5 Creative Ways to Use Text Messages in Marketing
The mobile marketing category is this year’s red-hot topic. Of course, for some businesses mobile and text messages (SMS) are synonymous – and not always in a good way.
Anyone that has received a spam text message may view that evil activity as the only use of SMS and that would be a shame. The use of text messaging has skyrocketed. People now use it for basic one to one communication far more frequently than the telephone and this behavior calls for expanded thinking around the topic in general.
SMS may never really be that effective as a pure lead generation tool, like email or direct mail, but it is a very effective and convenient delivery mechanism for customers and prospects seeking specific actions and information. View it in that light and perhaps some creative uses leap to mind.
Using short code technology, a feature that allows users to text a word to a specific number to receive information, you can allow people to sign-up to your email newsletter. I like this approach because you can put the code on a business card or slide when speaking and make it very easy for people to subscribe with their phone on the spot.
The beauty of this approach is that you can marry mobile technology with your already established email technology and offline tactics and you create a marketing lead without the need to ever send another text to the lead. I’ve used EZTexting for this application
Real time appointments
Services such as salons, dentists and even restaurants can use text to fill gaps in the appointment schedule and offer busy customers the ability to come in now if it works.
This would certainly work for home service providers such as plumbers and window cleaners too. Imagine getting a text saying we could be at your home in thirty minutes.
You could also flip this around and send out a list of open times and let people pick one. A service like Mobivity is very easy to set up for this type of use.
Share your slides
I speak to lots of groups and without fail someone always asks if I’ll share my slides. I have no problem doing this, so I’ve started to set up a short code word for each event and I simply say text “event name” to the code and people get a message that allows them to download the slides on the spot while I’m standing up there in front of them. On top of convenience this still offers up a bit of wow factor for participants.
I’ve also used to this approach to gather instant feedback on a presentation by asking participants to text their thoughts on the event to a short code. TxtWire is another simple service that is very small business friendly
If you’ve ever attended a workshop or seminar that features polling hardware you know how cool it can be for a presenter to ask a question and then have the audience click their handheld controller to vote or make a choice.
The problem is that all those little RF keypads, receiver and software to integrate with your slides can add up to lots of bucks.
A number of web based technologies such as Poll Everywhere have cropped up of late making it very affordable to poll audiences by having them use SMS and their own mobile device.
You ask a question and then offer the responses via short code and watch the results populate your PowerPoint slide. For an event, this technology requires that there is a web connection available, but you can also use this in print or other environments to collect data.
Creating membership type levels where people can get special treatment or special announcements is a great way to build community.
You can use SMS to allow people to join your “first mover” club and then routinely send them coupons, gift certificates, special previews, and advanced education and information only available to club members.
You can also simply set up codes where people can request this week’s hot deal or special coupon. A tool like CellIt is a good place to learn more.
Bonus: Group Text
Don’t forget about the wave of group text services that are cropping up as a great way to communicate with your staff, customers, partners and suppliers. The key feature these services offer is that the group text becomes a conversation for all and most allow you to go beyond to text and add images (MMS).
You can create open groups that anyone can join, but I think the real power is in the private, controlled group. I’ve been using GroupMe and think it works well.