By Geoff Love, Esendex Ltd
With over 95 per cent of the UK population owning a mobile phone, it is no surprise that mobile marketing is rapidly growing. As budgets shrink and costs rise, more and more businesses are beginning to realise that SMS is quite possibly the most cost-effective mobile communication tool available. It can be used to improve customer service, increase staff effectiveness, generate sales and communicate in a crisis. The UK alone sends over 265 million text messages a day with an increasing number of these now business related.
The beauty of SMS is that it is simple, clear and immediate. It can be a call to action and an information tool while supporting other marketing activities. Add in the fact that just under 90% of text messages sent in the UK are read within ten minutes, and you have an incredibly reliable and powerful business communications tool.
What businesses really need to think about is what they are using SMS for and how they can use it to enhance their customer service and generate additional sales. SMS can be used for sales promotions, brand building, CRM, loyalty and retention campaigns and as a direct response tool for TV, radio or print advertising so it is essential to set out at the start what the aim of a campaign is and, as a result, who the audience it.
Know who the audience is
Unlike other mobile marketing channels, SMS is intimate and can engage with audiences as individuals but also allows them to respond instantly. Knowing audience habits enables marketing managers to create highly personalised and highly targeted messages, which gives invaluable and instant communication with potential and existing customers and staff.
Make it personal
Marketing managers need to be personal when they embark upon a SMS campaign. Today’s marketing demands that customers be spoken to as individuals to guarantee a higher success rate. Customers do not like to consider themselves as just a number, so marketers need to be segmented and targeted in their approach. Doing so will enable true one-to-one marketing, something that other marketing mediums cannot achieve.
SMS can also be used as a two-way communication tool that is incredibly effective at creating a dialogue with a customer. The more personal the message, the more likely it is that the customer will respond, something which is crucial when marketers are looking for customer feedback.
However, marketers need to strike a balance when they are creating the content for their SMS campaign; overly intrusive content can have a negative effect on brand perception which may render the communication worthless.
Choose the right supplier
No two businesses are the same so marketing managers need to look for a SMS supplier that understands their business and what they want to achieve. Marketing managers need to look for a quality supplier which has a dedicated team of experts that can create a messaging campaign service tailored precisely to their needs.
While cost is obviously a decisive factor for choosing a particular supplier, it should not be the only criteria which businesses use and look for. The cheapest supplier may not offer a quality service, which will have an impact on the results obtained.
Marketing managers should not be put off by a supplier that charges more than others, and should look instead at the results it has delivered in the past. An effective way to do this is look for customer testimonials and case studies.
SMS marketing is all about raising brand awareness, reinforcing existing stakeholder relationships, and enhancing the marketing mix. Smart businesses are already looking to mobile marketing and are embracing SMS. Companies that don’t embrace it now, run the risk of being left behind and unable to respond to challenges that will come their way.
Three top tips to getting the most out of SMS marketing:
Be strategic – know what you want to achieve from an SMS campaign from the outset and create objectives that you can use as a measurement tool after the campaign
Be personal – know who you’re talking to, what they like and what you want to say. Speak to your audience at their level and be segmented and targeted in your approach
Choose a quality supplier – don’t use cost as a decisive factor in choosing a supplier. You often get what you pay for so don’t be put off by suppliers who charge higher rates
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