Imagine receiving each of the text messages below. Which one are you more likely to act upon. $1 off your favorite sandwich today. Be a “hero”, share this with a friend and they get $1 off too. Call me today to get 10% off your house painting. Free M&M’s with the purchase of any movie ticket and popcorn. Ok so that last one was for me. Hey, I’d go to that theater nearly every week during the summer blockbuster season for that offer. Chocolate aside, unless you are specifically looking to get your house painted, the $1 off a sandwich is going to get you every time. Here’s the thing. Business owners are always looking for the best marketing tactic to reach their customers. However, marketing methods that work well for one company may have significantly different results for another organization. You need to think about: Who is your target market - do they want to receive offers this way? What offer you are sending them? Timing of text message Text message marketing has had its share of challenges as well. I remember my first spam message – it was from a big box electronic store. I did not run right out and purchase the latest gaming system. After all they weren’t offering chocolates or a sandwich. There was also that lawsuit scare a couple of years ago. There was the guy who filed for patent in the 90’s for sending text messages with links to a website. What foresight right? Personally I’m waiting for the individualized marketing to hit. If you watch the show Almost Human, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t watch the show Almost Human, well we can discuss that another time. Here are some of the pros and cons of text message marketing. Pros: Cheap form of marketing Typically pay .002 to .08 cents a text Can schedule or send out a message in real time You can control the message and change it at any time Have different lists for targeting different customers Generally acted upon quickly Trackable Cons: Can take a while to build a list Subscription or licensing fee for the platform you use You need really strong offers to keep your subscribers Be prepared to spend time testing your offer to see what works Competing with others who may have a better offer at the same time Vanity numbers are expensive Generally speaking, restaurants and retail stores are going to do better with this form of marketing to generate more immediate sales. Other types of text messaging campaigns include: Appointment Reminders (salons, dentist, oil change, etc) Cancellation notices to try and fill an empty spot Event notices One other thing to note is to check out several providers before you get started. There are many resellers of other platforms. You’ll get a better deal if you can go to the source instead of through a reseller. If you are unsure of who’s who, just do an online search on that short code and see what comes up. The short code is the number you text to opt-in. Bottom line is you really need to decide what the goal of the campaign is. If it is to generate sales, you must have a compelling offer to get your customers to opt-in. If it is for branding or just another avenue of communicating with your customers it can be a cost effective way to reach them. Be sure to do your due diligence with different platforms and what they each have to offer.
Angela Moore is President of Six Degrees SEO & Six Degrees Digital Media. Angela has been working in online marketing and sales since October of 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing Management and has helped many small to medium sized businesses and education organizations increase their online presence. If she's not on her computer, she's probably watching Netflix.