“As promised, we’re giving away two VIP passes to the Austin City Limits festival next weekend… This event is sold-out and these passes give you access to the VIP tent and VIP parking… If you still want to go to ACL then this is the way to do it in style… I’ll take the ninety-third person to text ‘ACL’ to 29297… Now, here’s a track from the Rolling Stones on 93.7, KLBJ!!!!!!”

The marketing and promotions team at Ennis Communications in Austin, Texas, recognized early that their audience was often listening to their stations when they were away from traditional phone lines, or in offices and locations where making a call to a prize line simply wasn’t possible. As text messaging became the preferred method of communication between young people, call volumes for prizes began decreasing. In fact, some contests at odd hours might feature the same three people dialing in over and over in an attempt to win while the rest of the lines remained unfilled.

A feature phone with a received text message

Feature phones and smart phones alike can send and receive text messages, making it and especially effective means of marketing with SMS.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Radio stations, like many other brands and markets eager to engage with an audience, sought out new avenues of communication that not only reinforced brand loyalty, but also gave listeners an easier way to interact with the station itself. Through prizes and newsletters, many radio stations have increased listener engagement in a meaningful way. Using SMS communication as part of a larger social media marketing strategy means real-time, actionable, and trackable interaction with fans and listeners.

Here are five ways to engage your customer base by utilizing SMS to market goods or services.

  1. Promo codes and coupons – Sending customers a coupon or discount code via text message can increase purchases. A simple message saying, “Show this message to the cashier for 10% off your entire purchase!” can lead to increased revenue and customer loyalty. But the bigger benefit is found in the increased customer engagement that results. An SMS marketing strategy that gives customers and patrons a sense of excitement when you send them a text creates enthusiasm for your brand and the services and products you offer. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that each text communication has to offer an incentive like a coupon or promotional code; these items should be but one piece of your SMS marketing strategy.
  2. Subscriber newsletters – Communicating important information to clients and customers doesn’t have to be long-winded. Text messages give you the power of announcing new locations, products, or services easily and efficiently. And newsletters don’t have to be about communicating short, static messages alone. Smart text marketing leverages other platforms to further engage readers. For example, a text message announcing a new product offering might also include a link that directs the reader to reviews of that product. Integrating dynamic content like links to reviews, webpages, videos, or pictures can separate your text newsletter from others and increase your open rate.
  3. Event promotions – Marketing emails are too easy to overlook and ignore. Filters and tags mean that email marketing messages may never be seen by the intended recipient. With text messaging, you can remind customers and subscribers about upcoming events quickly and in a way they will respond to. Over 90% of all text messages are opened by the receiver within ten minutes. Whether you’re promoting an upcoming event in the distance or an event happening in just a few minutes, using SMS for promotion means meaningful engagement in near-real-time.
  4. Loyalty programs – Just like offering discounts and coupons, loyalty programs are easy to conduct through text messaging. A simple message such as, “Show this message to the cashier for a free sample of our new product!” rewards customers for their patronage. Keep them simple, and make sure customers are clear on the added value they’re getting in exchange for their engagement. This is what really boosts brand loyalty.
  5. Surveys and feedback – Looking to gather information from clients, employees or customers? Instead of a lengthy email or unwanted phone call, a short text message asking for feedback will bring increased responses from the people you want to hear from the most. Not only is it less expensive and far faster than traditional survey methods, but it allows you to collect data at opportune times – for example, immediately after a transaction, so you can get almost immediate feedback.

Text messaging is more popular then ever. Trillions (yes, trillions) of text messages will be sent in the coming years. As important to marketers, over 90% of all text messages are opened within ten minutes of receipt. There has never before been a platform where near-immediate and reliable engagement with customers and clients has been so ubiquitous. While old media still exists, the most effective marketing plans in any industry utilizes SMS text messaging to engage the audience with promotions and information. Taking advantage of this low-cost method of communicating with those interested in your offerings means having a real conversation about the products and services you offer.

If you aren’t sure how SMS text messaging might fit into your marketing plans or aren’t sure of the tools required to integrate text messaging into your promotional efforts, click here to contact Mosaic NetworX!