Marketers are finally realizing the potential of adding mobile marketing to their overall strategies. According to Comscore, mobile commerce spending on smartphones and tablets in Q1 was $7.3 billion, up 23 percent vs. a year ago. It’s clear the way consumers engage and make purchases is changing, requiring brands to find a way to interact with them in a personalized and relevant way via the mobile device.
If you aren’t currently engaging your customers through mobile marketing, consider the following:
- As of December 2013, there are roughly 335 million wireless subscribers in the United States, according to CTIA. That equals 104 percent of the total U.S. population.
- Ninety-eight percent of text messages are read within 90 seconds of their arrival.
- SMS produces engagement rates six to eight times higher than email marketing.
- Mobile coupon redemption rates are 10 percent versus 1 percent for traditional coupons.
Mobile will continue to grow, as will the use of it as a way for brands to interact with customers. Fortunately, there are a handful of ways to jumpstart your mobile marketing strategy. Understanding each will help you market to your customers and in turn, see fast returns on your investment.
Building Your SMS Database Is Key
Your mobile engagement efforts won’t get very far if you don’t have a strong opt-in list of customers to communicate with. There are several ways to build a targeted database. The first step is to assure that what you will offer to consumers (the content you will push to them) in exchange for their opt-in is valuable to your consumer targets. Opt-in in should be considered a contract between you and your consumers. Next, assure that all your CTAs (call-to-actions) clearly communicate the value to the consumer.
Once you have that covered, leverage all marketing channels you are already participating in. For example, if you’re attending a trade show, create signage that instructs attendees to text a keyword or scan a QR Code to receive special offers, product information or sign up for a drawing.
In addition, be sure to leverage in-store collateral. You can enroll your customers into your loyalty program or provide product information to them via their mobile either by scanning a QR code or texting a unique keyword to a short code. These are both fairly easy ways to get the word out since education is still a major roadblock for many retailers.
Don’t forget to utilize your social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as in your email messages and company newsletters. By including a call-to-action, keyword or short code via these different channels, you will be able to increase targeted opt-ins.
Email databases are also a great way to kick-start your database growth. We have clients who have seen as high as 5 percent conversion rates per email blast that include an SMS opt in CTA.
As with any kind of marketing, testing is crucial and will show you which types of messages are the most effective. SMS text messaging gives you many options to attract more customers. Over time, you’ll find out what messages work best for you.
What Type of Messages Should You Focus On?
The volume of email messages that customers receive on a daily basis is staggering, so it’s easy to get lost in all the noise. Many of those messages are important and relate to some type of interaction you have had with a brand such as shipping info, delivery notifications or event reminders. Customers frequently want to know when their orders have been shipped and delivered, especially if they are not home during the day, or if their service appointment has been delayed. By explicitly offering opt-in to service alert notifications, you can ensure that your SMS is not an unwanted disruption on a customers phone, but rather a value driver for your business.
In a recent survey by Hipcricket, 41 percent of mobile users said they would offer more information about themselves if they received some sort of incentive or coupon from the brand. Coupons and incentives can be delivered to segmented audiences based on purchase behaviors and preferences, activated to encourage repeat purchases and shared via social networks to extend your reach. It’s important to tailor mobile coupons to the buyer behavior and preferences to improve response rates and get more shoppers in your store.
To learn more about SMS marketing trends and best practices, check out the Mobile Marketing Association Best Practices guide (PDF).
In today’s dynamic and fast-evolving world, it is important to be able to reach your customers at the right time, in the right place, on the right device. SMS marketing is an effective and economical marketing strategy for businesses to increase customer loyalty and brand awareness. Mobile marketing coupled with traditional marketing efforts delivers a more holistic marketing approach enabling businesses to engage with an audience they otherwise might not reach.