Text messaging or SMS (Short Messaging Service) has exploded in popularity in recent years and is now an important channel of communication for businesses to interact with their customers. SMS text message marketing gives you the ability to reach out to your customers instantly, wherever they are, with important information they have requested. BLI’s SMS text messaging platform enables any business to position itself at the forefront of this cutting edge technology. Use the resources at BLI Messaging to help understand the power of SMS message marketing and contact us today to find out more.
Why use SMS text to contact my customers?
Cell phones today are so much more than just phones. They double as our alarms, calculators, personal organizers, cameras, music & video players. The cell phone is now the must-have all-in-one handheld device that people don’t leave home without.
Text messaging affords an immediacy unsurpassed by other marketing channels. Unlike email, a text message won’t sit in an inbox waiting for you to login to your computer.
SMS text messaging is significantly less expensive than direct mail and by providing information only to customers who have opted in to receive messages from your company you ensure you are only paying to reach interested customers.
Text messaging as a communication channel is applicable to any business or organization. Use SMS text messaging to send limited time special offers, coupons, last minute information, reminders and invitations.
Building an SMS text messaging database
It is important to gain the permission of the people you plan to send text messages to ensure that your customer wants to receive the messages while avoiding wastage of your marketing budget. Furthermore, if you send unsolicited messages this could create negative sentiments on the part of the recipient towards your business / brand and have the opposite of the desired effect.
Legally you must provide a means of the recipient opting out. This is usually managed by the recipient being advised in the text they can reply STOP to be removed from your list.
There is legislation in place covering permission based SMS marketing. If in any doubt as to your compliance please review the following Best Practices from the Mobile Marketing Association by clicking here.
So how do you get customers to subscribe? Perhaps you already have a customer database that you can get in touch with to begin with, if not - don’t worry. Think about how you communicate with your customers currently. Here are several ways in which you might do this:
By using their phone – your customers simply need to send a text stating your custom ‘keyword’ to a shortcode that we will provide you with
- Online - create a simple sign up form on your company website.
- Email - email your customers about your new text service and include sign-up details.
- Direct mail - you may have to mail your customers, include sign-up details in your next mailing.
- Print communications - include sign-up info in your press ads, flyers and other printed matter.
Position your SMS text messaging service as something they will benefit from, for example, 'Receive exclusive special offers' or 'Get up to the minute information'. By communicating the potential benefits you are securing a new direct and personal marketing channel between your business and the customer.
Creating Effective SMS campaigns
So you have a database of willing recipients…now what?
The next step is to identify how you will deploy text messaging to achieve your business goals. Text messaging can be highly targeted and is unique in it’s immediacy. Think about messages to your customers or members where speed of delivery (and receipt!) is the foremost priority. It could be a change of venue at a trade show, cancelled school or soccer practice at school, a weather or traffic alert. Some of our clients send out coupons for a special that lasts only hours or use SMS for a simple survey. Financial services clientele use SMS for rate changes or balance notifications triggered at certain bank balances. Other companies use SMS to notify customers of changes in travel or delays.
Think about your type of business and your objectives. Text messaging can be especially effective in
- Driving sales of slow moving product.
- Stimulating uptake of new services.
- Creating awareness of ongoing / regular promotions.
- Introducing existing customers to new products / services.
- Last minute notices and offers.
- Delivering coupons (affording measurability of campaign success given that the customer must show the text to redeem the offer).
- Sending customers notices and reminders.
- Content delivery (can be monetized via premium rate SMS service – ask about our turnkey premium billing services).
In addition to affording you the ability to send broadcast text messages to your customers and the ability to target your messaging by segmenting your database by whatever parameters you choose, our SMS platform is also fully integrated with our cohesive one stop messaging platform, WebLaunch™.
WebLaunch™ allows you to manage all your messaging – SMS, Voice, Email and Fax – from one convenient interface. Furthermore you can now create single campaigns that trigger multiple communication modes to your customer such as
- Launch an outbound voice call that triggers a follow-up SMS to all or select respondents.
- Have customers respond to a short code via SMS that triggers an email.
- Trigger an SMS from an inbound voice call - eg. the customer presses ‘1’ and receives information via SMS.
- Trigger a voice call or email from SMS – promote your shortcode to customers and prospects - within minutes of them texting in they can be receiving information to their phone or email.
Find out more about our triggered messaging.