once you have your list, it is time to start sending texts. You want to take the time to develop strong content that provides value to your customers. Your messages should be: 

  • Relevant
  • Personal 
  • Timely 

You have a whole array of options for message types, including: 

  • Offers and deals
  • Customer service messages
  • Transactional messages
  • Appointment and event reminders
  • Tips 
  • Product announcements 

Find out what your customers want and provide them with messages that meet those expectations. You also want to follow a schedule to ensure that you do not overwhelm your customers with more texts that they want. 

Monitor and adjust as needed

No matter how long your campaign has been running, you need to monitor it to ensure it continues to flourish.

Once you get your SMS marketing program going, the work does not stop. It is important that you continually monitor your program. Your SMS marketing platform will have a variety of analytics to review, which typically include: 

  • Opt-in rate
  • Opt-out rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Click-through rate

By reviewing this information, you will have an idea of what works -- and what does not. For example, if you notice a high number of opt-outs after you send a particular type of message, then you know that your audience does not want those type of messages. 

The most important thing is not only to review the messages but also to make any necessary adjustments. You want to keep doing this for the life of your SMS marketing program because what works brilliantly now might not work forever. If you catch downward trends early, then you can make adjustments before you have a major problem. 

Ready to get started with text marketing for your business? Once you have steps one and two complete, then try ClubTexting for free and see how effective your campaign can be.

SMS Marketing for All Generations

When you create the marketing programs for your small business, it is essential that you develop different strategies for your different demographics. One of the most important definers is age, so you might decide to have different strategies for each generation. The marketing material you create for Gen Z'ers may not be effective for Baby Boomers and vice versa. Even a short-form marketing channel like SMS marketing becomes that much better when you tailor it to the habits and preferences of different age groups. 

Gen Z'ers

Gen Z'ers might be young, but they are still a powerful buying force in the market.

Gen Z'ers are the new kids in town -- the generation born after 1997. Although many are too young to be a key target demographic for most small businesses, the older Gen Z'ers are now 20 years old and entering the work force. Additionally, this generation contributes a whopping $44 billion to the US economy. It is estimated that by 2020, they will account for one-third of the US population. 

You cannot simply market to Gen Z'ers the same way that you do to Millennials, as they have their own nuances. They have grown up with the internet and social media even more so than Millennials. They are resourceful and prefer to feel like they have control over how they connect with businesses. 

Gen Z'ers certainly do text a lot, making them a viable target for SMS marketing. They like short content, so a 160 character text message is perfect. They prefer to communicate through images rather than text, so they might be a key demographic for MMS messages, which allow you to send pictures. So, how do you create a strong texting campaign for your Gen Z customers? You want to be sure that you: 

  • Include them in your marketing, such as through creating a brand ambassador program 
  • Relate to them honestly; they will know if you are trying to just sell things
  • Make relationship building and engagement top priorities
  • Integrate across all channels; Gen Z'ers frequently use multiple devices and expect a seamless experience 

Millennials

Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, are the generation that most people think about in connection with text messaging. They have also become a major target for marketers, especially as they have recently surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in America. Millennials often prefer the convenience of texting over voice calls. A whopping 100 percent of Millennial smartphone owners communicate via text, according to the Pew Research Center. For Millennials, texting is something that is unobtrusive and allows for efficient communication. 

In addition to preferring texting, Millennials also look for branded content that is relevant and authentic. This generation is interested in customized content. Your texting program offers the perfect opportunity to tailor your messages for Millennial audiences. Additionally, a texting program allows you to create more engaging, one-on-one relationships, especially if you open it up for two-way communication. 

Gen X'ers

Don't make the common mistake of forgetting to market to Gen X'ers.

Gen X'ers are often overlooked when it comes to marketing, which has earned them the nickname of the forgotten generation. This group includes those born between 1965 and 1980, and although they are their own distinct generation, many are simply lumped in with Millennials or with Baby Boomers. When you market your products and services to Gen X'ers, you want to emphasize your good deals. Gen X'ers are looking to save money. They also want to find ways to save time and effort. 

How do you incorporate this into your text marketing program? Well, first and foremost, ensure that you have a solid coupon program that provides attractive deals to your clients. Additionally, you want to demonstrate how your small business goes above and beyond to save them time and effort in their daily lives. You can do this through sending daily tips, information about your events, polls or surveys to learn more about them, or a texting customer service option.

Baby Boomers & The Silent Generation 

Baby Boomers remain a driving force in the market. This generation is comprised of those born between 1946 and 1964. Although they might not be the largest generation anymore, there are still an estimated 74.9 million Baby Boomers in America, as of 2015.  

Many marketers look at those over the age of 50 as one large group, even though there are differences between the older generations. However, when it comes to technology, some similarities will impact how you target these generations in your marketing efforts. A common misconception is that people over 50 don't send text messages. In fact, the opposite is true. About 92 percent of smartphone owners over the age of 50 communicate via text, according to the Pew Research Center study mentioned above.

In general, Baby Boomers and later generations tend to react more to traditional marketing practices. They also do not have as short of an attention span, so you can go into more depth with your data, and any videos you create can be longer. One important thing to remember is that many of these people are in retirement, or about to be. Therefore, think about how your company will help them, either with enjoying their leisure time or by helping them cut back on spending to stretch their retirement funds. 

How can you incorporate this into your SMS marketing program? Well, to begin, keep things simple for your older generations. They might use technology, but they are not always as advanced as the younger generations who grew up immersed in it. Focus on providing information and ways to help, while also engaging with them in a more personal way. Additionally, offer deals, discounts, and services to help them in their retirement.  

Creating a Campaign that Speaks to Everyone 

Some text messages will resonate across generations.

Although these generations might be different, there are some important similarities among them. They all will enjoy a good deal, so texting coupons is always a good strategy. Additionally, engagement and personalization remain essential. With your SMS marketing program, be sure to develop tailored content to your customers, which you can do by segmenting them by demographics. Additionally, you always want to send content that is valuable and relevant. 

Ready to see how texting can help your company target all of your customers? Then try ClubTexting for free.

7 Biggest Myths About SMS Marketing

Despite the numerous benefits of SMS marketing, there are still several myths that make small business owners hesitant about adopting a texting program and integrating it into their marketing efforts. However, it is important to know the realities of these myths so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to explore a texting campaign for your business. 

As you will see, texting is a lucrative marketing channel from which many companies, both big and small, can benefit.

Only Millennials text

One of the most perpetuated myths about SMS marketing is that only young people text. Companies often feel that if their primary clientele is not made up of millennials and generation Zers, they will not see any positive returns from implementing a texting campaign. However, the truth is that people of all ages text, including generation Xers, baby boomers, and the lost generation. 

Although the percentage of older people who text might be lower than that of younger generations, it is not by much. Out of smartphone owners, 100 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds text, while 98 percent of people between 30 and 49 years old text, and 92 percent of those over the age of 50 text. When you combine all the age groups together, on average, 97 percent of smartphone owners text at least once a week. 

The older generations text almost as much as Millennials and Gen Zers.

Considering that 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and the smartphone market share is now at 77 percent, these numbers are powerful. Even in the older age groups, the majority of people who own a cell phone have a smartphone. 

So what does this mean for your small business? It means that whether you focus your marketing on millennials or baby boomers, you can have a strong return from an SMS marketing campaign. 

People need smartphones to text

Marketers may hesitate to incorporate text messaging into their marketing endeavors because they feel that only a percentage of their clients will be able to receive the messages. Some think that texting only works with smartphones. However, that is not the case. Although the above statistics are related to smartphone ownership, your customers do not have to have smartphones to benefit from a texting campaign. 

In fact, the beauty of SMS marketing is that it has a wider reach because people do not need special technology beyond an SMS-enabled phone to engage with your business. All cell phones on the market can send and receive text messages, even pay-as-you-go phones, and, since 95 percent of Americans have a cell phone, text marketing gives you access to a vast pool of potential clients.

Therefore, as you formulate your marketing strategy, consider that people from every age group, ethnicity, education level, and income level own a text-enabled cell phone. Some of these might not have ready access to email, web pages, or social media. However, they can receive text messages.

You need a special app to create a texting program

A similar myth to the idea that people need smartphones is that they need a special app to be part of the program -- or that you do. However, this is also inaccurate. There are mobile marketing programs out there that require special apps, but SMS marketing is not one of them. It uses the default message system that sends and receives SMS messages on any phone, no app required. 

You can quickly access most group texting platforms from a computer.

As for your business, you also might not need to download a special program, depending on which provider you use. However, you will use a special platform to manage your campaigns, which is not unlike other marketing channels. Through this program, you have the ability to: 

  • Monitor your list 
  • Schedule text messages
  • Review text message data
  • Sync contacts from other programs 
  • Set up keywords
  • Save message templates
  • Create drip campaigns 

The exact features of your program will depend on the company you use as your group texting provider.

You can typically access a group texting software or platform from different channels. These might be a website, or an app on your computer, tablet, and/or phone.  

Big businesses are the only ones who benefit from SMS marketing

Some small business owners see the benefits of texting, but they still hesitate to adopt it because they just feel that it only helps big businesses. However, the reverse is true. SMS marketing is cost-effective and helps smaller businesses compete with larger companies. 

How can it help a small business compete with a larger one? Because companies don't need a big budget to be successful with SMS marketing. SMS marketing is a text-based medium. Although you can incorporate some graphics with MMS (multimedia messaging), most companies stick with the text-based SMS messages, even the large corporations. Therefore, you do not have to worry about creating a beautiful graphic that costs thousands of dollars to produce, as you might with other marketing channels. 

Another reason SMS marketing benefits small businesses is that it provides a way to engage directly with your customers. As a small business, one of your defining characteristics is your ability to have a one-to-one relationship with clients. Many customers care more about customer experience and engagement than other factors. Therefore, even if the big box stores or other major corporations can out-price you, you have the opportunity to out-service them by providing an amazing customer experience. 

One way to do this is by implementing a texting campaign. There are many components of SMS marketing that facilitate a better experience for customers. These might include: 

  • Personalized tips 
  • Service reminders 
  • Exclusive events
  • Coupons and offers 
  • Product insights
  • Shopping guides
  • VIP benefits

With a small price tag that can fit almost any budget, texting is tailor-made for smaller business.

People do not like to receive texts from businesses

Another myth that never seems to go away is that people simply do not like to receive texts from companies. Many businesses feel that people will see the messages as spam and that ultimately, the messages will have the opposite of the intended effect and turn people away from the company. However, the data does not show this to be true.

For one, only 1 percent of text messages are considered spam. Additionally, 70 percent of consumers feel that texting is a good way for businesses to get into contact with them. People want to receive texts from their favorite brands. 

Additionally, text message marketing is a subscription-based service, which means you are only able to send marketing texts to people who have signed up to be part of your program. Therefore, you are texting to customers who want to hear from you, making texting that much more effective. Your audience is already engaged and has a positive feeling towards your business. Texting just provides a way to nourish that engagement. 

So, what does this mean for you and your business? It means that you shouldn't be afraid to send your customers text messages. However, be sure that you send relevant and valuable information, and only to those who have signed up to be on your list. Additionally, limit the number of texts you send so that you do not oversaturate your customers. About two to four texts per month should suffice, though you might find that your customers want to hear from you more often.

SMS marketing is ineffective

Many marketers hesitate to use SMS marketing because they do not believe in its efficacy. Although it might not be as popular as other marketing channels, such as email, that does not mean it is ineffective. In fact, it means the opposite. 

Because not every company uses SMS marketing, people are not receiving an enormous number of texts from businesses like they do with their email messages. This means taht text messages have a greater impact, and it is probably the reason for their 98 percent open rate. One of the benefits of this increased impact? SMS marketing also has a higher conversion rate than other marketing tactics. 

Texting campaigns have the power to increase your business and bring in new customers.

People also carry their phones with them at all times, making it easy for them to see their message right away. This is likely one of the reasons that people open their texts within just a few minutes of receipt.

Therefore, when deciding the best way to cut through the enormous amount of marketing information that people receive and stand out from the competition, consider using text message marketing. You will have much less competition, improving the efficacy of your efforts.

SMS marketing takes too much time and effort

If you hesitate to incorporate SMS marketing because you feel it takes too much work or is too time-consuming, then you would be wrong. Although learning any new marketing channel takes some time and effort in the beginning, it is relatively easy to set up compared to other channels. Once you learn the basics of SMS marketing, then you will find it takes you significantly less time and effort than other channels to see results. You can schedule automatic messages, create templates, and more with your texting platform software. 

These are just a few of the myths related to SMS marketing. Now that you see the truth, you are ready to overcome your hesitation and integrate texting into your marketing efforts.

Still have questions about the benefits of adding texting to your marketing efforts? Contact us, and we will help you out!

 

How to Promote Community Events with Group Text Messages

No matter the purpose behind your organization, it is essential that you promote and encourage people to attend your events. There are many different potential routes for promotion, and one that should be added to your arsenal is group texting. 

A group texting program is a versatile tool for promoting your event. The following are just a few ways in which you can use your texting program to increase awareness about and attendance for your events.

Marketing

Text your members about your next meeting, party or another event to increase participation.

A group texting program provides an excellent way to market your event to your current members and others in your community. For one, you can simply send out a text message about your event to those who currently subscribe to your texting program. However, texting's role in marketing goes further: it is an excellent call-to-action

For truly impactful marketing messages, whether online, in social media, on print ads or in other mediums, it is essential to have a strong call-to-action (CTA). Asking potential group members to take action via text works well thanks to a few main factors: 

  • Ubiquity of cell phone usage
  • Easy action to complete
  • Simple to include a call-to-action on existing marketing and advertisement collateral 

Include your keyword and short code or long code on your advertisements to provide a simple yet effective call-to-action. Most people carry their phones with them at all times, so they can easily grab their phones and opt-in for more information about your event, even if they see your ad when they are on the go. 

Generate Interest 

Group texting also provides an avenue for generating interest and excitement about your event among your current members and other subscribers to your texting program. In the weeks or months leading up to your event, occasionally send out a message with event details. Include exciting information that sparks their curiosity and gets them talking about it. 

You can also create text message polls to help you make decisions so that your members feel they have more of an investment in the event, even if they are not technically helping to plan it. There are many other ways to use your regular texting program to keep the event fresh in people's minds and to encourage them to attend: 

  • Offer incentives for signing up early 
  • Give your text subscribers a deal on registration 
  • Motivate people to share the event with friends 
  • Text out teasers about the event content and agenda 

Easy Registration or RSVP 

Your group texting program can also be used as a registration tool. Simply text your group asking them if they plan to come to your event. They can then respond with a YES, NO or MAYBE. Then, you can mark it in your files so that you have a headcount. This can work for any type of event, including a meeting or last-minute activity. As an added bonus, it provides accountability, even for events where it is not necessary for participants to register ahead of time.

Events that require more complex registration can also be handled through text messages. Start with a similar type of text message. Then, include a link to the full registration page to those who text YES or MAYBE to you. If online registration is not an option, then you can have your event organizers contact the members who have shown interest in the event to handle their full registration in the appropriate manner.

Event Reminders  

Promoting your event is not just about getting the word out or making it easy to register; it is just as important to ensure that your members actually attend. Group texting provides a great way to remind your members about the event. People read text messages, typically opening them within a few minutes. Therefore, it is the perfect way to feel confident that people have seen the message and will remember to attend your event. Simply send out an event reminder about 24 hours in advance to increase your attendance.

Receive Feedback 

Send out a text message after an event to find out if people enjoyed it.

Once your event is over, your work has not finished. You want to continually learn and grow, and as such, you want to receive feedback from your organization's members about past events. An easy way to do this is to simply send out a text message after an event asking for people's opinions. It can start with a simple poll where people respond with a keyword based on a scale of their satisfaction of the event. Start it off with gratitude for the attendance. For example: 

  • "Thank you for attending our event. Text back GREAT, GOOD, OK or BAD to tell us about your experience." 

Then, you will have a general idea of whether the event was a success or not. Those who text a response can get a follow-up text with a link to a longer survey so that you have the opportunity to learn more. 

At every step of the way, group texting provides a way to promote your event and encourage people to attend. Whether you host events that are months in the making or last-minute informal meetings, you can utilize texting to get the word out and increase your event attendance.

Contact us to learn more about how to implement a texting program for your community organization.

Expert Interview Series: Chip Bell of chipbell.com on Customer-Centric SMS Marketing

Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker, consultant and author of several national best-selling books.  His newest book is the best-selling Kaleidoscope:  Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles released in early 2017. You can follow his work at www.chipbell.com

First off, can you introduce yourself a bit, and tell us about how you got started in marketing? What drew you to the industry, initially?

I am Chip Bell and I work with organizations all over the world helping them craft go-to-market strategies that focus on innovative service.  My work is about creating value-unique customer experiences, not just value-added ones.  It includes helping leaders build sustainable cultures that support long-term customer advocacy.  

What drew me to the industry was the words of Peter Drucker:  “The purpose of an organization is to create and retain a customer.”  I believed that with my passion for the customer, the world of customer experience was a realm in which I could make a difference in the health of an enterprise, the well-being of their employees, and the value to their customers.

How long have you been involved with marketing? How much has changed, in that time? What's stayed the same? 

I started my company in 1980 and much has changed.  Obviously, social media has altered how companies influence customers and vice versa.  The customers’ definition of value has shifted from a preeminent focus on product/outcome and price to a focus on the experience.  What has remained the same is the customer’s desire for fair dealings, transparency, integrity and quality from all the enterprises with which they interact.

Your services are often described as 'customer-centric'. Can you give an example or two of what 'customer-centric marketing' looks like, and why it matters? 

It matters because customers embrace and advocate organizations with a clear and present focus on the primary source of their revenue—the customer.  It matters because customer-centric organizations attract the best talent who in turn attract the best customers.  Customer-centric means putting the voice (needs, expectations, hopes and aspirations) of the customer in the middle of all decisions that ultimately impact customers.   When eBay wanted to create a new mobile app, they turned to the voice of the customer to assist.  When the R&D unit at Medtronic is stumped on the development of a new medical device, they bring in prior customers to talk about their experiences with other devices.  

Sometimes, there's kind of a heavy or pessimistic tone regarding digital marketing, in the wake of the dotcom gold rush, with cynical companies and marketers trying to grab as much cash as possible - even without having anything of value to contribute. Digital marketing also offers more opportunities for customer-centric marketing than any other time in history. What is your feeling, regarding the possibilities of online marketing, in its many manifestations?  

Gold rush reactions to every new trend always create hucksters looking for a quick buck to cash in on the hysteria. Failures create lessons learned, however, leading to more realistic opportunities and more mature responses.  The possibilities of online marketing are at an exciting time with its intersection with new technologies that give customers more control and companies a new medium for enriched connections.  The advent of bots and virtual reality design can make marketing a portal that connects the offerings of an enterprise with the right customer with the right need at the right time.

According to a statistic published by HubSpot in 2016, only 17% of marketers feel that outbound marketing provides the best leads for sales. Why is that number so low? What are some of the issues with outbound marketing, in 2017?

Too many outbound marketers are using antiquated messaging with limited customer intelligence yielding a spam-like experience for prospects.  For marketing to be effective it must have influence—it must sing a song the prospect enjoys hearing.  But more than that it must fit the prospect’s zone of interest.  For example, telling me about a new car just three months after I purchased one is likely to be of little interest.  My auto dealer knows I am not interested in a new car until my current one gets close to 100K miles.  Sending me an outbound marketing piece too early not only lacks influence, it wastes my time and energy.  Also, sending me a new truck marketing piece when I am only interested in an SUV tells me the dealership cares only about making a sale, not serving my unique needs.

There's been a lot of criticism regarding social media marketing, as well, these last few years, following a couple of years where it was trending as the next big thing. What is your take on social media marketing? How much time, energy, or resources should a marketing team be spending on their social media promotion?  

The customer pays a lot of attention to social media, especially from those closest to them. They trust word of mouth (actually, word of mouse) information from family and friends far more than the word of the marketer.  The advantage of social media is its speed and reach.  Armed with smart tools, social media marketing can be very effective if it is highly targeted and emotionally compelling.  When I complain about ads I see on TV my wife reminds me the ad is not intended for me.  Social media marketing is the same.  Again, we must marry deep customer intelligence with social media marketing.

Mobile marketing is obviously not going anywhere, as smartphones are here to stay. What are a few reasons why marketers should integrate SMS marketing into their marketing strategies, if they haven't already? 

If you are not including mobile marketing in your outreach, you are way behind the times.  Adults spend an average of three hours a day on the mobile device.  And, their mobile device goes with them everywhere.  Having a way to reach customers on-the-go is crucial to influencing buying behavior when customers are in a buying mood.

One of the reasons SMS marketing is so effective is that customers must opt-in to receive SMS promotions. Can you share any thoughts or tips on how to get customers to sign up to receive SMS marketing messages? Also, what are some of the benefits of the fact that customers voluntarily sign up to receive promotions?  

We are a country founded on the virtue of freedom.  Forcing a message on a customer sets you up to not only be ignored, but to be loathed.  The word “spam” comes for a cheap meat people were forced to eat during the depression because they could not afford anything else.  It is sometimes called “fake meat.”  Opt-in can be another path to personalization—meaning, I don’t mind junk mail if it is about products in which I have an interest.  If customers are willing to opt-in, they are telegraphing an interest and a willingness to be influenced.

Likewise, what are a few ways that marketers might use SMS marketing to keep customers loyal, once they've already signed up?  

Always give them an easy way to opt out.  Seek their feedback often. Get them involved in a way that is engaging—like a contest, a puzzle, etc.  Make them feel like insiders (much like a fan club).  Provide them values others might not be able to access.  Grow your customer insight base from the behavior of those that opted-in.

Finally, can you share a few thoughts on how best to optimize marketing messages to fit into such a small space? And also, what are a few useful times of day to send SMS marketing, and why is that important? 

Space is not so small if it is “3D” or pops elsewhere or turns into something gloriously delightful and unexpected.  Think about SMS marketing messaging like a virtual Jack-in-the-box, not like a column in a newspaper!

Want to learn more about how SMS marketing can earn your customer's loyalty? Try ClubTexting for free today! 

The Importance of Respect When Organizing Community Events via Group Texting

Group texting provides a great way to communicate with your community group members and organize your events and meetings. Although you might have a personal connection with many of the members of your group, you do not want to communicate with them via text message in the same way you would with a close friend or family member. Instead, it is best to develop a few best practices to ensure that you do not end up alienating members.

One of the most important best practices is respect. By putting respect at the forefront of your texting campaigns, you will find that your members will be more willing to remain part of your texting group -- and your organization or club. To do this, develop guidelines for your group texting program and make sure that everyone who handles your outgoing texts follows them. 

The Importance of Permission 

Get your members to subscribe so that you have permission to text them.

You must have permission to text the members of your group texting program. Getting their permission is not only is a sign of respect, but it is also the law. Texting is an intimate communication channel that most people still reserve for communication from friends, family members, and a select group of organizations and/or businesses. Acknowledge the sanctity of the medium and only text your community members after receiving their express consent. 

The easiest way to do this is to have all members text a keyword to your short code or long code to join your texting program. This way, you let them make the first move, and you are confident that you have their permission. As an added precaution, also include a confirmation action, such as an auto-response to a text to confirm their opt-in. 

Limit the Number of Texts

When people sign up to receive texts from your organization, it does not give you carte blanche to text them all day and all night. Part of respecting your group texting program subscribers is that you do not send them a hundred texts a month. The ideal number of messages depends on your group and the focus of the texts. Typically, organizations tend to stick to two to four per month, but you may need to communicate more often than that. 

So, how do you know how many texts you should send? This is where getting input from your group comes into play. It is beneficial to bring up your texting program during a meeting and learn more about how often group members would like to communicate with you. You might find that group members are open to receiving daily texts. Alternatively, your group might decide that just one text per month is sufficient. 

Send at a Reasonable Time

Text messaging remains a disruptive medium. This is because most people are still alerted when they receive a text. When they hear the alert, they typically will stop what they are doing and look at the text. Therefore, you want to be sure to send your texts at a reasonable time. For most groups, this means avoid texting in the middle of the night. You also might want to avoid texting during rush hour, meal times, and during the morning commute. 

That being said, if you have a major announcement about your group or there is an emergency action, then you might get away with a text slightly outside of the normal parameters. Just be sure that you remain respectful of people's time, even in serious situations.

Be Clear About the Program 

Letting your group members know what to expect from your texting program is also a sign of respect. When you first develop your program, you can get input from your members and establish guidelines according to their feedback. Over time, you might have new members join the group and your texting program. These new members need to be aware of the necessary information, including the frequency of text messages and the types of texts you plan to send. 

If you make any changes to your program, inform everyone of the changes with some lead time before you implement them. This gives them time to unsubscribe if they do not agree with the changes.

Develop Worthwhile Texts 

Whether it is a reminder about a meeting or information about an upcoming event, make each text worthwhile.

The final component of respect in a group texting program is that you send texts that are of value and worthwhile to your group members. What your group finds valuable depends on the focus of your organization. For example, some groups might send out event reminders while others might send out action alerts. The content itself is unique to your organization, so what is a valuable disruption will also be unique to your group. 

Follow these best practices to ensure you are as respectful as possible to your group texting subscribers. 

Ready to get your group organized and active through text messaging? Then try ClubTexting for free and see how it assists you to achieve your goals.

The Essential Guide for Using Group Texting to Organize Community Events

People are more engaged in local and national government than ever. Grassroots organizations from all parts of the political spectrum are popping up around the country looking to help change the world in a variety of different ways.

One of the biggest obstacles these groups face is finding an easy way to organize and communicate with members and interested parties. Group texting provides a way to get members organized, informed, talking and working together to be more successful in their efforts, whether their aim is to support a local candidate or get legislation passed or not passed.

Increase attendance at meetings and events with a group texting program.

Why Choose SMS?

Why should you consider using SMS over other forms of communication such as social media or email? There are a few key reasons: 

  • It's fast 
  • It's inclusive
  • It has a high open rate
     

Not everyone in your community group will want to connect on social media to stay informed. However, almost everyone has an SMS-enabled phone, making it possible to receive messages about events, rallies, meetings and more. Texting is something that reaches across income level and educational level divides. Plus, you also can cross generational gaps, since it is not just millennials and gen Z'ers adept with texting; older smartphone users text almost as much as their younger counterparts. This inclusivity makes it much easier to communicate with all members of your community. 

Additionally, text messages have a high open rate, and they are typically opened within just a few minutes. You do not have to compete with the many things crowding social media newsfeeds and email inboxes. This means that even when things change at the last minute, you are able to communicate with your members. If a key piece of legislation is passed, then you can rally your members to act right away. If your meeting changes locations or times, then you also have a chance to let everyone know. 

Group texting is a simple communications solution for community organizations, whether grassroots or nationwide groups. However, there are some key considerations to make, and some best practices to follow so that your members remain not just informed but happy:

  1. Get permission: Make sure you only text members who opt-in to the service
  2. Be respectful: Limit the number of texts and send at appropriate times
  3. Segment your list: Organize your list based on interests
  4. Share quality content: Send relevant content of value that resonates with your members
     

Get permission

The most important aspect of any successful group texting campaign is that you have permission to text your recipients. This should be written permission of which you retain records. There are a few different ways to get this permission: 

  • Include it as part of the sign in sheet
  • Add it to online forms for contact information 
  • Opt-in keywords
  • Confirmation text

The easiest way to get permission from your potential group members is to have them opt-in with a keyword. Most likely, you are familiar with this, as it is the way that most SMS marketing programs get people to sign up. On your informational materials, including your brochures, flyers, social media sites and websites, simply provide information about your group texting program, including your keyword and short code. This might look like: 

Sign up to receive updates on [issue/group name] by texting [keyword] to [shortcode]. 

In addition to asking for opt-ins this way, also include it as a communication option when people sign up either in person or online to become a member of your organization. Some people might choose to just receive texts from you, or they might choose to receive them in addition to email and/or social media updates. 

Make sure to have everyone confirm that they really do want to be part of your texting campaign.

Once your members have signed up, either through a form or a text, send a confirmation text. This text should include a link to your terms and conditions, as well as an action such as:

Text YES to confirm, NO to opt out, or HELP for more information.

This serves as an added assurance that everyone on your list wants to receive your texts. Furthermore, you also will have a record that you have permission for your program. It is important to also include ways for your subscribers to easily opt out or get help on future text messages so that if people change their mind, they know how to stop receiving messages.

Be respectful

It's also important to be respectful to your members of your group texting program. This might seem obvious, since you are closely working together to advance your cause. However, there is more to being respectful than just the words you send, although those are important. So, be sure to do the following: 

  • Limit your number of texts
  • Text during appropriate hours
  • Remain relevant to the group's mission
  • Avoid potentially abusive or hurtful comments or content 
  • Set parameters and follow them 

Establish guidelines to ensure that everyone who texts within your organization will remain respectful. Guidelines also give your members an idea of what to expect if they choose to subscribe. You might determine these guidelines on your own, or you might come up with them at a group meeting, depending on the size and structure of your group. Regardless, respect should always be at the forefront of your program. 

Although there are plenty of reasons to text out to your community about actions or events, you do want to limit the number of messages and text during appropriate hours. The number of texts that becomes troublesome depends on your own organization and the members' preferences. To determine the right number, ask your members and look at your opt-out rate. If you notice a lot of members unsubscribing, then you might be sending too many messages. 

Additionally, remain relevant to the mission of your group. There might be many things that you hope to accomplish, but that does not mean that you should be sending general texts to your group. Limit your texts to the latest news, events, updates and other information that they need to know. Even in emergencies, avoid texting at inappropriate hours, such as during the night when people are sleeping.  

Create groups

Depending on the size of your community organization, you might have several sub-groups. Perhaps some people are more interested in helping with different aspects of your movement than others. For example, some people might wish to have a leadership role, and others wish to simply show up when you tell them to do so. Therefore, you want to segment your subscriber list into groups. Organizing your list based on people's preferences ensures that they only receive messages relevant to them. 

So, how do you know what group to put people into? There are a few different ways you can gain this insight: 

  • Run a survey 
  • Ask them at sign up 
  • Check their participation history 

With this information, you will know which section to organize a person. Some of your more active members might belong to several of your text groups. This is fine, but just be sure that you do not end up sending duplicate texts. This could cause your opt-out rate to spike.

The more specific you make your lists, the more relevant the content. This keeps people signed up to your group texting program, and it helps you to ensure that your calls for action are hitting those most likely to help out. 

The right content

Keep your members happy by only sending out content that matters to them.

Another essential component of a successful group texting program is that it distributes relevant content of value to the recipient. It might be tempting to use your texting program as a way to send many different informative items to your members, but you want to limit it to the most important messages. Instead, share additional information on your social media pages or through your email newsletter. To maintain your group texting program's impact, you need to limit what you send. Ideally, send out the following messages: 

  • Reminders 
  • Event invites 
  • Donation requests
  • Important updates or information
     

Any funny memes or relevant newspaper articles should be saved for other forms of communication -- unless it is something you feel that everyone really needs to see. If you do want to ensure that your members who might not follow you through email or social media see certain content, consider creating a web page that aggregates important information for a particular week. Then, send out one text per week with a link to this page so that members can stay informed without feeling overwhelmed by several messages.

Remember, a strong group texting program follows certain guidelines. People expect every text you send to be directly related to an action they plan to take or valuable information they must see. If they are looking for everyday social interaction with your group, they will probably head to social media for that. 

There are five main categories of messages that typically are appropriate for a group text message: 

  • Inform members
  • Organize volunteers and subgroups
  • Promote events
  • Get donations
  • Emergency alerts 

Your group might choose other content to include on top of this, and as long as your members are happy with what you send out, then you have remained relevant and of value to them. Plus, you can use texting as a two-way communication forum through which members can contact you to ask questions or alert you to the latest news. 

Whether you are trying to get a candidate elected or legislation approved, for either local or national government, it is important to get citizens united and involved. Communication and organization play key roles in being able to do so, and group texting provides one way to mobilize your group. It works well on its own, and it complements your social media and email communication channels as well. 

Ready to step up your organization's communication abilities? Then try ClubTexting for free and get started today.

Finding the Right Audience for Your Club's Text Marketing Program

Personalized, targeted messages take a decent -- or lackluster -- campaign and turn it into a powerful one. Before integrating this into your text marketing program for a more successful effort, you first need to know who your nightclub's audiences actually are. 

Build a stronger campaign by knowing your customers better.

Build a stronger campaign by knowing your customers better.

Depending on your club, you might attract a similar demographic of people every night, or you might find that certain events or evenings draw in different crowds. Some clubs might also do a good job of having a diverse clientele every evening of the week. No matter into which category your club falls, it is important to understand your audience or audiences. The best way to do this? Build a marketing persona. 

What are Marketing Personas? 

You might have heard about marketing personas before. They have become one of the best ways of determining the target audience for marketing campaigns across all channels. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, marketing personas are basically representatives of your ideal audience. They have similar demographics, behavior patterns, psychographics and other characteristics of your typical or ideal customer. Then, you use these for creating content that speaks to your customers. 

Typically, marketing personas are built using a variety of data integrated together, including: 

  • Buying patterns 
  • Data and analytics 
  • Customer surveys
  • Market research
  • Competition research

So, once you have a persona built, how exactly does that help your club's text marketing program? And, how do you know which personas to utilize for your texting campaigns? 

Once you have an idea of the customer and their likes, dislikes and behavior patterns, then you will have a firmer understanding of which customers will choose to engage with your club via text marketing. Then, you have a better idea of the type of content that is tailored to their preferences, thereby increasing the success of your program.

What Is Your Campaign's Objective?

Start by getting your team to determine the purpose behind your texting campaign.

When developing marketing information based on a marketing persona, it is important to also recognize what solutions or value your company's products or services solve. As a club, you offer your customers entertainment and a place to socialize. Your texting campaign has the potential to offer a wide variety of solutions or services within this, including: 

  • Coupons 
  • Deals
  • Exclusive access
  • Presale tickets
  • VIP seating

 

When you determine who your target audience is, consider for what purpose they have decided to sign up for your texts. Is it because they want to engage with your club, or are they looking to save money or gain special access? Your answer to this question informs what type of content to send.

Which Data Is Most Important?

It is important to consider what data to use when determining the audience for your texting campaigns. Depending on your company and its records, you might have a wealth of information -- or you might have very little. Places to find the data include: 

  • Social media followers
  • Website analytics
  • Email newsletter data
  • Online forms
  • Loyalty club membership

You might choose to go right to the source with customer surveys, and as mentioned, you might also use market research or look at your competition for additional data. So, once you have all the data, which information is the most important in creating your target audience for your texting program?

Ultimately, that depends on the objective of your marketing strategy and program. However, you want to start by looking at any data that provides more information to you about your general customers than simply their age or that they visited your clubs. Information about their likes, dislikes, interactions with your clubs and other facts helps you to build a better idea about those who patron your club. 

From this, you can determine which audience will more likely sign up to your text marketing program, helping you to further narrow down which persona or personas to target.

Should You Segment Your Subscribers?

When writing personalized or targeted messages, it is essential that you create content that speaks to the person, even if that content is only 160 characters, as is the case with text marketing. Once you have reviewed your marketing personas, you might notice that you have several different typical customers. When this is the case, then it is beneficial to segment your audience. 

For example, perhaps you have one persona who represents customers in their 20s that enjoy house music, visit on Thursdays, and tend to buy alcohol rather than food. With this information, you will want to focus your content and provide deals, information, and access for events that take place on Thursdays and feature house music. Offers involving free drinks will have a greater impact than offers on free food. 

Then, say you have a person representing people in their 50s who come out for 80s band cover night. They typically visit on Wednesdays and like to eat as well. The best offers to send them would be for free food on nights with the 80s cover bands. 

How do you do this? Segment your list, assigning each person for whom you have sufficient data into a group based on their behavior patterns, preferences and psychographics. Then, you have the potential to get even more targeted in your message approaches, increasing the success of your overall campaign. 

Personalized messages to each group of subscribers can enhamce the efficacy of your entire campaign.

Of course, when you do this, it is essential that you pay attention to whether or not someone makes more than one list. If this is the case, you will need to monitor your campaigns so that a person does not get the same message multiple times -- or that they end up overwhelmed by messages. Additionally, it is important to continue to have a more general message that you send to those for whom you have minimal data. 

How to Put It All Together

So, how do you put all of this information together to find the right audience for your club's text marketing program? Simply put, you spend time researching your current and prospective club visitors, including their demographics, psychographics, behavior patterns and more. Then, build marketing personas. From there, determine which ones will be more likely to interact with you via text. Then, develop texting campaigns that target those particular marketing personas. Segment your list based on any data you have to receive the targeted messages. 

With a bit of work, you will know your texting campaign's audiences. From there, you will have the information necessary to create personalized messages that take your texting campaigns to the next level. 

Ready to start creating personalized campaigns? Get started and try ClubTexting for free.

The Case for SMS Marketing Campaigns

Although it might seem as though SMS marketing is a relatively new marketing channel, it has actually existed since the early 2000s. From its onset, many have seen the potential of the medium, yet just as many remain wary of it.


SMS marketing is an effective way to bring in customers.

In the past few decades, a lot has changed in marketing, including the changing emphasis on mobile marketing. What was once used by a few brave leaders is now becoming commonplace. However, there remains some who are still unsure whether it is something worth adopting or simply a passing fad. Some myths remain so entrenched that it is difficult to know the reality surrounding this highly-effective medium. By reviewing a few of these misconceptions, you will discover why so many have adopted it.

A Short History Lesson

Back in the early 2000s, Adage wrote an article about the promise of using SMS for marketing purposes. During this time period, texting was just starting to become widely popular, especially in Asian and European markets. Between 2001 and 2002, there was a surge of over 150 billion more texts sent per year, and in 2003, the first few commercial SMS services started to emerge.

The promise of this new marketing channel was obvious. It was seen as a way to be personal and directly communicate with individuals. Some major brands, including Nike and Coke, became early adopters. However, this marketing forum also saw a huge obstacle due to many carriers, and users, viewing it as spam or a passing fad. It ultimately took a back seat to some of the other marketing channels, such as email and social media.

Many of the benefits -- and concerns -- surrounding text message marketing still stand 15 years after the publication of this article. Despite the Adage writer seeing the benefits of this medium so many years ago, companies still hesitate to adopt it today. If this is you, there is no reason to continue to wait to see whether or not people will adopt SMS marketing. It is a highly relevant marketing channel with many people wanting to communicate with businesses through it. Not convinced? The following should help.

 

Percent of messages that are spam 1 percent
Conversion rate 32 percent
Open rate 98 percent
Time to read Under three minutes
Consumers who wish to communicate via text with businesses 70 percent
Number of consumers who wish to have SMS customer support 52 percent
Engagement rate 8x that of email

Myth 1: People Interact with Companies on Computers

With the growing importance of the internet, it is essential to have a web presence, including email and websites. In today's market, taking this presence into the mobile space is becoming more important than ever. More people interact with businesses or go online on their mobile devices than a computer, with mobile internet usage making up 70 percent of usage. The numbers are set to only increase, with the number of people preferring to access the internet via a mobile device rather than a computer expected to jump by 28 percent. This makes mobile marketing a priority for businesses, especially since people are looking for a mobile-first solution to their shopping needs.

Another reason SMS marketing has such power: people carry their phones with them everywhere. A significant portion of people who own a cell phone never have it out of reach, and they will check it multiple times per day. When they receive a text message, they open it within just a few minutes. Because more and more people also shop on their phones, they can easily take action on a text coupon by clicking to link and complete a sale.

Myth 2: Customers Do Not Want to Receive Texts from Businesses

A very prominent myth about SMS marketing that still reigns supreme is that customers do not wish to have businesses contact them via texting. However, that is not the case. Around 75 percent of consumers want businesses to communicate with them via text rather than targeted internet ads. In addition to receiving messages from the business, many consumers wish to interact with businesses via text, especially for customer service.


Customers do want to hear from you through text message.

There are many benefits to choosing to interact with consumers via texting. For one, it builds a more intimate relationship with consumers. You are texting with them in the same channel that they typically reserve just for their family and friends. Additionally, spam takes up just 1 percent of messages, so consumers will view each individual message as important.

Additionally, texting is a permission-based medium, which means that you are only communicating with those who wish to hear from your business. This makes the message have that much greater of an impact. When you market to people who already have a positive experience with your company, then they are more likely to take the intended action. This leads to SMS marketing having some of the highest numbers for conversion rates and engagement rate.

Texting has a strong engagement with customers, which helps you to build your business. Many people now shop based on their experiences and engagement with a company, rather than based on price and other factors. By using texting to engage with customers, you will be able to retain them and increase your number of loyal customers.

Myth 3: Only Young People Text

Millennials and Gen Z'ers are famous for their love of texting and mobile devices. This makes SMS marketing an ideal channel for marketing to younger consumers. In fact, 60 percent of Millennials prefer two-way texting, and more than 83 percent open their texts within 90 seconds. However, this is generally an underused medium, as only 60 percent of Millennials receive five or less marketing messages from businesses, and a full 20 percent do not receive any.


It is not just young people who text.

However, Millennials and Gen Z'ers are not the only ones who text, and thereby not the only ones who can benefit from this marketing tools. Baby Boomers and older also text in high numbers. Out of smartphone owners:

  • 100 percent of 18-29 year olds text
  • 98 percent of those aged 30-49 text
  • 92 percent of those over the age of 50 tex

. As you can see, implementing a text program will not eliminate your ability to target older demographics.

Myth 4: Other Marketing Channels Are Better

Many companies simply focus on other marketing channels, feeling that adding SMS marketing does not make sense. They feel that digital marketing, SEO, blogging, social media, and traditional advertisements go a lot further than texting. However, time and time again, SMS marketing has shown it reigns supreme:

These are just a few of the key statistics showing the power that texting has over other marketing channels. Additionally, more than two-thirds of subscribers to mobile marketing have made a purchase due to a relevant message.

SMS marketing is a cost-effective marketing solution that packs a punch. That does not mean it should be your only marketing channel. It works best as an integrated part of a comprehensive marketing campaign that utilizes multi-channels, including:

  • Social media
  • Websites
  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Print ads
  • In-store promotions
  • Email newsletters

Every marketing channel has its strengths and weaknesses. However, you would be remiss to reject SMS marketing just because you feel that some of the other marketing channels are better.

Myth 5: It's a Passing Fad

Texting has not yet reached its peak as a marketing channel. It is expected to continue to grow and become an even more vital component of marketing. In the coming years, more automation and chat bots with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence will emerge and integrate with SMS marketing and messaging chat apps. The marketing channel is expected to continue to grow, with no end in sight. Therefore, there is no reason to simply not adopt it, thinking that it is simply a trend that will quickly go away.


Get your team together and start working on a plan for your program.

Now is the perfect time to add texting to your marketing strategy if you have been hesitant. It is continually increasing in its efficacy, and customers are primed to opt-in. Despite its many advantages, few businesses have adopted it, meaning that customers are not overcome by messages. This helps you to cut through the mess and compete, even with the larger corporations that might have more money for marketing and advertising.

SMS marketing has been around for 15 years, and it will be around for decades to come. Rather than believing the myths that continue to circulate around the medium, take advantage of the lucrative benefits of the medium and add it to your marketing campaign today. Get started by trying ClubTexting for free.

How to Know Your Target Audience for Your Texting Campaign

For a dynamite SMS marketing campaign, it is essential to create something that is specific, targeted and personalized. Overly generic messages do not have the same impact as messages that resonate with the recipient. If you really want to see your conversion numbers soar, then it is important to create a message that means something to the customer <>. To do this, you first need to determine who the audience is. Whether you have one or several target audiences, a similar process provides invaluable information about your subscribers.

For many marketers, it is beneficial to create a persona that represents their ideal target audience. This persona has the basic habits, behavior patterns, personality, characteristics, demographics and other features of the ideal customer. It is typically based on a conglomeration of actual customers. To create this persona, there is certain information you need to know. Even if you do not actually create a symbolic customer, the same information informs your marketing efforts.

Research


Take some time to research your customers to determine the best target audience.

The first place to begin discovering your target audience is through research. First and foremost, you will conduct market research. If you do not have the resources to perform your own market research, it is possible to purchase data from market research firms and larger businesses.

Additionally, take the time to review the information you have about your own customers. This should include data across all the channels with which you interact with customers, including:

  • Shopping metrics
  • Buying habits
  • Demographics
  • Website visitors
  • Social media followers
  • Email newsletter followers
  • SMS marketing subscribers
  • Members

Each of these areas has the potential to provide you with invaluable information about your own customers. From this data, you have the foundation on which to choose your few key personas to create. Once you have this, you can continue to imbue them with some of the information that you see continually appear when you look through your data.

You might start by looking at key pieces of data and their relationship to other data. For example, you can start with females between 20 and 35. Then, you can see what information you have for that demographic to then add in other characteristics and buying habits. The market research you conduct or purchase will further add certain elements to the personas.

It is important to remember that the target audience for one marketing channel might be different than that of the other. Therefore, your texting campaign might require some additional research to what you already have. However, you also might find that you have the same personas on several channels because customers within that demographic and behavior pattern interact with you across multiple channels.

Conduct Surveys

Although research is a key place to determine your target audience, it is also important to actually talk with your customers. The way to do this is to ask them to conduct surveys. Then, you have the chance to learn additional information about certain groups of customers and what they expect from your company and SMS marketing program.

You might find that certain customers are not as open to texts as others, which means that you would be wasting some of your resources in trying to get them to sign up. Instead, you can focus on the groups that are most open to texting, making it easier to receive all the lucrative benefits of the medium. Direct communication provides invaluable insight into not only who your target audience is, but also what they want from you.

Look to the Competition

Another place to glean information on your potential target audience for your texting campaign is to look to see who your competition is targeting. This information can be used in two ways. For one, you might decide to target the same audience as your competition, or you might choose to focus on another area that might be left alone by the competition. You can fulfill a gap in the market, something that many smaller companies do in order to compete with larger firms.

No matter how you use the data you receive, looking at who your competition targets with their texting campaigns will help you narrow down your own target audience. Of course, it is possible that your major competition is not using SMS marketing, but you can still find some helpful information. You see what audiences they target with their other marketing efforts, and this provides insight into what demographics they see as the main pool of customers.

Understand the Value of Your Goods and Services to Your Customers


Consider what your customers expect and want from your company.

The final key piece for understanding your target audience is to look at the value of your goods and services to customers, or your unique sales proposition. See not only who buys your products, but also how they buy and why. What need do your goods and services fulfill for customers? This gives you a richer idea of how to market to your target audience because you know how to best speak to them and reach them in this place of need.

You might find that different audiences see different value in your goods or services. If this is the case, then it is important to alter your marketing message to these different audiences. Even a short-form content like SMS marketing needs to create messages that resonate with the audience and how they interact with your company <>.

By taking the time to fully understand your target audience, you will be able to create a stronger texting campaign that helps you reach your goals. It is also easier to create content that converts and provides you with the impressive rates for which texting is famous.

Contact us to learn more about discovering your target audience.

Tips For Developing Group Texting Content that Converts

When you develop your group texting program, it is important to know the objective of each and every message you send out. For many, this goal is to convert subscribers into customers <>. To reach this goal, it is important to create content that establishes an opportunity for conversion. There are some key elements you need to have in your message to increase your conversion rate and ensure that customers know what you want them to do, and increase the chance they actually will do so.

Strong Call to Action


Include a strong CTA to improve your conversion rates.

The foundation of your group texting message is the call to action. Even though you might only have 160 words with which to work in this short-form content, it still needs a strong call to action. Examples of calls to action include:

  • Buy now
  • Click here
  • Redeem in store
  • Text to win
  • Respond with a keyword
  • Share with a friend

There are many other calls to action you might decide to use when you develop dynamite content for your SMS marketing program. The important part is that you use a CTA that drives action from your customers. If your goal is to increase conversions, then you need to determine in what way you want that to be.

When speaking about marketing analytics, the conversion rate might mean different things, depending on your business and your goals. In simplest terms, it is the percentage of your subscribers or customers who take the action desired on the message. This might be buying something, but it could also be joining a newsletter, redeeming a coupon, sharing the text or any of the other actions already mentioned. Your call to action should match what type of action, or conversion, you want from your customers.

Motivating Language

The language you choose for your content plays a significant role in its efficacy <>. There are some key factors involved in the type of language you choose for your call to action and text as a whole:

  • Succinct
  • Strong
  • No helping verbs
  • Active not passive voice
  • Motivating language
  • Urgency
  • Emotion

Together, these elements create a strong message that incentivizes your subscribers to take action. Because you are working with just 160 characters, you want to be as concise as possible.

Avoid using helping verbs and focus on active rather than passive voice. The words you choose should be strong and motivating. Add in a sense of urgency for a greater impact. Touch on their emotion as well, especially a fear of missing out or peer pressure. Some examples of strong texts that include motivating language and a solid CTA follow:

Act now to get your free gift with qualifying purchase. Bring this coupon to the store before [date].

Don't miss out on the opportunity to save 30 percent today. Click here to redeem this coupon online or bring it to the store. Expires [date].

Engagement

Another element of developing content that converts is engagement. More and more customers are choosing which company to patron based on their experiences. Therefore, you want to create messages that engage with customers. The language you choose plays a role in this as well. Engaging content also increases the chance that customers will share the text with friends and/or tell their social and professional networks to sign up as well.

One way to create engaging content is to make it a two-way content. This might be a challenge or competition, which connects with people's competitive spirit. Another way to engage with customers is to allow them to contact you with questions and other customer service issues through text. Ultimately, sending positive messages that convey a sense of value to the customer will increase the level of engagement. This, in turn, improves the number of customers who take action, thereby increasing your conversion rate.

Relevancy


For greater efficacy, create content that is relevant to your audience.

The final element of creating group texting convert that converts is to ensure that it is relevant. Ultimately, you must have an SMS marketing campaign that provides value to your customers. To do this, the content must be relevant to the users. For example, you cannot expect single males under the age of 25 to be excited about a coupon for baby clothing. This type of coupon needs to be sent to the right demographic, such as someone who is married and has a child.

To create relevant content, it is important to know who your target audience actually is. Most likely, you will have several target audiences and run several campaigns, each of which targets one of these groups. This helps you to create more personal content, which in turn is more relevant.

Ultimately, if your content is not relevant to your subscribers, then they will opt out in droves. They also will not redeem the coupons or otherwise take the action you want them to take. This hurts your conversion rates, and you do not benefit from all the advantages of the medium.

By paying attention to your language and call to action, you can more easily create content that engages with customers, remains relevant and motivates them to act in the way that you want. With these four elements working together as the foundation of your program, you will develop a strong campaign with high conversion numbers.

Contact us to learn more about how to develop great content.

SMART Goals and Text Message Marketing: How They Go Hand in Hand

Before you start your text message marketing campaigns, it is essential to have a goal in mind toward which to build your strategy and determine where it fits into your overall marketing efforts. Although you might have a general objective or goal for your texting program at large, each new campaign needs to have its own goals. For example, as discussed previously <>, when you develop a holiday campaign for your club, it is important to start with a specific goal in mind.

Using the SMART goal philosophy helps you to create stronger, more effective goals that also complement your overall marketing strategy and your business goals at large.

Specific


Get your team together to discuss your goals and how to make them specific.

It is tempting to just say you want to increase sales or add new customers when setting a goal. However, this is a vague statement. You could technically increase sales by $1 and reach your goal, or you could double your sales and have reached the same goal. Instead, develop a very specific goal. It should be clearly defined and easy to understand by everyone connected to the project. This makes it easier to create a plan to reach the goal, as well as measure whether or not you were successful in your endeavor.

An example of a specific goal is to use in your text message marketing program is to increase profits by 10 percent in the next quarter.

Measurable

In order to determine whether you are on target to reach your goal, you need to be able to measure your progress. This might be through analytics, accounting or other measures. You should be able to monitor the program and compare it to your goal at any point to see whether you are on target or need to make changes to get where you want to go.

For your text message marketing program, you will use data from your analytics, such as open rate, conversion rate, and opt-in rate to measure your success. To make your goal measurable, include numbers that reflect these measurements. This might be to add 100 new users in the next month. You can measure that by reviewing your opt-in rate.

Actionable

The A in SMART goals stands for actionable. This means that you are positioned to take actions to fulfill the goals. To go from a vague goal to one that is actionable, focus on something concrete. Add milestones that help you take action to attain the goal.

For example, rather than saying you want to drive more business, define it in such a way that you can take action with your text message marketing program. The goal stated above, adding 100 subscribers, is also attainable and actionable. There are tasks you can do to achieve it.

Realistic

Many of the components of SMART goals bleed into one another. For example, in order for a goal to be actionable or attainable, it also needs to be realistic. You cannot reasonably go from 0 subscribers to 10,000 overnight. However, it is realistic to aim to gain 100 in a month. Perhaps you might also be able to add a few thousand over the first few months. Although you might get to hundreds of thousands of subscribers, it takes some time to build to that point. That is where creating smaller goals and milestones will help you to follow through and meet your goals.

Timely


How long will it take you to add 100 subscribers?

The last key component of this type of goal is timely, or you might also define it as tangible or trackable. This means that there is a reasonable period of time in which you will be able to achieve the goal. It also provides you with a deadline to keep you and your team motivated. You might have other, long-term goals that will take years to meet. However, you will have smaller SMART goals that will help you to achieve them.

When creating your text message marketing goals, whether for a specific campaign such as a holiday marketing strategy <> or your objective for adding the program to your marketing efforts, it is important to rely on SMART goals. This will help you to develop a better plan so that you will ultimately reach, and might even surpass, your goals.

Contact us to learn more about how to incorporate your SMART goals with your texting program.

Leveraging Your SMS Marketing to Draw Crowds to Your President's Day Party

Although President's Day is not at the top of the list for holidays in which to celebrate with a party, any holiday has the potential to turn into an event to draw crowds into your club. Most places will go big with a Valentine's Day party around the same time. By choosing President's Day, you will stand out and attract those who do not like to celebrate Valentine's Day but still want to party!

As discussed in a previous post <>, holiday marketing provides you with an opportunity to utilize some creative marketing endeavors to stand out from your competition. SMS marketing is a channel that helps you to advertise and promote your event so that your party will become the place to be on the President's Day weekend or any other holiday you wish to celebrate throughout the year. A few special types of messages will help you to promote the event and attract new and existing clients to your party so that you reach your attendance goals.

Offers and Deals


Attract more people to your party with the right offers and deals.

One of the best ways to attract new people to your club to get your event going is to send out exclusive offers and deals. There are several types of deals that work well for a nightclub. It is typical for nightclubs to price their alcoholic drinks with the idea that a significant portion of their profits comes from alcoholic drinks. That is why offers and deals that get people into the club work really well. You have people in the club, and then they will buy alcohol, helping your bottom line. This includes:

    • Free Entry (could be before a certain time or all night)

 

    • Percent off admission

 

  • Money off admission

You can also choose to provide deals on food and drinks, such as buy one get one free or a percentage off of the bill. A BOGO works well, especially if you do not give the free beverage until later. This will keep the beverage fresher so that it tastes better when the person drinks it, increasing the chance they will decide to order another one.

Contests

It is easy to run a text-to-win contest using your SMS marketing program. As an added bonus, you may increase the number of subscribers to whom you can promote future events at your club. Promote the contest on your typical marketing channels, including social media, billboards, flyers, posters around the club and anywhere else. Tell people to text in a keyword to a phone number to enter. For your President's Day party, run a contest that is presidential-themed.

Enhance your reach by making everyone a winner by providing a small prize, such as free admission or a free drink, to everyone who enters. This serves to not only increase excitement about the contest, but it also brings people into your club even if they do not win the grand prize. Just make sure that all prizes are exciting enough to entice people to take action.

VIP Access


Provide special access to your loyal subscribers to motivate them to come.

Your SMS marketing campaign also works well as a loyalty or VIP club. It is possible to group your list based on how often they attend your club, or everyone on the list can be a VIP. You can use this by sending out a message targeting your VIPs that offers them exclusive access during the party. This might be an early entry, ability to bypass the line or a special seating area. People who might have been on the fence about your party will be more likely to come if they feel special by being part of the VIP guests at your party. For an added impact, personalize the message by including the person's name.

There are many ways to use SMS marketing to complement your President's Day weekend party and draw a larger crowd. Just be sure to create a smart plan that helps you to get the most out of the channel <> so that it helps you to have an amazing event.

Ready to increase the attendance at your party? Try ClubTexting for free.

Expert Interview Series: Laurie McCabe of SMB Group on Technology for Small Businesses

In her role as cofounder and partner at SMB Group, Laurie McCabe has earned widespread recognition for her thought leadership, experience and insights in the SMB technology market.

Here she discusses the technology challenges facing small businesses today and the must-have tools to overcome them. Read on:

What is the mission behind SMB Group? How did you become passionate about helping small businesses?

Both myself and my business partner, Sanjeev Aggarwal, had been industry analyst focused on the small and medium business market for many years. We felt there was a gap in coverage - most IT analyst firms concentrate on technology as it relates to large companies. So we created SMB Group to focus exclusively on how SMBs use technology in their businesses.

What are some of the technology challenges facing small businesses today?

Our research shows that small business goals remain consistent over the years. How do I grow revenues, attract customers and operate more profitabily are always at the top of the list.

But these challenges loom larger today because digital, social and mobile technologies are changing how businesses and customers interact in a fundamental way. Technology shifts power to buyers.

For instance:
 

    • The internet makes it easy for buyers to do more research on their own before connecting with vendors.

 

    • Social media gives buyers access to ratings and reviews from thousands of other people that have tried a product or services. to .

 

    • Mobile devices put the internet it peoples' pockets for anytime, anywhere access to information.

So small businesses need to have a strategy to evolve and tools to help them meet these rising expectations.

From where you sit, what are some must-have tools for SMBs today?

Of course, every business needs to keep track of money going in and out of the business, so an accounting or bookkeeping solution is often the first type of business software that many small businesses buy.

Today, small businesses also need tools to attract, engage and transact with customers, which are usually called customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. There are lots of solutions out there for small businesses, but I recommend looking for a solution which integrates sales, marketing and service, and enables you to integrate social media interactions into these functions so you can easily bring the voice of the customer into every part of the customer life cycle.

What are the most useful tools for SMBs for mobile and social media marketing?

Most businesses need solutions that let them easily monitor, post and respond to what people are talking about across the different social networks that are relevant to their business, whether via your desktop or via a mobile device. But it doesn't stop there. A good digital marketing strategy connects your website, nurtures leads, includes online and mobile advertising and provides analytics so you can figure out what's working and what's not.

How should small businesses be incorporating mobile marketing into their marketing strategies?

First, they need to recognize that people are increasingly spending more time engaging and transacting on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. So now is the time for small businesses to create a mobile marketing strategy.

The good news is there are lots of choices out there in terms of how to do this. The bad news is that it can be very challenging to figure out which one is the best fit for your business. So you have to start with an internal assessment. I think having a mobile-friendly website is table stakes for all businesses. From there, think about what you're trying to accomplish For instance, a small local services business, like a salon or dental office, will want something that helps people in their local community find them, book appointments, share reviews, earn loyalty points, etc. within a local geographic area. Meanwhile, for an online commerce merchant selling products all over the world, mobile payments and in-app messaging may be the must-have capabilities.

What SMBs do you think have been especially innovative with their mobile marketing? What can we learn from them? What are the most exciting technology innovations for small businesses you're following right now?

For small businesses, it all boils down to making complex technology solutions easy to use. If they're not drop dead easy, most small businesses won't use them. In the mobile marketing area, vendors are making mobile marketing tools easier and easier to use, while at the same time incorporating more capabilities, such as push notifications, in-app messaging and many more, to help you market your business. Making solutions very easy to use is a key because it enables small businesses - who may be hesitant to get involved with mobile because they are afraid it will be too hard to do or too time-consuming.

Looking for an easy-to-use mobile marketing solution? Try ClubTexting for free.

Tips for a Seamless Integration of Your Texting Campaign

Text message marketing complements any type of marketing and promotion you already do. There are many areas with which texting works to build a stronger marketing campaign. Effectively integrating your marketing efforts helps increase your success for all campaigns, especially holiday campaigns <>. Although it is easy to incorporate your texting campaign with any of your marketing efforts, it really complements email, social media, blogging and print ads.

Email marketing


Ask your email subscribers to sign up for your texting campaign.

When you integrate SMS marketing with other channels, it goes both ways. For example, it is possible to use your email marketing campaigns to increase your subscribers for your texting campaign and vice versa. Send a text out to your subscribers and ask them to send a text with their email to join your newsletter. This has the potential to bring in more people to your newsletter, and you might also be able to sign them up to your text marketing program as well.

Conversely, ask anyone who signs up for your email newsletter to also sign up for your texting campaign. By capturing all the information at once, it is more likely people will do so. Additionally, you can also include promotion about your SMS marketing program in your email newsletters so that interested clients will sign up at a later date. Make it easy for them to do so; otherwise, you will end up losing them.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing provides a way to utilize people's personal networks to build your brand. You also have the ability to connect directly with your followers, creating a more intimate relationship with your clients and customers. A texting campaign helps to build that personal relationship even more. Most people do not view texts as marketing, since it is not as saturated with ads and spam as other forms.

Therefore, take advantage of the close relationship of both mediums to relate even further with your fans. Ask your social media followers to join your texting campaign and vice versa. Any time you run a campaign on one, cross promote on the other.

Blogging

Blogging helps you to continually bring in new clients to your website. This is because you can find ways to increase your organic traffic through optimizing it for SEO and providing information people want. Once people on your page, you have the ability to get them to sign up for ways to remain in contact with you, like your texting campaign. Similar to email marketing, have a way to capture information from them on your blog form, including their mobile number. Alternatively, have a call to action that includes a keyword and your number so they can easily opt in.

You can also promote your blog to your text messaging subscribers. Send out a brief description of the blog and a link. This will keep customers engaged with your brand, increasing the chance they will continue to choose you when it comes time to take advantage of your goods or services. Just be sure to remain within the 160 characters for the text message and make it easy for them to link to the blog.

Print ads


With SMS marketing, people can take action from wherever they see your ads.

Text message marketing is the perfect complement to print ads. It is a strong call to action that helps improve the efficacy of your ads. Simply add a keyword and your number to all of your print ads to give an easy way for customers to take action upon seeing your ad. Add in an incentive, like an offer or a deal, for greater efficacy. You can also use print ads to promote your texting campaign and get more subscribers.

For integration to really work, it is necessary for you to create unique content of value that is exclusive to the medium. For example, the deals you offer through email might be different than those through text. This increases the chance that people will sign up to follow you across the board. With a seamless integration, you can run a holiday campaign <> or any other campaign that has a higher reach, because you will talk to the customer anywhere they are, whether email, blogs, social media, print media or texting.

Contact us to learn more about integrating your marketing campaigns.

Expert Interview Series: Gil Shapira of TeleMessage About the Impact of Mass Text Messaging

Gil Shapira is the VP of Business Development at TeleMessage, a leading provider of business mobile messaging offering mass messaging and secure compliant mobile messaging solutions. Gil recently spoke with us about the growth and capabilities of mass text messaging and gave us a glimpse as to what the industry will look like in the future.

Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to co-found TeleMessage?

TeleMessage is an established company which has provided robust messaging services for the last 16 years. It all started when we were backpacking around the world. We were looking for low-cost ways to exchange messages between travelers and families back home, and the idea was to send messages to phones from a web portal.

What are some of the benefits of mass text messaging that aren't necessarily seen when relying solely on emails?

Nowadays, people are looking for a mobile-first solution, and I believe that the tremendous growth of text messaging speaks for itself. Mobile messaging is the fastest growing online trend and behavior (passing social networks). It passed three billion mobile messaging app users worldwide. If you take into account SMS messaging, you can actually reach seven billion mobile users worldwide - which is the single most ubiquitous communication channel in a fragmented chat apps world.

Mobile phones take up the most digital time and attention, and chat and messaging apps are amongst the most-used services on phones. Unlike email, text messages usually receive a response within 90 seconds. Moreover, in most chat apps, you know whether recipients have received and read the message.

Chat apps offer far more services and features than email. They are built for mobile devices because they are faster, instant, and more secure. Plus, they allow voice and text, group chat, file sharing, channels, stickers, media, and video messages. And they are clearly better-suited for a world that is concerned with security and privacy.

If someone were to say to you, "I don't need mass text messaging. I'll just communicate with my clients and customers through social media," how would you respond?

I would not rule out social media as a channel; but for the majority of companies as well as customers, mobile is clearly the preferred channel of communication. It's uncommon to find companies doing social engagement and not doing mobile engagement. Surprisingly, there are still a lot of companies that are not utilizing mobile texting at all. Some companies are still doing only voice or email, and they are missing out on big opportunities in both cost savings, proactive engagement, and improved efficiency and innovation.

In what situations are automated voice broadcasts more practical or effective than simple text messages or emails?

There are still many use cases where voice is a very important channel.

Let's take an example of emergency notifications with time-critical information. If you would send it only via email or text, people might not notice an email or hear a beep of an SMS arriving. But if the phone starts to ring and vibrate, they will surely notice it.

In our platform, we have the ability to track delivery confirmations or send chasing messages that will try to reach people across many channels, including IP push notifications to apps, SMS, MMS, voice calls, faxes, and emails.

Do you have any tips on how to craft a mass text message if time-sensitive responses are critical to the campaign?

Try to make it personal. Schedule the message to be sent at the best time to trigger a response. Don't send too many messages; people are already overloaded with messages and information.

Other things to consider:

    • Try to utilize templates and plan for two-way interaction.

 

    • If you can, try to automate the process by using APIs.

 

  • An email to SMS might be a good solution for some companies using Outlook as their main messaging tool.

When utilizing mass text messaging, what are some important metrics to keep an eye on?

This needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, since different companies and services have different goals and metrics.

For example, some are trying to decrease support calls into their call center and might measure how many hours they saved by sending proactive alerts. Others want the opposite and are trying to generate more responses and calls for ordering goods and services. What is truly important is to choose a messaging solution vendor that can provide tailored reports and statistics.

Tracking message delivery statistics is a must for everyone, since the quality of delivery is of great importance. Though companies are not aware of it, there are different routes and ways to send messages; and there are also regulations about when you can use long codes or short codes, as well as what information needs to be delivered to subscribers and the processes for opting in and out of a messaging service.

Tell us about the future of mass text messaging. Will another method of messaging render it obsolete, or will it remain a viable type of communication for the foreseeable future?

The future for messaging is very bright. It's the preferred communication channel for the younger generation, and social messaging still has a lot of room to grow.

On the enterprise front, since consumer chat apps are overtaking enterprise communication, we foresee companies embracing similar enterprise messaging apps for internal communication. Enterprise apps have far more requirements that encompass the administration of users, compliance and regulatory requirements, greater security and reliability demands, and IT integration needs.

Another concern for companies is the fact that their employees are chatting with customers over these consumer channels even though there is no record of this communication and interaction in the enterprise. Solutions which solve this need driven by compliance and regulation will clearly emerge, and we are already offering text archiving solutions.

On the messaging apps front, Asian messaging apps are far more advanced, and we can assume that the Western chat apps will follow many of the trends that are successful in China. This means far more power will shift towards companies like Facebook (which owns FB Messenger and WhatsApp), as well as far more e-commerce, brand engagement, and paid services done via chat services.

As for chat bots, they will clearly change the way we communicate. Our vision of the new hype is the following:

Today:

  • Smarter bots evolving; bots combined with human engagement
  • Messaging bots will overtake vertical apps; companies and appliances will utilize bots instead of apps
  • Far greater power for companies running these chat services
  • More bots with personality

In ~5 years:

  • Singularity point: natural language processing + AI + semantic search + image and voice recognition + location + connected IoT
  • A blur between messaging bots and intelligent agents - you won't know if you're talking to a human or a machine

In ~10 years:

  • Sensor maturity, advanced machine learning
  • AI systems make automatic recommendations
  • Bots will be the new APIs

To summarize - these are the main trends we see in messaging:
* Messaging chat apps becoming a major channel for customer interactions and communication
* Messaging chat apps becoming a major source for e-commerce transactions and payments
* Chat apps and messaging being used by brands for acquisition and retention phases
* Enterprises embracing chat apps as a main communication channel
* Chat bots with artificial intelligence and personality

Want to see if mass text messaging can help your organization? Contact us today!

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