How To Create a SMS Coupon Campaign in the 3Seventy Platform
Creating a SMS coupon campaign is pretty straight-forward inside of the platform. It is just like a basic SMS campaign, but with the additional step of your coupon code setup. The setup defined here assumes that you are not integrating SMS into your point-of-sale system (POS), and that you’ve chosen to use 3Seventy’s coding system or that you’ve uploaded your own codes.
STEP 1 – SETUP THE BASIC INFORMATION
Along the left navigation, choose “Manage Campaigns” from the Campaigns menu.
Once the screen refreshes, you’ll see the “Create Campaign” button along the right side of the screen. Click on Coupon from the dropdown menu
The campaign wizard begins. Fill in the basic details of your campaign:
Name of the Campaign. Make it something specific, memorable, and clear
Subscription should default to the one you use across your account.
Coupon Type: Choose from Static, Dynamic or External
Language should default to English, but if it does not you can click inside of the box to choose it.
Static: This delivers the same coupon code to everyone your SMS message goes out to
Dynamic: Our system creates a unique code per phone number/contact (10-11 digit Alpha-Numeric Codes)
External: You can upload your own list of coupon codes
STEP 2 – PERSONALIZING YOUR SMS COUPON
The next step in the campaign wizard provides you an opportunity to personalize how your SMS coupon will work and look. If you choose a Dynamic Code, then you will see…
Add a prefix to your coupon code. This is an optional step that allows you to add a static-fixed code to the beginning of your coupon code. It works on all coupon code types.
Max Uses asks you to set a limitation on the number of times a contact can use a code. If you leave it set to zero, then it will be an unlimited number of uses for dynamic codes.
If you choose a Static Code, then you will see…
Static Code: This is where you type in the SMS coupon code that you would like to use. Since it is a static code and you are most likely using it to reach a broad audience, make it easy for the customer to remember.
Max Uses asks you to set a limitation on the number of times a contact can use a code. Make sure that this is set to at least 1 when you are using static codes.
The Advanced Settings are primarily for those integrating their POS into 3Seventy’s SMS platform. However, you can make use of the data validation tool. You may either set it to Static dates or Rolling dates. Either way, the dates will be inserted into your SMS coupon message.
Static Date Validation sets up a specific date range when your coupon is valid (i.e. 10/1/15 – 10/31/15)
Rolling Date Validation allows you to have your coupon be valid based upon the day that the contact texted in or that you pushed out the message to him/her. For example, if you want to offer all new SMS VIP Club members a discount then you might use this option. As someone texts-in to join your SMS club, he will receive a coupon that is valid for use beginning tomorrow and good for 7 days (Offset = 1 and Valid days = 7).
STEP 3 – ADD A MESSAGE TO YOUR SMS COUPON
The last step is very important. You see some dynamic placeholders inserted into your message before you even begin writing. Those placeholders are part of the setup you did in the first two-steps.
Write your message. Make it easy to understand, stay within character count, and include a link to your website for offer details.
Do not touch the placeholders for the coupon code or valid dates. If you do, then the code and dates will not appear in your message.
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”
Whether in a restaurant, mall, hospital, or a conference, when someone texts in with a keyword your message better be clear and useful. You can activate an SMS campaign with a keyword in the 3Seventy platform in just 2 steps.
Setup a Keyword
Go to Campaigns > Manage Keywords. On the right side is a button that reads Reserve New Keyword.
When you click on it, a pop-out window will ask you what name you want to use.
Make it a short word with no spaces (characters and numbers only)
It should be easy to remember and spell
The keyword should be related to your campaign or company
Attach a Keyword to a Campaign
Go to Campaigns > Manage Campaigns. In the Actions column, click on the icon that looks like a key next to the campaign you want to activate.
Click inside the keyword box to choose your keyword, then submit.
Your campaign is now activated and you can text the keyword to your shortcode to test it out.
Why are keywords useful?
1. Use keywords on marketing materials to grow your database quickly. Think about in-store signage, business cards, digital ads, and other places where your keyword can be placed to promote your SMS campaigns. Imagine adding the phrase “Text CUPCAKE to 33898” on a poster. That’s all it would take.
2. Think about using multiple SMS keywords on the same campaign for source tracking. If you want to compare a print campaign to a digital campaign, then use 2 different keywords and see which one led to more SMS sign-ups.
3. The imagery that you can create with SMS keywords is useful and fun to test out. Using a word that evokes an emotion or reaction in your audience.
4. Your SMS keyword is unique to you and your business. Only one account can use a keyword on each phone number (short code or long code). This word is part of your branding, so you can treat it as such.
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.
When you sign up for an account with 3Seventy, you are getting more than an SMS Gateway. You are getting a fully featured messaging platform where you can build a contact database for SMS (text messaging), MMS (image messaging) and Email. And your contact database contains more detail than just a list of phone number or email addresses. Contact attributes are the contact details for each of your customers.
How can you use Contact Attributes?
If you’re starting with a clean slate, then you are most likely to gather details about your contacts by using a Dialog Campaign. A SMS dialog campaign on the 3Seventy platform allows you to create a multi-threaded message where you can deliver the follow-up message to a customer based upon a response. You can text in to see a sample text tree.
Here’s an example of what your message tree might look like (think of “if” “then” kind of flow)
Customer texts the keyword SOCIAL to a shortcode, and receives a text message back with a question with multiple choice options (a.Facebook b.Twitter c.Google+ d.LinkedIn e.All). After the customer replies with “b” to the question, and follow-up question is delivered. This question/response flow continues as long as you like. All of the questions are pre-setup and triggered by the answers.
The answers to each question are your Contact Attributes. If your question is “What is your favorite food on the menu?” and the possible responses are “Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner”, then your contact attribute is Favorite Food and the possible values of that attribute are Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. This means that a contact who replies “breakfast” to the text message will have the contact attribute value of “breakfast” in his profile.
Why are Contact Attributes Great?
Contact attributes are a highly powerful tool in your marketing toolbox when you’re using 3Seventy’s platform. When you create a contact list for sending targeted messages, you will choose specific contact attributes and values to segment it. Marketers: this is the tool you wish you had in email, so get excited.
Before we can compare dedicated short codes to shared short codes we must first learn what a SMS short code is and how it works.
What is a SMS Short Code?
In brief, a short code is a 5 or 6 digit number, like a short telephone number, used by businesses for text message purposes. A business may purchase their own short code or share a short code with other businesses. If a business purchases their own short code it is considered a dedicated short code, in that it is dedicated solely for the purpose of that business to be able to text message their contacts. If that company wishes they may allow other businesses to use the same code. Sharing a short code is usually done in order to reduce the costs associated with owning a dedicated short code, as it can be very expensive (as you will learn later in this article).
How SMS Short Codes Work
Dedicated short codes have a number of “KEYWORDS” associated with that particular number. When sharing a short code the keyword is what would differentiate one user/business from another. For example:
Joe’s Pizza and Sam’s Spa share the short code 54321
Joe’s keyword was “pizza”
Sam’s keyword was “spa”
Both Sam and Joe send text messages to their customers cell phones
All customers get a text message from the short code 54321
When customers reply they must type the keyword a space and then their message.
The customer message is then sent to the appropriate business based on whether they replied “pizza” or “spa”
“pizza” responses are delivered to Joe, and “spa” messages are delivered to Sam.
If a company decides to keep the dedicated short code to themselves they may use all the keywords for themselves. Now we have an overview of short codes and how they work let’s take compare shared short codes and dedicated short codes.
Shared Short Codes
As mentioned above, a shared short code is typically owned by one business and that business allows other businesses to use the same short code to send bulk text messages their customers. Most often the short code is owned by a text message marketing provider. The provider will then form text message packages that offers their customers the ability to use their short code, have their own keyword, and an allotted amount of text messages a month for a specified fee. A typical text message package may include a keyword and specific number of messages a month for a set price. Because dedicated short codes are difficult to obtain and very expensive to get and maintain, a mobile marketing provider would need to be able to sell these packages to a number of people before their expenses would be covered.
Shared short codes are an excellent way for any size of business to save money on group text messages. Text message providers usually have a variety of text messaging packages to accommodate the needs of a variety of business needs. By using this type of service, a business can send an instant text message to a single contact and all the way up to millions of contacts. Sharing a SMS short code is the most cost effective way to send group text messages.
Dedicated Short Codes
It would be great if every business could afford their own dedicated short code, and maybe someday it will be like cell phone numbers and every business will have them. But for now unless you have an extreme marketing budget the chances of being able to afford your own dedicated short code is probably not in your near future. The process of getting your own dedicated short code is also very time consuming, do not think it’s like picking a telephone number. It will take a minimum of months before you are able to meet all the requirements and obtain all of the approvals necessary to start using your new short code. However, that time period will allow you to get everything (including your own platform) ready so when you get approval you may start sending messages. Generally speaking most businesses are not in a financial position to afford their own dedicated short code, they don’t have the technological skills to build a platform, and cannot take the time work out all the details.
If a large business is set on having their own dedicated short code, has the money but not the time or technical skills they may opt to have a third party provider assist them. However, it is still going to be costly and take some time. Here are just a few things you can expect when trying to obtain your own SMS short code through a third party:
A random short code costs about $500.00 a month
A vanity short code is about $1,000.00 a month
A one-time set up fee of about $3,000.00
About $500.00 a month for platform use
A minimum of about $2,000 a month, in per message costs
A minimum 6 month commitment
Any charges from cell phone companies billed to the short code (these are fairly rare and not too expensive, but they do happen)
Many may also charge a deposit of about $2,000.00
Keep in mind that whether you choose to get your own dedicated short code or have a third party provider do it for you, it is going to take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to get the provisioning of a new short code approved.
As you can see, there are a number of huge differences when comparing using a dedicated vs. shared short code. Shared short codes are the most common, most cost effective, and by far the easiest to obtain. When considering whether to choose a shared or dedicated short code do your research and make sure you are aware of all the pros and cons, chances are the comparisons will have you researching SMS shared short code providers.
The most unique thing 3Seventy’s platform has to offer is seamless two-way text messaging. A company can create multi-threaded conversations using automated or open-ended responses without those users ever leaving their text inbox. Imagine a poll or survey style of SMS message, but without the need for new keywords to trigger the next message. The system treats it as one larger campaign constructed with multiple messages.
A SMS Dialog Campaign can be quickly setup in the platform or through the RESTful SMS API using calls to the system. Below is a screenshot of a sample dialog campaign setup inside of 3Seventy’s platform.
NOTE: When you ask a question in a SMS Dialog campaign, you are required to associate a Contact Attribute with that question. For example, if the question is “How often do you visit our store” then your Contact Attribute name may be “StoreFrequency”, and the value of that attribute is the answer choice from the end-user. This is what makes the SMS Dialog such a powerful tool. When a user replies to your question, their response is attached to their contact record.
In the image below, you get a glance at some of the contact attributes being used and the values, as seen in the “Edit Contact” section of the 3Seventy Platform.
How does it work for marketing?
Drive additional sales through multi-threaded conversations, known as SMS Dialog. How? Targeted messaging. You can create a Loyalty or Rewards club with another system, as many companies do, and connect to the 3Seventy platform through the SMS API. With that connection setup, you have the ability to push out a survey to loyalty club members to learn more about what they want / need / expect from your company. The new Contact Attribute will be recorded in your contact database on the 3Seventy Platform, as well as your loyalty software platform (if you choose to set it up that way).
Take it a step further by using dynamic personalization of in your SMS messages. You not only know your customer’s first and last name now, but you know that her favorite coffee is the holiday seasonal flavor of peppermint. Increase your response rates and sales by sending your SMS messages to a targeted list and using dynamic content. A message might read, “Hey [name]! Did you hear that we’re offering the [drink type] for $1 off today. Come on by and show the cashier this message.”
There are hundreds of ways to leverage SMS Dialog campaigns to drive sales, increase loyalty, and grow your brand recognition. You can get as creative as you like.
How does SMS Dialog work for operations?
Integrating a SMS dialog solution into other systems helps to create a robust communications tool. It makes data actionable and reduces costs. The system can send immediate triggered SMS messages for anything including technical updates, scheduling, internal communications, or anything else that is dependent upon information sources.
Like the marketing examples, there are hundreds of ways that a company could use SMS Dialog campaigns to streamline communications internally (or externally). Check out some of 3Seventy’s SMS Use Cases.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, TrueDialog is the preferred SMS solution for enterprise businesses and higher education. TrueDialog's cloud-based software and API make it simple to send mass text messages, communicate with employees, alert students and parents, and provide multi-user, team-based customer support at scale.