What’s an API?
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.
From the National Restaurant Association:
SMS marketing – a short-form version of text messaging – is a powerful marketing tool. But even with open rates approaching 100 percent, and offer-redemption rates of 10 percent to 30 percent, the content of your messages is ultimately what drives customers to come back to your restaurant.
Here are some guidelines to improve SMS Marketing in Restaurants:
1. Watch message frequency and mix. Sending one to two messages a month is the most effective way to stay fresh in your customers’ minds. Boost your effectiveness by alternating incentive blasts (i.e., offers redeemable for discounts) with notification blasts. Incentive blasts bring your guests back into the restaurant. Notification blasts help you build your relationship with guests.Some of the most effective notification blasts:
- Live music schedules for upcoming weekend
- Reminder of upcoming events
- Holiday greetings
- Interesting content on your website or social media
2. Spice up the verbiage. Make the text blast engaging and fun to read. This keeps customers excited about receiving offers from you. Stay consistently creative with the wording and you’ll capture their attention and increase open rates and redemptions.
3. Keep messages succinct. Keep text blasts simple and fun to get your point across. SMS marketing limits you to 160 characters (including compliance language). Use as many as you can, and avoid allowing your ideas to flow into a second message. Succinct messages improve the chances your customers will read and respond.
4. Mix up your offers. You can be spontaneous with the offers you send or cycle through a list of incentives that work well for your restaurant. Having several offers ready to go is handy and can make planning ahead easier. One advantage of SMS marketing is the speed with which offers can be changed and delivered. You can use these messages to get rid of excess food supplies or make room for an upcoming food order, for example. If your food provider runs a special on an item, focus your next blast on that item to take full advantage of the special pricing.
5. Keep incentives exclusive to mobile VIP members. When a customer opts in to your Mobile VIP Club, it’s because they like your restaurant and want to receive future offers. These are your most loyal customers. Providing them with exclusive offers will show them that you are grateful. These loyal customers can also help drive more people to your database by generating word-of-mouth buzz about your restaurant.
6. Incorporate Facebook and your website into the SMS Marketing Campaigns. Pushing customers to your social media pages and website helps you build ongoing relationships and grow your social-media footprint. This will help you reach the maximum number of customers with your promotions and offers, greatly increasing your ROI.
7. Incorporate website links in a SMS Campaign. If you have too much information to fit into a text’s 160-character limit, then link to a website with details. Integrating links not only helps you bring customers to your restaurant in the short run, but helps you track where customers are coming from (if you use tracking links such as bit.ly).
This article was originally posted on Restaurant.org
SMS vs MMS
Over the years we’ve seen a decline in email effectiveness and open rates, leaving many marketers wondering how best to keep in touch with their audiences, especially with email clients like Gmail implementing automated sorting that makes it tougher for users to see emails, let alone open them. Mobile marketing has proven to increase exposure while also giving the end user more of a say in how they consume product information.
There are two types to choose from, Short Message Service (SMS) or Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Both can increase your ROI exponentially and both have their own advantages, but it’s important to know the difference between the two.
SMS, Text Messages
SMS/Text is a plain text that is sent either peer-to-peer from mobile phones or sent from a mobile messaging service provider.
o High Volumes 1000s MPS
o 99.99% delivered in under 15 seconds
o 99.99% uptime
o Deliver over 3 billion messages per year
o Reach 99% of United States subscribers
o Coverage across smallest United States carriers
o A standard SMS text message can fit up to 160 characters
o Any SMS message that requires the recipient to click links requires data usage by end users.
o Plain text messages are easy to look past and forget about.
There are many types of SMS campaigns that you can implement in order to interact directly with your audience such as account notifications, “text-for-info”, “text-to-win” or even coupon campaigns.
MMS, Multi-Media Messages
MMS messages are sent peer-to-peer from mobile phones, a mobile messaging service provider or even from a website to a mobile phone. They’re a great way to make a text memorable by adding a picture, animated .GIF, video clip or audio clip.
o Better branding opportunities
o Higher customer engagement with a 15% average click-through-rate (CTR)
o MMS increases campaign opt-ins by 20% over SMS
o Subscribers are 8 times more likely to share MMS content to social networks
o Best video and image quality
o Largest and most maintained handset database
o High MMS throughput
o Real-time content transcoding
o Device detection
o 98% of devices support MMS coverage with all United States Tier 1 and Tier 2 carrier
o You can fit thousands of characters in a single MMS message.
With MMS messaging, you can create campaigns, similar to those of SMS, such as a text-to-win campaign, but make them visually compelling. Since the content is delivered within the message itself, an MMS message that includes multimedia does not require extra data usage by the end users and there’s no need to worry about end users getting extra costs for MMS since carriers do not differentiate them from SMS.
Given the amount of people that own mobile devices and the fact that consumers are more inclined to open a text message than an email, mobile messaging is a great fit for a brand’s marketing strategy. Each type of message will benefit your brand, but depending on the campaign one might be more effective than the other. Either way, you are creating a direct line between you and your customer and connecting at an unmatched scale that is more reliable. Both SMS and MMS marketing will increase your ROI, brand awareness and grow your customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Originally posted by Outspoken
Mobile Marketing has Infiltrated Television Shows and Commercials
I must admit that one of my guilty pleasures is the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars. They recently announced that women 18-34 are the core audience, so at least I am not alone in my appreciation for teenage murder mystery drama. During the second season of the show I noticed the pop-up ads to join their mobile club. You know I signed up for that in the blink of an eye – a chick who works in mobile and loves drama wants the MMS teasers. Now I get video clips, photos of the characters, special insider information, and text messages from the mysterious character A.
It’s the Interactivity of Mobile Marketing
Walking Dead, which is a less guilty pleasure because everyone in the office loves the show, has also hopped on the mobile marketing band wagon. AMC learned that the audience watching Walking Dead is a tech-savvy group, so they reacted by creating a dual screen experience. Last fall they launched a program called Story Sync. Unfortunately, it is a traditional website rather than a mobile website and the AMC mobile application has very poor ratings because the user experience is not so great. However, the tablet experience is awesome and fun to interact with. You can play trivia, respond to polls, watch video clips and read additional show information.
I read that 86% of consumers are already using their mobile devices while watching television – usually during the commercial break. People want to talk about the show they are watching by text messaging friends and sharing on social media. We are a distracted and multi-tasking audience, so you might as well use that second screen to focus our attention on the show.