If you’re a business owner, you probably can remember a time before most adults and children owned a smartphone – a time before they were literally walking into traffic while they texted on their phones. If you’re a baby boomer, most likely you remember when the internet was in its infancy and no one believed it would take over the world. This was a time when there was no Facebook, and when snail mail was the main form of marketing.
What Happened to Change All of That?
An evolution occurred as technology, social media and mobile devices became mainstream. Critical mass ushered in a time when it was no longer okay not to participate. For those who held on to old, outdated ways, there were serious consequences for prospering in a competitive marketing space. Most businesses today have a mobile friendly website, a Facebook business page, and do some online and offline advertising at the very least. But the overwhelming majority are missing out on the hottest trend – an opportunity to reach their dominant mobile market on the go with a profitable bulk SMS service.
The Path to Success with a Bulk SMS Service
Jumping into a new marketing platform without the right tools and knowledge is a sure way of getting disappointing results. There is no doubt that a bulk SMS service can offer tremendous advantages for revenues, branding, customer retention and customer acquisition. But the key to success is the implementation of a solid plan using tools, techniques, and strategies for effectively reaching and converting your mobile market – people who spend almost every waking minute on their phone and prefer to communicate through text messaging.
Essential Parts of Your Plan
- Define your goals.
- Define your target markets.
- Identify current sales and marketing strategies that work well for you.
- Differentiate yourself from competitors.
- Offer products and services of value that customers want and need.
- Give excellent customer service and guarantees.
- Give valuable incentives for taking immediate action.
- Reward loyal customers.
Your SMS Marketing Plan
For each of your target markets, prepare a spreadsheet for your SMS marketing plan. Include list building strategies, short-term promotions and/or contests, special discount offers, and Info about events, consultations, and newsworthy content that will help to build your brand and reputation.
Consider adding to your spreadsheet, specific offers for each holiday and/or specifying a daily, weekly, or monthly special. Restaurants can achieve great results with daily specials that are automatically sent to local customers just prior to mealtime. Accountants can benefit from tax-planning consultation promotions sent toward the end of the year. For virtually every industry, the application of attractive sales and marketing offers is only limited by your imagination.
SMS Marketing List Building Strategies
There is little doubt that your success as a marketer depends on having a substantial list. And whether you are in retail, a professional, or on the board of a non-profit organization, marketing and list building are essential. Where building a massive email list was once considered to be of primary importance, the shift to texting is making email far less effective. Just as email marketing requires permission-based lists, this is also true for SMS list-building.
While sending SMS to a general list can be productive, sending to more specific lists based on customer loyalty or buying behavior can produce even better results. Marketing to specific lists gives you an opportunity to target your messages, offers, and coupons to people who will be much more receptive and likely to take action.
When using a bulk SMS marketing service, it is important to choose one that supports multiple lists and methods to easily build those lists through import functions and opt-in methods. Software that allows you to create opt-in forms with automated incentives that you can easily manage will greatly enhance your ability to build permission-based lists.
Why SMS Permission-Based Lists Matter
Sending text messages to customers and prospects without their permission is not advisable for several reasons. Even your customers greatly appreciate the ability to give consent before receiving text from your company. Some customers have unlimited plans for text but others have to pay for each message they receive. Customers and others who have given consent, are much more receptive to receiving your offers and other information via SMS text messaging. Another major reason to only send permission-based text is that it is required by law. Cellular providers will block users who send messages that violate their filters for deliverability and perceived spam. This can also cause your SMS account to be suspended or terminated.
Building SMS Lists Using Offline Methods
Building your SMS lists through offline methods can be as simple as asking customers at time of purchase to agree to receiving text messages from your company. With their consent, add their mobile phone number to a csv file that can be imported into your SMS software. If you are at an event, have attendees sign up in an opt-in form that you make available on your tablet or laptop. If WiFi is unavailable, use a paper document where subscribers can enter their name, email, and mobile phone. Then add them later to your csv file and import into the appropriate lists. It is strongly recommended that you label the document (form or paper) as an opt-in to receive info by text message from your company. Then save a digital record of paper entries as proof of permission should it be required.
Planning and List Building to Profit Most from a Bulk SMS Service
Careful planning and implementation of effective strategies to send content by SMS to permission-based lists are the best way to profit from a bulk SMS service. Begin with an audit of your company’s mission, purpose, target markets, brand, and goals. This will help you to develop a strategic plan including methods to build permission-based lists and content to send to those lists. A detailed plan when followed, will allow you to target your digital ads and information an analyze your results. An analysis of each campaign will help you to determine what is working best and where adjustments might improve results. With proper implementation, evaluation and modifications as needed, you will be able to effectively reach your market via bulk SMS marketing. generate more business, and cultivate customer loyalty – all at the highest return on your investment.