Text messaging is the easiest way to communicate especially with mobile phones becoming an everyday necessity in the lives of consumers. According to eMarketer, approximately 75.7% of the U.S. population is using a mobile phone.
SMS marketing is a rising trend for retailers especially during the holiday season. Retailers are looking for ways to drive in-store traffic and texting is becoming the most efficient way to communicate with consumers.
SMS programs usually require a user registering for the service to receive regular messages on sales or special promotions going on at a particular venue. It is one of the fastest growing marketing tactics because of the low cost of implementation and a high return on investment. However, marketers should use SMS in a way that won’t seem like spam. Here are few tips to keep in mind when implementing SMS campaigns.
1. Promote your campaign
You can have an amazing SMS campaign but if you do not have a simple call-to-action, people will not sign up for the service. New York & Co. rolled out their SMS program in 2009 and currently has over 180,000 consumers registered for the program. They are offering different call-to-actions across a number of channels such as emails and social media to promote their SMS campaign. Add a call-to-action on digital and print newsletters, within Facebook and Twitter, and in-stores to broaden the way people learn about the program.
2. Make it easy to register
Avoid asking customers to go to a website to register for the service. Not all mobile phones are smartphones, and when people have to use the Internet to sign-up, they will most likely turn the other way. Department store Loehmann’s added an SMS program to their loyalty program. Users can opt-in to their program using simple keywords and a short code. Loehmann’s is also offering 10% off a purchase for registering. So to boost registration for your campaign, consider adding an incentive for people to sign-up
3. Limit the number of messages
The last thing consumers want are people spamming their phones with texts. It is probably not the best idea to send a text every other day during the hours most people are at work as this will likely increase opt-out rates. The highest redemption rates are the messages that are sent less frequently; people are more likely to take advantage of an offer they know only comes a few times every couple of months. Kiehl’s SMS program does this well as they send a maximum of three messages per month to their customers.
4. Use location services to your advantage
Gap Inc. is offering personalized real-time discounts based on your location. The company has partnered with Visa on the program to help the retail chain send tailored discounts and promotions to customers. It can be beneficial to learn consumer shopping patterns and behaviors to offer them discounts on products and services they would actually enjoy and consider purchasing. Sending deals for a specific area or store based on the location of your customer could increase the chances of a transaction.
5. Reward your customers with unique discounts
Don’t you like the feeling when you go into your favorite restaurant and your waiter already knows your order and gives you a free item off the menu just for your loyalty? It’s nice being recognized as frequent customer and receiving perks because of it. Reward the consumers that opt-in to your SMS program with offers that are different from those you offer everyone else. It is important to give people an incentive to stay in a program, and unique discounts, which are only offered through a mobile program, can be a key feature to bump up usership.
SMS marketing can be a very powerful tool when you want to raise brand awareness and increase in-store traffic. Remember to promote your campaign so as many people as possible are aware of the program, and offer ways, both online and offline, to register for the program that is simple and requires few steps as possible. Be mindful of the number of messages sent per month, but it may be beneficial to send messages if the user is near a store. Lastly, reward your customers. People love being acknowledged for their loyalty and there is nothing better than a giving a unique reward for their continuous support.
Ivy Chang, 11.17.11