Monday, September 7, 2009

SMS Marketing: Start Simple

By Drew Dahms

Okay, you’re a tech savvy marketer who is immersed in traditional and digital media to promote your business or your clients’ business. You’re using all the tools available. But now mobile marketing is the new kid on the block. You’re hearing more about it and seeing more brands using it. Maybe your clients are even asking how you plan to integrate mobile into their strategy.

Mobile marketing---like the proverbial camel sticking its head in the tent---is here to stay and can’t be ignored any longer. You’re excited about making the leap but unsure about what sort of mobile strategy to implement--SMS, MMS, WAP, mobisites, iPhone apps, IR, 2Dbarcode, Bluetooth. Yikes-it’s enough to make your head spin!

My advice is to start simple. Success will hinge on launching a mobile program that is 1) simple to manage and 2) simple for your audience.

Text message (SMS) marketing is the place to start. It’s a simple, low cost point of entry for most marketers and businesses. Think of SMS campaigns as snack size bits of time sensitive information that your audience receives almost real-time on their mobile device. Everybody gets texting and every mobile device can receive them. And text messaging is affordable unlike many sophisticated options. For less than a few hundred dollars a month a business can own—yes own-- all the tools needed to launch and manage effective SMS campaigns.

Don’t think of mobile as a stand-alone channel but rather as another “spoke” in your marketing wheel. You’ve already been crafting marketing strategies that play across multiple channels. But SMS offers distinct advantages over the others: messages are received almost real-time and read rates are 95%. This makes SMS perfect for sending time sensitive, relevant information & alerts that invite the recipient to respond in some way. Get an SMS call-to-action into all of your media, POP signage, newspapers, magazines, TV, website, direct mail, email campaigns, billboards, and social media sites. Invite the consumer to opt-in to your program. This takes time, so be patient.

Who is using SMS? Business owners send out alerts about upcoming promotions, sales, and special offers. They like the real-time & personal connection it gives them with their customers. Organizations, associations and venues use SMS to communicate special events, schedule changes or last minute alerts. Political candidates are also using SMS to connect with supporters and volunteers. President Obama used texting extensively during his campaign with great success. Marty Siefert is using text alerts in his Minnesota gubernatorial campaign.

So how do you start? Partner with a mobile marketing company who can provide the short codes, SMS gateway, easy-to-use campaign management tools and flexible messaging plans. Make sure they have a track record, credentials and a local representative who can provide support and expertise. Start with SMS, build your list and keep it simple.

Drew Dahms is a Relationship Manager with Sumotext. They provide short codes and SMS campaign solutions for marketers and business owners, and are a member of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

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Keri Allred said...

Thanks for this simple and clear explanation of sms marketing. It's perfect.

Julian Levi said...

Yes, sms marketing is easy and cheap way of marketing and its effective too..! thanks for sharing this informative blog..!

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