4 Smart Ways to Combine Texting With Other Marketing Efforts

It’s not hard to talk glowingly about texting since it has become one of the most acceptable ways of interaction these days.

Whether it’s sending a text to someone else or a group of people, texting takes little time and few words to create and send, and it’s likely to be viewed quickly, almost instantly by most recipients.

Texting has definite advantages over email, especially how people are more likely to check their texts as soon as they arrive, since everyone keeps their phones handy. And it has even more advantages over voice mail: who uses their smartphones for talking anymore anyway?

It’s also becoming a favorite tool for marketers, since it can be downright simple to compose one text and send it to all or certain of your customers nearly instantly, compared to several batches for mass emailing. People are also likely to act on an offer contained in a text quickly, such as a special deal or link.

Texting services also can help companies keep track of replies and collate all responses, instead of you and your team having to answer all of them all one by one.

But as effective as texting can be, it shouldn’t be your sole outreach tool for marketing campaigns. Not everyone wants or likes  texting, and some wireless packages even allow users to block all texts.

A more effective marketing effort should include texting plus other services. This can help connect with a larger audience and potentially more customers.

The proper balance of text to non-text outreach will have to be determined by you based on feedback on your promotions, but you can enjoy experimenting.

Try these strategies to blend texting with other traditional methods:

·  Email. Though it may take hours, even days, for people to read an email, email can still be an effective way to share information. You can have unlimited space, rather than the limited number of characters allowed per text. You also can include a variety of graphics especially with automated mail templates for ad campaigns. People are also more willing to join an email list rather than sign up for texting. It’s much less invasive and intrusive than texting and most users are more familiar with emails, simply because email has been around longer. With the extra space, you have more opportunity to “sell” people on the merits of your product or service, rather than pushing them to make a quick decision with a “click here for a super deal” message.

·  Social media. Though some mass text programs allow you to automatically put your name or the recipient’s name in a text, this personalization isn’t the same as a full conversation. With social media sites you have more opportunity to get dialogue going and showing off what you’re doing, such as fun photos. You also can offer regular links to your blog or site in your posts. It’s all absolutely free, unless you’re paying to boost or sponsor posts.

·  Other methods. Direct mail and traditional mass media advertising can be useful for reaching larger general groups of potential customers. You also don’t need specific consent or opt-ins from your recipients either, which are legally required for texting.

·  A global approach. Integrating all of these methods can be a smart way to reach a much larger audience than text alone, especially if you plan your message over several weeks or even months. You can use the concept of a ‘drip campaign’ to make sure your recipients receive your message in at least one form, preferably more. The idea is to plan a sequence of communications to reach people, with different messages but the same call to action.

For instance, a general campaign can start with mass advertisements, and the response from this can help narrow the size of your audiences for future contacts and also get them familiar with what you’re offering. By the time people start to receive your texts they hopefully have seen your message in other forms, so the texts can seem like a personal invitation to make a purchase or visit your site.

Overall, while texting is a valuable outreach tool, other platforms used in conjunction can help provide a larger reach and improve the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

 

Joe Butler writes about personal finances and the modern retail experience. He loves the idea of mobile coupons, since he frequently forgets the paper ones at home.
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How SMS Remains Relevant in Spite of Emerging Tech

In 1992, the first Short Message Service (SMS) simply read “Merry Christmas”. More than 20 years later, texting via SMS has lost none of its purpose, despite the rise of multimedia messaging service (MMS), the smartphone in 2010, subsequent over the top (OTT) messaging apps and of course, social media solutions such as Facebook. Whether for personal or business use, SMS usage has continued unabated, which is impressive for such ‘outdated technology’ that was originally designed for Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks. As 5G approaches, SMS remains.

When technology moves so fast, how has SMS remained so popular? How can companies capitalise on it to improve internal processes, customer services and other activities?

Trivial Update or Important?

Today, if dining in a local restaurant, we’re treated to a variety of repetitive whistles, chirps and other alerts from smartphones in the vicinity, most of which are ignored by their owners. The reason for this is simple; these alerts typically originate from messaging apps, which cost the sender nothing and as a result rarely require an instant response. An SMS alert is quite different and, while costs vary according to monthly subscription tariffs, there’s a cost involved. The result? Most will quickly read the message and send a response if necessary. In fact, marketing professionals are well aware of this fact, that SMS has the highest engagement rate of all messaging options, with 90 per cent of all SMS messages read within three minutes.

You’re probably wondering, why SMS? Why not call the person directly? Of course, that’s an option but if a group of people are involved, or you’re simply sending a short greeting or confirmation that you’ll arrive soon, isn’t SMS more convenient?

SMS vs. OTP Apps

When compared with Skype, Facebook or other messaging solutions, SMS has several other advantages. SMS bundles are typically included as part of a service plan and are directly linked to your mobile phone. In other words, if you use a mobile, you have SMS functionality without having to subscribe or join another service. You don’t have to invite contacts or accept invitations to communicate.

Not everyone has a smartphone so use of SMS ensures that your contact will receive your message regardless of phone type. The same isn’t true of OTP apps, which relies on high-speed internet to work. If you lose your 3G signal, voice and indeed SMS are still possible.

In fact, in an emergency situation such as a blackout, or during times where mobile traffic is very high (New Year’s Eve, for example), an SMS is typically the best solution as it’s queued in the short message service centre (SMSC) and will be delivered as soon as the bandwidth is available. An SMS text, being limited to 160 characters, takes much less bandwidth than a voice call so is more likely to be processed quicker. Compare that with the frustration of repeatedly dialing and receiving no response.

P2P and A2P

SMS is broken into two distinct types, namely person to person (P2P) and application to person (A2P). P2P is self-explanatory and can include voting  for reality TV shows and entering competitions but A2P is primarily used in the business world and is a growing market, having been adopted by many industry areas and repurposed to aid several business processes including but not limited to:

  1. Customer Security – A2P is used by companies as part of a two-step or two-factor authentication (2FA) process when accessing services that are considered a viable target for hackers. The process typically involved a standard login to a service. Then, as the second step, a passcode is sent to the user’s phone by SMS. The user then enters the passcode and is able to access the service. Banks, other financial service providers and organisations such as Google, Facebook and Hootsuite also protect their customer accounts by combining geolocation detection with SMS transmission, alerting users that their account has been accessed from a suspicious location.
  2. IT and risk management – IT teams may not work 24 hours a day but your business network may well rely on services that require 100 per cent uptime, such as support ticket management or e-commerce solutions. Devices that incorporate a mobile SIM card can alert you when internet connectivity has failed and reduce required response times considerably.
  3. Marketing – Due the high engagement rate mentioned previously, digital marketers with a ‘mobile first’ strategy will include SMS as a vital part of their communication with customers.
  4. Emergency alerts – Emergency services are considering the addition of SMS and in hospitals, paging systems based on SMS technology are commonly employed. The reason is of course based on redundancy, when all else fails, SMS is an excellent and affordable solution.

In conclusion, advancing technology has made smartphones and global collaboration over broadband a reality but despite all this progress, SMS still has a viable role to play in connecting them. While email, OTP apps, VoIP are all useful, they rely on the internet. Without it, SMS and standard voice communication are the only options and are extremely unlikely to become obsolete in the foreseeable future.

 

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Michael O’Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based business and technology journalist, independent consultant and writer whose stories have appeared on Forbes.com, The Street, IBM’s Midsize Insider, HP’S Pulse of IT, Dell’s Tech Page One and other IT portals, typically covering areas where business and technology intersect. He writes for both US and UK audiences and acts as a technology and open source advocate in his personal and professional activities. Twitter: @MJODWYERHK