Stores Try Text Marketing to Monetize Marketing Channels

Marketers are trying all channels, platforms and media while trying to find the key to monetization of each of them. While each media channel has its advantages and drawbacks, texting, if the message is effectively and briefly communicated, may be the optimal for many needs. Text advertising, primarily of the promotional variety is on the rise for important reasons:

Advantages of Text

SMS marketing (short message service) campaigns offer businesses some of the best return on investment in the world of marketing today. With more than 2.4 billion mobile phone users in the world, marketers can easily introduce and promote their products and services to a larger audience. Mobile marketing has far more advantages than traditional marketing methods, including:

  • Fast
  • Lower costs
  • Popular
  • Ubiquitous
  • Customizability
  • Easy tracking – reducing manpower
  • Does not appear to violate anyone’s sense of personal space.
  • The response rate is higher than it is for email.
  • The immediacy works well for retail channels.

Pros and Cons of SMS

Pros of Text Marketing

Pro #1: Increases brand exposure. Text marketing is the ideal tool for both national and local retailers who wish to promote products and services, offer specials or incentives and strengthen customer loyalty. For example, retailers can send coupon codes to their subscribers that are inserted directly into a text message.

Pro #2: Provides mass alert status. More than 80% of people carry their cell phone with them the majority of the time. Sending a text message to their mobile devices is the perfect way to alert clients or subscribers of urgent information, such as a product that is ready for pick-up. School systems can also use this text software to alert parents of school closings or changes in schedules.

Pro #3: Convenient to use and track. Small mobile phone screens limit the scope of content displayed, so content creators can keep the information basic or even begin a direct dialogue with the customer, gaining instant feedback. User response can be tracked almost instantly, allowing mobile marketers to better understanding user behavior.

Cons of Text Marketing

Mobile platforms are diverse. Compared to standard PCs and laptop computers, mobile devices do not have any specific standard. They come in various sizes and shapes and the screen size is not consistent. With so many mobile browsers and operating systems, it can be difficult to create one campaign that fits them all.

Security and privacy issues. Mobile marketers must respect that users want to maintain their privacy. Promotional activity should only be transferred to users who have granted the business permission to do so. Text marketing can seem invasive to some customers, especially if they are charged by their service provider for a message from a business that they did not authorize.

Text message limitations. Standard text messages only allow a maximum of 160 characters, which means that it can be difficult to get a complete message or service ad to subscribers. Sending multiple text messages as a way to continue a message may seem too aggressive by the customer.

Retail Best Practices

Brands Get a Good Reception: Christina Binkley reports in the Wall Street Journal that some youth-oriented fashion brands like Charlotte Russe, Claire’s Boutique and Vans are finding that young people – teens and twentysomethings are most accessible by text. They react to marketing texts quickly—and with far higher response rates than to emails. She provides these best practices:

Some fashion brands are reaching out to this audience with richer content by texting pictures and videos. Shoe brand Vans encourages consumers to sign up for texts that contain discounts and special offers, art and other insider goodies.

One text to Charlotte Russe customers held a video of a handsome young man. “I’ll give you the moon,” he said with a swoon-worthy smile. “And a $5 shopping pass. Anything to win your heart.” The video was shared so widely that the company’s database grew 33% in one weekend, says Paul Hollowell, the company’s director of marketing. He declines to share the offers’ redemption rate, but says he was “extremely pleased.”

In general, the retailer says it has been impressed by the way its customers react to text offers—by coming into the store or placing an order online. “Participation rates are dramatically higher for text messaging than email,” says Mr. Hollowell.

High Use and Open Rates: Charlotte Russe’s internal research found that its customers weren’t using email. However, they found that girls texted each other while shopping and decided to try text marketing. While the company still uses email, with about 10% of the email promotions opened, the open rate of its texts approaches 100%, he says. Mr. Citron estimates that about 95% of texts get read. In fact, Mogreet states that 98% of text messages are opened.

Getting People to Opt in for Texts:  The top of Charlotte Russe’s Web page has this promotion message: “BFF (‘best friends forever’) us and get 10% off,” with a space for consumers to enter their cellphone or email address.  The retailer also places signs in front of its stores asking shoppers to text its “short code,” or text address, which spells out “style” on a phone’s keyboard.

Better Response Rates

James Citron, the founder and chief executive of Mogreet Inc., the venture-backed company that handles the technology end of text marketing for clients including Vans, Jack in the Box and Charlotte Russe says that five billion people text on mobile phones, vs. two billion people who use the Internet. Mr. Citron says the response is also much greater:

  • People are five times more likely to open a text than an email.
  • People respond to texts within one to three minutes in general.
  • By contrast, consumers generally open emails only after six to 12 hours, if at all.
  • Young adults are more likely to forward a marketing text than an email to a friend.

Suited to Specific Offers

According to the TomiAhonen Almanac 2012, published by mobile media consultant, TomiAhonen, consumers respond to a text within an average 90 seconds. So retailers and brands often make offers highly specific.

Charlotte Russe’s Friday Happy Hour alerts are have a self-destructing expiration date, such as a coupon deal available for three hours on a Saturday afternoon.

Immediate Linkage To Retail Signage

Binkley reports the account of one teen, Dahvi Cohen, a 13-year-old from Irvine, Calif., who was shopping for jewelry at a local mall in the spring when she saw a sign in the store offering 15% off jewelry if she texted in, and used the coupon on the spot. But it’s not limited to teens, as arts-and-crafts chain Michaels, Payless Shoes and Jack’s Surfboards all text.

5 SMS Customer Loyalty Programs

With the help of mobile marketing, businesses can reach people directly and be more personal in the way that they promote their products and services. Here are some types of customer loyalty programs that SMS works with:

1. Customer feedback. Instead of sending your customer home to take a survey online or to call a survey number, you can ask them about their recent purchase via text message. It’s personal and quick.

2.Secret offers. One of the main reasons customers join loyalty programs is that they want to get insider pricing or special offers. Offering loyalty program deals and secret sales are a great way to make them feel special. And, texting is the ultimate personalized communication, far better than email or Facebook for this purpose.

3.Monthly drawings. If you want to build customer loyalty and add numbers to your list, you can hold a monthly drawing for a $ 50 gift card, explaining the opt-in policy.

4.Competitions. Make being a loyal customer fun and inviting. Send a riddle and the first customer to solve it via text message can get a small gift from your business the next time they come in. All they have to do is show you the text, which saves printing costs.

5.Sneak peeks. Give customers on your SMS list the VIP treatment. Invite this list to exclusive showings or give them first notification of tickets to hot events.

6.Instant Customers. If you’re having a slow day, you can send out a special instantly to all or a select few of your customers.  For example, a pizza restaurant can send out a message to all its customers letting them know they can get free bread sticks (or any other offer) with any order if they place their order before 7pm.

The emergence of advanced technologies has brought about a host of fresh features and functionalities that have redefined the necessity of mobile devices and mobile marketing is one  practice that is quickly gaining momentum in the business world. Mobile marketing has revolutionized the way that advertisements are being promoted, breaking the barriers of traditional spot advertising. This infographic by Mogreet shows that text messaging is highly effective compared to broadcast media in general.