There are over 6 billion texts sent via Americans every day, making text messaging the most prevalent form of communication, according to Gallup. It’s no wonder organizations are jumping on board to use it as another platform to engage with their audience. But for most of us, the thought of developing a strategy to start texting is just overwhelming.
In an effort to make this subject a bit easier to approach, we’ve compiled a list of a few quick and easy steps that will help get your organization well on its way!
Step 1 – Build Your List
One of the easiest ways to get people to subscribe to your list is to give them a chance to do so at every point of contact.
Brainstorm of all the places you can add your opt-in form. For example, places like your website, social media accounts, and signature line are great places to start. Also, train your staff to share the benefits of opting-in with your customers/clients/ network.
Step 2 – Segment Your List
When someone subscribes to your list, be sure to inquire as to how often they’d like to receive messages, and what type of information they want. Then place them into categories based on these requests.
Segmenting your list will help ensure your audience is getting information that is most useful and relevant to them. It could mean the difference between being a helpful, educational source, verses being ignored.
Step 3 – Learn Your Subscriber
After you’ve segmented your list based on preferences, take it one step further by personalizing your content. Overtime, you may be able to analyze demographics, purchase history, and behavioral patterns to tailor your message even further.
Remember, being personable goes a long way when it comes to building your following. Avoid using robotic and generic language. Response rates are higher when the message feels as though it is addressed directly to the recipient.
Step 4 – Develop Short and Sweet Messages
With traditional SMS messages, you only have 160 characters to express yourself. However, the faster you’re able to get to the point of your message, the better.
Before hitting “Send”, reread your message and eliminate any filler words and phrases. Only include information that is most relevant, and communicate it in plain English. Avoid capitalizing and abbreviating words, as well as using emoticons. Keep it simple!
Step 5 – Include Calls-to-Action
The top priority of your SMS marketing program should be to have subscribers that are engaged and interact with the messages you send. That’s why it’s important to include a clear call-to-action in your message.
If the goal of your message is to encourage your audience to take part in something, spell it out for them. Make sure to not bury the objective in the message, or add too much fluff. Also, use “buttons” whenever possible, such as “Click Here.” “Buy Now.” “More Info.”.
If you’re wondering whether it’s actually legal to text as an organization, you’re not alone. In fact, the #1 reason why organizations are hesitant to send texts is because they’re unsure of the legality.
In an effort to make the topic easier to digest, we’ve asked communications attorney and TCPA expert, Adam Bowser, to host a webinar, “Texting – Higher Ed Regulations & Best Practices”.
During this encore presentation on June 21st at 2PM ET, Adam will cover texting rules and regulations, and share practical tips for texting your contacts.
The #1 question you should ask yourself before hitting “Send”
The 4 legal categories approved for texting
When you need permission to text and when you don’t
How important are meetings with new and existing customers for the health of your business? Although it is a very simple question to answer (hint: it’s very important), appointment management can be a tricky process.
For most business owners, appointment management is easy to maintain. The true challenge is ensuring that clients maintain their end of the bargain.
Late-arrivals and cancellations can be costly for any business. For example, imagine a doctor that owns her own practice. She averages about 10 appointments a day for $200 each. However, she has about five cancellations per week which is a $1,000 loss. By using texting (SMS) for appointment reminders, she can cut down her weekly cancellations to two thus bringing weekly cancellation losses down to only $400.
SMS is a great way to remind customers and clients about their upcoming appointments with your business. It provides the “just in time” reminder that automated emails may miss. In addition, using SMS with scheduling can help so businesses fill the gaps that cancellation leave behind. Whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment in the next few days or hair stylist confirming an appointment after it’s been scheduled, SMS can be an effective way to ensure customers keep their appointments with your business as well as maintain profit goals despite unavoidable cancellations.
Clients Never Forget With a Text
Did you know that text messaging is the most common smartphone activity in the U.S? The average American sends and receives about 32 text messages a day (Informate).
Since SMS is both used often and checked frequently, it is an effective means for appointment management. Common best practices include:
An initial text can be sent immediately or a day after a client schedules an appointment.
After confirmation, texts can be sent the day of or multiple times in the days leading up to the appointment.
Because of ease of use, clients can easily respond to the text confirmation so they can move or cancel the meeting if needed
Having a confirmation text a few days before the appointment can provide time for businesses to fill a spot if a cancellation occurs.
Deployment is a Breeze – SMS & CRM Are Very Compatible
Now that the benefits of SMS to manage appointments are crystal clear, how do you implement it into your existing scheduler? One of the benefits of using SMS for appointment management is how easily it integrates with virtually any CRM or API. This simple integration translates to easy implementation. A gateway SMS campaign can be integrated with a business’s scheduling software application to send triggered alerts to clients with upcoming appointments. Running all scheduling activities through one system reduces the chance of human error and provides a more seamless integration experience.
Most SMS solutions have the integration process mapped out to make implementation easy as possible. For example, the 3Seventy integration process happens almost instantaneously – with one phone call we can have you up and running.
If you have any questions about using SMS for appointment management, feel free to contact us, we are happy to help.
The average person is bombarded with about 360 advertisements per day from TV, radio, Internet, and print media alone. In such a saturated marketing landscape, it is no wonder so many people opt for ad-blockers on their browsers or DVR shows so that they can skip the commercials. Since mobile marketing is so direct, mobile marketers have to rethink their strategies so that they can be effective without feeling like an annoyance. Here are some of our favorite tips for smart SMS marketing that won’t pester your customers.
1. Send the Right Message to the Right People
I know this is Marketing 101 but, it is still common mistake. Many mobile marketers might cast their nets a little too far, incorporating people who are in the wrong location (like the wrong country) or are not the target audience. Once you have incorporated the correct user segment, make sure that the message is clear, appropriate, and engaging. If you are sending mobile coupon code or links to digital coupons, make sure that those codes and coupons work.
2. Timing is Everything
Just like with telemarketers, no one wants to get a marketing text message late on Friday night or 6AM Sunday morning. Make sure that if your customers are subscribed to receive periodic messages from your company that the messages are going out during an appropriate time. So, when is the best time? That tends to vary based on your particular audience and product/service. However, research shows that text messaging is most effective between 10:00am and 8:00pm.
3. Don’t Be Clingy
Every company wants to have a positive and profitable relationship with their customer. However, like with romantic relationships, companies shouldn’t come off as overly attached. Try to limit the number of text messages sent to as few as possible as to not bother your customers. According to a survey conducted by Autosend, 67% of customers said they would like to receive texts from businesses at least 1-5 times a week.
By now we all understand how beneficial smart SMS marketing can be to a company however, maintaining customer opt-ins can be a delicate process. It is important to strategize effectively to limit the number of opt-outs as well as to have a successful return on your campaign. Again, like romance, a good SMS relationship can grow into something much more valuable.
This week we’re looking closely at the differences between the uses of SMS Short Codes and Long Codes. If your business is interested in using text message marketing, then you will want to understand the logistics of SMS and the difference between sending messages on a short code verses a long code.
What is a Short Code?
A short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that businesses use to send out marketing SMS message from. Read More about Short Codes.
This is an add for A&W Restaurant’s Text Club. They use a Short Code (70626) and a Keyword (Burger) as the means of having customers opt-in for special offers such as a Papa Burger. When the consumer texts in, he or she is subscribing to A&W’s Text Club and agreeing to receive SMS messages from them.
What are Short Codes Used for?
Businesses use several kinds of tools to communicate with consumers. SMS allows businesses to deliver time-sensitive alerts, offers, and other information to consumers. When the communication is initiated from a business application (such as an SMS platform), rather than an individual’s mobile phone, it can be referred to as a A2P Communication (Application-to-Person) SMS. This is the common use for Short Codes.
Short codes are the preferred tool for sending marketing SMS messages. Growth in the use of SMS marketing is expected to continue through 2016. This growing adoption will allow individuals to easily interact with the brands, companies and service providers they value via text message while providing a quick and trusted communication tool for the companies.
Why Use Short Codes for Marketing SMS?
Short codes are regulated by Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the CTIA (The Wireless Association). These consumer protection regulations require companies using short codes to ask permission (opt-in to subscribe) before contacting an individual. This provides a certain level of value in exchange – protecting the consumer and creating more successful SMS campaigns because trust has been built with the customers using their mobile device.
Speed of Message Delivery
Using a short code allows your business to send large volumes of text messages in a short period of time. Text message providers, like 3Seventy, setup deals with the carriers allowing a large number of messages to go out to consumers from each carrier at a time. This is really important to those businesses with a database of 5,000 or more contacts. Many businesses have millions of contacts in their SMS database, so timeliness is key to the campaign’s effectiveness with customers.
Flexibility for Innovation
Short codes allow for more development flexibility and innovation. Wireless carriers can change, update or add new features to short codes for enterprises without a problem. When you are driving end users to take the same action to interact with your brand, it’s easier to make updates. Plus, application developers can leverage short codes to provide mobile solutions such as a one-to-one chat, triggered alerts, security authentication, and mobile coupons.
RELATED NEWS: Neustar’s contract with CTIA to manage the CSC registry will end on December 31, 2015.
An application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Simply put, an API is a set of requirements that govern how one software application can talk to another – allowing information to go back and forth between the systems.
For example: Yelp includes a Google Map in its app to display nearby restaurants. Several websites allow you to log-in using your Facebook or Google account. Using an API makes it possible for applications, such as your CRM system, to share data and take actions in your SMS Gateway without requiring developers to share all of the software’s code.
The API takes this code sharing concept and simply limits the outside program access to a specific set of features – usually it is requests for some specific data. Your API clearly defines how a program will interact with the rest of the software world. It saves time, resources, money, and potential legal issues.
How does it apply to my mobile marketing strategy?
Who cares? You should… because API’s are a simple and cost effective way to make mobile marketing easier for you.
Companies use the SMS API to integrate their marketing, analytics, CRM, and other business software with the SMS Platform for creating more powerful and customized solutions. When marketers integrate 3Seventy’s Platform with a CRM software such as Zoho to create a unified database. They can send SMS campaigns out to contacts from within the CRM program or log into the 3Seventy platform. Either way, the information will sync with the contacts in the CRM system.
Other companies use the SMS API to automate recurring activities and procedures. For example, a text message alert can be triggered (and sent to the contact) by entering new information into your contact management system. When the leasing office in an apartment complex enters into his contact management system that a package has arrived for John Smith, the the message is sent to the phone number association with John Smith letting him know he has a package. This can also be done in response to a subscriber action, such as submitting a registration form for an event or completing an online purchase.
If you’re a new portal user with 3Seventy, the first thing you are likely thinking about is “how do I get contacts opted in?” This is a quick guide to making the decision of how to go about that and the logic behind each choice.
1. Decide how contacts will opt-in to your SMS program.
Will they text a Keyword to a short code?
Is there an external CRM or other contact management system where your contacts are housed?
Do you have an existing list of contacts who already agreed to receive SMS from you?
2. Add Internal Contacts First
For the sake of testing, make sure to add yourself and any other decision makers into the platform. You can either manually add these contacts with the “Add Contact” button under Manage Contacts or Import a contact list. Either way, make sure to create a Contact Attribute first – something to identify those folks as internal (suggest calling it Internal or InternalContact and setting the data to Yes/No).
3. Make Contact Lists
In the 3Seventy Platform / Portal, you setup a contact list by defining how you want your contacts to be filtered (segmented). This means you can create a list (segment) before you even have contacts in your account. Lists are dynamic, so as people opt-in or add a new contact attribute, they will be automatically added to the lists you pre-build.
The base of every contact list will be “Contact Is a Subscriber” (see screenshot)
Add the Contact Attributes that define that list. (Suggest the first list is your “Internal Contacts List”
One of the popular ways for clients to grow a SMS database is with an online form. This adds an extra step to your development work and could possibly slow down the launch of your SMS marketing program. Now you don’t have to build your own contact opt-in form, because 3Seventy has done it for you.
Customized Plugin for Gathering SMS Opt-Ins
We’ve built a simple plugin that allows you to generate a code for a Contact Form on your website.
When you log into your 3Seventy account, you’ll see a new feature in the left navigation called “Contact Optin Plugin”. When you click on that feature it’ll bring you to the screen seen above. This is a 3-Step Process to get it live.
1. Fill in the form with the short code and subscription (which are likely to be pre-set anyway). Then you can either upload your Terms and Conditions or link to the existing Terms on your website*. And click the Submit and Generate Code Button.
*Make sure your T&Cs include details about your SMS marketing program for compliance.
2. The code for your plugin will be generated in the box on the left. Copy it to your clipboard and email it to your website administrator.
3. Your website administrator will add it to your website, and you are LIVE. Ready to go!
As customers visit your website and enter their phone number into the form, they will be added to your SMS marketing database so that you can message them in the future.
Ways to Grow Your SMS Database
Use a keyword on your SMS marketing campaign and promote it in other mediums (print, radio, digital, etc).
Online form (like the contact opt-in form above)
Over the phone with a call center
In-person at an event
No matter how you grow your database, always make sure that you are including mobile compliance best practices.
We Want Your Feedback
This is a brand new feature, and we are all very excited about it. There are always ways for us to improve upon new features, so if you’re using it and want to provide some helpful feedback on ways to make it work better then please email us.
Supports Organization’s New Purpose and Marketer First Approach
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In keeping with the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) new mission and aligning to their commitment to build capabilities for marketers and agencies, today the MMA launched the first-ever comprehensive database of mobile marketing case studies. The announcement comes on the heels of the appointment of Dunkin’ Brands’ John Costello to the post of Chairman of the MMA’s Global Board of Directors.
The MMA Case Study Hub is a comprehensive, fully searchable database representing best in class campaigns that set new benchmarking standards for industry excellence. With 450+ case studies from over 40 countries to review, MMA members will have a window to how mobile is transforming business and driving the innovation of marketing. The Hub delivers a clear view of which industries are leading the way and, perhaps most importantly, serves as an inspiration center for the creative and successful integration of mobile as core to a brand’s marketing mix.
“To harness mobile’s power of getting brands the closest they can get to their consumers, it is critical to provide marketers with the proper tools. With this goal in mind, we worked extremely hard at creating a unique and monumental resource, with both depth and quality, for marketers looking to activate the innovation of marketing through mobile,” said Greg Stuart, CEO of the MMA. “With many brands feeling the pressure of mobile marketing adoption, this resource allows marketers to accelerate their own success by better understanding how their peers are using mobile and what’s working and what isn’t.”
The MMA Case Study Hub has been created through the curation of the MMA’s annual Smarties™ Awards submissions, providing an easily reviewed and consistent case study format. Each case study is curated to provide the strategy, results, execution and creative of each mobile marketing campaign. MMA members will be able to search the entire library by the following criteria:
Smarties™ Award designation
Annual updates to the Hub will make it the most accurate and up-to-date reflection of the entire mobile marketing industry. Being able to track this constant evolution is critical to the value MMA members receive and will drive faster and more successful execution across the entire industry. The Smarties Awards program will continue to drive the addition of hundreds of new case studies from around the globe to the Hub each year. And, a new partnership with the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity will drive additional case studies through their Mobile Category.
The 2014 Smarties Awards program is open for submissions. Organizations interested in being recognized for their own world-class work, which will ultimately become part of this extensive record of mobile marketing campaign case studies, can enter submissions online by the June 30th deadline.
About the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)
The MMA is the world’s leading global non-profit trade mobile marketing association comprised of more than 800 member companies, from nearly 50 countries around the world. Our members hail from every faction of the mobile marketing ecosystem including brand marketers, agencies, mobile technology platforms, media companies, operators and others. The MMA’s mission is to accelerate the transformation and innovation of marketing through mobile, driving business growth with closer and stronger consumer engagement. Anchoring the MMA’s mission are four core pillars: to cultivate inspiration by driving the innovation for the Chief Marketing Officer; to build the mobile marketing capabilities for the marketing organizations through fostering know-how and confidence; to champion the effectiveness and impact of mobile through research providing tangible ROI measurement; and advocacy. Additionally MMA industry-wide committees work collaboratively to develop and advocate global best practices and lead standards development. Mobile Marketing is broadly defined as including advertising, apps, messaging, mCommerce and CRM on all mobile devices including smart phones and tablets. Members include, American Express, AdChina, Colgate-Palmolive, Dunkin’ Brands, Facebook, Google, Group M, Hewlett Packard, Hilton Worldwide, Kellogg Co., L’Oreal, MasterCard, McDonalds, Microsoft, Mondelēz International, Inc., Pandora Media, Procter & Gamble, R/GA, The Coca-Cola Company, The Weather Company, Unilever, Visa, Vodafone, Walmart, xAd, Zenith Optimedia and many more. The MMA’s global headquarters are located in New York with regional operations in Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), Latin American (LATAM) and Asia Pacific (APAC). For information about the MMA please visit www.mmaglobal.com.
TrueDialog is the preferred SMS Texting solution for enterprise businesses and higher education. Send text messages one-to-one or one-to-millions in just a few easy steps. TrueDialog’s cloud-based SMS Texting software and SMS API are ideal for businesses serious about scalability, security and compliance.