Before I get into this article, let me be perfectly clear on a couple items:
1) There are no concrete rules about mobile marketing, except DON'T SPAM!
2) The intent of this article is too guide you (my readers) toward improved effectiveness and real net results based on tried and proven methods, not theory to generate whitepaper downloads or sell some book.
3) I largely write to a specific audience that consists of the mobile marketer, the SMB to Enterprise, not an enthusiast. The audience I write to understands that EVERYONE in their company is a marketer. Please recognize that this post focuses on those using text messaging (specifically long code) as a form of marketing.
Literally thousands of times per day, text messages are received by people that are marketing related. typically these texts are nothing more than glorified ads at 160 characters. The unfortunate truth is a large percentage of the time people are unable to find a true reason to connect with that particular brand, its missing a great call to action! I don't mean the content of the message is missing, but the actionable reason I should respond to it. Nothing is original when we receive the message and that makes your content the same as everyone else.
Let me say something very clear; If you largely send out content that looks like someone else's (an ad for shoes and an ad for pizza are still the same thing...AN AD) then you are deploying a tactic like everyone else and nothing original of your own.
A few things I suggest:
1) Carefully select what you are sending in a text message.
Ensure there is a reason for the audience to engage to further your content strategy.
2) Make ads or coupons around 10-20% of the max texts you send your audience.
If you are going to be effective with mobile marketing and text messaging, you need to have a strategy and that strategy needs to be yours. Limit the ads, coupons, and discounts you text and ramp up the interaction you want to build the relationships. Have conversations on topics regarding your brand that drive your audience.
3) You must have a content strategy.
If you don't know what mobile marketing strategy is when using text messaging, are struggling with it or need to make changes to your existing strategy, here is a simple Info graphic that may help. Coupled with a mobile content strategy, you should have an effective way to aggregate and manage the content you manage, schedule and eventually text. You should also have a way to respond to those who have engaged with you.
I have witnessed personally receiving messages from brands large and small that were nothing but ads and discounts. I have also assisted clients who came in like everyone else wanting to use text messaging to market just like big brand XYZ does. Initially I offer a little insight but allow these clients to do deliver the content as they expressed, but always look to stay in touch and see how things are going. inevitably I hear how the results are not that great and frustration mounts. I then ask how they know wether people are looking at the messages and how they are responding and find out that there is no call to action leading the audience to respond. This is followed by examples of content where the client is essentially asking the audience for a response. A conversation is created but more importantly because there is now a response our clients have data to know how the relationship is going with the audience.
The right content is very important and where you spend your time in the conversation generated is important as well. Many of the large brands who do ads & coupons via text message are not as successful at it as you think. In fact, my experience tells me that many of those brands that blast out these discounts have an audience that has grown numb to receiving the messages and often dismiss them without actually reading or reacting to what is provided. That is a waste of money, time and resources that a big brand can afford but for everyone else, I think not. Hence the importance of the content and your strategy.
Don't misunderstand, I love receiving coupons and discounts as much as the next guy, but if I receive a coupon for cheese sticks from XYZ pizza and I think they taste nasty in the first place then I am not going to order the product or use the coupon and eventually i will stop paying attention at all to the messages I receive from them because they do not care. That is deadly for any business.
The moral of the article today is that you must have your own content strategy that includes engaging your audience with content whose intended purpose is to build a relationship. Content you create to have a conversation will open up new avenues of revenue. These things work together to deliver value to your community and establish credibility in your space as a brand that cares and listens. Doing so will result in increased, meaningful conversations, deeper and improved relationships and ultimately a return on investment for your marketing efforts that sustain you through the tough times as well as the good.
Brands and Marketers need to have a grasp on a user’s total mobile experience to create compelling want for mobile interaction in the future. The digital world is wondrous and growing but without an ability to enjoy an equal experience on multiple platforms then the consumer is left still searching.
Brands and marketers need to be eyeing the omnichannel approach more than a mobile-only or multichannel experience. They need to understand in todays global economy that if needs are not met equally in one spot then consumers will continue wanting more. SMS using long code augmented with a web/app experience provides the trifecta of solutions.
Engagement Through Context
Mobile must be contextual, simple and immediate.
We define context as the total sum of a consumer’s mobile experiences. This includes looking at the situational, attitudinal and preferential habits of mobile users. Smart devices (phones, tablets, etc…) still only make up 45% of the total mobile devices today which leaves 65% unaccounted for if you don't offer the same experience to everyone easily.
When only using mobile apps or web for the experience, you limit your ability to engage everyone else. When the experience is not the same for the majority they will go elsewhere and the minority may follow leading your brand to lose everyone.
The total sum experience needs to include everyone wether they have a smart phone or feature phone. To tap into this, marketers need to realize that a customer’s contextual experience is directly linked to the state of a device.
Therefore, a contextual experience should use SMS, voice and web/app experience in the same manner no matter the choice of mobile devices.
Comprehensive mobile strategy
Brands and especially marketers need to also understand SMS using long code can provide the real connection between mobile interaction with consumers and big data, analytics and even complex event processing.
Now its the true killer combination - like chocolate and peanut butter!
We don't often associate the awesome combination of customer experience and the knowledge of how it is working and that needs to change. These two areas need to be together and your brand will have en experience like no other.
Marketers can have easier access to the information about how a certain campaign is going on every level with long codes wether a consumer engages using SMS, Voice or web/app experience and be armed with knowledge to make immediate decisions when situations dictate such requirements.
FlexTALK is a product that can help provide these solutions today in a simple and almost immediate manner. TSG Global also has partnerships with companies using long code that can provide the additional services such as web/app experience without the need for your brand to increase infrastructure or labor force.
Next Wave Of Innovation
A growing number of device sizes will make it increasingly difficult to develop for, however with services like FlexTALK that offer easier development with responsive design will help with designing for a complete mobile experience.
Consumers will navigate to your brand from all mobile devices easily when long codes are used, so make sure your brand is optimized for the devices they want to use. The goal is to deliver the same two-way experience for everyone.
When hosting a conference of any size, it's vital to communicate with your audience in an effective and efficient manner. The dissemination of conference information to various channels is essential. As a result, conferences are increasingly using text messaging to proactively and productively engage with conference attendees more because of its ubiquitous nature. Text messaging is able to reach any device wether it's a smart device or feature phone, unlike social media platforms which mostly require:
- A smart Device (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc…)
- A way to connect with Data (either wifi or cellular data)
- An app or access to a browser
All of those points above are potential areas to lose the audience you wish to engage. Building attendance for your conference is tough enough these days, maintaining those who have attended to return next time and more importantly spread to those they know that they need to go next time as well is even harder, especially if they were feeling left out because they were made to feel less wanted due to choice. The best way to make sure you are present to your audience needs is by using technology that is available to EVERYONE!
This article will go through those three points with the clear advantage text messaging still has.
-The SMARTER Device Choice-
While the number of adults who have smart devices is on the rise (at least half of all US adults have either a tablet or phone) the number of US adults that own a feature phone still beats that group by 45%, which means you run the risk of alienating a very large number of your potential audience. Text messaging has the awesome ability to interact with any text enabled devices, but you don't want to stop there because only long code text messaging can engage every wireless provider as well as services such as google voice. Services such as FlexTALK SMS provide just this ability giving edge to those opting for short code services.
-The BEST Connection Choice-
Requiring that your audience possibly use their own data in the event wifi access is not available of not working correctly (who hasn't been to a conference and witnessed first hand the 'free' wifi available really wasn't) then you run the risk of your audience NOT engaging with you through choice wether they can or cannot. The percentage of those with smart devices and cellular data included with them is less than 60% so if you are providing sub-par internet access or none at all then that 40+ percent will not be included. Let's say you have 1000 attending, then less than 600 have an alternative to a data connection leaving more than 400 left wanting…or leaving. YIKES! Text messaging uses the cellular network which unlike data is more readily available. When looking for a text messaging solution, don't just run to your closest short code provider. Short codes can only reach one third of the 32 wireless operators in the US alone and completely alienate google voice or Skype. Services using long code SMS solutions such as FlexTALK connect to all wireless providers, and google voice, Skype or any services like them.
-Service WITHOUT The Need For An App-
What would you do if the app or service just wasn't there?
What is your contingency plan for tweets not working or posts to Facebook failing. Text messaging works on smart phones the same as feature phones, without the need for third party services or apps. All phones come with it - nothing else required. That could be enough for this point, but let's look a little deeper. For every step you make your audience endure in order to engage and interact you lose 10 percent. Text messaging has been around for almost 20 years and everyone has already used it. Short codes, as pointed out earlier have there draw backs concerning reach, but there are more you can read here.
Long codes are simply phone numbers, but more importantly they are your phone numbers. The biggest advantage is your audience has a spot to store phone numbers, it's called contacts and how awesome is it that they can store your phone number with your name and personalize even more that interaction you are drawing them too. They could make you a favorite, they could make you a vCard to share with others, then throw in the ability to have your audience connect through a phone call and you reduce the steps to connect to you even more? The easier you make it the more they will use it! WOW! One phone number now has your audience captured and ready to go the distance with you. Try and get that from an app, or in a browser.
Your conference can excel beyond your campaign objectives and reap the success beyond your expectations simply by using text messaging with long codes through services like FlexTALK SMS. Why not contact us here and let us help you begin customizing a connection solution for your next conference TODAY!.
The largest problem with SMS Marketing is that the majority of people only use it to send out ads or coupons or product announcements. That's a glorified RSS feed at 160 characters. You would be much better off going back to the previous costly, dead media outlets that weren't working before.
Imagine a room of a thousand current and potential customers all talking about you and you choose to go somewhere else, or worse you show up, stand in the middle of the room and talk about you and your product then finish with handing out flyers and then leave without even a single thank you. This is what you're doing when using SMS Marketing and only use it one way.
It's also not email list 2.0 if all your opt-in list is receiving is a constant barrage of discounts you have pushed~n~pray will generate some return.
Now, if your really ready to turn your marketing into tangible results, then buckle up.
Your brand engages people directly every day, more important though your brand engages more people indirectly all the time. It's the indirect opportunities that you should be using SMS more often for. The indirect opportunities are the ones who want to be engaged, they want to be heard and most of all they want to be validated. Using SMS Marketing with long code allows you to be present with these opportunities. Providing people this way to interact and know your there and you won't have to worry about asking for your fans to opt-in, they'll run to do it and tell all of their friends to do the same.
If you want to be successful (I mean REALLY successful) with mobile marketing using SMS, then you have to build up your text message currency. Using long codes as your SMS platform instead of short code will deliver those desired results without hitting you in the pocket.
Now, for those with the 'deer caught in the headlight look' on what I am getting at, let me relate this to money. Think of it like this: when you started your business and opened the banking account for it, you did not immediately go up to the teller asking to withdraw $1000 did you? The teller would have looked at you like you were nuts. This is unfortunately what most business's and marketers attempt and then complain when they get horrible results when using text messaging wrong whether its with short code or long code.
You're going to have to invest in your mobile marketing in order to withdraw your rewards. Investing your text message currency means investing your time, your knowledge completely before trying to withdraw anything worth while. This means abandoning the stinkin' thinkin' and ancient philosophy of marketing and not treating this awesome way of communicating like some newspaper ad or weekly flyer.
If you stop trying to push ads and coupons, and instead use this as a way to reach out to those potential and current clients to connect and listen, then you can almost instantly speak and react to what is required and necessary right at that moment.
Doesn't that seem better than the potentially harmful alternative of letting your current and future clients go to the other guy because you just weren't there?
The emperor of mobile marketing is still text messaging by 45%! How do you engage your market as king of your brand? Are you rewarded with a loyal following or is there constant fear and turmoil from abandoning prospects?
Are you the ruling lead with your content? While you think your content may be king, content doesn’t rule without a court. Content alone still needs its counterparts in your queen, context. Having a powerful distribution plan to put concepts into action and connection with the people makes your brand interactive and worthy to be engaged. Witnessing first-hand the importance of engaging relationships between content, context, distribution and connection, I’ve outlined four key points below to help you complete your royal marketing strategy.
It's WHAT You Say & HOW You Say It!
Let's look at public speaking for a moment. Most speakers try to share as much content as they can in the time they have. No matter how long they have, most just spew out data data data! And what happens after 5 minutes of boring data, the majority of the audience tunes them out because too much content and no great context for delivery makes any king dull and unworthy. Unfortunately, most speakers are happy to engage only 20% of their audience, 20% PERCENT???
Back to marketing, would you be happy with only 20% return for all your efforts? If your answer is no then perhaps you should look at how your context should be king, because if context were king, content would still be queen. Content and context need each other. You may have the Mona Lisa of information, but if your constantly spewing forth information and not listening to the interests of your audience you might as well be finger-painting. Likewise, if you have a highly receptive audience waiting for your next release but aren't using easy interactive tools to use it then you would be insulting those you overlook.
Enable Distribution With Context
“With so many brands sharing across short code & social channels how can my content possibly stand out?” The answer to this frequently asked question is very simple: know how to reach your audience and the best way to reach them. These two parameters are the difference between inviting your audience to enjoy your content, and coming off as spam or sounding just like everyone else. As I opened with, text messaging is the emperor of social networking, but using short code to be interactive is REALLY expensive and the carriers you cannot reach are numerous, but using long code is both complete in reaching all carriers and inexpensive...PLUS A WHOLE LOT MORE! Using text messaging via long code helps content appear naturally in the context of a conversation than the annoying “push and pray” method of short code (pushing content out in front of anyone who will look and praying they’ll respond).
Distribution Amplifies Content
What happens when remarkable content engages people passionate about your brand? Inspiration to interact with your brand. The staple of good content is that it stirs something in the people who encounter it. Thanks to text messaging using long code, people can react to your content easily. Comments, questions, reactions all easily communicated help the life of your content. Then include the fact your brand can have ONE NUMBER people can get in touch to text, call or fax and you make engaging your brand the simple choice. Getting your content in the hands of the right people can give it new life to spread even further than it would on its own.
Make Your Content Connect
It’s one thing to connect with your desired audience, but are you engaging your content to your audience? If you’re not using text messaging to illicit a response out of your audience, you’re only doing half the job and making your audience numb. Content ultimately serves as the backbone for several functions, such as demand generation, building lasting relationships with customers, closing deals, community management…the list goes on and on. To really connect and get the highest ARPU, then your content needs to have a reason for the people to respond. Ask questions, run surveys, build rapport, the choices are limitless and all at your disposal...USE THEM. With the right amount communication and re-imagining, your brand can blow past your competition and live on far longer than you initially planned. The important part of this part is ALWAYS BE PRESENT & RESPOND.
So, does your marketing strategy include text messaging? How do you maximize the value, reach and impact of your content?
Question: If you never ask, then how do you know the answer?
I ask this basic question quite often when discussing the benefits of long code sms as an augmentation to marketing. And even though most of the conversations I have are not in person, I can always hear the quizzical expression on ones face while they wonder what it has to do with text messaging.
I never wait for an answer, I just continue on by explaining how using this SMS product the same way as a short code SMS service is failure waiting to happen.
I shall explain.
Since 2003, companies have used short code text messaging to blast out their advertising and braodcast messages.
Since 2009 companies have had text messaging using long code available to them as an augmentation to what they already had. That's an important part to remember...it's not a replacement for everything, rather another tool to use in addition to.
What is the tool exactly, well it's a way for any company ,SMB to Enterprise, to engage and interact with anyone. It's a way for your company to communicate completely with one phone number by voice, text or fax. It's the bridge to actual unified approach all companies have wanted for a long long time.
Let's focus on text messaging though and the original question, if you never ask then how do you know? SMS with long code provides the cost effective solution for you to send text messages out to your target audience and ask them for a response without it breaking your marketng budget.
When you ask for a response then you are two steps closer to knowing just how effective what your doing has been.
Every company that's successful depends on statistical data to justify the money they spend, and adding text messaging with long code sms helps you do just that.
Contact Us for your customized solution TODAY!
NO PAIN NO GAIN!
You have to work at those things you want most? The amount of energy you put into the goal you wish to reach ALWAYS determines what you will receive. The two toughest areas I know of are keeping in shape and relationships and the later always seems to be toughest.
Relationships are constantly evolving and never static, which means we always need to work at them and most times you have to adapt new ways to help keep them fresh, otherwise they go static...cold...dead. Your relationships in business are no different, and with technologies help there seems to be a bevy of tools to help you communicate, but are you using them the right way?
Mobile marketing with text messaging has been around for quite a while and growing every year still. More and more devices are getting into the hands of your target audience and they are readily using them, but how are you taking this to your advantage?
If your using text message marketing to push deals, coupons, discounts and specials only, then you are defintely doing it wrong! Sound like a broken record, well then perhaps you should be more receptive to what I am saying.
It's actually quite basic, all you have to do is ask yourself 'If I were face to face with this person or group of people is this how I would speak with them?' If your answer is no, then you know where and what you need to change.
Take FlexTALK® SMS for example, this product offers long code text messaging solutions so you can have conversations with those you want to connect with at fractions the cost of other methods. The fact you can have local phone numbers to help increase your presence to your community and then take it up to the next level and use the voice feature and now you have a unified arsenal.
Just like any other relationship, it takes hard work and will not be easy, but the easy way is never the best way. Although you will see others doing it wrong and getting big results, remember what happens when you throw gasoline on a fire - you get a big flame but dies out quickly.
Reach out to us for more information and your own customized solution.
The Long Code is a telephone number that is enabled to send and receive text messages to and from landline and cell phone numbers. Its counterpart is the short code, a 5-7-digit number that may or not spell out a word and is used by a specific brand purely for text messaging.
Both of these technologies are very similar from a technical standpoint in their basic core communications, however, there are some minor differences.
- Currently short codes support MMS and Long Codes require that you embed a web address or landing page link.
- The Long Code supports voice and fax along with text messaging (SMS) and the Short Code only supports SMS.
The most significant difference between the two is how they can be applied within the framework of business communications. When looking at the way a business handles customer communications it must be approached from two perspectives, internal (employees) and external (consumers).
The Short Code supports only the external customers and is limited to just text messaging whereas, the Long Code services both the internal and external customers while also supporting voice and fax communications.
The Short Code is best suited for applications where text messaging is the only need and the goal is to reach a large list (thousands) of people that have opted into a campaign. The disadvantage of using the Short Code is the cost, flexibility and time to market. The Long Code can accomplish the same depending on the situation and is far less expensive, is very flexible and time to market is nearly real-time.
Read our latest Whitepaper: 5 Reasons it is a Business Strategy Must
click (here) to download
In short, here are the Top 5 reasons why Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore a Text Messaging Strategy using SMS Long Code.
On the first day of a New York University class entitled “Mobile Marketing for the Small to Medium-sized Business,” students are asked “True or false. Everyone has or will have a smartphone?” - the majority of students answer, “True.”
The question is followed up with, “By when?” The average answer usually ends up at “around 2015ish”.
The truth is, no one knows when or if this will become fact.
The more important point is - WE AREN'T THERE YET!
Dumb phones (aka Feature phone) - Get Me User Stats…Stat!
The fact is the feature phone market in the US alone is still massive, who owns these devices?
Finding out who owns dumb phones is extremely important since you need to answer the question - are they even worth marketing to?
Now, since you most likely market to people, the answer to that question should be YES!
Dumb phone subscribers statistics in the U.S. are still huge.
A Nielsen’s February 2012 report states dumb phone users make up 49.7 percent of total U.S. mobile subscribers.
Now, CTIA stated the total mobile wireless subscriber number of 331 million, so that equates to approximately 165 million subscribers, and who couldn't do without that number of people to engage?
Need some more statistics to help you interact better, or just want to know the demographics?
Well, The Pew Internet & American Life Project from 2011 reported on the following ‘Other than Smartphone’ (this would be dumb phones more than likely) user statistics:
* Age: 18–24 (46 percent); 25–34 (35 percent); 35–44 (45 percent), 45–54 (58 percent); 55–64 (59 percent); 65-plus (45 percent)
* Income: $100,000 or less (44–57 percent), $100,000-<$150,000 (38 percent), $150,000-plus (25 percent)
* Race: White/Non-Hispanic (50 percent), African-American (45 percent), Hispanic (42 percent)
Oh, and if your audience is global, it’s important to note that smartphone penetration worldwide is only 27 percent.
All Inclusive Mobile Marketing Strategy
If your mobile strategy is focused solely on what can be accomplished with smart phones, then you can see you are truly missing half the boat. That's like opening your brand new office with no furniture or getting the latest movie on DVD without owning a DVD player.
What can you do?
If you want to market to the widest audience of mobile subscribers with any one tactic, then text messaging is king.
Don't take my word for it though, consider Portio Research stating, “Messaging still dominates (mobile operators’) non-voice revenues worldwide.”
All phones today (except maybe one or two), wether smart or dumb, have the ability to text message.
Wonder if people still use SMS? Well, Eighty-one percent of today’s mobile phone users have sent or received messages in the last 30 days, according to Nielsen, so what do you think?
FlexTALK® SMS is exactly a product that can help you achieve these staggering numbers, and with marketing success stats of 98 percent open rate (83 percent within the first three minutes) and up to 45 percent response rate, it's not DUMB but SMART to consider SMS messaging as a viable tactic to engage and connect with all mobile subscribers.