SMS Text Marketing Blog

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 11:06 — EZ Texting

Text marketing only benefits the business and the consumer when it's done well. Even when you have access to the best text marketing technology, knowing how to structure your campaign can make a huge difference in its outcome.

Following are some of the best practices for a strong, successful, and enriching campaign.

Start With a Can't-Miss Offer

Want more subscribers? Make an offer your prospects can't refuse.

A text marketing campaign only works when a company builds its subscriber list. Like email marketing, SMS marketing requires a strong audience, so give your prospects a gift in exchange for subscribing to your list.

It could be a welcome coupon, a buy-one-get-one-free promotion, or something else entirely. When you advertise your text message marketing program to customers, tell them right away why they should subscribe.

After your customers subscribe, don't give them a reason to take themselves off the list. Continue adding value to every text you send, whether it's a head's up about a new project or a holiday promotion your customers won't want to miss.

Take Advantage of Automation

One of the most beautiful aspects of a text marketing program lies in its simplicity. You don't have to remember to make phone calls, send emails, or bid on keywords. Your marketing campaign becomes seamless and automated.

If you use a text marketing service, you won't miss chances to connect with your subscribers. Plus, you can schedule messages weeks or months in advance to prepare for upcoming promotions. When used wisely, SMS marketing becomes a powerful customer-retention tool.

Encourage Subscribers to Share

Make text message marketing a social campaign.

People won't help market your business if you don't ask them to do so. That's why calls to action have become so essential in all aspects of marketing: They give the consumer a next step to take; a path to follow.

If you set up a drip campaign, for instance, you can include a shareable text message as part of your strategy. After you've hooked the consumer on your promotions, coupons, and other offers, invite them to share a benefit with their friends, such as a coupon code.

Think of it as a viral marketing strategy that never appears on YouTube or in social media posts. You're encouraging consumers to interact via SMS for the benefit of your business.

Give Your Campaign a Name

There's a reason that sports teams don't identify themselves just by their school or home town and why military organizations have names and uniforms. Names create a sense of unity and presence that you can't manufacture any other way.

Consider naming your campaign to let subscribers feel like they're part of an exclusive team. You don't have to get too witty or creative with it. A simple combination of your business's name and a unifying word will suffice, such as one of the following:

  • [Business Name] VIPs
  • Team [Business Name]
  • [Business Name] Insiders
  • [Business Name] MVPs
  • [Business Name] All Stars

You can include any word that celebrates your corporate culture and helps you market your text message program to prospects.

If you follow these best practices and sign up for free at EZ Texting, you'll build a successful text marketing campaign in no time. We can't wait to help your business establish a loyal following through the most convenient medium: SMS.

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 12:36 — EZ Texting

Nightclubs are hip, exciting, and energetic, which means that your marketing campaign needs to share those same qualities. SMS marketing offers the ideal way to connect with nightclub patrons, especially when they're already out on the town and looking for a place to eat, drink, and be merry.

Following are five no-fail nightclub marketing tips to put more groove in your strategy.

1. Embrace Location Marketing

Become the hottest spot in town.

In 2016, AdWeek's Steven Rosenblatt made several location-marketing predictions for 2017, and they all make one thing perfectly clear: location is everything. Fortunately for you, that adage can apply nicely to your nightclub marketing campaign.

Rosenblatt stated, "The consumer shift to mobile is very real and something that marketers need to optimize around in order to increase sales in a competitive landscape." What does this mean for your nightclub?

You need a mobile-first strategy. SMS marketing can provide the perfect place to start because people carry their mobile devices with them at all times. Your messages can reach them when they're away from their computers and out with friends.

2. Create a Contest

Name that beverage!

People love to compete against each other. Use SMS marketing and other marketing channels to promote a contest at your nightclub or even through your text subscribers. Perhaps you could create a trivia contest that challenges your subscribers' knowledge of mixed drinks or a naming contest for your new house cocktail. 

To get people in the door, let your subscribers know about contests you run in the club itself. Door prizes often draw big crowds of thirsty patrons, and the chance to prove their mettle will keep them in their chairs all night long.

3. Mix Up the Entertainment

Nightclubs often build their reputation on the types of music they play, the DJs they hire, and the musicians who play live on stage. This doesn't mean that you can't shake things up every once in a while.

For instance, you could host an open mic night for local comedians. Make the entertainment separate from your usual activities at the club. This strategy works well to get newcomers through your doors — people who might not have otherwise found or visited your club. Promote it through email and SMS marketing as well as fliers, social media, and other standard channels.

4. Share Mixed Media

Nothing ramps up excitement about a nightclub like photographs and videos. Share this content through SMS marketing, emails, social media, and your website to generate buzz and show off all your happy patrons.

There are several ways to incorporate mixed media into an SMS marketing campaign. You can edit mixed media to suit a special occasion, for example, such as a holiday or special promotion, effectively allowing your photo or other content to double as an advertisement.

5. Get Active on Social Media

Without a social media presence, you might find nightclub marketing difficult. People often search nightlife on social media before they visit a new city, so you can use Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to attract tourists as well as locals.

No matter your nightclub's target audience, you can use these marketing strategies to ramp up consumer interest as well as revenue. To get started with EZ Texting's SMS marketing platform, sign up for free. We love to see local businesses succeed as they build their customer base and find new ways to reach potential patrons.

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 08:00 — EZ Texting

The better you know your customers, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior, to communicate effectively with them, and to anticipate their needs.

It's sort of like friends and family. If you know someone well, you never have to wonder what she would like as a birthday present or whether you should invite him to an event. You just know.

If you want to develop that level of familiarity with your customers, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Harness the Power of Touch

Don't hesitate to step away from the computer for a few hours.

Did you know that human touch fosters trust, community, and loyalty? It's a psychological fact.

When you shake someone's hand, you create an instant connection that you can't manufacture through digital means. This doesn't mean that online marketing is ineffective; it simply means that you can incorporate in-person marketing with your text message marketing campaign.

How do you get close enough to your customers to shake hands?

  • Set up meetings with your clients to brainstorm ideas or go over project specifics.
  • Attend industry events where you can meet more people and get to know them all better.
  • Invite customers to your place of business for lunch & learns and other events.
  • Create customer appreciation days so you can meet at a designated spot.

While in-person communication might seem too time-consuming, you might be surprised by the information you glean from simple conversations. After you chat with a customer, slip away somewhere private and jot down a few notes about what you learned, so you don't forget.

2. Monitor Social Media

Social media monitoring has become an essential tool in any marketer's toolbox. While participating in social media can help you reach customers, monitoring your customers' activity will help you learn more about them.

What articles do they share? Who do they communicate with online? Which social media platforms attract them the most? What language do they use?

You can also use this strategy to monitor brand mentions. If you know your customers are talking about your company, you can glean helpful information from their feedback — even when it isn't directed to you.

3. Collect More Data

Data sounds boring, but it's essential for getting to know your customers.

Your text message marketing efforts can help you collect valuable data about your customers. How often do they respond to your messages? Do they follow through with the calls to action you provide?

Collect data through other means, as well, such as website analytics and email marketing. The more information you collect, the better you get to know your customers.

4. Create a Survey

Well-written surveys can gather copious amounts of data from your customers, but only if you encourage recipients to answer the questions honestly. Try creating a survey with open-ended questions instead of those that require simple yes/no responses.

Keep those surveys short and sweet — three to five questions max. You don't want to take up to much of your customers time, but you want real data that you can parse and apply.

Put these four strategies into motion now, so you don't waste another minute in the dark. Once you've collected more data, use it to create a text message marketing campaign that yields positive results. Sign up for free and let EZ Texting do half the work for you!

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 12:18 — EZ Texting

When someone opts out of your text marketing program, you could potentially lose a customer. You'll no longer communicate with that person via your preferred method, and you therefore risk losing contact entirely.

What's the solution? Give your prospects and customers reasons to stay connected to you via text. Use these three quick tips to discourage text marketing opt-outs and to continue growing your list.

1. Offer the Option to Resubscribe

Who hasn't made a mistake while using a smartphone? (Image via Pixabay)

Smartphones have tiny screens, which automatically makes mistakes more likely. Have you ever typed a key by mistake and failed to realize it? If so, you know that some text marketing opt-outs will happen by accident.

In this case, it makes sense to give them the option to resubscribe. If they accidentally text "N" when they mean "Y," for instance, they can automatically get back in the game and resume receiving your messages.

It's simple to add a few words to the end of each SMS you send your customers:

  • Unsubscribe by mistake? Reply with [keyword].
  • Want back in? Just reply [keyword].
  • We'd love to have you back! To rejoin, reply with [keyword].

You can experiment with different wording options to figure out which works best.

This technique can also work if someone unsubscribes on purpose, then rethinks his or her decision. We all get frustrated with the volume of messages we receive every day, and sometimes we make split-second choices that we later regret. Give your text message marketing subscribers the chance to come back to the fold.

2. Segment By Frequency

We all have different tastes when it comes to marketing consumption. One customer might want to receive a coupon or notification about new sales every day, while another might want to hear from your business just once a week or once per month.

Just as you segment your email marketing list, you can divide up your text marketing list based on the frequency of messages your customers desire. That way, you don't irritate busy consumers with texts they don't want to receive, and you don't lose touch with customers who want to hear from you more often.

Segmenting your list in other ways can also help you stop opt-outs. For instance, you might offer several services to your customers, then create an SMS texting program for each service. Based on the customer's interests, you send messages that are custom-tailored for their needs.

3. Get to the Point

Don't waste time getting to the point if you want to encourage continued patronage. (Image via Pixabay)

Your target audience has deadlines to meet, children to pick up from school, spouses to touch base with, and friends to meet for coffee. If you waste their time, they'll opt out of your text messaging program without thinking twice.

How do you escape this problem? You get to the point immediately. In the first line of your text message, clearly explain the benefit your customer will derive from reading the rest. Don't waste space with pithy plays on words or funny quips.

For instance, if you're offering a 20 percent discount on all online purchases for the day, you might start your text like this:

  • Today only! 20% off your entire online purchase.
  • Want 20% off our entire stock? It's today only.
  • Get 20% off everything for one day only.

You see the pattern. Lead with the benefit, then follow with any necessary instructions or fine print.

Text message list opt-outs can bring down business, but you might sidestep a few of those opt-outs with the tips above. If you're not getting great results with your current marketing campaign, give EZ Texting a shot. Sign up for free to experience the great results firsthand.

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 12:16 — EZ Texting

Local search can provide an excellent source of organic inbound traffic for your website. Unfortunately, many businesses don't bother to update their business listings on the web because they think it's too time-consuming or because they assume they won't reap any rewards.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

When consumers search for businesses in your industry and in your geographic location, business listings are often at the top of the search engine results. Updating your business listings will ensure that your company's name appears, too.

Search Your Industry and Location

It all starts with a simple search.

Start by compiling a list of business directories on the web. You can start with the largest, such as Google My Business, which might offer the most exposure. However, smaller business directories devoted to particular industries can also bear tremendous fruit. Create a list of the business directories that interest you most. 

Write a Business Profile

Different listing directories will ask for different information, but you want each one to remain as consistent as possible. For instance, if you live in a small town, you might want to include the closest major city as your location to make your business more likely to get found. However, you don't want conflicting information floating around the web.

Some of the most important details to put in your business listings include:

  • Hours of operation
  • Type of goods or services offered
  • Full physical address
  • Telephone number and email address
  • Directions from nearby landmarks or highways
  • Number of locations (if applicable)

Contact information remains the most important. Consumers can call if they have further questions, but if they can't find you, the listing won't offer any benefits.

Find Your Company

Locate your company or add it to the directory.

You might discover that your business already exists in directories. Web sites often scour public records and databases to find information on local companies. That doesn't mean you shouldn't update the information.

For instance, the directory might incorrectly list your business hours or give an outdated phone number.

Claim your business by following the directory's instructions. You can often do this simply by clicking a link. From there, you can fill out all available form fields.

If your company's name doesn't already appear in the directory, add it. Include as much information as possible. In some cases, you might have to wait for the website's administrators to approve your submission.

Continue to repeat this process for every business directory on your list. The more directories you tackle, the more visible your business becomes. You can also add your bsuiness's information elsewhere online, such as:

  • Industry forums, organizations, and trade associations
  • Related blogs and websites based in your geographical area
  • Local newsletters and other literature
  • Search engines devoted to your locality

It's easy to add your company to business listings, and it's an essential part of small business marketing. If you're ready to take the next step, start communicating with your customers via SMS messaging. It's another simple but effective small business marketing technique that helps you build a solid customer base.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for free.

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 12:15 — EZ Texting



Aaron Shields—a partner in The Cult Branding Company—is a lecturer, writer, researcher, and strategist that specializes in helping companies create brands that are loved by both customers and employees. 

Cult Branding created and defined the concept of "cult branding", towards the goal of creating the most effective digital marketing strategies. Could you briefly describe what "cult branding" is, and how it can help a marketing strategy? 

Although some of the work we do is related to the digital space, Cult Branding wasn’t created exclusively for it. We look at brands holistically and consider a brand the total impression a customer gets from interacting with a company; every touch point contributes towards creating what the customer perceives the brand to be. Cult Branding is applicable to the digital space but it’s just one among many areas that needs to be considered for creating powerful brands. 

The concept of Cult Branding, however, was born from the digital age. The founder of The Cult Branding Company, BJ Bueno, was involved in internet companies during the dot-com bubble and noticed that most companies failed because they never created loyal customer bases. So, he started looking into brands that had extreme loyalty—what he eventually termed Cult Brands—to understand how their loyalty could be replicated. These are brands like Harley, Star Trek, and Jimmy Buffet that have inserted themselves meaningfully into their customers’ lives in ways few brands have and turned customers into passionate evangelists that couldn’t imagine life without the brand.

Cult Brands tend to command premium prices, their customers can’t imagine buying an alternative, and they have high retention. But, more importantly, they create a mutually beneficial relationship with their customers by using the brand to fulfill the higher level needs in Maslow’s hierarchy—belonging, esteem, beauty, knowledge, and self-actualization.

In studying Cult Brands, we found seven rules they all adhere to:

  1. Differentiate: Customers want to be part of a group that’s different.
  2. Be Courageous: Cult Brand inventors show daring and determination.
  3. Promote A Lifestyle: Cult Brands sell lifestyles.
  4. Listen To Their Customers: Cult Brands genuinely listen to their customers.
  5. Support Customer Communities: Cult Brands always help create and nourish customer communities.
  6. Be Open, Inviting, And Inclusive: Cult Brands are open to anyone that wants to join.
  7. Promote Personal Freedom: Cult Brands promote personal freedom and draw power from their enemies.

These rules can be translated into strategies for companies of all types and sizes—not just ones trying to be the next Cult Brand—that are looking to cultivate increased customer loyalty.

The easiest way for a company to employ Cult Branding is to check their strategies against the seven rules. If the strategy isn’t fulfilling at least one of the rules, chances are it isn’t going to push the customer loyalty needle that far forward.

You've posted several books about digital marketing and branding on your website, including Customers First, discussing how serving your customers is the best form of marketing there is. How can SMS marketing be used in a customer-centric marketing campaign, and why is that important?

None of our books are specifically about digital marketing. But, they are all about building strong brands and organizations, and digital marketing is a very important tool in building strong brands. 

Customers First looks at a lot of the tools we’ve used to help companies build strong brands and how they translate into strategies to retain customers, turn them into evangelists, and attract new customers.

I’m a big fan of Peter Drucker. He really is in the top handful of the all-time-great business thinkers. Drucker knocked it out of the park in The Practice of Management when he wrote: “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.”

If your campaign in any medium isn’t customer-centric these days you’re ultimately going to fail. Customers only want things that are meaningful to them. And, if you’re not offering it, one of your competitors will and you’ll lose. 

Every campaign, whether it’s digital or print, has to talk to someone whether it’s your current customer or a potential customer. You can’t just talk to a statistical average. This seems like an obvious idea but so many campaigns miss the mark because of it: they try talking to everyone and end up saying nothing meaningful to anyone.

Ultimately this gets to the heart of what’s in Customers First: how to truly understand who your customers are and why they do business with you. You’d be surprised how many companies—even ones with big research budgets that should know better—are trying to go after customers that aren’t relevant to their brand.

SMS marketing can be a great customer-centric tool because of how personal it can be. The most successful SMS marketing campaigns have been highly targeted and segmented. Not every message should go to every customer; a message should only go to that segment of customers where it's relevant. SMS easily allows for this type of customization. It also allows for a high degree of personalization with each customer. It’s a potentially powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal. 

 You've also posted about another book, The Power Of Cult Branding, which investigates nine brand case studies and how their marketing and brand increased customer loyalty. What are some ways that SMS marketing could be leveraged for greater customer loyalty and, again, why does that matter in today's eCommerce?

If you’re not building loyalty, you’re eventually going to lose. 

There’s a reason outperforming CEOs are customer-obsessed: there’s no way to win in the long-term if you keep losing customers. 

If you’re thinking of how you can “leverage” a tool like SMS to create loyalty, odds are that you’ve already lost before you started. Leverage implies force and using something to your maximum advantage. Loyalty isn’t created by through one-sided strategies. Loyalty is created through strategies that are mutually beneficial to both you and your customers. 

I know this may seem like an issue of semantics, but it’s an important one, especially considering how often companies end up executing strategies that fail at creating loyalty. It’s exactly this forceful, company-centric—instead of customer-centric—type of attitude that makes loyalty strategies fail: they think about their own benefit before their customers’ benefits. And, that’s not how you create loyalty. 

Instead of thinking about leveraging a medium like SMS marketing, you first need to consider your strategy overall and in what ways it benefits your customers and how it may benefit customer segments differently. Then, think about what channels are best to deliver your message in different ways. 

A multi-channel approach to your strategy is key. The more touch points you can influence in ways that make sense, the greater the chance that you’ll achieve “stickiness” and sales. Oracle did a study that showed that customers are 43% more likely to purchase when mobile offers are part of a unified campaign. 

SMS marketing shouldn’t be treated as its own entity or a side project, which it seems like many businesses do. SMS marketing’s immediacy and personalization capabilities really make it a unique tool that should hold equal footing in a strategy that ultimately gives customers what they really want. 

Single-channel strategies are a thing of the past. 

 The third book you've discussed, Why We Talk by Bolivar J. Bueno, investigates word-of-mouth recommendations, advertising, and marketing. How can SMS marketing be used to generate word-of-mouth referrals? What are some of the main advantages of referrals and connecting with influencers?

Why We Talk holds a special place in my heart. It was the second book we published and it’s what began my career with The Cult Branding Company. BJ and I had been friends for nearly a decade when he convinced me to help him with the research for Why We Talk. I guess the rest is history at this point. 

The main premise of Why We Talk is that you have to give customers something worth talking about. It seems like a simple and obvious idea, but look at most companies’ social media posts and you see how often they try to get customer talk about meaningless things and the customers have no interest in responding.

In Why We Talk, we lay out seven principles that will make people more likely to talk about your brand or product in a positive way: 

  1. The Principle of Integrity: Don’t deceive.
  2. The Principle of Status: People share what makes them look good.
  3. The Principle of Cool: Don’t try to catch a trend; if you’re playing catchup, you’ve already missed it.
  4. The Principle of Groups: You need to influence many small groups to create a movement.
  5. The Principle of Influence: Everyone can be influential, especially on the Internet.
  6. The Principle of Meaning: People talk about what’s meaningful to them.
  7. The Principle of Surprise: People love to share what surprised them; never over-promise and under-deliver.

The unfortunate thing about generating word of mouth to the level that it has influence is that you can’t; you can only create conditions that will make it more likely to happen. The other unfortunate thing is that negative word of mouth is more likely to spread than positive word of mouth, which is why it’s so important to understand your customers and not let them down—never under-deliver. 

A big problem I’ve seen with a lot of campaigns lately is that they’ve become more obsessed with being liked and shared than generating sales; it seems like becoming viral has become more important than contributing to the bottom line. I’m a die-hard David Ogilvy fan—I think Ogilvy On Advertising is still the greatest book ever written on the subject—and agree with him on advertising campaigns: If a campaign doesn’t lead to sales, what was the point aside from the agency wanting to win a Clio?  

If you want an SMS marketing campaign to generate referrals you have to give them something worth talking about. Nobody is going to talk about a 15% discount. It isn’t meaningful. The problem is that there really is no magic formula to get people to talk; you can only create the conditions—by adhering to at least one of the seven principles—to make it more likely to happen. And, what works for one company isn’t going to work for another because their customers are different and have different things that are meaningful to them. 

The term influencer is a bit of a loaded term: everyone can influence someone. It’s true that some people have bigger platforms of influence than others but just because they have a big platform it doesn’t mean that they’ll have any influence on your customers or the ones you’re trying to target. And, you never should pay someone with a big platform of influence that’s not genuinely passionate about your brand to try to use their influence. It violates the first principle: the principle of integrity.

The reason referrals can be powerful is because they have already established trust with people and trust is one of the keys to generating word of mouth. People are more likely to believe someone they trust than someone they don’t; and they’re more likely to believe someone they trust than a company trying to sell them something. 

Gaining trust is really at the heart of a lot of what companies are trying to achieve right now. The biggest buzz word in marketing in 2017 is probably authenticity and trust is one of the key dimensions of authenticity. Genuine referrals from a trusted source have trust already built in and that trust can be transferred onto the company or product. 

 Many major corporations are heavily investing in SMS marketing, including American Express, who created an entire brand, called SmallShop and Small Business Saturday, to take advantage of this digital marketing trend. Why are major corporations so enthusiastic and optimistic about SMS marketing? What need is SMS marketing filling that traditional marketing just can't meet?

 Companies are mostly enthusiastic because of three things:

  1. Reach: SMS marketing messages have much higher open and conversion rates than email will ever achieve. The rates are so high that it’s almost impossible for anyone aware of how high they are to ignore. 
  2. Immediacy: We live in a now culture. And, text messages are the legal crack of the now culture. People have their phones on them almost every hour of the day and almost all texts are opened within a few minutes of being sent. And, with people now accessing the Internet more on mobile devices than any other device, it makes following up on the message not only easy but also natural. 
  3. Cost: Marketers have been burned too many times on expensive campaigns that don’t work. SMS marketing campaigns can be comparatively very cheap so the financial risk is lower.

The thing more marketers should be enthusiastic about is personalization. SMS marketing messages can easily be delivered in ways that are highly personal and influenced by individual customer preferences. Personalized messages are much more effective at conversion than mass-produced messages. 

SMS marketing’s ability to easily combine reach, immediacy, and personalization is what potentially can make it fill needs traditional marketing doesn’t meet. But, just because it has the potential, it doesn’t mean it does all of the time. 

People’s phones are very personal devices. Sending a mass message that isn’t relevant to a particular customer in a text has a much greater risk of having a detrimental effect on that customer than sending it via an email. This is because the SMS message is more likely to be seen, more likely to be intrusive, easier to opt-out from, and the juxtaposition of an unipersonal message on a personal device can be very off-putting. 

But, if you send a very personal, relevant message in a way that it makes it easy to follow up, SMS marketing can be very powerful because it puts the message in front of people on a device they’re already using to make a lot of their purchasing decisions.

In 2006, BMW implemented a SMS marketing campaign, culminating in 30% more conversions at the end of the fiscal year. Why is SMS marketing so effective for conversions?

Let’s break down the 2006 BMW campaign that you referenced because it’s a good illustration of several points I brought up earlier and it gets to the heart of the potential effectiveness of SMS marketing. 

For those readers that might not be familiar with the campaign: In Germany, most new cars need snow tires in October and they’re unlikely to buy them until that month. To get customers to purchase snow tires from a BMW dealer, BMW sent out an MMS campaign to customers in Munich, Germany that purchased cars in the warmer months that year—March through September—as soon as the first snow started to hit. The campaign converted 30.31% of recipients 

So, let’s break down why it was effective:

  1. Relevancy: BMW only sent the MMS to 1200 customers. These were customers that had recently purchased a car in warm months—March through September.. Snow tires were relevant to this segment because they didn’t have snow tires yet. It wouldn’t have been relevant to customers who purchased cars the year before that already owned snow tires. 
  2. Immediacy: They sent the message in October when the first snow hit. The message was sent when the customers needed the tires. If they sent it in the summer telling customer that they would need the tires in a few months, it would likely have fallen flat and people would have forgotten about the message by the time they would need the tires.
  3. Personalization: Each message showed the specific car model and color that that the customer bought with a tire that would look good on the car. In addition, it linked to an app where the customer could view different tires on their car.
  4. Ease Of Use: The MMS included the price of the suggested tire so the customer didn’t have to spend time looking for it. The app made it easy to try out more options and the app made it easy to follow up by including the option to call al local dealer or have a local dealer call the customer. 

SMS marketing is inherently effective at conversion because of its immediacy in relation to how quickly people read text messages and how much they use their phones for purchases and purchase decisions. But, it can only reach its ultimate effectiveness when it hits all the pillars that BMW did. 

 Can you share any advice or recommendations on how to increase conversions using SMS marketing? What are some of the main advantages of SMS marketing, both financially and in terms of brand recognition?

I think I’ve covered a lot of what will increase conversions in this interview so far. But I’d like to bring up two other points that will really allow marketers to maximize the effectiveness of their conversions.

First, make a customer’s choice to opt-in really worth their time. Don’t send them offers that aren’t meaningful; don’t send them offers they can get elsewhere; don’t send them offers at inconvenient times. SMS messages are very intrusive so you have to really make the offer matter if you want to keep them subscribed over the long-term. And, the long-term always should be the goal. 

Second—and this really is one of the keys to effective loyalty programs that so many companies miss—reward the behavior you seek. This is another one of those ideas that seems so obvious but one that so many people miss. I doubt there’s any company whose goal is to sell more printers at 15% off, yet so many companies offer deals and loyalty programs just like that. One of the best examples of an SMS marketing campaign that really took advantage of the idea of rewarding the behavior you seek was the Orange Wednesdays campaign. The campaign ran from 2003 to 2015 and was a partnership between the mobile company Orange and cinemas in the UK. The slow day at cinemas was on a Wednesday, so the campaign ran a two-for-one promotion just on Wednesdays. Cinemas wanted more customers on Wednesdays—not discounted tickets any day of the week—and the promotion helped get them there. 

The main financial appeal I’ve already touched on and is pretty simple: SMS marketing campaigns are relatively cheap. Brand recognition, on the other hand, is much more complex. 

A typical SMS campaign isn’t a great tool for brand recognition. The most successful SMS campaigns have been those where customers already have a high degree of brand recognition. A brand a customer is unaware of is unlikely to generate positive awareness through a text message; it’s more likely to generate annoyance. In places like the United States where opt-in is required before being contacted, generating this type of awareness is really a non-issue since customers are highly unlikely to opt-in to receiving messages from a company they know nothing or little about. 

There is a roundabout way to generate brand awareness through SMS marketing and it’s through getting existing customers talking. And, it’s exactly what Orange did for their own company through Orange Wednesdays. It provided a fun reward for its existing customers that was surprising at the time. It got people talking about the brand enough that it generated increased brand awareness.

It's a common SEO trick to use a branded message in headlines, as a kind of shorthand, to tell a reader what an article is going to be about. How might SMS marketers work branded messages into their SMS marketing, as a way to increase brand awareness and authority?

I can’t imagine why any company would deliver an unbranded message. Communication in any medium that doesn’t make it obvious what the brand is and that doesn’t express itself with the personality of the brand is just bad branding and bad marketing. At the very least—and it really is the very least since the language of the message should be on-brand too—the name of the company should be somewhere in the SMS message. 

So, I’ll take the question from the standpoint of how can you use SMS marketing as a way to increase brand awareness and brand authority.

I think I covered the awareness and recognition issue in the previous question: through generating content that is powerful and meaningful enough to get people to talk about it.

As far as brand authority, the way to develop brand authority isn’t channel-specific, so I’ll address it in the broad sense: Every message you send is either going to increase or decrease your authority; it’s never static. And, one wrong move can decrease your authority much more than one right move can increase it. 

Authority is gained by consistently providing things that are meaningful to your customers and showing them that fulfilling their needs rather than your own bottom line is your primary interest. 

I know this is a hard thing for many companies to grasp: putting customers before the bottom line. But, it really goes back to Drucker’s idea about the purpose of business being to create a customer. If you’re creating and maintaining customers profits follows. And, to create and maintain customers over the long-term, the relationship has to be mutually beneficial. 

I think one of the classic examples of building authority by putting customers first is Gary Vaynerchuk and his Wine Library TV that lasted from 2006 to 2011. He would often give bad reviews of wines his store The Wine Library carried. It made his store a trusted source where customers knew they weren’t going to be bamboozled by a salesperson selling them an inferior wine. 

It’s also one of the things that has made Amazon a go-to destination for consumers: they allow bad reviews of products they sell. 

Another great example is Zappos. If you call them and they’re out of a shoe, they’ll help you find it at a competitor’s store. They want the customer to know that they’ll always be able to get what they want when they contact Zappos.

I know not every marketer is going to be able to convince their company to allow such extreme criticism of their own products or direct sales to competitors. But there are things related to authority that are easy for any company to do through SMS. A dimension of authority is trust and a dimension of trust is caring. And, it’s very easy to show you care. This can be as simple as allowing customers to request notifications when a product ships or is delivered and following through on that request. It shows you care by being aware of customers’ desires to have their lives be easier and more efficient. 

Just like personal relationships, companies that truly care will be in customers’ lives over the long-term and companies that don’t care won’t be.

 With so many unsolicited marketing messages bombarding us, nearly every second of the day, how can the fact that users need to opt-in to receive SMS marketing be leveraged to a marketer's advantage?

Communications being opt-in only is a great thing. It ensures that you’re not wasting money trying to reach people that have no interest in what you’re selling.  

It really would be pointless to have an SMS marketing campaign that wasn’t opt-in. SMS messages are very intrusive: nobody wants to be bothered by something they are almost guaranteed to see but have no interest in.

The flip-side, however, is that consumers are very open to receiving SMS communications that they find valuable from companies that they’re interested in. 

Having customers opt-in also allows you to collect information like how and when they want to be contacted and what name they like to be called. As I mentioned before, personalization is a key to successful SMS marketing and collecting customers’ preferences during the opt-in phase can help you make your messages highly targeted and relevant. 

What are some of the best times and days to send SMS marketing messages, for different types of promotions? What are some different sorts of promotions that are useful for SMS marketing, and why?

There aren’t any times or days that are generally best in a way that would apply to all businesses. The time and day depends on the type of business, type of messaging that is being sent, and the person it is being sent to; this goes back to relevancy. There are, however, some guidelines for sending messages that are relevant to all businesses: 

  1. Don’t send messages at times you would consider intrusive. Don’t send them too early,, too late, or when you might be interrupting someone’s dinner.
  2. Don’t send messages when you aren’t open for business. People should be able to contact you immediately after the message is sent.
  3. Don’t send messages that are too long. You should stop at 160 characters since that is the cutoff for a single message from most carriers. If you go over that, the carrier might break it up in a weird way, the person’s phone could ding several times in an intrusive way, the message might get cut off, and any more than that is really too much for the medium. 
  4. The message should be time sensitive. It should be relevant to something in the immediate future.
  5. Don’t contact them too much. Two to four times a month is a good guideline. Make them count. The only exception is if you’re providing updates they requested for something like a delivery. But, even in that case, make sure the updates matter.
  6. Collect information on how customers like to be contacted when they opt-in. Customers are much better at telling you what times they want to be contacted than anyone else. You don’t have to adhere to this time 100% of the time if the particular message makes another time more relevant, but it gives you a guideline for the majority of your messaging.

The only real guideline for promotions that are best suited to SMS messaging is being time-sensitive. Beyond that, I would be doing a disservice trying to create any hard rules. 

A hallmark of The Cult Branding Company is adapting to the unique needs of the company we’re working with. Each company has unique needs and unique customers that must be considered in the context of every marketing decision. Any consultant that comes in with cookie-cutter ideas about what should and shouldn’t be done isn’t listening properly and will likely do the company a disservice. 

If marketers consider everything I’ve mentioned in this interview and apply those ideas to the unique conditions of their companies, that’s really the only way they can determine what SMS marketing promotions make the most sense for them.

Onward.

Want to learn how SMS marketing can help your brand? Sign up for free today!

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 11:23 — EZ Texting

Summer has officially arrived. Kids have fled their classrooms in favor of the beach, adults are planning their vacations, and your business might feel as empty as a tomb. 

Don't stress about summer, though. There are lots of ways to beat the summer sales slump. Following are a few strategies to try until fall.

Run a Promotion Just For Summer

Use summer as an excuse to drop your prices, and to bring in more customers.

Summer sales are all over the place between June and September, so don't miss out on the fun. Create summer sales geared toward products or services that people will find most interesting when the temperatures soar into the triple digits.

For instance, if you run a retail store, mark down your sunglasses, tank tops, sunscreen, or other products that help your customers stay safe and comfortable under the sun. Service businesses can create summer promotions that include discounts on services that their target audiences might not yet have tried.

You could also advertise a first-time customer special via SMS marketing. Let your on-the-fence prospects know that they can save money if they become a first-time customer during a limited period. Create a sense of urgency and land a new customer in one shot.

Market to Out-of-Towners

Tourists love to shop, so take advantage of their pocketbooks.

Maybe your locals have flown the coop, but what about tourists? Make sure you have your SMS marketing materials advertised on your website and in your store so tourists can sign up for text alerts and push notifications. Taking advantage of tourist traffic can increase sales when your revenues are most likely to plummet.

Cater particularly to tourists with your SMS marketing. For example, in your messages, you might include language like:

New to town? Drop by [store/restaurant/business name] for a free coupon as a welcome gift.

Attend Local Events

Get active in your community.

It's the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors, so why not join the fun? Rent a booth or table at a local event to sell your products or services. Set up signage that advertises your SMS marketing campaign, then give away promotional items, whether it's pens, sun visors, or tiny bottles of sunscreen.

While event marketing can take practice, it's well worth the effort. You can hook prospects with SMS marketing, but shake their hands first and let your personality shine through.

Pay Attention to the Back End

Roll up your sleeves and start planning for fall.

Maybe your business isn't conducive to summer traffic. That's okay. You can spend this time preparing for your next busy season instead. You might:

  • Conduct a financial audit to make sure your receipts and financial statements are ready for the next season.
  • Create marketing materials for later in the year, when you know your customers will be lining up at your door.
  • Refine your SMS marketing campaign by testing new CTAs, segmenting your prospect lists, and more.
  • Build a new product or service that you can launch during the next busy season.

Don't let the summer sales slump set you behind, even if your revenue dwindles a bit while your customers read trashy novels on the beach and go fishing on the lake. You can take this time to make sure your next busy season is your best yet.

Of course, that doesn't mean you can't keep in contact with your prospects. Use SMS marketing to remind customers that you still exist and that you're waiting for them to return. Sign up for free if you want to learn how EZ Texting makes SMS marketing simple, fun, and effective.

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 01:44 — EZ Texting

When it comes to SMS marketing, you don't have much space to convince your audience to complete an action. The CTA must deliver a quick but irresistible suggestion on which you want your reader to follow up, and you want to eliminate as many barriers to that action as possible. Try incorporating the following three elements into your next SMS marketing CTA.

1. Deliver the CTA Two Different Ways

Don't let your SMS marketing subscribers off the hook with just one CTA.

Regardless of the medium in which you're delivering your CTA, you can always mention it twice in two different ways. In his article for Mobile Marketing Engine, Greg Hickman mentions the double CTA when you're creating a CTA for a podcast or other audio mobile content, but it works just as well for SMS marketing.

For instance, let's say that you're marketing a new line of sandals for your fashion brand. You could start your SMS notification like this:

New sandals 20% off!

It sounds like a CTA, but it comes at the beginning of your pitch. Some of your recipients will see the "20% off" benefit and immediately click on your link.

At the end of the message, however, you could double-down on the CTA with a more classic statement:

Don't miss your 20% off coupon today!

You've delivered the same message twice, which ensures that your audience fully understands the benefit he or she will gain by clicking on your link or following through with your suggestion.

2. Add a Sense of Urgency

Grab your megaphone and make your CTA as loud as possible.

No, you shouldn't shout in your readers' ears, but you can give them more motivation with an urgent CTA. In other words, create a time-sensitive benefit that recipients must act on now, rather than in two days when they're bored and sifting through their messages.

Neil Patel calls it the "urgency principle." It creates a form of anxiety that millennials like to call "fear of missing out," or FOMO.

Your CTA might read something like this:

Act now! You only have until midnight to take advantage of this exclusive offer!

Urgency can also work by limiting quantities. You see this all the time on the Home Shopping Network and similar shows that run 24/7 infomercials. A prime example might look like this:

There are only six spots left, so don't miss your chance by waiting!

This strategy has the added benefit of social proof. It suggests that many of your readers' peers have already taken advantage of the opportunity. Never discount the power of FOMO.

Keep It Short and Sweet

If you want to devote more space to describing the opportunity or promotion, you can get just as many conversions by keeping your CTA sweet and to the point. Examples might include:

Buy now!

Click here!

Check out our inventory!

Don't miss out!

These familiar CTAs work well specifically for that reason: consumers recognize them. 

When you're launching your own SMS marketing campaign, try these four different CTA components using A/B testing. Which one or combination works best for your audience? Once you find the perfect CTA, you can use it over and over again — or mix it up to keep your audience on their toes.

What if you don't have an SMS marketing campaign? Don't miss out! Sign up for free to see for yourself how EZ Texting turns prospects into cash.

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 12:00 — EZ Texting

SEO, content marketing, and text marketing campaigns often leave out one key component of any successful marketing and advertising campaign: locality. If you operate your business within a specific geographic area (versus, for example, nationwide or worldwide), you must find ways to get your business found locally.

Let's run through seven quick methods for reaching local customers.

1. Put Maps Everywhere

The pin marks the spot.

These days, you can integrate maps into just about every app, website, or platform, from social media to your business's website. A map doesn't just tell your potential customers where you're located; it also helps them find directions and incorporate your location into their Sunday errands.

Have you ever tried to locate a business with no success? That's a frustration you don't want to impose on your audience.

2. Get Listed in Mobile and Local Directories

Unless you've invented a product or process that blows every other invention out of the water, you have competition. In other words, if someone searches for your business type on Google, they might find your competition first.

That's where mobile and local directories come in handy, from Google My Business to Yelp. Your listing allows customers to view several businesses on the same page and choose one based on the features or qualities they like best.

3. Optimize Your Listings

While you're at it, don't just slap a listing on Yelp and assume the business will come flooding in. Give your business listings as much attention as you would any other form of content marketing.

Optimize the title, description, and keywords for local and more general search. More importantly, return to your listings every few months to update them with new information about products, services, and more.

You can also respond to reviews to improve customer service and to help your business get found locally. The more you engage, the easier you become to find.

4. Use In-Store Signage to Promote Your Business

Marketing doesn't stop when a customer walks through the door.

Optimizing your business for local search should also include an in-store campaign. You might post signage, for instance, that encourages customers to sign up for text promotions. Collect email addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information from your customers so you can stay in touch and remind them that you exist.

5. Optimize Social Media

You might already use social media to engage your audience (and, if not, you should), but don't neglect local-centric posts. Consider letting your audience know about upcoming events related to your industry, for instance, such as a Run/Walk event next month. Talk about other businesses in the neighborhood that complement your business so you can work together to build an audience.

6. Bid on Local Keywords for Paid Search and Social

If you participate in paid search and social, don't just bid on keywords related to your industry, products, and services. Look for long-tail variations that include your city, town, or county, depending on where you live.

Not only will you pay less for those types of keywords, but you'll also present your ads to more qualified leads. In other words, a consumer who lives around the block will be more likely to visit your business than one who lives four towns over.

7. Give Neighbor Discounts

Car dealerships often use this strategy. When a customer who lives in the same zip code comes in to shop for a car, they're offered a neighbor discount, which might knock $200 or so off the final cost of the car.

You don't have to sell cars to take advantage of this marketing strategy. Build a community around your business by rewarding customers who shop locally. You'll build good will and get more people through the door.

If you're struggling to build your business locally, you can use the above strategies to rekindle interest in your business. Consider taking them a step further by giving SMS marketing a try. Sign up for free to give EZ Texting a quick spin around the block — you won't be sorry.

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 11:58 — EZ Texting

You might belong to a few customer loyalty programs. They're difficult to resist when you reach the POS counter at a store, and the cashier asks if you'd like to sign up for special promotions and discounts.

Of course, you would!

And that's why the model works. If you haven't tried this strategy for your business, here's how you get started.

1. Create a List of Benefits

Why should people sign up for your loyalty program?

A loyalty or rewards program only works if you provide tangible benefits for the consumer.

For instance, a pizza joint might offer a free pie for every ten purchases in the store. A fashion retailer could offer $10 off a purchase of $50 or more after spending a certain amount of money at the boutique.

You decide what rewards and benefits you offer, but make them too attractive to ignore.

A few examples could include:

  • Offer discounts (percentage or dollar figure) for reaching certain milestones.
  • Give members early access to discounts or products.
  • Allow members to accrue points toward prizes or coupons.
  • Assign tiers to the loyalty program and increase benefits related to the tiers (such as purchase amount milestones).
  • Create an app that only members can download.

Feel free to get creative!

Decide How to Track Memberships

Your CRM system might offer the perfect way to track loyalty program customers.

Some companies use membership cards —  these work best for brick-and-mortar stores — while others use membership numbers, email addresses, or other methods of keeping track. Whatever medium you choose, make sure it's both secure and accurate.

Consider porting the double-authentication model over from many online stores and membership sites. For instance, you might give your customers a physical membership card, which can actually increase loyalty through the tactile experience, and incorporate the customer's phone number or email address onto the card. That way, your customer can still access benefits if he or she leaves the card at home.

Deliver on Your Promises

If you don't keep the promises you make to your customers, you risk the opposite of loyalty. Your customers will realize that you don't honor your loyalty program, and they'll skip next door to your competitor.

Inform management about the details of the loyalty program, then write out a list of policies and guarantees related to the program. If possible, ask your attorney to review the document. He or she might point out vulnerabilities or missing information that could get you in trouble.

When you launch your loyalty program, make the policies available, either in a written document or brochure or as part of your website. Ask your customers to read the policies thoroughly, so they understand what benefits they get from the program.

Offer Multiple Signup Methods

Allow customers to sign up for your loyalty program via multiple mediums. In-store and online signups represent the most common options, but why not allow potential customers to sign up via SMS messaging? It's an easy way to target impulse memberships among your audience.

A loyalty program can work wonders for your brand, especially when combined with other marketing methods. If you'd like to try SMS marketing for your business, EZ Texting offers the most convenient, intuitive option available on the market today. Sign up for free and find out for yourself.

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 11:52 — EZ Texting

Communicate easily with your leads with text message marketing. 

Are you new to text message marketing? Even if you're less than tech-savvy, you need to be able to communicate with your clients who are more comfortable with technology. According to a recent Gallup poll, texting has become the primary means of communication for consumers under 50. If you're new to text message marketing, you can see that it's vital that you jump into the field, but how do you begin? 

Create a Free Account 

You want to know that your text message marketing campaign will have a strong return on investment. What better way to experiment than with a low-cost marketing program? Look for a text message marketing program that will allow you to try it out for free.

Look for a Variety of Messaging Options 

Multimedia texting can help you connect with your audience in a deeper way. Video campaigns have a strong opt-in rate, and 65% of customers tend to watch at least 3/4 of the way through a video, according to Hubspot. If you'd like to expand into video, audio, and image files, look for a text message marketing service that allows you to send regular text and multimedia messages.



Segment your audience using keywords.

Create and Segment a Contacts Database

You would segment your contacts when pursuing other marketing strategies, and you need to do the same with text message marketing. Seek out a marketing platform that will allow you to accumulate and sort your contacts, so that you can be sure that they are in different groups according to their interests. That way, you can send out targeted text messages.

Make Sure You Can Monitor Your Data 

If you choose to use a text message marketing campaign, you need monitor your data as well. This will allow you to gauge how well your campaign works, and you can make changes along the way. Look for a text message marketing platform that lets you assess the effectiveness of your campaign by monitoring data such as open rates.

Add Simple Opt-In Options 

You want to make it simple for customers to add themselves to your text message marketing campaign. Use “Click-to-Join” web widgets for your websites or social media and keywords that prospective customers text to a number to add themselves to the list. For example, a tutoring company could advertise the keyword ABCRT to those who are keen to have their children practice their writing, and they could encourage customers to text this keyword to a specific number. When customers do this, they'll be added to a list that's specifically designed for those who are interested in signing their children up for English tutoring. You can use different keywords to coordinate different campaigns, allowing you to segment your audience easily.

Are you considering the possibilities of text marketing? With EZ Texting, you don't need to be afraid to start a text message marketing program. We'll make it simple: sign up for free and see how easy it can be to connect with your audience through text-based marketing.

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:38 — EZ Texting

Labor Day is still a couple months away, but that doesn't mean you should wait until the last week of August to prepare your Labor Day promotions. In fact, you might want to start now so you're fully prepared.

Just about every business runs some type of Labor Day sale or promotion. If you want to make the most out of yours, here's how to add a little rocket fuel into the mix.

Push Seasonal Inventory

It's time to sell all those summer products.

The best promotions aren't just about generating revenue (which is great), they're also about getting rid of excess inventory (which is even better). When summer has come to an end, use your Labor Day promotions to push summer inventory that you don't want to store through the winter.

Feature summer products in your text message marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing to encourage sales. A healthy discount helps, especially since most people don't need bathing suits or pool floats in September. Include items for the next season, as well, to encourage upselling.

Add a Secondary Theme

Just because you're staging a Labor Day promotion doesn't mean you have to stick with a single theme. Many businesses find that their sales and promotions work better when they throw in a secondary theme. It helps with content marketing and consumer engagement.

A few ideas for Labor Day secondary themes might include:

  • Picnics and family outings
  • Tailgate parties
  • Back to school

Use that theme to push related items in your inventory. You could even throw in a giveaway related to your theme to draw attention and to rev up your text message marketing campaign. 

Celebrate the Working Wo(man)

Get into the spirit of the holiday by celebrating our working heroes.

While most of us use Labor Day as an excuse to shop, sell, and revel with friends, it's actually an important day that celebrates the contributions American workers have made to the economy and the country. Why not take advantage of that fact — after all, as a business owner, you're part of that very fabric.

You could run spotlights on your employees, for instance, that highlight their unique skills and contributions to your company. Alternatively, interview workers in your community and tell their stories through your marketing channels. You'll not only get great press for your Labor Day promotions, but you'll also increase brand loyalty.

Add Geographic Elements

If you run a local business, use geographic elements to promote your Labor Day sale. For instance, you could use your text message marketing campaign to let your subscribers know about local events on Labor Day. 

Many businesses run sidewalk sales, participate in community events, and even host their own events in honor of Labor Day. Use geographic keywords in your marketing campaign to generate interest from the right people.

At EZ Texting, we love a good holiday — both for celebrating and for business. If you're ready to give text message marketing a shot, or if you're struggling to implement the right program, sign up for free. You'll be amazed at the simplicity and power we've built into every nook and cranny of our technology.

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:34 — EZ Texting

Just as water drips from a spout and collects in a bucket or pail, content can drip from your company's headquarters and into the minds of consumers. That's a drip campaign.

You can use drip campaigns for email marketing, SMS marketing, and a host of other purposes. But how do you set up an effective drip campaign, no matter your budget or marketing experience?

Understanding a Drip Campaign's Purpose

Drip...drip...drip...CUSTOMER!

When you let water leak out of a faucet, you expect it to collect in a basin. Over time, the basin fills up with water, but it all starts with each individual drip.

In a drip campaign, you follow that same methodology, but with content.

The idea is to use a drip campaign to build momentum with your audience and to usher customers through the sales funnel or cycle. Your audience might be on the fence now, but a few drips later, you might have a customer on the line.

It's also a form of marketing automation. Based on a set of parameters, you decide how often the recipient gets emails, SMS marketing messages, or other communications. Your email service sends out those messages on a set schedule. You don't have to interfere.

Design Your Own Drip Campaign

You can reach your customers anywhere, at any time, using drip marketing.

Let's say you own a retail store, and you're tired of lackluster sales and poor email open rates. You decide to start an SMS marketing campaign, but you want to use the drip methodology. Here's how it works:

Collect Contact Information

Post signage in your store, send emails to your contact list, and let people know in person about your SMS marketing campaign. Tell them how to sign up, such as by texting a keyword to a specific number. The more people you tell, the larger your list will get.

Establish Triggers

You can customize your drip campaign by setting up triggers. For instance, a customer who signs up while in your store might get different messages than a customer who visits your website and signs up from there. That way, you're targeting your audience with messages that appeal to them, such as in-person versus online shoppers.

Create SMS Messages

Design your content marketing to incentivize an action. For instance, a 20 percent off coupon could easily inspire a potential customer to make a purchase. Other incentives could include a weekly sale item, a gift with purchase, or free shipping. In other words, give your recipients a reason to act on your messages.

Deliver on Promises

In a drip campaign, each message builds on the last. You're creating momentum toward a desired conclusion, such as a major purchase.

This works particularly well if you can upsell to your customers. A prospect buys something small and signs up for your text alerts. Gradually, using a drip campaign, you convince the customer that a higher-end item is worthy of his or her attention.

As long as you deliver on the promises you make, you maintain your brand reputation and instill faith and loyalty in your customers.

Experiment With Different Campaigns

Some drip campaigns are extremely simple, such as the one above. Each drip comes at a set interval, such as one week apart, as you build toward creating loyal customers.

However, you can also make your drip complex more complex using an if/then strategy, such as the one Joe Stych describes in his piece on drip marketing. For instance, you could decide how to proceed with your messages based on open rates, time on page, and other metrics that you track online.

Whatever the case, drip campaigns work particularly well with SMS marketing because of their simplicity. Consumers are more likely to notice a text message, and it's the ultimate form of permission marketing. To start your own drip campaign today, sign up for free and give EZ Texting a shot.

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:53 — EZ Texting

Marketing can sometimes feel like a solitary pursuit, no matter the size of your business. It can also become focused solely online, as though people only exist on the other side of various screens. Getting involved with your community might help provide a new perspective, shake up your business SMS marketing campaign, and introduce you to new customers.

Give Speeches

Establish your authority in your industry.

Most companies belong to industries that have trade associations, conventions, conferences, and other events. While simply attending community or industry events can help you meet more customers, speaking at them makes you even more visible.

Whether your speech lasts five minutes or two hours, it can have a positive impact on the audience. Use it to introduce something your business does to improve the community or the industry, or to describe an innovative process you've developed.

If you're thinking about speaking at an event, rehearse your speech dozens of times before the event. If you can give your speech without note cards or a written document, you'll come across as more professional and approachable.

If the event allows you to use slides or hand out literature, make your business SMS campaign center stage. Let people know how they can receive text messages from your company so you can connect with them after the event.

Pro Tip for Speeches

Start your speech by connecting with your audience. You don't have to tell a joke if it doesn't fit naturally with the subject matter, but you might tell an anecdote to which your audience will relate. If you make that connection, you'll hold their attention throughout your talk.

Volunteer as a Group

Someone in your community could use your help.

Volunteerism can elevate your company in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but it also can help you meet customers. From other volunteers to the organization itself, you make your business more visible to the public.

Ask your entire company to participate. You might all meet one Saturday every month for a couple hours to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, thrift store, or other nonprofit. Use it for team building as well as for connecting with prospective customers.

Always bring your business card with information about your company on it. Include your contact information as well as instructions for receiving SMS alerts from your firm.

Pro Tip for Volunteering

More of your staff might participate in volunteerism if you let them have a say in the cause. Take a survey or poll, for instance, and choose the cause about which most of your staff feels passionate. Alternatively, if you have a small business, consider alternating who chooses the cause every week or month.

Start a Scholarship Fund

Everyone deserves an education.

You can derive three specific benefits from starting a scholarship fund:

  • Talent: Help create the next generation of talent that might contribute to your company's success.
  • Community: Show that you're willing to help young people get their education, which could earn your company good will and help you meet more customers.
  • Visibility: People talk about scholarship funds. Your brand visibility might spike as a result.

Consider creating a scholarship fund that's specific to your business or industry. For instance, if you run a retail clothing store, you might start a scholarship for future fashion designers, buyers, or small business owners.

Pro Tip for Scholarship Funds

Hold a formal ceremony when you award the scholarship each year. It's yet another way to reach out to your community, to celebrate young talent, and to meet more customers.

In business, SMS marketing and other forms of digital marketing have become the norm. However, the benefits of online campaigns don't negate the advantages of getting involved in your community. Sign up for free to take advantage of EZ Texting's SMS marketing services while you reach out to people in the real world.

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:48 — EZ Texting

You have enough items to fill up your to-do list, and sometimes marketing can feel like a full-time job all on its own. When you're crunched for time, you can market your business using these fast strategies.

Schedule Social Media Posts in Advance

It's crunch time, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Social media can consume hours upon hours of your time, but there are apps to help you control your social media marketing more effectively. Schedule tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram stories, and other social media content up to a month in advance, so you don't have to worry about it on a daily basis.

You can also use these apps to automate your content promotion via social media. Using a template, the service will notify your audience about new content on your blog or other online properties as soon as you hit the "publish" button. Automation makes marketing faster and less cumbersome.

Best Social Media Scheduling Apps

Some of the most well-reviewed social media management apps include Hootsuite, Buffer, and Social Oomph. All three services offer both free and paid versions. Try out the free options to see if they'll work for you before upgrading to a premium account.

Keep in Contact With Customers Via Text

Smartphones have become your customers' constant companions.

You can also automate text message marketing. Customers sign up to get your SMS messages, and you can control when and why they receive notifications from you. Instead of sending out cumbersome emails that may get deleted, let your customers know about sales, promotions, and other exciting events via text.

Text messages are less irritating than emails because they're easier to manage, but they're also harder to ignore. The customer sees the message pop up on his or her screen and can decide to interact with it right then and there. Services like EZ Texting make text message marketing not only quick and easy but also affordable.

Best Ways to Promote Text Message Marketing

Let people know about your text message marketing promotion online as well as in your store, if applicable. You can also mention it as part of your email marketing campaign, or you might even pass out flyers when you meet people at industry events.

Outsource Your Content

Content takes time and energy to create...unless you outsource.

From blog posts and infographics to product descriptions and email messages, content can prove extremely time-consuming. If you outsource these tasks, however, you can focus on other aspects of your business while someone else creates content in the background.

You might hire a media agency, freelancer, or other content marketing company to create your content. Provide as much information about your brand as possible, and assign one of your team members to manage your content marketing.

Best Ways to Manage Outsourced Content

Outsourcing your content marketing can seem scary because you're putting your brand into someone else's hands. To speed up the process and to ensure good results, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Clearly outline your expectations for each piece of content.
  • Provide any relevant information about target keywords, subject matter preferences, and style preferences.
  • Choose a marketing agency that handles everything, from ideation to editing, to reduce its impact on your schedule even further.

From text message marketing to email blasts, your marketing campaign doesn't have to consume every minute of your day. Use the above tips to create a marketing plan that works for you instead of against you. If you haven't tried SMS marketing yet, sign up for free and learn why EZ Texting customers rave about the service's simplicity, affordability, and ROI.

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:28 — EZ Texting

What if you could steadily increase your text subscribers into the thousands and tens of thousands and beyond? How would that affect your business and its future growth and profit potential?

You may have heard the old internet adage, “the money is in the list.” This phrase refers to an email marketing list, but since texts are opened by 99% of recipients, compared to about 17-25% on average for emails, there is definitely a new premier "list" in town. And there's more than one way to use it to generate customer engagement and sales.   

The Benefits of a Large Subscriber List

A robust SMS marketing list is a valuable asset for your small business; it can provide a veritable influx of leads and steady profits if you know how to leverage it correctly. 

Text marketing offers so many benefits to growing businesses.  Here are a few of the top benefits you can expect:

Direct communication

Have you ever left your house without your phone? It’s not common to be without our phones in our current fast-paced, immediate-gratification world. In fact, many people keep their mobile phones by them 24-7. 

Outside of verbal conversations, text messaging is as direct as businesses can get with their customer communication. The messaging is immediate and since recipients carry their phones with them, they will receive the messages more readily than other forms of communication.  

Your customers are receiving your messages

Though email is still a powerful way to market to prospects, SMS marketing messages have a much higher open rate at 99 percent. The reason is that most people text daily for personal reasons so you are targeting them where they spend a lot of their time, writing and waiting to receive text messages. 

Increased awareness

Since 99% of people open text messages, why not use your text marketing campaigns to increase awareness for your brand? Whether you are running a promotion, a special event, or a discount sale, use text messaging to get your messages across to a larger pool of potential buyers.

Photography agency, A&A Video/NICO Photo, uses SMS text messaging to alert its leads as to when they will be attending wedding shows. This further connects the brand with its leads and also keeps it top of mind with potential customers. The brand has received a good response and their business has grown as a result of using SMS marketing. 

How to Grow Your List

To receive the many benefits of your text marketing program, you need a sizable list. 

The good news is that it’s not that difficult to grow your list if you use the right strategies and take advantage of every opportunity to get your program in front of potential subscribers. And one of the easiest ways to grow your list is to cross-promote and piggyback off your current marketing strategies.

The list below details some ways you can cross-promote your text marketing program. 

Social mentions

Integrate your SMS marketing campaign with all of your social marketing profiles. Create calls to action to join your list and post them on each social network. A call to action is simply a message that urges people to take some kind of action.

A call to action for someone to join your text marketing program may look something like this:
Text GETDISCOUNT to 12345 to get $15 off your next purchase!

Images get the most engagement on social media platforms so add your call to action message to an image background and include all pertinent information a subscriber needs to join your text list. Use image-creating programs such as Canva, Pablo, and Picmonkey to easily create professional images. No graphic design experience required.

If you have a landing page (single website page designed for a specific purpose) that promotes your text marketing list, link to your landing page from your social profiles. If you want to create a landing page to promote your text marketing campaign, you can do so easily with a program such as LeadPages

Email newsletter or emails 

If you have an email list and you send regular emails, add a call to action to the bottom of your emails for people to join your text marketing program.

You can also send single emails periodically that only promote your text marketing program. Spread out these promotional text emails so you don’t overwhelm your list with promotions. Sending them once a month is a good place to start as long as you don’t have a lot of other company promotions going on at the same time. Avoid overwhelming your list with multiple promotions.

Provide an incentive or a special deal to subscribers to encourage signups. One strategy is to piggyback these text subscriber incentives with company-wide promotions. Offer text subscribers a better deal than what you are offering everyone else if they join your text marketing program. People love exclusive discounts and these promotions will urge them to take action. Consider running sweepstakes and contests as well since people love the chance to win free gifts.

And wherever you offer an incentive to join your text marketing program, include the benefits subscribers will receive. This will increase conversions.

Website

Add a call to action to your website via a sign-up form. Prompt users to enter their phone number to opt-in. On your sign up form, provide the benefits subscribers can expect when joining your SMS marketing campaign. 

Print advertisements

Add a call to action on all printed media advertisements, preferably at the top and the bottom for maximum visibility.  

TIP: If your advertisement promotes an exclusive offer, it may not be a good strategy to add a call to action for your text marketing campaign so you do not dilute your core advertising message. Otherwise, use every opportunity to increase text subscribers.

Event announcements 

If you hold public events, mention your campaign in person. Add calls to action to event flyers and paraphernalia.

Flyers and internal media

Use every square inch of your store to promote your text marketing program. Add calls to action to your checkout process by printing them on paper receipts, on internal flyers or on in-store or external window signage. 

Have a clothing store? Add signs to dressing room walls. Run an eatery? Add calls to action to menus and tabletop pamphlets. Promote special in-store discount codes as an incentive for people to become subscribers. Use every opportunity to promote your campaign.

Audio / video media

Run a podcast? Shoot YouTube videos? Add calls to action to your visual and audio media. 

If you run radio advertising or podcasts, toward the end of your advertisement, give listeners an incentive and an easy way to subscribe. Use a clever keyword they can remember (ex: RADIODEAL) since they won’t have the message in front of them.

Promote your text marketing campaigns during and at the end of your videos. Use YouTube end screens and cards to add text and clickable spots in your videos. 

If you want a more detailed checklist of these categories and where you can add a call to action to grow your text list, download our free text marketing strategies checklist here.

Wait! Before You Begin…

Make every text message work as hard as it can as you grow your list! To do this effectively, before you start promoting your SMS marketing program, read and apply these few tips below: 

Messaging 101

Practice promotional message consistency. For example, if you are running a 20% off promo for Black Friday and blasting it to your email list, use similar messaging in your texts so users will recognize the promotion wherever you are marketing it. However, avoid using recycled messages for subsequent promotions. Your goal is to make your valued subscribers feel special. So, once Valentine’s Day rolls around, don’t re-hash the same promotional message from Black Friday. Change up your messaging so that it is unique from your last promotion but remains consistent with your business-wide messaging for that specific promotion.

Incentives

As mentioned before, offering incentives is key to increasing sign ups to your SMS marketing list. Subscribers need to know they will benefit from you sending them periodic text messages. Otherwise, they will not want to be bothered. 

Also, create an incentive that provides maximum value. Some companies' incentives include simply getting company updates, but this isn’t always effective unless your updates regularly include incentives. 

One other tip is to make your incentive exclusive by offering a special discount or promotion for only your subscribers who sign up. This will increase sign ups because people will feel “special.” 

Call-to-action wording

Keep your text message calls to action simple, clear, and to the point. You only have 160 characters to make an impact so make every word count!

Here is an example of a poor call-to-action message along with an improved version. 

Example #1: Text DISCOUNT to 12345 to get a 20% off discount in our store
Example #2: Text MYDEAL to 12345 to get 20% off your entire next purchase!

The first example is mediocre as it doesn’t generate excitement and it is rather bland. In the second example, we made the keyword more compelling and personal by using “my” (MYDEAL) and used the word “entire” so recipients know that the discount code can be applied to more than one item (specificity). We also added an exclamation point for emphasis.

Your audience may prefer one text style over another so try different messages and see how each one fares. But, remember to keep the message as specific and clear as possible and include a little excitement if the message calls for it.

Conclusion

With a little strategy and a clear call to action, you can grow your text marketing list and ultimately your business profits. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, take advantage of the marketing strategies you are already using and cross-promote to get more text subscribers. When creating your messaging, remember to provide a simple and specific clear call to action backed by an incentive to increase the chance of signups.

If you want to get started with text marketing or you are looking for a provider that is dedicated to helping you succeed, you can sign up for free here with no long-term commitment required. You will receive 250 free texts a month, one free Ez keyword and unlimited contacts. Take us for a test spin today and get the most out of your text marketing campaign.

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:22 — EZ Texting
Reconnect with your customers by using text messages in an intentional, sensible way.

You spend so much time trying to bring new customers in the door, whether that door is a real one or the sales page of a website. Once those customers have been with you for a while, it's easy to assume that they'll always come back. However, if you stop paying attention to your customers, they'll stop paying attention to you as well. Text message marketing can be a valuable tool to market for customer retention: here's how to use it well. 

1. Make Their Presence an Invitation 

Are your customers in your store or on your website? Congratulations: you have customer engagement. Or do you? Enhance your engagement by inviting your customers to connect with you via text. Whether you place an invitation to text on a napkin in a restaurant or you use a social media message to get your customers to text now for a special offer code, you can use text to encourage your customers to opt into further engagement while they're already interacting with your brand. 

2.  Send Them a Reminder 

Have you ever gotten a reminder that you're overdue for an oil change or a medical exam? These key appointments are ones that you might book on a relatively regular basis, but what about other products? You can send out text messages to prompt your customers to visit and buy at certain times of the year or at specific intervals. 

Make these reminders valuable. A home supply business in a hurricane-prone area could send out a text reminding customers to get ready and letting them know that there's a discount available on key supplies. Don't be a nag: be a helpful inspiration instead. 

3. Make Your Customers' Lives Easier 

Modern life is busy, and you want to make your customers' lives easier, not more cluttered. Instead of just providing a reminder, give your customers a reminder with something of value, such as a coupon. For instance, if you have a sale on t-shirts, you could provide a scannable coupon or code that customers can simply show in the store. They don't need to print or remember anything, and you've just made their lives a little easier - and less expensive.

Remind your customers to come in for annual appointments or to complete essential paperwork.

4. If There's a Process, Should You Automate It? 

Is your sales process a lengthy one? Perhaps you rely on your customers to sign up and then come back to sign additional forms or to renew a product every year. If you're an insurance agency, bank, or another business that must have customers return to complete a single transaction, you can use text messages to simplify ongoig communications. Focus your attention on providing your customers with a smooth process, valuable information and offers rather than trying to remember to make phone calls, send emails, or remind them with texts.

5. Celebrate Your Customers 

Is it your customer's birthday? Are you celebrating a year of your vendor-customer relationship? Use text messages to celebrate your customers and draw them into your store for a discount that's designed just for them. 

At EZ Texting, we're here to support your text marketing efforts. Talk with your customers and draw them into your business again and again. Learn more about the ways in which text marketing can invigorate your business and consistently renew your relationships with customers. Want to learn more? Sign up for free today.

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 08:39 — EZ Texting

If you don't have a website for your business, you might feel paralyzed by the myriad choices available to you. However, delaying your website launch could cost your customers, so it's time to put your fears aside and start building the best possible website for small business marketing.

Review Your Other Literature

A business website should reflect your brand culture and messaging.

Before you build a website, look at the other literature and marketing materials you've used. For instance, maybe you use SMS marketing to connect directly with your customers. What type of language do you use in your texts?

Keep your marketing messages consistent so you don't confuse your customers. If your brochures and emails exude a light, frothy appeal, you don't want to create a buttoned-down, conservative website.

While you might already use other marketing materials, you can't neglect a website. It's often the first point of contact with a customer. Consider hiring a professional to design it, as well. Studies show that when consumers visit websites, 94 percent of them cite design as a major factor in their first impressions.

Choose the Back End Providers

To create a successful website for small business marketing, you need a domain name, content marketing system (CMS), and web host. You can buy your domain at the same time you sign up for a hosting package or perform the two tasks separately.

Once you select and reserve a domain name and sign up for web hosting, decide how you'll build the site. Consider using one of the nine most popular free CMS options so you don't add any other expenses to your overhead. WordPress, in particular, proves easy to use.

Create Your Content

It's time to put words on the page.

An empty website is just as useless as no website at all. You must populate your website's pages with actionable, persuasive content that complements your text marketing while creating a separate touchpoint for your customers and potential customers.

Some of the essential pages to add to a website include the following:

  • Home Page: Introduce your brand, products, or services, preferably with images, video, and other graphic media.
  • About Page: Let visitors know who you are, what you do, and why you're the best fit for their needs.
  • Product/Service Pages: Each product or service you offer deserves its own page. Provide in-depth descriptions of each one as well as appropriate imagery.
  • Contact Page: Don't leave your visitors confused about how to get in touch. In addition to the contact page, add your phone number and email address to the top or bottom of every page on your site.

You might also dedicate pages to e-commerce, FAQs, blog articles, and more. Let your website grow organically as you figure out what your customers want and how they use your site.

Small business marketing involves multiple channels, from text marketing to website content. If you're ready to launch a website and use it to promote your SMS texting program, we're here to help. Sign up for free to learn how EZ Texting makes small business marketing a breeze.

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 08:31 — EZ Texting

It's a simple reminder, but it can feel awkward. What happens when a customer has not paid off their balance owed? When you need to collect money from customers, text messaging can be a pain-free way to connect with and remind them. If you get stressed by the idea of collections, you can simplify your collections process with text messaging.

Automate Your Collections 

Are you using the phone to call customers who are late with their payments? Are you trying to track down people whose credit cards have expired, only to leave message after message? Calling people takes staff time, and you want to put that time into improving your business. By sending out automatic and automated text messages, you save the time that you'd otherwise spend creating individual emails or making multiple phone calls. You can set up a payment reminder to occur at specific intervals instead.

Use the Appropriate Technology 

The times are changing. Millennials find phone calls disruptive, and they prefer to ignore the phone when at all possible. However, texting is very prevalent, allowing you to reach a large audience. It's personal, but it's not overly intrusive. SMS marketing allows you to reach your customers successfully through the communication method that they use the most.

Get Noticed 

If your customers are behind on payments, they are even more likely to ignore the phone and delete your emails. However, they don't tend to ignore their text messages. Eighty-two percent of text messages are opened, while only about 20% of emails are opened. Combine your payment reminders with other valuable text message content, such as coupons and targeted sales reminders, and you'll encourage your customers to continue opening your texts and engaging with your business.

Connect more personally with your customers rather than using automated phone calls.

Text Messaging Builds a Customer Relationship 

Millennials, in particular, value customized service, but all of your customers will appreciate a personal touch, even at collections time. Build a stronger customer relationship with text messages that are friendly, personal, and less intrusive.

Get a High Return on Investment

Sending out a text message or starting an SMS marketing campaign has a low overhead. It's less expensive than having an employee spend hours on the phone making collections calls. While it may not get everyone to come in and pay their overdue bills, neither will phone calls or emails. Text messaging is very convenient for businesses to use, and that campaign will pay for itself easily. 

Are you curious to learn how text message marketing can improve your customer relationships and make your business life easier? Try EZTexting and see how it transforms your business: sign up for free today.

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 13:55 — EZ Texting

Father's Day is just around the corner, which means that you're facing a unique way to target your customers. Incorporate the following special promotions into your text marketing and content marketing efforts to see massive returns.

1. Share Stories About Fathers

Don't be afraid to get personal with your Father's Day promotions.

Invite your audience to share their favorite stories about their fathers. They might send them in via social media, blog comments, or a text message marketing campaign, depending on the stories' length and your preferences. Highlight some of the most special submissions you receive on your blog.

Hitting emotional notes with your marketing can help you reach a diverse audience. In addition to sharing stories about fathers, you might send out helpful reminders as part of your SMS marketing campaign so kids don't forget to tell their fathers how much they're loved — and pick out an appropriate gift, of course.

2. Run a Contest

Contests work particularly well with SMS marketing. Participants can text a specific word to the number you're using to enter in the sweepstakes. You might pick a random number out of a digital hat and send the grand prize winner (or however many winners you want) a prize that they can give to their father on Father's Day.

The great thing about contests is that they often spread. Readers share the contest with their friends and loved ones, which means that you get more brand exposure. Even though you have to part with some merchandise without receiving a cash payment, you get compensated in the form of more interest in your company.

3. Write a Gift Guide

What should this little girl get her superhero for Father's Day?

Gift guides can work well for Father's Day promotions, but make sure you don't just include your own products. People will share your gift guide more if you spread the love and include links to other products that dads might enjoy — just avoid your direct competitors.

For instance, if you run a tech store, you could list a few gadgets to an online gift guide on your blog, but add a barbecue set from a big box store or a card from Hallmark as part of your suggestions. For even better performance, add a coupon at the end of your gift guide. More people will take advantage of your branded suggestions.

4. Personalize Father's Day Gifts

If possible, offer to personalize gifts that people order for their fathers this year. It could be as simple as a personalized note written on plain cardstock, or you could get fancier by engraving the recipient's name on the product. It depends on the type of business you run.

Adding a personalized note can make the gift feel even more special, and it creates an emotional connection with both the customer and the recipient. You can also charge more for this service to cover your overhead expenses so that it won't cost you anything extra except time.

What are your plans this Father's Day? How will you use SMS marketing to engage fathers, sons, and daughters? If you're not using text marketing yet, sign up for free and test your first campaign over Father's Day weekend.