While you know your does the best of any around, your store is competing with other store for customers, plus a whole raft of other similar product choices.
So how to get your offers in front of ready buyers?
We suggest SMS is an ideal method, regardless of whether you are an independent operator, a franchisee or a franchisor to distribute your offer direct to consumers, at just the right time – when they are wanting to buy – as a text message using SMS.
SMS, or short message service is fast emerging as one of the most powerful marketing mediums available to both small and large business. It is ideally suited to delivering offers with a strong call to action to – i.e. getting people through the door!
Why use SMS?
SMS provides several advantages over other more traditional forms of promotion and still is more successful than any form of social media marketing:
Access – you can get your message into the hands of your customers at the optimum time, regardless of where they are or what they are doing.
Measurability – When sending offers, you know exactly how many have gone, so measuring redemption rates is easy by keeping a scratch-sheet in-store every time someone brings in their phone with your offer message.
Speed – The ability to deliver a campaign in a matter of hours of the offer forming in your mind is one of the attractive aspects of SMS. TV, radio, print and even fliers suffer significant cost and time disadvantages compared to the immediacy and market penetration of SMS.
Testing – Because you can deliver different messages easily, you can quickly experiment with different offers. As long as you record which offer customers are presenting in-store, you can rapidly develop optimum offers.
Cut through the clutter – The issue with social media is clutter. Twitterfeeds and Facebook following and liking delivers masses of often-irrelevant posts. SMS is a singular message.
So how do you use SMS to sell more?
First you need a compliant list.
The Spam Act 2003 means that if you have been collecting customer’s mobile phone numbers and other customer details over the years, then effectively you cannot use them unless customers had agreed to receive text messages.
You can, however, send them a message asking if they would like to receive deals and offers from you to which they need to reply to opt in.
No list? You need to build one.
If you don’t have a list, there are several ways to build one. One way is to ask customers to fill in a form in-store. This also presents you with the ideal opportunity to gather additional information to allow you to send offers tailor made for each person. Remember, they must know you’ll be using their mobile number to send offers. Mentioning it verbally and having it stated on the form is a good idea.
However manual entries can take some time before you generate a reasonable database with which to work, plus has the disadvantage of requiring further data-entry.
Another way is to run an SMS-based competition. Effectively this means entrants send the required entry information via their mobile phone handset to a nominated number. This style of competition is ideal for quickly building a database and can be promoted in any traditional advertising means. The Terms and Conditions must state that entrants acknowledge their details are being collected and they agree to receive advertising from you to comply with the Spam Act 2003.
With an SMS-based competition the amount of information required for entry should be limited to one piece – any more and many potential entrants will be put off. Initially a first name is desirable, so you can then personalise the outbound messages. Asking for too much information can also result in additional database cleaning and formatting and increases the percentage of unwanted information.
SMS competitions also allow a response message to be sent back instantly, providing your first opportunity to send a great offer.
You can run further competitions within the list to gather additional information, such as preferred pizzas, single purchase or family deals etc. This helps further list segmentation and allows offers best suited to the recipient to be sent.
Note*: Many state government gaming departments, require that you have an inexpensive permit based on prize value.
Perhaps the easiest way is to get them to opt-in by sending a message to a special number. By using keywords you can also get people to opt into lists that will address their specific needs.
Using the keyword opt-in method is inexpensive and requires no data entry on your part.
I’ve built my list now what?
Your new list will be used to send offers to your customers at the best times for you to make sales. You know your market and by linking the offer to times when they are most open to your offer will yield the greatest results.
Again, in order to comply with the Spam Act 2003 recipient’s of your message must have an opt-out mechanism. We recommend that every second or third offer message has an opt-out mechanism, such as our system which has ‘reply Stop to opt-out’ This allows your list to virtually self manage!!
You can send messages as often as you feel your market will bear. Too many and you will get a high rate of opt-out, too few and you will not get the optimum results possible.
If you have a well-segmented list, then you may be able to send several messages more often, because few, if any will get the same message twice because of the focus of the message.
So how do I get started?
First you need to find yourself a reliable SMS service provider who is willing to work with you to get the best results. This will include help in establishing the best competition for you, perhaps database management if you do not want to undertake it yourself, an automatic opt-out functionality, help with writing strong offer-driven messages and great customer service.
People are rarely without their mobile phone. SMS gives you the ability to communicate with your customers any time, anywhere at a cost-effective price. Effective list segmentation allows offers to be sent that meet the desires of individuals. Turnaround time from offer development to offer delivery can be measured in minutes. SMS is ideal for building customer loyalty.
About the author
Matt Eliason is Principle of PlusOne Marketing, Media, Communications.
He has 14 years experience in marketing and has been involved in SMS marketing for over ten years. He has helped national and brand name clients make the best use of SMS
Further information: www.plusone.com.au/sms