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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
- 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!
As a mom and pop store, you constantly have to compete with the large chains that establish a footprint just down the road, as well as all the offers available online. It can be tough, but you provide things that these larger companies cannot, such as above-and-beyond personal service. It is essential to find additional ways to stand out from the competition that are not based solely on price so that customers choose you.
Group texting provides a way to engage with customers and market your business. It is a cost-effective marketing solution that is easy to implement, and it is highly versatile, making it easy to integrate with your existing marketing strategy.
Above-and-Beyond Customer Service
Customers come to you for your service. Provide even better service with texting.
As a mom and pop store, your customer service is one of your most marketable components. You treat your customers like family, and your service far outdoes that of the competition. Take your customer service one step further with texting. It provides a great medium for transactional messages. Plus, it is a two-way communication tool through which customers can contact you about any customer service issues. Many customers prefer dealing with customer service through text. Providing that platform helps you stand out from the crowd and it adds to your above-and-beyond customer service.
Another way to use text messaging for your mom and pop store is to send out reminders. This might be appointment reminders if you have a service-based business. It also might be reminders about any events that take place at your store, such as a customer appreciation party or a special sale. Texts are read within a few minutes of receipt, so they make a strong reminder. You can send a message the day before or the day of the event to ensure that people do not forget. This increases your attendance, which in turn boosts your sales.
Personalized messages have significant power and texting provides a way to send them. You can easily group your subscribers into categories according to preferences, shopping behavior, and demographics. Then, send targeted messages based on these parameters so that the messages your customers receive are personally relevant to them. You can even create a loyalty club through which you send specialized coupons, rewards, and other offers only to those in that group. Other examples of personalized messages might be birthday rewards or notifications of new merchandise.
Exclusive Coupons and Deals
Send your customers exclusive deals to get them to visit your store.
Coupons and deals are strong motivators for shopping. Your texting subscribers are a great audience for your store. They are already interested enough in your company to receive texts from you. With the right coupon or offer, they will be ready to take the next step and visit you. This can be said for any medium through which you send offers, but texting makes for the ideal one.
Around 98 percent of texts are opened, often within the first minute. This means you can feel confident that your offers are actually seen. Plus, they are easy to redeem, since all customer need to do is show the text. Most people already have their phone on them, so they do not have to worry about forgetting to bring the coupon. That is why mobile coupons have a much higher redemption rate than others.
No matter how you choose to use your SMS marketing campaign, it is important to always provide messages of value to your customers. This ensures that they continue to want to receive your group texting messages, and that they continue to view your company in a positive light.
Ready to see how texting can help your store? Try ClubTexting for free.
You probably focus a lot on the sales funnel. You look to find ways to bring more people through it, as well as determine where there might be some hiccups. SMS marketing provides an opportunity to hit potential customers at every aspect of the funnel. It is highly adaptable, so it easily fits into any or all of the efforts you put into creating leads and converting them into customers down the line.
Bringing in Leads
Add texting to all the marketing ideas your team develops.
SMS marketing might be a permission-based marketing tool, but that does not mean it cannot provide assistance at the top of the funnel. It is a highly versatile medium and one of its great potentials is as a powerful call to action. Including a keyword and number to text on existing marketing collateral increases the number of people who act on it. This can help you to reach more people as potential leads to start the journey into your sales funnel.
Nurturing Potential Customers
Once you have people in the funnel, it is time to start nurturing the leads into customers through building a relationship. Having people opt-in to your SMS marketing program provides a way to engage them and keep in touch with them. It is important that you do this wisely.
People are open to receiving texts from brands, but they still expect there to be value in the texts. Take the time to build content of value that speaks to your target audience. This might be in the form of reminders, information about your company, deals, and coupons or helpful information. Be careful not to oversaturate your leads with messages. The best frequency is typically between two and four texts per month, although you might find that your audience prefers more or less frequent texts.
Converting into Action
Once you have built a relationship with your potential customers, it is time to convert them into action. Text marketing programs provide several ways to do this. You can send out offers and deals that inspire customers to act. You can remind customers about exciting events, run contests to increase engagement, or provide other programs that get people interested in your goods or services. Take advantage of the immediacy of texts by sending out timely deals, especially those that quickly expire. This will motivate people to act.
Texting leads to happy customers that return again and again.
SMS marketing also helps you to retain customers. Not only do you have a way to remain engaged with customers that is more effective than email, since texting has eight times the engagement rate of email, but it also serves as a solid customer service tool. Customer service has become an increasingly important component of sales because people more and more use their emotions to determine where to shop rather than prices. Many customers prefer to deal with customer service issues through text. By offering this, you will create a positive relationship that will translate into customer retention and loyalty.
It is easy to fit SMS marketing into each component of the sales funnel. It provides a versatile and cost-effective way to draw in potential leads, engage with them, convert them, and retain them so that you increase the number of customers and grow your business.
Ready to add this to your sales funnel? Try ClubTexting for free.
During the winter holiday season, many companies launch strong campaigns to take advantage of the large number of people searching for holiday gifts.
It is also customary to use the excitement about any holiday to advertise a sale or promote goods and services. Think about how Columbus Day has become less about celebrating the discovery of the Americas and more about mattress sales.
Run a texting campaign to take advantage of the holiday shoppers.
Running a texting campaign during this time provides a way to support your overall marketing efforts. The more than $650 billion spent during the winter holidays, including Christmas, makes it the perfect model on which to create holiday promotions throughout the year.
There are several steps to take to create a more effective text marketing campaign that works not just during the winter holiday season but for any of the holidays that take place year round.
What Are Your Goals?
Before you go too far down the rabbit hole of creating a dynamic text marketing campaign for the holidays, it is important to understand your goals. Ask yourself some questions:
- Do you want to increase profits by a certain percentage or move inventory?
- Is your promotion more about building brand awareness and increasing traffic, whether online or in person?
Having a strong idea of the objective of your efforts helps you to create a stronger plan that will actually meet those goals.
To do this, get your team together for a brainstorming meeting. Ask everyone what they believe the objective and goals of the program are. When going through the different potential goals, make sure to keep SMART in mind:
A good example of a goal is to increase holiday sales by 10 percent.
Why Do You Bother With Holiday Marketing?
One place to start is to think about why holiday marketing is important in the first place. People are trained to know that certain holidays are synonymous with deals to buy gifts and personal items:
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
Although this provides an opportunity to promote sales, it also means that you are competing with hundreds of stores in a wide variety of industries.
During the brainstorming session discussed above, ask your team why you are even bothering with holiday marketing. Are you doing it just because it is what is done, or do you have another reason?
Even if your sole reason behind it is because everyone else is doing it does not mean that you will have a lackluster marketing campaign. However, it does mean that you might just be going through the motions if you do not take a moment to focus on creating a dynamite campaign.
When Is the Best Time To Start?
It is not enough to promote your holiday marketing in December. Marketing surveys point out that in October, 26 percent of digital shoppers are already getting an early start on their winter holiday shopping. Almost half start in November. Some people start in September or even earlier!
If you start too late, then you miss out on all of those early shoppers. Therefore, consider running some deals throughout the fall. Or you might simply just start advertising your holiday sales weeks ahead of time so that people can plan accordingly.
Don't be afraid to start your promotion early to catch shoppers.
Early planning is not just about letting your customers know about your sales; it is also ensuring that your company is ready, too. Inform your employees about the sale, making sure that they have all the information necessary to answer questions from customers.
Give yourself plenty of time for creating the marketing material for your promotions so that you can ensure it is perfect. However, finalize the promotion late enough that you can make any last-minute adjustments you need to based on any current events or feedback from customers so that you remain relevant.
For your texting campaign, this early preparation includes the following:
Develop a strong strategy.
- Determine how often you plan to text customers.
- Consider what types of offers you plan to send out.
- Create a calendar so that the texting offers complement other deals without oversaturating.
- Decide how you plan to promote your text marketing program to increase the number of subscribers.
- You might choose to have a push for subscribers months prior to the big holiday event for greater impact once you launch your holiday texting campaign.
- Choose who will be in charge of reviewing the content and handling any issues that arise.
How Do You Integrate?
Text marketing works a little differently. It is an immediate medium since most messages are opened within just a few minutes of receipt. This makes it a great medium for last-minute deals and reminders about sales. This complements your program, especially if you take the time to integrate your text marketing smartly.
During the initial planning stages for your holiday text marketing program, consider where it fits into the rest of your marketing efforts. A texting campaign complements other channels really well. You can ad it as a call to action on your
- TV and radio spots,
- print ads,
- digital marketing properties,
- social media accounts
- and more.
This works two-fold: first, you increase the number of subscribers and second, you increase the engagement and success of your other marketing channels.
Taking the time to strategize how you will use your texting program prior to running any of your holiday offers or advertising campaigns helps you to integrate in the best way possible. You can determine where to place your texting campaign in the sales funnel and how to best use it to increase the efficacy of the rest of your marketing efforts, and vice versa.
For example, use texting as a call to action with your print ads that provide early promotion of your holiday deals. Then, text your subscribers reminders about the sales the day before to increase the number of people who participate.
How Do You Promote?
In order to get the most out of your texting campaign -- and your holiday sales -- you need to create increased awareness. To do this, it is necessary to promote your campaigns.
It is even more important that you let people know about your texting campaign early because it is a permission-based medium. This means that you have to have people sign up before you can send them messages.
Many of the traditional forums for promotion also work for your texting campaign:
- Print ads
- In-store signs
- Digital banners
- Email newsletter mentions
- Social media posts
- Radio and TV spots
Any way that you traditionally announce news to customers will also let them know about your new texting promotion.
However, do not just let them know and expect them to sign up. A common way to do this is exclusive offers and deals, including a special coupon just for signing up. Do this early enough to capitalize on the number of people who sign up when the holidays roll around.
Plus, strategically send messages throughout the year to keep people interested in staying on your list so that you only have to build on it each year, rather than having to rebuild it.
Who Is Your Audience?
Create targeted messages based on your ideal customers.
An effective holiday text marketing campaign always keeps the audience in mind. This is because you want to strive to create content of value each time you send out a text message, especially during the holiday season when people are saturated with marketing messages. Therefore, spend some of your planning stage determining who your audience will be.
To do this, gather as much information as you have about your customers:
- Shopping data
- Behavior patterns
- Survey results
- Market research
To find this information, it might be necessary to directly ask your subscribers to provide it. Because many people might opt into a text marketing campaign with a simple text, you might not have that much information about them. If that is the case, then you might want to create a persona of your ideal target audience.
You do not have to stick with just one target audience. It is easy to divide your subscribers into lists based on their personal data in order to send personalized, targeted messages. This also enhances the effectiveness of the campaign.
What Offers Should You Use?
Once you have completed the prep work, determining your goals, audience, calendar, integration and other components of the structure of your marketing strategy, you can start focusing on the fun part: the text message content and the offers themselves.
First, consider what type of offer you wish to send, whether a BOGO, a percentage of purchase, dollar amount a price, a free gift with purchase, free shipping or something else. It is most important that you choose something that is attractive while also not hurting your profit margin. For the best impact, create something unique and exclusive, as this further motivates the customer to take advantage of the deal.
The words you use also helps to create the best redemption rate. Choose active verbs and words that impart urgency. For example, Buy Now, Redeem Today, Limited Time Offer, and Click to Activate This Exclusive Deal all motivate customers to take the action you want them to do. Be sure to make it easy for customers to redeem them; otherwise, you will lose out on a lot of sales.
How Do You Stand Out?
Now for the fun part: making your content unique, attractive and fun so that you stand out from the competition. Do not be afraid to include some of the personality of your company in the messages.
One common way to do this is to add some humor into the messages. However, do not become too unprofessional when you do so. Puns and simple, unoffensive jokes are easy ways to get creative without worrying about losing customers.
An example of a Christmas offer with some humor is, "Don't be a Scrooge. Use this 20% off coupon to buy your loved ones gifts. Expires [date]."
Get your team together to brainstorm creative ideas for messages.
One of the reasons to jump onto holidays in terms of marketing is that you can create themed messages. A simple template for dynamic holiday-themed messages that lead to a successful campaign is the following:
- Character/holiday allusion
- Active language
- Urgent/motivating language
- Expiration date
- Company Name
- Stay within the 160 character limit
- The right timing
Use your creativity to decide upon promotions, deals and content that sounds just like your company rather than the same old, boring offers that everyone sends out. This helps you to stand out from hundreds of promotions circulating during the holiday season.
What Is Success?
Before you start sending out your messages, consider how you will measure success. Most texting platforms have analytics that detail the open rate, bounce rate, conversion rate, click-through-rate and other metrics similar to other digital properties.
Look at your starting point and set a realistic finish point that means your program is successful. Reviewing your original goal will help you with this. For example, if you wish to increase profits, then you might focus on the number of conversions your text messages create.
Remember that a strong texting campaign takes some time to build. You might need to do some trial and error, which is why it is best to start your text marketing program long before the holiday season. This gives you time to work out the kinks so that you can take full advantage of the medium when it comes time to promote your sales.
Ready to get started on your holiday texting campaign? Try ClubTexting for free.
Although the word objective is a synonym for goal, it has its own nuances that make it unique. In business, objectives are more specific than goals and should be used to explain strategic or planning activities. They should be easily measurable and provide a reason for implementing a program like SMS marketing.
It is essential to have a strong, clear and defined objective for your texting campaign. Otherwise, it is difficult to assess whether or not you are succeeding. You might also end up with a lackluster program that does not provide the returns it could.
Unfortunately, many marketers simply launch an SMS marketing campaign with no real objective, or at the least a vague concept. Rather than falling in with the 57 percent of marketers who do this, take the time to create a strong, clearly defined objective for your texting campaign using one or more of the following tips.
Ask the Deep Questions
Before you start texting your customers, ask questions to make sure your campaign has a clear purpose.
Developing an objective starts by asking questions. Begin with a simple why. There is probably some reason behind your decision to launch a texting campaign. Perhaps you have heard about other companies having a strong response or you simply are amazed by the 98 percent open rate. There is no wrong answer. In fact, it is fine to have multiple reasons.
In addition to the why behind your actions, consider how you see it helping your business and fitting with your overall marketing strategy. Although text message marketing works well as a stand-alone campaign, it only reaches its full potential when it is integrated into your overall strategic plan. It should complement key marketing channels, including email, print ads, and social media. Ask yourself and your team what you hope to achieve by running the texting campaign.
Look for Patterns
When you ask these questions, allow room for brainstorming and pursue different avenues of thought, following up questions with more questions. Document all the reasons you come up with. As you discuss these components, see if you notice any patterns emerging. Perhaps you and your team continue to talk about brand awareness or increasing sales. As you start to see the common grounds, make note of it. There might be more than one, so do not limit yourself at this stage.
Take Your Business Goals Into Account
As you are brainstorming the objective behind your texting campaign, take adequate time to think about your overall business goals. See where text messaging might fit to help you achieve those goals. Your objective will most likely relate to or complement those goals.
Think SMART Goals
Have your team keep SMART goals in mind while creating your objective.
During this process, keep in mind SMART goals. This is an acronym for
Your objective should have many of the same concepts in it. You want something specific for which you have the tools to measure that is also a realistic and attainable endeavor. Using the ideas you have brainstormed and the patterns you have discovered, create the main objective for your campaign. Verifying it is SMART.
Building an objective for your texting campaign has many parallels to creating your goals. However, you want to be more specific so that you and your team understand the point of running the campaign. This helps you to build a strong program that will achieve not just the objective but also your business goals. The clearer and more defined your objective, the stronger your program will be.
Got your objective ready to go? Start your campaign bytrying ClubTexting for free.
How important are the final months of the year for your business? If you are like most, they make up a solid percentage of your overall sales. In 2015, the total revenue from holiday sales reached $626.1 billion, which was a 3 percent increase over the year before, according to the National Retail Federation. SMS marketing provides an avenue for marketing your business to help you increase holiday sales and take advantage of these peak shopping months, even if your company is not in the retail industry. Not entirely convinced? The following might help.
There is tough competition during the holidays; stand out by texting.
The winter holiday season is an important time for sales, so most companies put in extra marketing efforts advertising sales so that they will attract customers to their business over the competition. This means that the average customer is flooded with ads from a variety of sources, including emails, social media posts and ads, print ads, radio and TV spots, and mailers. This flood of information makes it really easy for anything you send out to simply get lost in the shuffle.
With SMS marketing, you can stand out from the crowd. Although it is an effective marketing channel, not many companies actually use it. There is also no spam filters on messages, although there are rules defining to whom you can send marketing messages. This means that your messages make it past the massive numbers of messages your customers received and are actually read.
Not only do the messages in your SMS marketing program stand out, but they also are actually seen. Text messages have an almost 100 percent open rate, compared to just between 20 and 30 percent for emails. More people see and read SMS messages. This increases the potential number of people who actually take action on your messages. In fact, text messages have a 36 percent click-through rate, compared to just 6 to 7 percent for email. Social media marketing also has a much lower hit rate than a texting campaign.
With an increased engagement, you have a better chance of converting customers. They receive your messages and read them, which already improves the chance they will act. With a strong, motivating message, your customers will take the final step and convert, giving you the sale over your competition.
Reach Customers Anywhere
Texting lets you reach customers anywhere, even when they are already shopping.
Cell phones have become an extension of a person. According to one survey, a high number of people would rather give up a number of things, such as sex, a car, a bed, a vacation or a cup of coffee, than their phone. Most people carry their phones with them everywhere they go. Therefore, with SMS marketing, you have the chance to reach customers anywhere. They will read your message even if they are not connected to the internet. Perhaps they are already out and about doing some holiday shopping when they receive your message. They can take action right away, increasing the chance that they will actually do it.
There are many other reasons to take advantage of SMS marketing this holiday season. Once you have started your campaign, you will not want to stop even after the rush of holiday sales are over. The same benefits that accrue to exceed your goals for the final months of the year will continue to help you to grow your business and reach all your goals.
Ready to get started and improve your business this holiday season? Try ClubTexting for FREE.
Niraj Ranjan Rout is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. We recently spoke with Niraj about the prevalence of business collaboration and the current and future of email in the business setting.
What exactly does Hiver do for its customers?
Hiver is built primarily for collaboration around communication in general. It helps you and your team manage shared email accounts like email@example.com, assign emails to each other, and see who is doing what.
To give you a simple illustration of how this might be of use, think about the publications you're pitching to on their email IDs, like firstname.lastname@example.org. They would be receiving tons of pitches there, and they'd have a team to pick up articles and work on those. Hiver would help this team manage the tip@ email account efficiently and delegate tasks without confusion - without anything "falling through the cracks."
Is a tool like Hiver effective not just for companies, but also for clubs, civic organizations, and volunteer groups as well?
Yes indeed. Hiver is used by a lot of non-profits, educational institutions, and citizen bodies. In fact, two of the non-profits using Hiver are Pets for Patriots and Amani Children's Home. It fits right in wherever you have a group of people that you are collaborating with over email.
What are some of the main challenges that your customers are trying to grapple with?
Everyone loves to use email (though they do complain about it, sometimes), but using email in a group scenario can be very inefficient and tedious because you end up siloing tasks and information in individual inboxes.
For instance, it's extremely convenient to forward an email from a customer to someone in your team if you need help responding to the customer, but then it's extremely messy to keep track of all your forwards and awaited replies. That's where Hiver comes in. We make it extremely efficient to carry out collaboration and task management over email.
Why did you choose the Gmail platform as the centerpiece of your service offerings?
When we started out, Gmail/Google Apps was the most prominent cloud email offering. Also, most Gmail users use Gmail's web interface, and we as programmers loved the idea of modifying the Gmail interface with a browser extension to add more efficiency to how people use email.
We're now expanding beyond Gmail. Hiver for Exchange/Office-365 is releasing soon, and we're sure it'll do very well.
Has the rise of a virtual world and a telecommuting workforce led to an increase in demand for virtual collaboration tools like Hiver?
Absolutely! We have customers where the team does not see each other in person for weeks, and yet, they continue to work efficiently. This trend is on a strong rise; with communication tools improving so much, everyone is now questioning why they must spend hours daily driving or on a train.
Is Hiver a good tool to use to help manage or complement text message marketing, digital marketing, and/or social media marketing campaigns?
Hiver is great for managing your outreach, as well as handing off or delegating responses that you receive.
Some Internet observers think that email will gradually become obsolete in the future. Do you agree or disagree with that viewpoint?
There are two kinds of email in a business scenario: internal email within a company, and external email that comes in from people outside the company (like customers, vendors, sales leads, etc.). While internal email is under serious threat from tools like Slack, external email is definitely going to be around. Hiver is completely targeted on external email - that is, helping teams manage their customer and sales communication.
So to sum up, Email's personal use and use for internal communication in organizations are already seeing a decline, but email is going to stay strong in inter-organization scenarios - and that is what we're building on.
Need a convenient way to communicate with members of your club, group, or organization? Try ClubTexting for free today!
As a dentist, you want to grow your practice. There are many different marketing opportunities at your disposal, which at times makes it difficult to determine which one to use. SMS marketing is a valuable addition to any strong marketing strategy. Group texting provides a great way to engage with current clients while also promoting your practice to others in your community. If you plan to implement it, the following tips will help you to start off strong.
Be Smart About Collecting Numbers
Ask your patients to sign up for texts when they visit your office.
One of the things to always keep at the forefront of your program is that group texting for marketing is a permission-based medium. You might be able to send some texts, such as appointment reminders, without written permission. However, if you plan to send regular texts for any reason, it is best to get people to opt in before you start. Therefore, you need to have a strategy for collecting numbers for your texting list. Additionally, it is key to keep accurate records of all opt-ins, active subscribers, and opt-outs. Regularly checking your list for any errors will help you to retain a clean list.
To build your list, have patients sign up when they fill out their initial paperwork when they come into the office for a visit. Ask them to also provide preferences as to what type of messages they would like to receive. Alternatively, reach out to patients in your other channels, such as email and social media, and ask them to sign up for your new texting campaign. You can also add it on all of your marketing collateral, including print ads, TV spots, radio ads and any other promotional material you might have. Simply include a keyword and your shortcode or number and have people text to opt in.
Decide On Your Campaign Strategy
There are numerous ways to use group texting in your dentist office. You might wish to take advantage of high open rates to send appointment reminders and reduce the number of no-shows you experience. It also provides a way to send out thank you messages, dental hygiene tips, and general marketing texts. This might include offers and deals on your services, especially voluntary procedures such as teeth whitening. It is also beneficial to use it to reach out to clients who have not visited in a while.
Some practices might integrate all of these text types into a comprehensive texting campaign, while others might focus on just one. It is important to have an idea of what you wish to do and then create a detailed plan to accomplish it. This reduces the chance that you will end up not seeing the return you want due to an ineffective campaign that tries to do too much at once.
Organize Your Campaign
For the most effective campaign, it is essential that you put as much energy into building a strong foundation as you do in implementing the program. Start with detailing your campaign strategy, including determining the objective of your group texting efforts. You might wish to grow your practice, bring in more new clients or simply engage more with those you already have. This objective informs the rest of your campaign, as it will help you to create goals and analyze data to see whether or not you reach them.
Segment your list so you can send targeted messages to certain subscribers.
Organizing your campaign assists you in building this foundation. Start by segmenting your subscriber list into groups. This helps you to target messages to particular people. For example, send offers to clients who have not visited recently. It is also possible to group subscribers by their potential interests. You might have a group that is interested in teeth whitening and then periodically send them offers for the service. Subscribers can be members of several groups. Therefore, it is important to keep track so that you do not overwhelm particular clients who might be in several groups with texts, especially if they also receive emails from you and/or follow you on social media.
The more time you spend creating an organized plan and subscriber list that includes as many patients and possible patients as possible, the smoother your texting campaign will run. It might still take some time to really hit the marks you want to hit, but it will set you off on a strong path to get there.
Ready to start a strong texting campaign for your dental practice? Try ClubTexting for free.
As an amusement park owner, you work hard to build rides, games, shows and other entertainment that attract and thrill your customers. Despite your efforts, you will not see a rise in attendance if you do not find a way to get the word out to potential customers. It is likewise important to engage with visitors so that they want to come back again and again. Club texting provides a way to engage with current and future visitors to increase business at your park. There are several ways that it has the potential to help your visitor numbers grow.
Access More Customers
Text messaging provides you with a wide net of people you can reach.
Running a texting campaign has the potential to help you reach a much wider net of people. Over 90 percent of Americans own an SMS-enabled cell phone. This is more than those who have email or regularly visit social media sites. Additionally, text messages on average have a whopping 99 percent open rate, compared to about 20 to 30 percent of emails.
Together, this means that you have the chance to reach a wider demographic of customers, including those without regular access to the internet. Plus, any messages you do send out will actually be read, making it a much more effective marketing forum.
Reach an Interested Audience
Club texting is a permission-based marketing forum, so you can only send your messages to those who have opted in to receive them. You might think this reduces the number of people affected by the message. However, it actually has a much larger impact. When you run ads that try to bring in a wide variety of numbers, such as a print ad, TV spot, radio ad, billboard or flyers, you have a very low number that respond. Many of the people that see these ads have no interest in your amusement park -- or any others -- so the impact of the ad is quite low.
Alternatively, when you send messages to those on your texting campaign subscriber list, you have a much bigger impact. These people have enough interest in your company to sign up to receive messages. This might be because they have already visited or because they wish to visit one day. You can capitalize on this interest and turn them into customers much easier, and for less money, then it would take to convert someone with little to no interest in your park.
Motivate People to Visit
It is not just about reaching people with your message; however; it is also about actually motivating them to take action. Texting remains a more intimate medium. Most people still mostly use it to communicate with their friends and family members. They reserve any marketing messages for companies from which they really wish to hear. This means that they actually read your message and pay attention to it and that it has the potential to motivate them to act. When you include a strong call to action, it increases the chance that someone will visit your amusement park even more.
Increase Repeat Visitors
Connect with customers so that they come back to your park over and over.
To turn a customer from a one-time visitor into a repeat visitor, it is important to engage them. First, they need to have a good time while at your park and experience great customer service. Regularly engaging with them afterwards through club texting provides a way for them to continue to think about your park and wish to return. Customer engagement has become the key aspect in turning customers into loyal ones, and texting has a better engagement rate than email or social media. Increase this effect by regularly offering incentives for them to return to the park, such as discount entry fees or free gifts.
These are just a few of the lucrative benefits offered by club texting. Integrating it into your marketing strategy will help you take your amusement park to the next level and attract more people to your park.
Contact us to learn more about how to use texting to help your amusement park grow.
There are many different considerations you need to make to create the best foundation for your texting campaigns. In addition to basic etiquette, there are also certain guidelines and rules that you must follow. Although some of the guidelines might be seen more as best practices, there are also laws in place that if you break, you might set yourself up for a lawsuit or worse. Following are some of the most important rules to follow from the get-go when you launch your SMS marketing campaign.
Do not send marketing texts before you have written permission.
SMS marketing is a permission-based medium. The FCC has determined that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act cover text messaging. This targets auto dialing for marketing purposes, so it does not necessarily apply to all text messages, such as appointment reminders, emergency alerts, and transactional messages.
This means that in order to send marketing messages to clients or customers, you must have their written permission. This includes an opt-in text message from the client, an online form submission, a written agreement or any other type of documented evidence that clearly demonstrates that the person has agreed to receive marketing messages from you. If you are simply sending appointment reminders or emergency alerts, it is always a good idea to get permission, but you must do so for marketing texting campaigns.
Make It Easy to Opt Out
Just as you have to get permission to text, you also have to make it easy for those who have changed their mind and decided to no longer receive texts from you to opt out. There must be a free, legitimate and easy way to do so. Typically, it is through the individual texting the word STOP as a reply to a text.
If you regularly text, it is not necessary to always include information about how to opt out, but it should be frequent enough that any follower will know how to do so. If you only occasionally send texts, then you will need to include the opt out message every time. You also have to take action if someone has requested to opt out through another method, such as during a phone, in person or email exchange with an employee.
Make it easy for subscribers to find and read the terms and conditions.
It is also important that you are clear to your customers as to what they can expect from the program. This includes the frequency, description of the program and more. For example, in your promotional material about the program, include language that details it is a subscription. If there are any other aspects of the program, such as whether there are premium fees or other components, it must be clearly disclosed upfront. You should also declare that message and data rates may apply.
These rules are the most important to follow. They are also relatively easy to do so, and it also ensures that you offer the best customer service possible. It is also beneficial to always include a signature when you send the text so that clients or customers know it is from you, especially if you frequently change the number from which the texts are sent.
Contact us to learn more about the laws and guidelines governing SMS Marketing.
Nilesh Patel is CEO of customer acquisition platform LeadSquared, who brings a decade of experience in sales and marketing to the team.
Here, Nilesh shares his insight on where companies struggle with lead generation and how they can improve their sales efforts. Read on:
Tell us about LeadSquared. What services do you offer?
LeadSquared is used by marketing and sales teams to capture, manage and nurture leads, and enhance sales for their businesses. It is a complete customer acquisition platform with lead capture automation, lead management, marketing automation, sales CRM and analytics to help businesses close more deals in less time. The software is being put to use by varied businesses like marketing agencies, IT businesses, real estate, education, financial services, tours and travel, health and wellness and more.
With LeadSquared, customers can find facts like selling velocity of the business, revenue performance by lead sources, products or sales person, view marketing and sales funnel and a lot more analytics, to fine tune and increase ROI from their marketing and sales efforts.
Businesses are using LeadSquared for:
- Lead Capture Automation: Seamlessly capture leads from all sources - inbound email, online campaigns, phone calls, website, chat, lead generation websites and more.
- Lead Distribution: Distribute leads based on city, product or any other rules to cut down the response time.
- Marketing Automation: Engage and nurture leads using email and SMS campaigns, and trigger-based emails to make them sales ready, and create future opportunities.
- Sales Acceleration: Focus on leads with the highest potential for conversion with automated lead engagement scoring technology.
- Marketing and Sales Analytics: Access detailed marketing insights about the campaigns and sources driving qualified leads and revenue.
- Mobile App: Manage leads on the go.
What's one of your favorite client success stories?
I would have to say, the Byju's Classes success story would be among my favorites.
"Byju's Classes" is a leader in test preparation segment, and they are completely changing learning in India. They also recently got funded by Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. They have been using LeadSquared to manage their marketing and sales for over two years now.
They generate hundreds of thousands of leads across online, chat, mobile app, phone and offline channels. LeadSquared has organized lead capture across all the channels. As a result, they achieved zero lead leakage and completely got rid of Excel sheets filled with leads lying on each desktop.
With a huge lead volume, it is a challenge for any business to respond quickly to every inquiry. LeadSquared's rule-based lead distribution engine helped Byju's automatically assign the leads to the relevant sales person, thereby, cutting down the response time drastically and improving the chances of winning.
Lead intelligence helped the sales people prioritize leads that are likely to close. The benefit is clear - the sales bandwidth is applied to maximize the revenue potential.
Using marketing automation, they engaged and nurtured leads to retain mindshare and convert some of them into sales opportunities and up-sell to existing customers. This resulted in increasing the ROI on marketing investments.
Finally, with analytics, it was seamless to monitor and measure sales and marketing performance.
What are the most common challenges small businesses face in generating leads?
In a nutshell, these are some of the most common challenges I think small business face in generating leads:
- Not knowing where to invest when they begin because the marketing budgets are lean. It also is a result of not knowing where your audience is - whether it's online or offline or which specific online platforms are they present in.
- Not getting the right talent with the knowhow of a lot of things. Small businesses cannot afford to hire big teams so they need really efficient individuals.
- Randomness in collecting data from current channels, which doesn't give them the right picture for future investment.
What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses making when it comes to lead generation?
Firstly, not measuring their returns or results properly,
Secondly, concentrating too much on vanity metrics, instead of actually trying to understand whether they are contributing to the ROI goal.
Thirdly, investing in platforms or tools without actually knowing if it will help. Of course, you need to test and experiment to actually know whether something is working for you. But even then, you need to have some research or statistics in place, to take that forward.
How should small businesses approach lead generation today?
You need to find out where your audience is and then go after them. Investing in the rights tools and channels would really help.
Measure and analyze everything you do. If a specific channel or source hasn't worked for you repeatedly, it's time you moved on to something different. Small businesses don't have a huge budget, so they need to be wise about it.
What types of analytics are the most helpful/beneficial to study to improve lead generation and nurturing?
When it comes to analytics, lead source to lead conversion analytics is what I would look at. If leads are constantly coming in from a particular source but they haven't been converting to customers, then you know it's not working for you. Map the entire journey, from lead generation to lead conversion and see what all channels or mediums are working for you.
As far as lead nurturing goes, email analytics are very important. You are constantly sharing content, but do the subscribers find value in it, or are they even reading this content? If you are getting too many unsubscribes, then your emails are not working. Here's what you need to look at
- If no one is opening your mails, there is a problem with the email subject line.
- If people are opening your mails but not taking any action - there is a problem with the email content. Maybe they aren't compelling enough for people to take an action, or maybe the copy is weak. There could be multiple reasons for this.
You should also analyze the days of the week and specific timings when your emails have performed better than other days (and times).
What are the benefits of SMS marketing?
I think the key benefits are that SMSs are more accessible, personal, two-way and almost 100 percent deliverable. It's certainly a must-have for B2C businesses I would say.
In fact, nowadays, businesses are opting for WhatsApp and other such messaging platforms as well. The idea in both is to keep the message short and straightforward.
What are best practices for small businesses in using SMS marketing?
Segment your audience, as you would while sending emails. Automate SMSs based on user actions, instead of spamming everyone with every offer possible.
I'd suggest you keep it targeted. For starters, target based on demographics, gender and age. Something that is relevant to a 50 year old may not be relevant to someone in their 20s. So be wise about it and target accordingly.
What are the most exciting trends or innovations you're following in small business marketing today?
Hundreds of new businesses are getting registered in India every day. All of these are SMEs or micro businesses. Even before the business is formally launched, the Gen-Y SMEs are thinking marketing-first and are pro digital. Most of them will have a website from day one, communicate with customers on WhatsApp, and perhaps, spend on marketing to get discovered on the Internet.
Older SMEs had a certain way of doing business, but they are now gradually embracing the new reality and are willing to adapt systems and technologies to improve their business performance.
What's one piece of advice you find yourself repeating to clients over and over?
- Reach the stage of product market fit as soon as possible.
- Founders should always be selling - make it a regular routine to reach out to potential customers through email, phone, face to face or any other relevant forum.
- Startups should raise money if they can. Cash is the lifeline of the business; use it wisely.
- Do not focus on selling through partners; if you cannot sell partners can't sell either.
SMS marketing is a widely popular marketing channel that many companies have adopted to receive benefits such as higher conversion rates and better customer engagement. However, a significant number of businesses still hesitate to implement this channel. Much of this hesitation is based on myths and uncertainty rather than facts. The following are the most common reasons businesses baulk at adding SMS marketing to their campaigns--and the reasons they should not.
Texting can fit into almost any marketing budget, and it has a high ROI.
Some companies are afraid to add texting to their marketing efforts because they simply feel it will not fit into their budget. Although money plays a significant role in decisions for businesses, especially those just starting or with little wiggle room in their budget, it should not be the reason to not add SMS marketing. This form of marketing is highly cost effective. Most platforms charge just pennies for the texts sent and received. It might also be possible to sign up for a monthly plan so you have a regular expense and need not worry about going over your budget. The low cost and high efficacy make it a highly cost-effective marketing tool.
Invasive and Annoying
Texting is a very intimate messaging system. It does not have the reputation of spam as email does, since only about one percent of texts sent worldwide considered spam. Plus, many people regularly use it for communicating with friends and family. It is also not as widely used as other marketing channels for businesses, despite more businesses signing up every year. Therefore, many companies hesitate to add it out of fear of intruding too much into their customers' lives.
However, the intimacy of the channel is one reason it is so highly effective. People who sign up want to receive messages from you, and many consumers wish to hear even more from their favorite brands through texting. About 75 percent prefer offers sent through texting than other avenues. You also cut through a lot of the clutter for a more direct message to a highly-engaged group of people, making for a more effective overall message.
Another fear many marketers have regarding SMS marketing is that it is simply too complicated to add. However, that could not be further from the truth. Most mass text messaging platforms are user-friendly. Subscribers are added to the list automatically when they opt-in. It is also easy to upload a list of users who opted in from another source, such as your website or in-person sign ups. On the platform, you simply have to choose who receives the message, write out your message, and then send it right away or schedule it for a later time.
Only Millennials Use Texting
It is not just Millennials who text.
Companies that focus on older demographics, or wanting to be as inclusive as possible, often feel that SMS marketing is not worth using because it targets only Millennials. Millennials use texting and always have their cell phones with them, making them one of the best demographics to target with SMS. However, it is also highly effective for targeting other generations. About 92 percent of smartphone owners over the age of 50 use it to text. Many people in this generation will be just as eager to receive texts from you as their younger counterparts.
Every business has its own experience with SMS marketing, but the vast majority find it is highly effective and beneficial. It has a high engagement rate, high open rate, and is something customers want. There is no reason to hesitate due to myths and rumors that remain circulating. Instead, try it out for yourself to see if it something that you want to utilize for your business.
Contact us to learn more about why text message marketing can help your business.
Bridge might be an old game, but it remains a popular pastime. However, many bridge clubs find it is difficult to attract new members to join their numbers. One way to encourage people in your community to join your bridge club is to use group texting. This does not just help you attract the attention of Millennials, who are known for their texting ways. Out of smartphone owners over the age of 50, around 92 percent text. No matter the demographics of your bridge club, you can benefit from using texting.
Make It Easy for Interested Parties to Contact You
When someone sees an ad about your club, they can text you for more information.
Utilizing a club texting program makes it easy for interested parties to contact you for more information. No matter how you advertise your club, whether in church bulletins, bulletin boards at local cafes, flyers at social hot spots or anywhere else, it is simple to add a way for people to contact you. Add your number and a keyword. Then, when potential members see your advertisement, they simply have to text to find out more information. This is much more effective than leaving a phone number to call, an email to contact, or even a website to visit.
Remind Current and Potential Members About Events
Once you have people signed up for your club texting program, it is easy to send out reminders about upcoming events. Most texts are opened within just a few minutes of receipt, making it the perfect medium for reminders. You send out a text the day before an event, or even a few hours before, and feel confident members and potential members can see it.
Send Out Bridge Tips
Regular contact with your club texting subscribers helps to make them feel as though they are a part of your club, even if they have yet to fully join or are too busy to attend events. One way to remain in regular contact is to send out bridge tips. It is easy to segment your subscribers into different groups based on their skill level. Then, send out targeted tips that help them improve without fearing that you are sending information to those who already have surpassed a particular tip.
Club texting is not just about finding ways to send messages out to your members or potential members. It also works as a channel of communication to receive messages from your members. Many people prefer to send messages or other inquiries through text than calling. This also makes it easier on you to be available for your members throughout the day without having to have someone sitting right next the phone.
Poll Your Members on What They Want
For a successful bridge club, you should listen to your members and offer what they want. This includes those who are merely interested in joining but might not have come to any classes or tournaments. Find out more about what you can offer to increase attendance and membership through polls. Club texting polls are easy to run. Simply send out a question with a few keywords for each answer. Your subscribers text back their keyword of choice, and you know which one is the most popular.
Organize Tournaments and Classes
It is easy to segment your club texting subscriber list. This helps you to easily organize tournaments and classes. Send messages to different members based on whether they would be interested in a particular event. Create a group for your staff and/or volunteers who help to organize and host the events. Then, communicate with them to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.
Offer Discounts to Potential Members
Increase the number of people who join your classes with discounts.
Many young people might be interested in learning more about bridge, but sometimes classes can be expensive, leading to them deciding to learn from another source or just giving up. Offering a special deal might help increase the number who come to your classes. Perhaps, offer the first class free so they can see whether they actually enjoy the class. If that is not possible for the budget of your club, determine a percentage off that works well for your club while also being attractive to your students. Then, use the time during classes to motivate them to join the club
There are many ways bridge clubs can grow their members through using club texting. It is a highly versatile and effective marketing and communication method that is also cost effective, making it easy to fit into almost any budget. Once you have it, you can use it in many ways to communicate with your current members while also attracting new ones to keep your bridge club going for many more years.
Ready to see if texting can help organize your bridge club? Try ClubTexting for free.
As an advertising or marketing agency, your priority is to increase awareness about the brands you serve. However, you do not want to forget about advertising for your own agency so that you continue to bring in more clients. This is also an unofficial way to demonstrate your skills to potential clients before they make initial contact with you.
Text message marketing has become increasingly popular marketing channel for businesses to use. It helps to attract new clients and maintain those you already have. Rather than just using it for your customers, be sure to include it in your own advertising to receive the following benefits.
Compete with Larger Agencies
Bring your advertising agency to the next level with SMS marketing
As a small boutique advertising or marketing agency, it is sometimes hard to compete with the large, well-known agencies that have a large advertising budget. Text message marketing levels the playing field. It is a text-based medium, so it requires no expensive graphics to look great. Plus, the cost to send and receive texts is minimal, often just cents per text. This makes it easy to fit it into almost any budget.
Many companies have yet to include SMS marketing in their services or marketing strategy, but people like it. By including it, you also stand out from the competition.
Demonstrate the Medium to Clients
By incorporating text message marketing into your own marketing strategy, you also have a chance to demonstrate its effectiveness to your clients and potential clients. As they say, actions speak louder than words. Run a great campaign, and it won't take much persuading to convince your clients to do likewise.
Add Another Component to Your Clients' Marketing Strategy
Text message marketing is just one of many marketing channels in today's market. It is easy for clients to start to feel overwhelmed by all their options, from traditional print ad marketing to digital marketing to mobile marketing. By including SMS marketing in your own advertising, you also will have the tools needed to add it to your clients' so that they can take advantage of the many benefits of the medium, such as a high open rate and a high engagement rate.
Send Instant Updates and Reminders
Texting is highly versatile, so it does not need to remain only in the realm of marketing. It also provides a beneficial way to communicate with your clients. Send them a reminder about a meeting or a campaign launch. Send tips to your clients about how to improve the aspects of the campaigns that they run.
Instantly update your clients about any changes to their program, including any problems you might have. Texts are typically opened within a few minutes, so you can feel confident that your client can see and respond right away, reducing the amount of time a problem inhibits the continuation of your client's program.
Improve Customer Service
Two-way communication helps to improve your customer service. A majority of consumers prefer to contact companies about customer service inquiries through text messages. They can text you at their leisure while knowing that you will take care of it. The smooth handling of the issue helps to improve their overall feeling towards your company, improving your retention rates and referral rates.
Have a Strong Call to Action
Potential clients can text from anywhere when they see your ad
Implanting a text message marketing program for your own agency also helps you to have a strong call to action on all your advertisement and marketing collateral. As you probably tell your clients often, you need to have something that inspires customers to take action right away. Providing a number and keyword to text for more information on bus ads, digital ads, radio ads, print ads, TV ads, and any other ads makes it easy for them to take action right away, increasing the number of leads you receive.
Do not miss out on the high open rates, redemption rates, and engagement rates associated with this medium.
Contact us to learn more about using text message marketing for your own agency, as well as for your clients.
You started a text message marketing campaign full of hopes that it would provide the many promised benefits to your business. After putting in an extensive amount of time and effort, it does not appear to be working for you. If this sounds like you, you are probably tempted to just stop the campaign and switch your efforts -- and spending -- to something else. However, before you do this, there are some things you can do to turn around your campaign and get the results you want.
Do You Have a Realistic Expectation?
Have your team review your goals and expectations to see if they are realistic.
SMS marketing is a powerful medium, with high open rates and engagement rates. However, it is not a miracle worker. As with any marketing campaign, it takes effort and time to succeed. Therefore, take a quick look at your goals and expectations. Have you given sufficient time for the process to work? You most likely will not see high numbers overnight; most campaigns take a few months to really start to gain momentum.
Also take some time to review your business goals and what you hope to achieve with text message marketing. You might find that your efforts are not in line with your goals. It is also possible that you did not take the time to adequately create clear, defined objectives before you started the campaign. You would not be alone, as over half of marketers run a texting campaign without clear objectives. If this sounds like you, then take some time to develop clear objectives and create a strategy that will help you to meet those. Then, give your campaign some time to grow and meet your new expectations before you give up.
Find the Source of the Problem
Before packing in your text message marketing campaign, take some time to search for the root of the problem. Start by reviewing your metrics, especially the numbers that have made you feel as though it is time to give up. Perhaps your list is not growing or you have low redemption rates for your deals. Once you have narrowed down where your program is faltering, make changes that fix the correlating area of weakness.
For example, if your list is not growing, revamp your promotion strategy. Perhaps you need to promote your texting campaign on social media or add it to your print ads. It might be beneficial to start targeting a different set of customers. For those who feel they are not getting the response they want, consider whether or not the content matches what your customers want. You might also be sending the messages at an inopportune time or at an inconsistent frequency. There are several adjustments you can make to create a stronger campaign that will fix the problem and get you back to where you want to be.
Try a New Type of Message
There might not be any noticeable area in your text message marketing campaign that is the source of the poor response. It might simply be that your customers do not find value in the messages you send, or they might simply be fatigued by the same message every time. That is why it is important to switch up the content of your messages with every text, as well as provide exclusive content.
Take some time to develop and test some new types of message. For example, if you normally send out offers and deals, try sending out a poll or run a text-to-win content. Those who tend to rely on informational messages, try an exclusive flash sale or another offer. It might also help to try a few different messages and see how your customers respond to shape your campaign in the future.
Ask Your Customers What They Want
Ask your customers to review your program and provide some answers.
Another reason your campaign might be faltering is simply that it did not meet your customers' expectations. It is beneficial to take some time to see what your customers think before you completely just give up on texting. Ask your subscribers to fill out a survey to see what type of messages they wish to receive from you. It is also possible to simply send out a quick poll to see whether people are satisfied or not with your texting program. This not only helps you to know how to retool your lagging campaign, but it also provides a way to engage your customers and get them involved. You might also find that your campaign is actually doing much better than you previously thought.
It can feel disheartening to find your text message marketing campaign not succeeding or starting to falter. This leads many to simply stop and move on to another marketing strategy. However, do not give up. Instead, take some time to evaluate your efforts and make some changes to give your campaign another chance to succeed.
Contact us to learn more about what you can do to recharge a lackluster campaign.
As a small business, you have to monitor your budget closely to ensure every penny comes with a strong return on investment. SMS marketing provides many benefits that are well worth the investment for any small business. It is a cost-effective solution that has high response rates. As an added benefit, it increases customer engagement, which, in turn, leads to more loyal customers. The following are just a few of the reasons why many small businesses are turning to this highly lucrative marketing channel.
Texting helps you build a more intimate relationship with your customers.
One of the best reasons to adopt SMS marketing is that it is a more direct and intimate channel. Almost everyone owns an SMS-enabled phone. Of smartphone users, almost 100 percent use text messages. It is not just Millennials. Baby Boomers and older generations also consistently text. Additionally, texting is not as saturated by promotional messages as email or social media. This means that your text will arrive right next to texts that are mostly from friends and family members, making it possible for customers to unconsciously place you in the same category.
SMS marketing is the perfect medium when you need a fast response. Most people carry their phones with them everywhere and check it over a hundred times in a day. This means that they will see your message quickly and respond just as fast. In fact, the average response rate for texts is just 90 seconds, while the average response rate for email is 90 minutes. Which kind of response would you rather have?
Targeting More Engaged Customers
Text message marketing is an opt-in channel. This means that in order to send messages to your customers, they must sign up for the program. Although this leaves out a fair number of people, it does mean that you are working with more engaged customers at the baseline. Because they have signed up for your SMS marketing campaign, they already have a relationship with your company and wish to know more. This makes it easier to convert them into customers.
If you are looking for a marketing channel with a high engagement rate, then SMS marketing is the right channel for you. It has eight times the engagement rate, along with high click through rates and redemption rates. Customers not only read the texts; they also take action. This leads to a much higher return on your investment.
Stand Out From the Competition
With texting, it is easier to compete with the larger corporations.
As a small business, it is difficult at times to distinguish yourself from your competition, especially the larger corporations. Many large companies have yet to adopt text marketing because they have so many other advertising channels, which means your business stands out when you text.
When you have a small marketing budget, it is harder to develop marketing collateral that really stands out when you are trying to compete against brands with a significantly higher budget than you.
SMS marketing levels the playing field. It is a text-based marketing forum, which means you do not have to worry about developing expensive graphics. It is also short-form content since you only need 160 characters per text. This makes it much less expensive to run a strong texting campaign, especially when you also add in the cost of texting, which is often just pennies per text.
SMS marketing provides a cost-effective solution for small businesses to engage with customers and build their business. If you have not considered adding it to your marketing strategy, then it is time to do so and see how it can provide the boost you've been looking for.
Ready to see how texting will provide a boost to your business? Try ClubTexting for free and experience these benefits for yourself.
You have worked hard on your texting campaigns to ensure that you engage members and grow your club, and your analytics show your efforts are working.
However, you might be leaving out one very important group in your lists: your employees. When developing your mobile marketing campaigns, be sure to get your employees signed up as well. This makes it easy for you to take advantage of the advantages that text messages have to offer, including a higher open and response rate than email, to communicate with your employees just as you do with your members. It can improve communication among your employees and help them to provide better customer service.
Keep Employees Happy
Engaged employees are happier employees. Texting enhances engagement.
Text messages help you to engage with your employees on a regular basis, which in turn helps them to feel more emotionally invested in your club. Employees who are engaged are 87 percent less likely to move on to another club or company.
However, around 70 percent of workers in America are not engaged, and only 40 percent are aware of the goals, tactics, and strategies of a company. Often, this is due to a lack of communication. Running a texting campaign overcomes this issue.
It is best to have your employees in multiple groups in your subscriber list, including the general list serve, the employee group and a group based on their department. That way they receive the same messages as members, as well as pertinent messages for their job.
Regularly texting to employees facilitates more engaged and happier employees and helps to create a company culture in which employees want to be part of the company. As an added bonus, happy and engaged employees provide better service to club members.
Informed Employees Provide Better Customer Service
Sending your employees the same messages you send your members increases their ability to provide the highest quality customer service. If member-facing employees have no knowledge of your texting campaigns, then they are unable to answer any questions about it. They also might not be aware of any offers or promotions, thereby creating a frustrating situation when a club member tries to redeem one or otherwise act on the content in your text messages.
Taking time to train employees on all your traditional and mobile marketing efforts, as well as keeping them informed of any new information sent out to members, ensures they have all the information they need to provide the best service to your members.
Better Communication With Employees
Part of your texting campaigns should focus on necessary information for your employees. Send updates about any maintenance work being done. Use it for emergency alerts, such as severe weather or a fire in an area of the club. It is beneficial to use texting rather than email for your employee communications since it is much more likely they will actually read the message. Only about 20 to 30 percent of emails are opened, while 99 percent of texts are.
These messages do not always have to directly involve work; it is possible to use them to encourage social gatherings for employees or to celebrate victories, milestones, or employee achievements. For example, send out a text announcing the employee of the month winner or to alert employees that your club has reached a business goal.
Remind Employees About Events
Texting event reminders makes sure employees are adequately prepared.
Employees need to be reminded about events just like your customers. Send a text message out to your employees the day before or the day of a big event so that they have adequate time to finalize the preparation and provide the best experience possible for your members. This also increases the attendance of employees at non-mandatory work events, which in turn demonstrates to your members the dedication your staff has to the club.
There are many ways to utilize your mobile marketing services to communicate with your employees in addition to your members. It helps keep them informed and up to date with all content members receive, as well as provide an easy to use way to impart essential company information.
Ready to implement a texting program for your club? Try ClubTexting for free and see how it improves engagement with your members and your employees.
School sports rely on fundraising through the booster club to finance many of their activities. Educational funding continually sees cuts, making any booster club financing that much more important. However, traditional fundraising such as selling candy or cookie dough does not always provide sufficient donations to bridge the gap, and neither does ticket sales to the games. Rather than utilizing sales campaigns that take most of the proceeds and require a lot of work on the part of the team, try using mobile texting to support your next fundraising campaign.
Increase Your Supporter List
Texting campaigns helps to bring in more community support for your team.
For your mobile texting program to have a significant impact, it is important that you increase the number of supporters for your booster club. People can sign up to receive texts from you, including fundraising campaigns and information about games and other events. Invite your students to share the information with their social network and promote it in the community as well. When you put up flyers and posters about any events you might have, whether fundraisers or games, include a keyword and number that people can text to opt into your booster club text campaigns.
This provides a way to get more of the community engaged with your team, which in turn leads to more opportunities for fundraising.
Boost Traditional Fundraising
Traditional fundraising still provides a great way to bring in much-needed funds to your school. Booster club text campaigns provide a way to support these fundraisers. Send out alerts to your subscribers when you have a bake sale, raffle, BBQ or car wash. Most texts are opened within just a few minutes of receipt, so they offer the perfect medium for reminding people about your fundraising events on the day or the day before to increase attendance.
Texts also have a high response rate and a high open rate. This is highly beneficial for when you are selling items, such as candy, cookie dough, candles, calendars or other items. Include a link to the web page through which people can buy the items. Your team members simply send a text message to their friends, family members and other people in their network. You also send a text out to your subscriber list to increase the number of people who purchase items during your fundraising campaigns.
Text to Donate
Texting campaigns also offer a way to simply ask for donations. You might be familiar with text to donate campaigns that many of the large non-profits, such as the Red Cross, run after a disaster to raise money. Your booster club can take advantage of the same programs.
However, many smaller organizations find that using mobile texting programs to send out a link to a web page for donations works much better. By sending out a web page you have designed, you have much more control over the process. Your supporters also have the chance to donate more money than the traditional text to donate campaigns, which often have a set amount such as $10 per text. It is an easy way to ask for donations from your supporters without having to sell anything.
Run Creative Campaigns
Use the power of texting to promote new and creative ways to fundraise.
Your texting campaigns also offer a venue for running creative fundraising campaigns. Your booster club can have people pay to have a friend or family member's house "attacked" with posters and other items promoting school spirit and support for your team. Your team members might provide gardening or cleaning services for a fee. Whatever type of campaign you wish to run, it is possible to promote the information through texting. Interested parties can simply text a keyword to your number to show they are interested. Then, you get in touch with them about the particulars and/or send them a link to your web page with more information.
Booster club text campaigns facilitate your fundraising efforts and help you to do much more than traditional campaigns allow. It is a cost-effective option that fits into most budgets, helping you to enhance the effectiveness of your campaign without taking away too many of your much-needed profits.
Contact us to learn more about how texting can be used for fundraising and other activities for your booster club.