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Using Text Message Magic to Drive Traffic

Image result for text messages
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By Hector E Cisneros

Most people don’t want you to text and drive but did you know that you can drive web traffic with a text message! You can also sell products, announce events, deliver promo codes and other special offers. However, there are lots of pitfalls, technical issues and even laws that you have to navigate in order to be successful. Join us this week as we dive into the depths of Text Messaging Magic for your business.

In this article, I want to lay out several fundamentals every business needs to follow if they are planning to be successful at Text Message Marketing. I will break the article into two segments. The first is a brief overview of what is text messaging and why a business should be using text messaging for business advertising. The second segment will cover best practices for maximizing your campaign results.

Let's start by answering the question: "What is Text Message Marketing?" Text message marketing is a means of advertising where your message is delivered via Short Message Service technology also known as SMS marketing. In essence, you can send a short message (160 characters or less) to a person's cell phone number or to a short message account that they have on a computing device. These messages are very popular and are used by people of all ages.

Eight Reasons to Advertise with an SMS

#1 It works! Your return on investment, (ROI) is very high. Your cost of engaging in SMS marketing can run as low as $20 a month and still get real responses.

#2 It has a very high open rate. Most messages are read 95% of the time. On top of that your response time is almost instantaneous.

#3 A focused message is ideal and usually works better. Focus gives the viewer clarity and asks them to make a decision. A focus message is a powerful message.

#4 You can target an audience that wants to get your message. Opt-in lists are the keys to success. Sending a message blindly to someone will only make them angry. However, send someone a message for a coupon code for something they want and the phone will ring off the hook.
#5 There are more mobile phones in the world than there are computers. Mobile phones
English: Author: Redvers. Two
English: Author: Redvers. Two "welcome" messages received via SMS text messaging. T-Mobile welcomes Proximus to the United Kingdom; BASE welcomes Orange subscribers to Belgium. Both are Nokia phones, but the picture was taken with another brand of mobile phone camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
are the largest digital pool of people you can send a message to. People are addicted to texting. For most young adults, it is a way of life.

#6 Your competition is using it to sell to your customers. There is no better way to outsell your competitors than to use the same weapons better than they can.

#8 It will appeal to your "eco-friendly green clientele."  SMS uses no paper or ink and uses very little electricity. There is nothing to throw away. If you are into saving the planet, what's not to like.

Now that we have covered why a business should be using SMS to advertise, lets look at some principles that will help you be a success. Don't throw your money away by just experimenting. Use these principle to make your next SMS campaign a huge success.

16 Principles to Ensure Your Success

#1 Avoid slang, abbreviations, and most of all hype. People are tired of being lied to. Your message needs to be a focused legitimate offer that’s easy to understand and act on. Don't try to be slick just, simply provide a bona fide offer worth taking advantage of.

#2 There should not be a long time delay before the recipient can take advantage of the offer. The offer needs to be in the here and now, not next week. It should provide real time and money saving that recipients can take advantage of today.

#3 Make sure your message is recognizable. It should clearly identify your company, brand or product. If they have to guess who you are you're already lost. Unknown numbers get deleted!
ISO 9995-8 telephone keypad diagram.
ISO 9995-8 telephone keypad diagram. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#4 Customers want to feel special. Your offer has to be a real value that the average person can’t have unless they are subscribed to your SMS marketing service. Let them know that only they have access to this special offer.

#5 Make sure your message is positive and shows unmistakable value. If  they can't recognize the value of your offer, it's not a value to them!

#6 Make your messages interactive. Sometime by following up your offer with another message you can get a second or even a third sale, by just asking.

#7 Don't send your messages too often. Ask your subscribers when it's best to receive their messages. Find out which time zone they are in. If you don't know their needs, avoid early morning hours before 11 AM and don't send messages late at night unless you're a casino in Las Vegas.

#8 Master the right marketing moments. Learn to send messages when your clients want them. Restaurants clients want messages before Lunch and Dinner.  Travelers like messages on Thursday and Friday. Retail consumers like messages before major holidays. Scan your website data for peek visitation times. Always ask clients “what is best for them”, they will tell you.

# 9 Provide value first before you ask for any information. Win their trust by providing value and they will be more willing to cough up an email address, time zone or home address.

#10 Monitor your opt-out rate on every send. You should be capturing and analyzing your SMS statistics for every message you send out. Use this data to improve your messages and raise your ROI.

#11 Be ready to send an immediate message when you sign up a new subscriber. You want to hit them when they are excited and ready to go. Waiting too long to send a message could cause prospects to lose their enthusiasm or forget who you are altogether.

#12 Always get a client’s permission. Always buy opt-in lists if you’re not building your own. Nobody wants to see your message if they haven't chosen to subscribe to your service. If you add new campaigns, products or services, be ready to ask for permission again. Getting their permission is a fundamental key!

#13 Gather as much information on your opt-in page as possible. This information will allow you to service your clients much better. Knowing valuable information like their time zone and deliver preferences will make them happy. A happy client is a client who will spend money.

Text a Librarian Booth Artwork
Text a Librarian Booth Artwork (Photo credit: noelieo)
#14 Remember that SMS marketing is primarily a mobile experience. Do not send them to a regular website-landing page. If they must log into something let them log in using a Facebook or Twitter login account instead of having to type something. Make sure your landing sites are cell phone friendly. Use large icons, simple titles, simple messages and instructions and don't forget to use videos, as they are Smartphone friendly.

#15 Don't just send coupon codes, send valuable content. Provide product announcements, free access to special websites and social pages. Sending VIP status acknowledgements can also be a great way to build trust and loyalty.

#16 Get your own vanity short code SMS phone number. Having your own number shows a commitment to this kind of marketing program. It’s much easier for a person to remember a short number than what that number spells. It also makes it easier for your clients to respond.

There you have it a quick yet comprehensive overview of what you need to know about SMS marketing today. If you haven't listened to the BTR broadcast that goes with this article, check it out now. We have covered more than a ½ dozen reasons why you need to use Text Message Marketing and over a dozen principles that will help you to succeed as well. If you have found this article useful, please pass it on to your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment, please place it in the comment section below.  

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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  1. We considered a text marketing campaign recently. The opt in list was the real challenge. Ultimately, we didn't use a text campaign. We did learn that it takes a very planned approach if we want to try it.

  2. This has been very popular in Europe for a while. Good to see that it's starting to catch on in the States.

  3. With more and more people going mobile, every business owner needs to start experimenting with text messaging.

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