A couple of weeks ago I was at my best friend’s graduation from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and the keynote speaker said the darnedest thing. The three tools of any new doctor include a stethoscope and a white jacket, no shocker there, and a beeper.
An actual beeper, the likes of I thought died out decades ago.
Of course, the days of beepers are over, well, that is unless you have spent half your life in medical school and wear a stethoscope like a necktie. For the general business folk out there, you’ve evolved to on-the-run communication via smartphones and iPads or other tablets.
“What is your email address?” has been the catch-all for connecting online in the last decade, with social media profiles, “What’s your Twitter handle/Facebook/Instagram name?” following in a close race for the lead. But along the lines of business we’ve managed to overlook a very pertinent method of communicating when away from our desk.
Using your smartphone to send and receive text messages is still the most dominant form of quick communication with your loved ones and coworkers. So why aren’t you using this method for connecting with potential customers? It’s time to evaluate the possibilities of an SMS marketing strategy that takes advantage of instant connections. By adding SMS (short message service) text messaging to your existing email marketing strategy, you create a foolproof method for keeping in touch and in the minds of potential clients and customers.
Here’s why you should employ SMS marketing in your business:
- SMS message gets read within 4 minutes of receiving, while email gets read within 48 hours
- 90 percent of adults are within arm's reach of their cell phone 24 hours a day
- SMS message has 90 percent open rate, while email has 22.8 percent open rate according to Smart Insights
As we all know, getting a text is much more efficient in terms of connecting in an instant. Furthermore, when you talk of texting, you get to avoid one of the most disagreeable variables of email marketing.
[Tweet "SMS message gets read within 4 minutes of receiving, while email gets read within 48 hours"]
Say you are out of range for your wireless service, or you are in an area without Wi-Fi capabilities. You are completely without the ability to check your email. Text messages, on the other hand, are able to fly through like the speed of sound. No problems there, which is why you need to bring texting into the fold of your marketing efforts.
Text versus Email Marketing
Of course there are times when email is more appropriate than texting, say, if you need to send a lengthy message. So what are the rules when it comes to choosing the best marketing route?
SMS works best when:
- It is utilized near a point of purchase, such as an SMS message stating, “Use this text to get 50 percent off your next in-store purchase”
- It’s implemented during a live event, i.e. an MMS (multimedia messaging service) “At the upcoming festival, vote for the best performer via this message”
- Used for time sensitive discounts, like texts sent out just in time for Happy Hour discounts at your restaurant or bar
- Utilized to build social media connects, i.e. “Click here to follow our Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter page”
Now, when should you opt for emailing? Here’s the scoop:
- Anything that is value-rich or lengthy should be sent via email; this includes policy changes, announcements, newsletters or “personalized” letters to the recipient that lead to a call to action
- For creating buzz and awareness about a new product or upcoming event, go the way of email to get the message out
Take-away here is to use texting for quick, to the point and instant marketing that is short-lived and in demand. Think flash sales, in-store coupons or social media campaigns. Emails are most effective for information that needs to be shared or printed, such as marketing geared at spreading awareness or changes to customers’ accounts.
Put Your Best Foot Forward with SMS Marketing and Email Marketing
To make the most of your marketing efforts, take the best of SMS and email and use it to your advantage. While most marketing teams are focused solely on email communication, feature in the SMS factor to get a more holistic connection.
Here’s an example of how to do this for an upcoming event in your community that your business is connected to as a donor or sponsor:
- At one month prior to the event: Send bi-weekly emails to your targeted customers and clients to build awareness regarding the event and your business’s connection with it, i.e. as a sponsor for the upcoming marathon or Fourth of July parade:
- Discuss the logistics of the event, showcase your connection to the cause related to the event.
- Make it share worthy by incorporating social media links and websites associated to the event.
- A week before the event, and on the day before and of the event, start shooting text-to-join messages or short codes to those same target customers:
- Ask recipient to show the text at the event at your business’s booth or table so they can receive some swag or a coupon for purchase
- Request the person reply with a photo of themselves at the event in order to be entered into a contest, winners announced at the end of the event
Another way you can boost your marketing efforts is through sharing value-added content via email that utilize your products or services:
- Recipes and menus for upcoming holidays or occasions using food products from your brand
- Information about upcoming sales events and how to score the best deals
- A weekly or monthly newsletter that showcases the community connections of your business, such as charitable activities your business is committed to, along with upcoming charitable events where your business will be present
Closer to the date of the holiday, sale or charitable event, start sending text messages with personalized sales coupons or discounts that drive them to come into your store. You are hitting them on a couple of levels communication-wise, which helps to drive your brand into their brain.
The more exposure for your business, the better, as long as you are providing valuable and user-centric information. That is the key with any marketing, and more so with email marketing and SMS marketing where a click can leave your business blocked for good. Take the novel approach by making your marketing efforts count.
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