SMS Text Marketing Blog

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:29 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

When it comes to customer service, people want -- and expect -- businesses to make it easy for them to reach out. About 82 percent of responders of a survey believe that there needs to be an easy way for customers to communicate with businesses. For many, that way is text message marketing.


With texts, people can handle customer service issues from anywhere.

In fact, over half of consumers prefer using text messaging for customer service than other channels. Therefore, it is essential that you include a component of service into your SMS marketing campaign. There are many ways to do so, and a few factors you must include.

Alerts and Reminders

Some of the easiest forms of customer service messages are alerts and reminders. Businesses in the healthcare or service industry can send out appointment reminders. This not only benefits customers, as they do not forget, but it also helps your bottom line by reducing no-show appointments. Businesses with events, including sales, also benefit from sending out reminders to customers.

The beauty of text message marketing is that it is perfect for last-minute reminders. Most people open texts within just a few minutes of receipt. Plus, a whopping 98 percent of texts are actually opened. Therefore, you can almost guarantee that people will see your message, and you can send them closer to the event or appointment to reduce the chance that customers will still forget.

Two-Way Communication

Text message marketing is not just about sending messages out to customers; it is also a way for customers to send messages to you. This is great for customer service inquiries. People can send a message to a dedicated number with their problem or inquiry. You can have live customer service agents who will discuss the matter via text, responding back and forth until it is resolved. Alternatively, they can send a particular keyword, such as SERVICE, to your number and get an automated response with ways to handle a problem.

Customer like the ability to text customers with customer service issues. This is because it can be handled from anywhere. As soon as they realize they need help, they can communicate with you. Customers do not need to be somewhere with internet service. Plus, they typically will have their phone with them. Even if they are busy, they can often send out a text.

Chatbots and Automated Messages


Chatbots make it even easier to handle multiple customer service inquiries.

Many text message marketing platforms integrate automated messages, and some are adding chatbots. This makes it easy to expand your customer service via text. You can set up keywords that match some of the most common inquiries or troubleshooting issues about which customers will contact you. Then, you create an automated response with tips on how to solve it or a link to a website that answers the question.

Chatbots can take this a step further. They integrate AI technology so that they can respond to the customer similar to a real person. They can handle customer service through text message without you having to hire customer service agents.

Transactional Messages

You can also use your text marketing campaign to handle your transactional messages. Rather than sending out an email or have an app with alerts, you simply send out an automated message when someone places an order, something is shipped, or when there is a delivery. One key area of customer service is that you offer choices to customers. Therefore, adding texting for transactional messages gives customers one more preference.

Best Practices


Bear in mind some key factors when implementing your program.

When you integrate your text message marketing campaign into your customer service department, there are a few key best practices to follow:

  • Offer choices
  • Service first
  • Think like a customer
  • Make it easy
  • Remain professional
  • Do not go over 160 characters
  • Provide value
  • Integrate across channels

Ultimately, you want to create something that goes above and beyond to provide service and value to customers. It needs to meet and even exceed the expectations that customers have for optimal customer service.

Just because you are using a tool that only involves 160 characters does not mean that you are not able to continue to provide excellent customer service. You just need to adjust how you develop your responses so that they continue to adhere to your brand voice and style while adhering to the parameters of the medium.

Sign up for free and get started with a text-based customer service option.

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:26 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

SMS marketing is poised to have one of its best years. Many marketing experts are projecting record years for texting adoption, and they predict by 2025, about half of text messages will be from businesses to consumers. So now is the perfect time to adopt texting, if you have not done so already.

As with any marketing strategy, there are constant changes that need to be adopted into the campaign strategies over time. This year is no different. So, what should you expect to see emerging as the top strategies for 2017 in text message marketing? Read on to find out, as well as some tips on how to incorporate them.

Customer Service: People are turning increasingly to texting for customer service solutions.

Automation: Chatbots and AI tech will change the way we use automated messages.

Social engagement: Texting is poised to pass social media for some aspects of marketing. Find ways to integrate the two channels.

Local advertising: Texting works very well for local advertising solutions.

Mobile first: More people are turning to their mobile devices to access the internet. Discover how texting fits in.

Multi-channel marketing: Develop a seamless integration of all your marketing platforms, including texting, for an enhanced user experience.

Time-Tested strategies: Just because there are changes doesn't mean you need to completely give up everything you've done before.

 
Customer Service

Customer service has already been an important component of any SMS marketing strategy. There are many ways to implement it:

  • In store keywords for help
  • Two-way communication via text
  • Inquiries and requests handled via text
  • Transactional messages
  • Better engagement and customer experience


Texting gives you a great way to provide superior customer service.

If you do not have some level of customer service in your SMS marketing strategy, 2017 is the year to do so. The majority of customers want to utilize this platform as a way to engage with businesses and handle customer service issues, including troubleshooting problems or asking questions.

When developing your customer service strategy, keep your focus on the customer experience. You want to make it easy for customers to interact with you, whether they have a simple question or a larger problem. It should be a positive experience so that the customer walks away feeling satisfied.

Ready to take your customer service strategy to the next level? Look for chatbots to make their way to the testing environment in the near future. Chat bots utilize artificial intelligence to interact with customers in a way similar to another person. They can handle many different components of customer service:

Inquiries

 

  • Handling problems
  • Providing solutions
  • Assisting with sales
  • Setting up appointments
  • Handling payments
  • Automation

    Another emerging trend for SMS marketing is automation. You already have some automation in your texting campaign, namely the response messages to your keywords. There are many ways to include automation into your campaign:

    • Chatbots
    • Customer service
    • Keyword response
    • Drip campaigns
    • Scheduled campaigns
    • Birthday/anniversary messages
    • Repeat campaigns
    • Follow up messages

    What type of automation strategy do you have in place for your campaign? To take full advantage of your campaign, it is best to have more than your confirmation message after someone sends a keyword to opt-in to your program.

    When you create your automation strategy, you will incorporate similar concepts to any marketing strategy:

    • Develop an objective
    • Focus on targeted content
    • Schedule timely messages

    The beauty with automation is that you can set it up once and then it can keep one part of your program going for a long period of time. It is perfect for drip campaigns since it will continue to hit leads at certain times to keep them engaged and interested, moving them forward towards conversion and repeat business.

    Social Engagement

    Another important strategy to include with your SMS marketing program is incorporating social engagement. People more and more turn toward text messaging as a way to communicate with friends, family members, businesses and many other people. You want to infuse your campaign with parts of this social component to reach your customers on a more intimate level.

    Text messaging is innately more intimate since you are sending messages to people on their cell phones in a similar manner to their friends and family. Just like social media marketing promises the ability to have your information right next to that of your customers' social network on their feeds, you have a similar place in their message inbox.


    Bring social interaction into your texting campaigns.

    Therefore, you want to take advantage of this situation for more social engagement. Now, it is unlikely that you will interact with every texting subscriber on a one-to-one basis. However, you can leverage your content to have a more friendly and intimate feel to it to get people to start seeing your brand as their friend.

    Additionally, you can utilize your social media profiles to support your texting program and vice versa. This also helps you to cross promote your channels and hit people on multiple levels through different channels.

    When you create more social engagement messages with your texting campaign strategy, there are some key rules you should follow:

    • Remain professional
    • Infuse some humor
    • Avoid text speak and abbreviations
    • Connect emotionally
    • Provide value
    • Remain relevant
    • Personalize messages

    Your social content in your texting campaign will be similar to that in your social media posts. You will find ways to connect with customers beyond simply selling them something or providing values and deals. However, ultimately you will remain a professional business that simply relates on a more personal level.

    Local Advertisement

    SMS marketing provides a key component to local advertising efforts. If you have not yet taken advantage of this component of your program, then be sure to do so. Promote your business in your local newspaper, on community radio, with geo-targeted ads and more. Include texting as your call to action. Then, when customers see the ads, they can text a keyword to opt in and receive more information about your business.

    This works very well for when people are already out shopping or looking for a restaurant. When they see your information, they can act and get an immediate response. Even if they are already in your store, they can take advantage of an offer for signing up for your texting program.

    This not only improves your overall business, it also gains you a larger following. Once you have people subscribed to your text marketing messages, then you have a chance to continually engage with them until they become repeat customers.

    Mobile-First

    A key marketing strategy for 2017 is to take a mobile-first approach. Mobile devices are quickly surpassing computers as they way that people engage with the internet, including searching for businesses and shopping. Therefore, you need to not just have a mobile-friendly platform but one that has a mobile-first concept.

    Your SMS marketing program fits well into this mobile-first strategy. People will have their phones with them at all times, so they can easily opt-in to your campaign and take action when they get your message. Additionally, they can redeem coupons in-store more easily, since they already will have their phone.

    To prepare for a full mobile-first strategy, you also need to make your website mobile friendly. Then, when you send out links to your texting campaign, any landing pages are already mobile friendly for a seamless transition from text to online shopping.

    Multi-Channel Marketing

    Speaking of seamlessly transitioning platforms, another key marketing strategy for 2017 is that you have a true omni or multi-channel marketing experience for customers. This means that they can go from one platform and/or device to another with ease. If they have looked at buying an item on their phone and then visit your site a few hours later on their tablet, your site remembers and retains the items in their cart.

    So, how dos your texting campaign fit into this multi-channel marketing strategy? Well, it is one platform among many through which you interact with customers. You need to incorporate the data from this channel with the data you have from your other channels. This provides you with a fuller picture of each customer. Plus, you avoid oversaturating the customers with interactions because you can easily keep track of when they received messages from you across different platforms.

    Time-Tested Strategies


    When incorporating these new strategies, don't forget the time-tested ones.

    Although there are many key changes to marketing strategies for 2017, there are still some time-tested SMS marketing strategies that you should keep in place for the coming year:

    • Customer first approach
    • Provide value
    • Offer incentives
    • Remain respectful
    • Limit your messages to 2 to 4 per month
    • Be timely
    • Personalize your messages
    • Choose the right keyword
    • Create a strong CTA

    This might seem like a lot of strategies that you need to utilize for your program. Just remember, ultimately you will create a program that fits the breadth of what you need to do while also engaging with your clientele. You might take aspects of each of these strategies to develop a strong and dynamic texting campaign that helps you achieve your business goals.

    Ready to give it a go? Sign up for free.

  • Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:28 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    Fergal Glynn is responsible for all of Docurated's pipeline generation initiatives including marketing, sales development, strategy, awareness, demand generation, and driving growth.

    To start, can you talk a bit about what Docurated is and does, and what attracted you to become their VP or marketing?

    Docurated helps customers see and understand everything about their content. Our products are transforming how people and companies use and interact with content. From CRM to email to documents to meetings, Docurated maps the relationships between people and information, and acts as the intelligent fabric delivering personal and contextual content for every knowledge worker.

    In the Introductory Video For Docurated, your Co-Founder and COO speaks the memorable lines, "No one needs 20 more file-sharing solution. What we need is one great idea." First of all, what separates Docurated from the many content management environments out there? And, just as importantly, how do you convince customers that Docurated will solve their data dilemmas?

    Docurated is the only solution in this space that provides complete content activity and user coverage across all the time. Docurated acts as an intelligence layer that sits over all existing content stores providing users with a single access point to all content and activity data.

    Along those lines, what ARE some of the most common problems facing business owners, marketers, and sales teams that you work with?
     

    • Can't find relevant content.
    • No insight or visibility into how content gets used in the field.
    • No analytics on how content impacted a sales opportunity.
    • No single source of truth for enterprise content.
    • Marketing has no way of pushing relevant content to reps.
    •  

    Prior to Docurated, you were head marketer for both Veracode - automated applicated security software; BlueNote Networks - real-time interactive business communications, both of which are pretty solidly B2B solutions. How did you get started as a B2B marketer, and why did you take it so strongly? How are you able to both understand and solve the problems facing marketers and sales teams?

    With a background in software engineering and product management, I moved over to Marketing because I wanted to be more involved in the decisions that drive company strategy. Working with great people at Veracode and Docurated certainly helped me grow as a marketer. At Veracode I built the company's inside sales function so that certainly gave me some valuable insights into the issues sales and marketing teams face.

    Another trend in your marketing experience is working across platforms, incorporating data from all of an enterprise's channels into one solution. First of all, when did you first notice the need for such a service? And how far has that industry come since you first started working with data and multiple channels?

    It is hard not to notice the need for a solution like Docurated. At pretty much every place I've worked so much time was wasted with people searching for and recreating lost content. I think the issues Docurated solves are still very relevant. Content is at the heart of everything Sales and Marketing do and any solution that drives efficiencies and increased effectiveness is going to have a major impact.

    One reason platforms like Docurated exist is so many people are so overwhelmed with the amount of data they receive in any given day, from so many different platforms. Checking e-mail feels like a chore, and a drain of time and energy. With that in mind, what marketing techniques do you tend to prefer, and why?

    I'm a believer in an account-based marketing model where each account is marketed to individually. Prospects demand personalization today. If you present materials that are irrelevant to their needs you will not get very far.

    SMS marketing is still an overlooked option, in today's marketing schema, although that's quickly turning around. SMS messages have an open rate of an impressive 77%, according to business2community.com, and while e-mail open rates vary by industry, they averaged around 20% for 2016. What are some reasons why SMS marketing has such an unusually high open rate?

    I think you touched on it in the question. SMS still gets overlooked so it is a channel that doesn't have as much noise as email for example.

    One thing that's so useful about SMS marketing is it's not invasive, requiring customers to opt-in to receive alerts. How important is this likely to be, this year and beyond?

    Vital. Customers only want to receive info relevant to them. Once they're opted in, you can start to incorporate SMS into your marketing strategy.

    Many SMS marketing campaigns use a mobile keyword to receive a promotion of some kind. How might these keywords, when used in conjunction with a marketing database, help customers to segment themselves? Why is segmenting one's audience so essential for truly effective sales and marketing, these days?

    It all goes back to the amount of info customers are bombarded with today. If it's not relevant they will ignore the email, SMS, etc. By segmenting your database, you can adapt your message and keep it targeted to each segment of your database.

    At this point, there's nearly as many cell-phone subscriptions as there are humans - currently around 6.8 billion according to Quartz.com, and they're on their person at almost all the time. Keeping that in mind, how can a company incorporate SMS marketing into all of their other marketing efforts, maybe using targeting, location specific messages, audience segmentation, etc.?

    Exactly yes all of the above. Again, it all goes back to personalization and relevance. Targeting, location-specific messaging, and segmentation are all techniques that should be incorporated into campaigns.

    Want to learn how SMS Marketing can help your business grow? Sign up for free today!

    Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:15 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    You've sent out your first marketing message and it's a success. What about your second, or third, or fourth, or hundredth?

    A truly effective SMS marketing campaign has the potential to not just drive business the first time you use it, but also throughout the life of the campaign. This is known as the repeatability of a marketing effort.


    With the right campaign, you will see your results occur again and again.

    It does not have to be an ongoing mountain of effort in order to achieve repeatability. In fact, it is quite easy with SMS marketing to continually reproduce similar results. This, in turn, leads to repeat business, which is one step closer to the coveted loyal customers.

    Repeatability in the Sales Funnel

    The first place to develop repeatability is in your lead generation and conversion steps of the sales funnel. You want to build a promotional campaign that continually creates new leads. Then, you want to have automated initial touch points with customers that take them to the next point in your funnel. Once you have a continual chain of leads and conversions, then it is time to also look to your process for retaining customers and driving repeat business.

    SMS and Continued Lead Generation

    SMS marketing is a permission-based medium. However, this does not mean that it does not have a place in lead generation. Texting is a powerful call to action. It can be placed on any marketing or advertising collateral. This gives your existing marketing efforts more power to generate leads. When potential customers see your ad, they can take immediate action by texting the keyword. This provides you with their information, and they have now subscribed to your text marketing program.

    To take full advantage of the continued lead generation promise of texting CTA, it is essential that you develop a strong CTA. For texting, the keyword plays a significant role. You want something that is:

    • Short
    • Easy
    • Memorable

    Developing a strong CTA provides the foundation for a continual lead generation. Add this to an attention-grabbing advertisement, and you will see a more effective program.

    SMS and Customer Retention

    Once way to convert leads and retain customers is to create regular touch points with your customers. The best way to do this is with continual interaction and engagement. SMS marketing provides a great platform through which to do this. To get the most out of it, you want to be sure that all messages are targeted to the customer and his or her position in the sales funnel. Additionally, the messages need to be unique to the medium and provide value to the customer.

    Types of Campaigns to Drive Repeatability


    Focus on developing campaigns that pave the way for repeat success.

    There are some specific types of SMS marketing campaigns that provide an avenue for driving repeatability. These include:

     

    Drip Campaigns A series of texts sent at different times to guide customers through the sales funnel.
    Coupons Coupons drive business and motivate customers to remain part of your messaging program.
    Cross-Channel Cross-channel integration provides an outlet for multiple touch points and engagement with customers.
    Recurring Campaigns Scheduled messages so you never forget to interact with a group of customers.
    Loyalty Messages Messages sent to particular groups as rewards for their loyal patronage and to motivate them to remain customers.

    At the end of the day, the most important aspect of repeatability with marketing efforts is that you have multiple ways to engage with customers and keep them within the sales funnel or as loyal customers. Developing a strong SMS marketing program that sends out regular messages reinforces your relationship with your customers. IT provides a way to engage with them. There are a few best practices to bear in mind:

    • Do not oversaturate customers -- limit to roughly two to four per month
    • Value first -- send content that customers want
    • Send at the right time -- be respectful

    There are many different types of campaigns you might wish to run. However, the same concepts can be used to do it. With SMS marketing, you have the potential for a powerful marketing program. It also is highly engaging, with roughly eight times the engagement rate of email. Therefore, it is even more important that you set the foundation so that you continually see gains and successfully achieve repeatability in your program.

    Sign up for free and see what you can achieve with your text marketing campaign.

    Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:11 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    You've probably heard a lot about the benefits of SMS marketing over the past few years. There are numerous statistics that try to sway you to adopt this marketing program. But, what can you really expect to see as results after running an effective texting campaign?

     

    Open Rate 98 percent for texts versus 22 percent for email
    Increased conversions 32 percent conversion rate
    Improved customer service/td> Over half of customers want to text for customer service
    Easily assess your ad success/td> Use texts as a CTA to assess your ads

    What Makes an Effective Campaign?

    Before learning more about what you can expect, a brief reminder of what exactly makes an effective marketing campaign:

    • Content of value
    • Targeted messages
    • The right audience
    • The right offer or deal
    • Timing
    • Frequency

    Start by building a solid foundation that sets the state for each component. Then, you will have dynamite content that predisposes you to achieve the amazing results offered by text message marketing.

    Higher Open Rate Than Email


    Customers open texts at a much higher rate than email.

    You might not achieve the 98 percent open rate proclaimed, since this is an average rate based on a study. However, you will see a much higher open rate than your email marketing programs, and it is possible to get numbers up in the 90 percents. Compare that to the average email newsletter, which has an open rate around 22 percent. This is significantly lower than the potential for SMS marketing.

    Not only does texting have a high open rate, but it also tends to have a response time of just 90 seconds! Compare that to email, which has an average response rate of 90 minutes. If you want to make sure that customers see and act on a message, forget email. Texting is what you want.

    Increased Conversions

    Text message marketing has the potential to increase your conversions. It has an impressive 32 percent conversion rate. Compare this to the click through rate in email, which is an average of about three percent. What does this mean? It means that by sending out text messages to your customers, you have a higher chance of getting them to take whatever action you want. This might be to redeem a coupon or click a link or sign up for something.

    Another reason that you can expect increased conversions from your texting campaign is that you are reaching an audience that is already highly engaged. Text message marketing is a permission-based medium. Therefore, the people who sign up to receive your messages want to hear from you. Unlike email marketing, people are still very choosy about which businesses they provide their cell phone numbers to for texting campaigns. Therefore, they already have a significant interest in your company when they sign up. That makes it much easier to convert them through your program.

    This also makes it much easier to create a marketing program that targets a particular audience. Personalized, targeted marketing messages enhance the success rate even further.

    Improved Customer Service

    Consumers want to hear from businesses through text messages. Additionally, a majority wants to have any customer service completed through text. By providing the service, you already start to improve your customer relations.

    People shop more and more based on their experience and emotions. Therefore, the more you build your customer relations, the better service you provide. This develops more positive experiences for customers, which in turn leads to them choosing your business over others more often. Over time, they become loyal customers.

    Know The Success of Your Ads


    A texting campaign helps you judge the efficacy of you ads.

    Another result you can expect from a highly effective SMS marketing campaign is to know how well your ads succeeded. Texting is easy to add as a call to action across all marketing mediums. This not only gives your customers an actionable response that is easy to do from anywhere, but it also gives you an easy way to measure how well audiences responded to a particular ad.

    Although this is beneficial all the time, it is especially helpful if you plan to test a few ads. You can use different keywords on each ad and then see which one gets the most opt-ins. Alternatively, you have the potential to see which efforts are working the best for your entire marketing campaign, including print ads, TV and radio spots, digital marketing and more. Simply measure which ads received the most opt-ins by using different keywords. If you notice that certain ads are not getting people to act, then simply investigate to see if there are ways to change it or if you should just scrap that type of advertising.

    With an effective ad campaign, it is possible to experience many of these results. With such amazing statistics, it might be tempting to simply forgo your other marketing channels. However, texting works best as one part of an integrated, multi-channel marketing strategy.

    Sign up for free and see what results you can achieve with your texting campaign.

    Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:08 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    There has never been a better time to add SMS marketing to your marketing strategy. In addition to high open rates and high conversion rates, this marketing channel has a wide reach. As such, you have the potential to increase your pool of potential customers and ultimately convert them into not just one-time customers but loyal ones.

     

    Wide reach Most people own SMS-enabled phones
    More effective promotions People carry phones with them, so they can instantly react to your ads
    High open rate People actually read your messages

    Most People Have Phones

    One main reason that SMS marketing has such a high reach is simply that most people have SMS-enabled cell phones. Approximately 92 percent of U.S. adults own a cell phone. This is higher than the 68 percent who own a smartphone and 73 percent who own a computer. That means that messages sent out through text have a higher chance of reaching people than using messages that can only be accessed through the internet or computers, such as email, social media or mobile apps.


    People across all demographics own a phone and text.

    Of course, just because people own a cell phone does not mean that they text. However, the numbers for texting are pretty amazing, too. Out of smartphone owners:

    • 100 percent of 18-29 year olds text
    • 98 percent of 30-49 year olds text
    • 92 percent of those over 50 text

    This means that you have a very wide pool of potential people with which to send your text messages, upon their signing up for your program.

    More Effective Promotions

    Although it is easy to be ready to text everyone to get as wide a reach as possible, there is one caveat: you must have written permission to text people. However, there is an easy way to get over this stipulation: get people to sign up to your campaign.

    This might seem a bit like a catch-22; thankfully, it is easy to promote your texting campaign. Simply add it to the marketing efforts you already do as a call to action. A texting call to action is a highly effective one. Most people carry their phones with them at all times. A person might see your ad in several places:

    • Billboard
    • Flyer
    • Poster
    • Car wrap
    • TV spot
    • Magazine
    • Radio ad

    Then, they can take action by texting a keyword to the number you provide in the CTA.

    Consider the potential with the combination of the reach of these advertising mediums and the ubiquity of texting and cell phones. For example, you might have a billboard seen by tens of thousands of people. With the right call to action, you have the potential to effectively convert more of those viewers than without.

    As people view your poster or other advertising, they might become interested. However, if they have to email, call, visit in person or go online, you will lose a significant number of potential customers. This is because before they can take action, they need to get to a location in which they can do so.

    With a texting CTA, you remove this step that opens up the potential for forgetting or no longer feeling motivated. Instead, people have their phone with them and can simply text the keyword right then and there when they feel the peak motivation to do so.


    As soon as someone sees your ad on TV, they can take action.

    This not only increases the reach and efficacy of your current advertising efforts, but it also increases the number of people who subscribe to your marketing campaign. After they send the initial text, send a confirmation text so that they can sign up to be part of your campaign.

    High Open Rates

    Now that you have a solid number of people signed up for your SMS marketing program, you still have the chance to have a higher reach than other channels, such as email or social media marketing. This is because people actually open texts, with the average open rate at 98 percent. Compare that to roughly 22 percent for email newsletters and you will see how each text you send out has a much better reach than email. Social media marketing has also seen a dive in its ability to reach an audience.

    With these three legs, your SMS marketing campaign has the capacity to have a substantial reach. Not only does it have the capacity to reach a wider potential pool of people, it also more effectively connects with the customer already following you. This, in turn, helps you to have a more effective campaign so that you reach your goals.

    Ready to get started and see how wide a reach you can acheive with texting? Sign up for free.

    Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:19 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    There are many components that come together to create an effective SMS marketing campaign. However, it is easy to put them into three main categories: reach, results, and repeatability.

     

    Reach The size of your pool of potential customers.
    Results The effectiveness of any campaign.
    Repeatability Ability to reach the same results over and over again.

    These three R's come together to create a solid foundation on which to build your entire campaign. By focusing on these three elements and their various associated ones, you will be able to institute a strong campaign that brings you the returns you want.

    Reach


    TV ads have a wide reach. SMS marketing increases their efficacy.

    With any marketing tool, the reach plays an important component. This is the number of people you will hit with any particular advertisement or marketing effort. For some mediums, this number can be quite large. For example, when you run an ad on TV or post a billboard, then you will reach a wide number of consumers. It is important to remember that your reach does not always include the quality of potential leads.

    For example, broad advertisements like billboards and TV and radio spots have a high number of viewers, thereby they have a wide reach and pool of potential customers. However, many people who view these ads are not highly engaged. This reduces the percentage of potential leads you receive from the ad, reducing the return on investment.

    This is, in large part, because there is no real target towards a particular demographic, niche, or otherwise interested audience. Targeted ads online and on social media networks can have a wide reach while also being more effective because they hit more interested parties. This can lead to more people engaging with your customers.

    Therefore, when you consider the reach of a particular marketing campaign, it is important to consider not just the number of people who will see it, but the percentage that are viable leads. It is also important to consider ways to increase the efficacy of an ad that does have a wide reach, such as a billboard or TV spot.

    When you add in SMS marketing, you have the potential to greatly increase the number reached through these ads. This is because you can use texting as a call to action on these ads. Then, people who are interested have something they can do to engage with your company, increasing the impact of the ad.

    SMS marketing also has its own reach in two different ways:

    • People who see the promotion
    • Subscribers of your program

    When you first implement an SMS marketing campaign, it is important to promote it to engage a wide audience of potential customers. Then, you can amass subscribers who you regularly text. This helps to convert potential leads into customers, and one-time customers into regular ones, ultimately creating more loyal customers. Therefore, your texting campaign will have a reach that equals the number of subscribers. However, you also have the potential to widen the reach through promoting your campaign through different channels and/or adding it as a call to action on your current campaigns.

    Results


    Your team can review your analytics to see the results of the campaign.

    Another important component of any SMS marketing campaign is the results. There are many metrics you might utilize to determine the results of your campaign, including:

    • Opt-in rate
    • Opt-out rate
    • Conversion rate
    • Click through rate
    • Redemption rate

    These numbers give you insight into the results of your campaign. However, there is much more that can be combined to determine if something got you the results you wanted.

    First, you have to have an objective or goal in mind. This is not just for your overall campaign, but each message sent out should have some type of meaning behind it. This might include:

    • Gain subscribers
    • Boost sales
    • Promote a new product
    • Increase awareness of your business
    • Engage with customers

    The objective of your message will determine which metrics to closely review. Then, you can determine whether or not you reached your goals.

    It is also important to compare each message with previous messages to see if you are gaining traction in your campaign. This also informs you whether or not a particular message type was effective. Additional information you might glean from reviewing your data include:

    • It was sent at the right time
    • It was sent on the right day of the week
    • You are using the right frequency of messages
    • The coupon type was desirable
    • The content was valuable

    With this information, you can continue to change your program so that it becomes more effective and provides better results. By routinely checking your analytics and comparing it, you also get an idea of how your program is moving, including whether you are continuing to see growth or if you have reached a plateau.

    When you see that you are not getting the results you want, then it is time to find ways to create messages that resonate stronger with your followers. You ultimately want something that is of value that motivates them to take the intended action. Places that can be tweaked to increase your results include:

    • Content
    • Word choice
    • Coupon selection
    • Personalization and targeted audience
    • Call to action

    Each of these elements takes your program to the next level. By reviewing the content and word choice, you can determine whether or not it was something that evoked emotion and motivated your consumers to take action. Perhaps you used a coupon that did not seem enticing enough to take advantage of it. You might also have used a coupon or deal that you used on another channel or a previous text message. This could make people bored with the program or simply unmotivated to take action right away.

    You also want to ensure each message includes:

    • Resonance
    • Relevancy
    • Value
    • Emotion
    • Motivation
    • Creativity
    • Exclusivity
    • Uniqueness

    It is important to continue to provide unique and exclusive content of value that motivates the customer to take the action desired. It should resonate with your customer and be relevant to them. One of the best ways to do this is to create personalized, targeted messages based on people's demographics, shopping patterns and other data you have.

    Repeatability


    Can you continue to have the same results with each message?

    The final R of effective SMS marketing is repeatability. This means you can continue to get the same results over and over again. However, it does not mean that you are simply sending out the same content and expecting to have the same return. It is about building a strong foundation so that your program works as expected.

    There are a few key elements of a strong foundation for your SMS marketing program:

    • Clear objective or purpose
    • Target audience
    • Cohesive brand voice
    • Difference or uniqueness
    • Value and relevancy
    • Plan of action

    When you develop your SMS marketing program, it is essential that you create some framework for each element of your program. This should be something that spells out your strategy for the overall program and each individual text so that anyone could come in and develop a text that adheres to your campaign. You probably developed something like this for your other advertising campaigns, such as content marketing guidelines that detailed the best practices for writing your blog and website content. Your texting guidelines should include:

    • The best practices
    • Target audience(s)
    • Brand voice
    • Most relevant coupons
    • General template for your messages

    You might find that you have other elements you wish to include in your guidelines to help you and your team continually develop messages that create a cohesive and strong campaign.

    By having a foundation in place, it is easy to develop messages that repeat your success without actually just sending the same exact message every time. You will have rules to follow that will help you to achieve repeatability. You might find that it is easy to create multiple messages off of a simple template that covers what you need. This might be something like:

    • Attention grabbing statement
    • Deal or coupon details
    • Expiration date
    • Call to action

    With an example text following this template being:

    "Don't miss out on the best deals of the season. Click here to get an extra 20 percent off clearance items. Act now before it expires on [date]."

    Reach. Results. Repeatability. These three R's of effective SMS marketing come together to ensure that you have a strong campaign that will build your business and help you reach not just the goals of your campaign but also your general business goals. Although there are many components to pay attention to, by focusing on these three R's, you will have a solid start to building a strong campaign.

    Do you have your foundation built and are ready to start? Sign up for free and kick off your first campaign.

    Mon, 01/30/2017 - 12:02 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    Todd William is the founder and CEO of Reputation Rhino and has over 15 years of experience providing a wide range of legal and strategic advisory services to Fortune 500 companies and financial institutions. Todd advises individuals and companies on online reputation management, public relations and digital marketing strategies.

    What have been some of the most significant changes you've seen with reputation management over the past several years?

    Reputation Management has gotten harder, takes longer and is more expensive. In the beginning, a few exact-match domains, a press release and a few social profiles and you could own Page 1 in two or three months. Now you need high authority content, strong links, powerful profiles and a little luck.

    You have experience working with Fortune 500 companies, as well as small- to mid-sized businesses. What are some things you've learned, working with global corporations, that also applies to smaller companies, in regards to reputation management?

    Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a startup in your parents' garage, reputation matters. Large companies have resources -- financial resources and human resources-- that small companies often lack. It is a blessing because a larger company can afford public relations and crisis communications professionals, lawyers, advertising/marketing agencies and other talent to help shape the conversation about a brand. It also means you have a larger target on your back.

    One important lesson that can apply to smaller companies is the importance of monitoring the conversations about your brand online. You don't need to be obsessive, but you do need to be aware. Larger companies also tend to be conservative in how they respond to issues, knowing that any response will likely be analyzed and evaluated by a wide audience. This tempers a knee-jerk reaction that can turn a small problem into a big problem.

    Responding quickly is one of the most important things, in regards to addressing negative opinions of a company or brand. Can you recommend any particularly useful resources or methods for social listening, to see what people are saying about a company, so they can respond as quickly as possible? What's an ideal turnaround time for responding?

    There are great listening tools out there. Ranging from premium services like Sysomos to more affordable social media monitoring solutions like Hootsuite. Ideally, a company will try and respond in 60 minutes or less to urgent issues. 24 hours or less seems reasonable for ordinary queries.

    Getting positive online reviews is one of the solutions you offer your clients. Can you recommend a few tactics to help encourage customers to leave positive online reviews for a business or service?

    We don't exactly "get positive reviews" for our clients, but we do help our clients earn them by tracking and monitoring online reviews, responding to their customers in real-time, resolving issues quickly and converting negative experiences to positive experiences. It is also appropriate for companies to do a little introspection where there are recurring issues like shipping delays, product failures and other service issues that seem to keep popping up in negative reviews. The best way to get positive reviews is to run a customer-centered business and instill those values from the top-down.

    Text message marketing is getting to be more and more prevalent as a viable marketing strategy. What are some reasons why SMS marketing is getting to be so popular, currently?

    We are on our cell phones from the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep, text messages connect us wherever we are.

    According to Mobile Marketing Watch, text messages have an open rate of 98%, versus 20% with email marketing. Why is text message marketing so effective at getting people to read? Can you offer any advice on writing SMS messages that people will be eager to open?

    Text messages tend to be short and to the point, marketing emails tend to be long, rambling and "salesy". I would recommend putting yourself in the shoes of your target customer when writing an SMS message, what does he or she want and how does your product or service fulfill that need and how can you communicate that message in a couple of sentences or less. Offering a special discount is also helpful.

    SMS marketing also has a response rate of 45%, versus 6% with email marketing. What are some things marketers can do, to make the most of this higher response rate? Why is engagement so popular, for truly effective marketing?

    Ask a question, solicit feedback, these are ways to promote and get the most of engagement.

    Millennials are particularly prone to texting, sending an average of 67 text messages a day, according to Business Insider. What are a few ways marketers can optimize their SMS content for millennials, without being too obvious?

    Authentic, organic content is most appealing to millennials. I would try to avoid selling and focus instead on content millennials may want to read and share.

    SMS marketing is especially effective for local marketing. What are a few different SMS marketing strategies a company can use, to reach their local audience? Why is local search so important for marketing, these days?

    Whether we are choosing a dry cleaners or a diner for dinner, we shop local. Messaging that is local is more personal and more effective.

    Can you offer a few suggestions on how to get customers to opt in to receive SMS marketing? How is consensual marketing so much more effective than unsolicited messages, in a world where we're constantly being inundated with advertising?

    The time will come where filters and spam blockers will limit SMS text messages to all but opt-in subscribers, just like what happened to email. Forward-thinking companies will try and develop their lists to anticipate this and focus on quality (opt-in subscribers) versus quantity.

    Want to learn more about SMS Marketing, and how it can help your business? Sign up for free immediately!

    Mon, 01/30/2017 - 11:54 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    One important thing to make sure you have when you start your text marketing program is permission from all of your subscribers. The law requires that you have written permission to send marketing text messages to your customers. It is easy to get the permission; you simply need to have customers sign up via some type of online or paper form or opt-in via text message. This builds a foundation for your successful texting campaign <
    >.

    There are many ways to motivate customers to opt-in to your SMS marketing campaign. To generate more opt-ins, utilize several mediums to reach a much wider pool of potential subscribers.

    Signage and Flyers


    Add more subscribers by placing information in store.

    One of the easiest places to include information about your texting program is your signage on your store front. You can also include similar information on anything else you hang in, hand out, or place around your business, including:

    • Posters
    • Flyers
    • Table cloths
    • Menus

    It does not take much space to include a keyword, number and brief explanation of the program on advertising properties you already have. When people see these ads, they can easily reach for their phones and opt in.

    When you include information about your texting program on your signs, posters, flyers and similar marketing collateral, choose the keyword you use wisely. You want to use something that enhances the advertisement itself for an added effect. For example, if you run a café, then use a keyword that reinforces the idea that you have great coffee, such as GREATBREW.

    Emails

    Your email newsletters also provide a nice avenue for promoting your text marketing program and bringing in more subscribers. At the bottom of your email, include information about your campaign, including directions for how to opt-in. Alternatively, include a link where people can sign up for the campaign through an online form.

    Your email newsletters go to people who are already receiving something from you, so they are more likely to sign up for another program as well.

    Website and Social Media

    In addition to your email campaigns, your other digital properties also provide a space for bringing in more subscribers to your program. On your website, include a widget where people can easily sign up for the texting program. You can also have banners that have the information for opting in, including a keyword and short code.

    Your social media profiles can also include the information for opting in. It is also beneficial to occasionally directly promote the program to your social media followers through a targeted post. Your social media followers are already interested in knowing more about your company and remaining engaged, making them an attentive audience for getting them to follow you through another medium, such as your texting program.

    Business Cards

    When you are at networking events, trade shows and other places for meeting people, handing out business cards is an easy way to provide potential customers with all the information they need to find your business and remain in touch. This should also include information about your texting program. They will most likely have their phones with them when they receive their card, so they will easily be able to opt into the texting program right away.

    Register Receipts

    What information do you include on your register receipts? If you only have the name and address of the business and the transaction, then you are missing an opportunity to promote your marketing properties, including your text marketing program.

    At the bottom of the receipt, include a line about how to opt-in. Then, after customers have had a positive experience at your company and are disposed to following you, they will see the information and opt-in.

    Print and Other Ads


    Add information about your program on all your billboards and posters.

    It is not just flyers and signage that offer space for promoting your texting program. There are other common advertisement places that prime space for a texting call to action. These include:

    • Print ads
    • Billboards
    • Bus ads
    • Truck/car wraps

    You can use texting as the call to action on these ads, increasing the efficacy of the ads as well as adding more people to your subscriber list. Texting is a strong call to action, especially since people have their phones with them at all times. No matter where they see your ad, they will easily be able to respond by texting a keyword to opt in.

    Radio and TV Spots

    In addition to print ads, it is also beneficial to use a texting call to action for radio and TV spots. Because these ads go out to a much larger radius of potential customers, it also increases the chance that you will grow your subscriber list exponentially.

    Add Some Motivation

    When you include information about your texting program on one or more of these places, it is beneficial to include some motivation to increase the chance of people choosing to opt-in. An easy way to do this is to reward people with an offer or deal of some type just for signing up.

    When they sign up for the program by texting a keyword or filling out an online form, respond with a confirmation text. After they have confirmed they wish to sign up, then send them the text with the coupon or deal. This also ensures that you have the permission from the customers to text them.

    These are some of the most common places for promoting a text marketing campaign to build a larger and stronger subscriber list. The nicest part is that most of these channels you already own and regularly use, making it easy and cost-effective way to promote your program. As an added benefit, using texting as a call to action increases the efficacy of many of these ads, helping you to get the most out of your marketing and advertising efforts.

    Ready to start your program? Sign up for free and start today.

    Tue, 01/24/2017 - 11:18 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company


    Erik Huberman is a top e-commerce and digital marketing expert and the founder of Hawke Media. We had a chance to speak with Erik about the state of e-commerce today and what it takes to run successful digital marketing campaigns.

    Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to start Hawke Media?

    My background is in e-commerce. I got out of college in 2008, and I started in real estate three days before the entire banking industry collapsed. So I started looking for an alternative.

    I had always liked computers and buying and selling stuff, so I started working on creating an online company. And that turned into my first of three e-commerce companies. After running three different e-commerce companies, I started consulting for a lot of big and small brands.

    I saw that getting marketing help was a real big pain point because hiring in-house was near-impossible. And frankly, 95% of agencies have no idea what they're doing, so the other 5% tended to be either really expensive or on long contracts or have some other barrier they put up. It makes them hard to work with.

    So I adopted my own system and hired my own team of seven people, and went back to all the companies I was working with and said, "Everything is a la carte, month to month, and cheaper than hiring in-house." Basically, we told them that we can set up a team that fits their needs based on a menu of services. That's how we started more than three years ago, and we're now up to about 70 people.

    If someone were to say to you, "I don't have enough money to spend on outsourcing a chief marketing officer," how would you respond?

    Usually, that person is not set up for success. If they're making decisions without all the information, then that's going to be a pretty good recipe for disaster. So when that does happen, I usually say, "OK," and walk away, because it's not going to be a good relationship.

    I'm pretty straightforward. We start at $3,000 a month; so for outsourcing your marketing, if you can't afford $3,000 a month, you don't have a business yet. That's my view of it, because you can't hire anyone or any help for that. So if you can't afford those kinds of fees, then it really comes down to you needing to build your business yourself and have the wherewithal to do it yourself, or go raise money before you can really talk to anybody about hiring anyone.

    What kinds of digital marketing mistakes can doom a startup or brand new business to fail?

    It's not looking at the full funnel and understanding that there's a lot of moving parts, not just one thing. Like running Facebook ads without a good email campaign or a good website, or running email marketing without anything to drive in new emails. Just not understanding that there's a full funnel is probably the biggest thing I run into with companies of all sizes.

    I see massive, multi-tens-of-millions-of-dollars-in-revenue companies not getting that they are missing a huge piece of their marketing, because they look at it as this vacuum. Like they say, "I hear Facebook is good" and not understanding it.

    Which digital marketing techniques or tactics are today's companies relying too much on? Which ones are being underutilized?

    As far as those that companies are relying too much on, I think social media management or posting on social media. If you have a big following or are a big company, social media can be a pretty valuable tool. But if you're a small company with a small audience, social media does not move the needle for you. It's not going to make you money, and people love to focus on what they're posting on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook while not paying attention to the fact that it's actually not drawing any business to them. It's a vanity method. I think people pay way too much attention to that.

    As far as not those that are underutilized, I think it's email. I even hear people tell me that, "Oh, I thought email was dead." We work with hundreds of e-commerce companies, and we see that about 80% of their revenue comes through email marketing. So when people tell me that email is dead, it's a little bit laughable because it's such a big thing and a lot of people don't take advantage of it.

    Other than conversions, what metrics are the most important to capture and analyze in order to get a clear picture of the success of a digital marketing campaign?

    Lifetime value is an overlooked metric. It's not about that first purchase. It's about how much someone is spending with me over the course of a year and their lifetime. I like the value of a year, because if someone's going to buy from me again ten years from now, that doesn't mean a lot for the sustainability of my business. That's a little harder to bring in. But if I know that someone buys from me four times a year, that affects the way I look at marketing a little differently than just a one-time purchase. So I'd say that's a metric that's really important.

    If you have a high-purchased item, your cost-per-acquisition is going to take a long time to discern. So if you get earlier indicators, it's really going back up the funnel. So looking at the cost-per-lead can help a lot, like figuring out how much it costs you to get an email address and then understanding how many of those email addresses over time convert to a sale.

    What role can SMS or text message marketing play in a given digital marketing campaign?

    It can work a lot for brick and mortar retailers. With digital and e-commerce, it tends to be a little too invasive. So you have to be really careful how you're using SMS. Because with most companies, it doesn't work well; and if you use it too often, it feels invasive.

    Again, when it comes to local brick and mortar stores, it can work. When it comes to things that are happening that you can time correctly, it works - like if you know that they're coming into the store, or they're down the street, or whatever. But when you're in e-commerce, it's harder to make it work.

    What types of businesses or organizations might benefit from SMS or text message marketing?

    I'd say restaurants, bars - honestly, any type of service business where you have regular customers. So coffee shops are great, even hair salons, supermarkets - places where you know that your customers can come back quite a bit, and it's usually a local place. Because then you know that your marketing can actually draw them in more often.

    As digital marketing continues to evolve, what will be the components of a successful digital marketing campaign in the years to come?

    The components are going to always be how are you covering awareness, meaning:

    1. how do you actually gain new audience
    2. how are you covering nurturing that audience
    3. how you are building trust with that audience

    Three different pieces. So how are you showing third-party validation or some kind of social proof so that you're not the only one saying you're great? How are you creating awareness so that you're actually reaching new people? And then how are you taking all of those new people that now have heard about you and converting those to new customers?

    That's always going to be the root of marketing. It's going to be done in very different ways, and that I can't predict. But it's always going to have to cover those three things.

    Can SMS marketing help your business? Sign up for free today and find out!

    Fri, 01/20/2017 - 11:00 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    It is not complicated to utilize text marketing to boost your business. However, like any other marketing channel, it is essential that you have a solid understanding of some basic fundamental components so that you can maximize your efforts.

    There are certain rules to follow, best practices to adopt, and other important aspects of a successful SMS marketing campaign that build a strong foundation on which to run your own creative and unique program.

    Basics of Text Message Marketing


    To get the most out of a texting campaign, start with a solid foundation.

    Before you go too far into creating your text marketing campaign, it is important that you understand the basics of text message marketing. This ensures that you have a solid foundation on which to build your own campaign. It does not take much to start a campaign, you just need:

    • A provider
    • A short code or long code
    • A keyword or set of keywords
    • Subscribers
    • An objective
    • A plan

    These factors each play an important role in a successful text marketing campaign. It is important to find a provider who offers the features that you need to run your program, including group segmentation, receiving and sending messages, and analytics. It is best to choose one with a dependable reputation so that you trust them to not spam your customers, sell their information, or cause problems with the sending and receiving of messages.

    When you have a provider, you also have to determine whether or not to select a short code or a long code, as well as whether to have a unique one or share one. Shortcodes are codes that are usually five numbers to which subscribers text a keyword and that identifies you when you send a message.

    It can be a lengthy and costly process to have your own unique code, so many businesses choose to share one instead. Some companies have started to offer long codes, which are similar to regular phone numbers. These are easier to get, and they make your messages appear less like marketing messages and more like regular texts. However, there are certain regulations involved in using long codes over short codes.

    Once you have a provider and short code, then you can start your program. You just need to advertise a keyword for opting in to build a subscriber list, determine your objective, and create a plan for sending out messages. When you get to this place, there are a few more best practices, rules and tactics that you should follow for a better program.

    The Most Important Rule of Texting

    Text message marketing falls under a few different laws, so there are some important guidelines and regulations that you must follow. The most important one is that you need permission in order to send information to your customers. This must be written permission. It is important to retain a record of all opt ins and opt outs so that you can readily prove that you have permission from all your subscribers.


    Be sure you have permission before sending anyone any texts.

    There are several ways you can get permission. Some of the most common include:

    • A written form
    • An online form
    • Opting in with a keyword through text

    When you have customers opt-in, be sure to send a confirmation follow up text to ensure they do wish to receive texts from you. It is also important to be clear about what they should expect, including the frequency and type of texts.

    It is essential that you only send marketing texts to those who have signed up for the program. If you send out appointment reminders or transactional messages, do not assume that people who have signed up for those type of messages will wish to receive marketing content as well. You must get additional permission for those types of messages.

    If you make any changes to your program, such as altering the frequency, it is also vital you alert your subscribers and give them a chance to opt out. It is also important to regularly inform subscribers how to opt out of your program.

    SMS Marketing Best Practices

    In addition to being a permission-based marketing forum, there are also some best practices to follow to create a stronger campaign.

     

    Timing Send at an appropriate time of day
    Frequency Regular texts, ideally between 2 and 4 per month
    Exclusivity Information only available through text
    Personalization Target texts and add subscribers' names
    Value Provide something of value in each message
    Collaborate and integrate A texting campaign is part of a wider marketing strategy
    Clarity Short, concise and clear messages that relay your information

    More than other marketing channels, it is essential to create a disruption of value. This is because many people carry their phones with them at all times, and they quickly look at any text they receive. Therefore, be respectful and considerate as to what time you send out the texts. Avoid very late and very early text messages, and you might also wish to avoid sending during rush hour and other inconvenient times for your subscribers.

    To further create a valuable disruption, do not over-saturate your customers with texts. Instead, send about two to four per month so that they do not feel as though they are being spammed. However, do not send so few that your customers forget they have signed up for the program.

    Additionally, make your message unique and exclusive to the medium. If you send the same message or deal through all your marketing channels, then it loses its impact. This leads to people not wishing to remain in your texting program. Instead, send out messages that they cannot get anywhere else -- and make each text message unique. Even if you send out deals or offers with each message, change what type of offer you send out.

    To further make an impact, personalize and target the messages. Use the data you have on your customers to divide your subscribers into lists. Also, ask for feedback and preferences to further inform your program. Then, send out messages that are targeted to your audience. Simple personalization, such as using their names in the message, furthers the impact of your message.


    Get your team together and collaborate for a stronger marketing strategy.

    When you create your text marketing campaign, do not leave it as its own separate program. Be sure that you collaborate with the other members of your marketing team, as well as other departments of your company. This also ensures everyone is aware of the program and is able to discuss it with clients and customers. Use this collaboration for a smart integration across all channels.

    Another important best practice to follow with your SMS marketing program is clarity. Make it clear to your customers what you are doing -- and the value provided to them by joining up. Each text message should also be clear while remaining within the 160 characters. As an added component of clarity, always leave room to sign your text messages so that people know from whom they come -- and where and how to redeem them.

    Tactics for a Stronger Texting Campaign

    To take your text marketing campaign a step further, there are a few tactics you can undertake. These include:

    • Adhere to customer expectations
    • Tempt and motivate
    • Choose the right words
    • Remain relevant
    • Write concise messages
    • Add short links
    • Engage to build a relationship
    • Consider triggered messages

    When developing your program, be sure that you are creating something that the customers want. You might need to do some testing and market research to find out what customers expect from the program, and how it fulfills a need. This also helps you to create messages that tempt and motivate your customers into taking action. The word choice further helps you to develop strong messages with greater impact.

    The best words to use are action verbs that create a sense of urgency. When you decide upon the words, make sure that your message remains relevant to your customers by making it adhere to their wants and needs. Furthermore, keep it short and to the point. Do not end up with a lengthy message because of a link. Instead, create a shortened link for the message. Not only will it avoid you from going over your character limit, but it also looks cleaner and might be easier to track clicks.

    For a very strong texting campaign, consider what value you are providing your customers. Make the value to the customer the priority over the value to your business. Text marketing provides a way to engage with customers, which can help you build a stronger customer base over time -- if you do it right. Find ways to create a better overall experience with your customers through your messages. This means you might include other forms of messages beyond offers and deals, including:

    • Appointment reminders
    • Event information
    • Exclusive information
    • Sales reminders
    • Preorder opportunities
    • Exclusive shopping opportunities

    There are many other message types you might choose to include to facilitate more engagement among your customers. It might also be beneficial to use triggered messages. These messages are used at particular times to re-engage customers. For example, you might send out a special coupon to a customer who has not visited your company for a period of time. This helps to incite the customer to come back and once again shop at your company.


    Keep your customers engaged and happy so they come back for more.

    There are many ways to create a strong and successful text marketing campaign. By creating your own list of in-house guidelines, you can ensure that each and every message does what it should. Starting with these best practices and tactics, you will have a strong foundation on which to build your own program.

    Sign up for free and get started with your texting campaign today!

    Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:56 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    As with any marketing program, it is essential that you continually track your text marketing campaign using your metrics. This informs you not just of the success of a particular message or the trajectory of a long-running campaign, but it also highlights areas that are weak.


    Know the right metrics to review for your texting campaign.

    When you build the foundation of your campaign, it is important to choose which metrics to review to monitor whether or not you are reaching your goal <
    >. There are a few key analytics to use to provide you with the measurement data you need to take your program to the next level, while also ensuring you remain successful:

     

    Opt-in Rate Number of subscribers; program growth
    Opt-out Rate Number of people leaving the program; churn rate
    Delivery Rate Number of active subscribers
    Open Rate Number of subscribers who read the message
    Conversion Rate Number who completed a certain action
    Redemption Rate Specific type of conversion; number of coupons redeemed
    Cost Effectiveness Cost per customer; cost of sending text divided by redemption or conversion rate

    Opt In and Opt Out Rates

    The most important text marketing metrics to review as you start your program is your opt-in and opt-out rates. These provide you with an invaluable key to the initial success of your campaign - especially your promotional efforts.

    As your campaign continues, these rates also provide invaluable insight into your campaign. If your opt-in rate starts to plateau, then you might need to shake some things up in your promotional efforts to bring in more subscribers. You might also need to provide better value to entice people to join. If your opt-out rate all of a sudden increases, or if you see a steady increase over time, then something probably went wrong.

    Delivery and Open Rate

    Closely related are two other metrics at which to look: your delivery and open rates. The delivery rate informs you how many texts were actually delivered to the numbers on your subscriber list. There are several reasons for messages to not be delivered, including the number no longer being in service. You want to have a high delivery rate, as this means that you have a clean list with mostly active subscribers. If you notice that your delivery rate is low, it might be time to clean up your list.


    You want to send messages that people actually open and read.

    Your open rate is the number of people that actually read your text messages. In general, text messages have an amazing 98 percent open rate. However, for multiple reasons, your program might not achieve quite as high of an average open rate.

    By closely monitoring your open rate, you will be able to see how engaged your subscribers are. It also informs you about whether or not certain messages are not as interesting to subscribers as others.

    You want to focus on having a strong hook at the beginning of your texts so that people open them, rather than simply reading the first few lines on their home screens or ignoring the text altogether.

    Conversion Rate

    An important metric to continually monitor is your conversion rate. This might actually include several different measurements, such as:

    • Click through rate
    • Redemption rate
    • Subscription rate

    Basically, the conversion rate looks at the number of people who performed the action you wanted them to in the message. This might be to subscribe to your program, mirroring the opt-in rate. It might also be clicking a link in the text to review a blog, buying something or otherwise engaging with your online properties.

    This informs you how successful your message was in motivating people to take action. It also is a measurement of the engagement of your SMS marketing campaign. Text message marketing has a much higher engagement rate, including conversion rates and click-through rates, than other channels, including email. It also plays a valuable role in determining your return on investment, since you will know how many of your customers actually end up performing the action you wanted, which ultimately will be to become a customer.

    Redemption Rate

    Redemption rate is a type of conversion rate, but it is important to discuss it on its own since so many text marketing campaigns rely on a significant amount of coupons. In general, text marketing campaigns have a strong redemption rate. This is because it is so convenient for customers to simply bring in the coupon on their device, which they most likely have with them all the time.

    If you send out a fair number of coupons through text, then your redemption rate will tell you whether or not customers feel that your offer was a good deal. You can compare coupon types with the redemption rate to see to which one customers better respond. Then, you can focus on sending out more coupons that way.

    Cost Effectiveness


    Check that you are getting the best return on your texting campaign.

    The last metric to look at with your text marketing campaign is the cost per customer. This helps you to determine whether or not it is a cost-effective solution for you, as well as whether or not you are receiving a strong return on your investment. To determine this, you first need to know the cost per SMS sent. Then, you divide this number by your redemption or conversion rate. Then, you can decide how much it costs per redemption to see whether or not you made money or lost it.

    When you first start your campaign, you might find that you end up losing a bit of money, despite SMS marketing being a cost-effective marketing solution. However, once you build a solid foundation, you will find that it quickly becomes a way to market that is very cost effective.

    By concentrating on these five metrics, you will have a solid understanding of your program. From here, you will know what areas to tweak for a stronger, better campaign that helps you to achieve your business goals.

    Sign up for free and start your program today.

    Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:23 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    One of the most important aspects of SMS marketing is creating a large list of subscribers to whom you can send messages. Otherwise, you will not be able to have as effective of a campaign, since you can only message those who opt in. There are many different ways you can promote your campaign <
    >, and the following are some of the best practices to bear in mind when you do.

    Call to Action Marketing


    Use texting as a CTA to increase the efficacy of all your marketing campaigns.

    One of the best ways to promote your SMS marketing campaign is to simply add it as a call to action on all of your existing marketing collateral. This includes your flyers, print ads, social media accounts, email marketing campaign, and more. You simply add a keyword and a short code, along with a small description of the program so that they know what they are signing up for <
    >. When you do this, do so in a way that complements your current marketing campaign.

    Your keyword selection goes a long way in creating something that complements, rather than distracts from, your marketing collateral. Therefore, choose a keyword that fits in with the theme of the marketing. For example, if you are creating a marketing campaign that advertises your new product, use the product name as the keyword.

    Promote the Program Smartly

    In addition to adding your program as a call to action on existing marketing, it is also possible to simply promote it through your other marketing channels. However, you want to do this in a way that builds up all your programs, rather than lose customers. Therefore, do not cross-promote too often. Pick the right times to let your customers know about your SMS marketing program. For example, wait to promote your texting campaign on your social media campaign until you are running a special texting poll.

    Additionally, do not constantly promote your texting campaign on your channels. You might choose to have a static place that informs customers about the campaign, such as a sign-up form on your email newsletter, social media profile and website. However, you would not actively promote it to your followers at every post, email or other interaction. You would save that for opportune moments so that your followers do not feel oversaturated by requests to hear even more from you.

    Provide Good Incentives

    For a successful SMS marketing campaign, you ultimately have to provide content of value. This typically involves incentives for joining -- and staying a part of the campaign. Therefore, take the time to develop offers and deals that are attractive to your customers. Also, do not continually repeat the same offer over and over again across all channels. Instead, make the offers unique in some way. For example, you might have several offers that have a percentage off, but that percentage might change. You also might alternate between a dollar amount off and a percentage off.

    Reviewing redemption rates will tell you which incentives customers liked, and which fell short. Then, work off of that information to build stronger incentives as you move forward.

    Retain Subscribers


    Don't forget to ensure that you retain the subscribers once they have opted in.

    When you develop your SMS marketing promotion, you might only focus on bringing in more and more subscribers. However, do not forget to continually add value in order to retain subscribers. In the long run, this also helps you to build your program, since they will tell friends and family members about the program. Word of mouth promotion is one of the strongest ways to bring in new customers, so you need to ensure that you also spend time working on ways to keep your current subscribers happy. When you have happy subscribers, you can even ask them to promote the program for you. Just be sure to reward them for doing so!

    When you promote your SMS marketing program, it is important to always put the customer first, starting with service before you go too far into promotion. Your promotion plays a big role in creating a successful program <
    > for your texting campaign. By being smart about it, you will have a foundation on which to run a better campaign.

    Ready to get started? Sign up for free.

    Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:20 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    Customer engagement drives business. It is increasingly common for potential customers to select a business based on their experience and emotions, rather than price or other more objective components. Text message marketing has one of the highest engagement rates. That is why successful SMS marketing programs utilize messages to engage and retain customers <
    >. The following messages are the best ones to use to get the attention of customers to increase your number of returning and loyal customers.

    Exclusive Deals


    Send your SMS subscribers special offers that they cannot get anywhere else.

    The easiest way to engage customers is to offer them exclusive deals and discounts in your text message marketing program. Not only does this increase the number of people subscribing to your program, thanks to the excitement of getting regular offers to patron your business, but it also makes them feel special. The regular messages also keep them in touch with your company, so they remain engaged.

    To get the most out of this type of message, it is important the offers remain exclusive and unique. To do this, change up your offers throughout your texting campaign, never repeating the same exact offer. Additionally, do not have an offer on another channel and then use it on your texting campaign.

    Insider Information

    People love feeling like an insider. By sending out messages to your subscribers that include exclusive insider information, they will be more engaged. This might include behind the scenes looks or access to announcements before anyone else. For example, you might send out messages about a sales event to your texting subscribers before you announce it anywhere else. Include early access to shop before anyone else to increase the engagement.

    Surveys and Polls

    Messages like surveys and polls get customers directly interacting with your business. They have to take action and express their opinion. When they see that you take their responses seriously, they will feel more invested in your company.

    For example, if you were a restaurant, you could ask your text message marketing subscribers to choose the next dessert for the menu. Include three or four choices. They can send in their response using the appropriate keyword. The one that gets the most responses wins. Then, you follow through and use it in the new menu. People will feel as though their voices were heard, which makes them feel closer to your company and more invested.

    Contests

    Contests are another way to get people to take a direct action. It also increases excitement around your brand. Just make sure that the prizes are enough to get people to participate. It also helps to provide a prize just for entering, such as a special coupon or another small prize. With your texting program, it is easy to run a text-to-win contest. All that people have to do is text in a keyword to enter. You can promote this through all your regular marketing channels to increase the number of entries.

    VIP/Loyalty Club


    Reward your loyal customers with special treats via text message.

    A great way to build customer investment and loyalty is to honor them for being regular customers through some type of VIP or loyalty club. It is easy to use your text message marketing program as a way to communicate with this club. Divide up your list based on their buying habits, demographics, and other identifying information. Then, send targeted messages to them. For your VIP list, send exclusive deals, early access to events and other messages that make them feel special, and rewarded for their loyalty. They will wish to continue to patron your business.

    Customer engagement is more than just getting them to act. It is about creating a positive experience so that they decide to patron your business over others. Your text message marketing program plays a key role in developing this engagement <
    >, especially with these types of messages.

    Sign up for free and get started on your campaign.

    Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:26 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    Marketing outreach revolves around four main elements: promotion, engagement, alerts, and reminders. SMS marketing is no different in this respect than other marketing channels. Therefore, when you develop your strategy for MMS marketing, it is important to keep these four ideas in mind.


    Get your team together and build a strong foundation based on these principles.

    You might decide that your texting program will focus on one area, while other marketing channels will focus on others. Alternatively, you might decide to use all four in your texting campaign for a more diverse program.

    No matter how you use it, it important to bear in mind certain SMS marketing best practices to get the most out of the program. It is likewise important to understand the nuances of each of the four elements so you can expertly use them.

    Promotion

    Promotion is the way that you advertise your products and services to potential customers. It is about spreading the word about your company and increasing brand awareness and recognition. It is often the top part of the sales funnel, where you are taking in as many potential people as possible to eventually convert them into a customer.

    There are many ways to utilize SMS marketing for promotion, but one of the best ways to use SMS marketing in your promotional efforts is as a call to action.

    Any strong piece of marketing or advertising material requires a good call to action. This should be something that motivates the person to act while also being easy to get them to take immediate action.

    You lose a significant amount of the power of advertising if it requires a person to have to remember to take the action at a later time. That is where SMS marketing really demonstrates its power.

    It is easy to include your MMS marketing program on any existing piece of marketing collateral:

    • Radio or TV spots
    • Billboards
    • Print ads
    • Flyers
    • Digital properties
    • Social media accounts
    • Email

    You simply add a keyword and shortcode. Around 90 percent of people carry their cell phones with them at all times, so they can take action right away, increasing the efficacy of your marketing. Adding some incentive, such as an offer, increases the motivation for people to take the action.

    This not only helps to strengthen the efficacy of your marketing materials, thereby increasing your brand awareness and pool of potential customers, but it also helps to increase the number of potential subscribers. Then, you have a pool of interested people to use the second element of a texting campaign: engagement.

    Promotion combines well with other elements of marketing. You might use a texting program to send new product alerts, offers and deals, and other messages that promote a certain event, service or products

    Promotion: Best Practices

    When you use texting as a call to action, there are a few SMS marketing best practices to follow. First, add some terms and conditions when possible that are easy to understand. You want to let people know that they are signing up for a regular marketing program when they text the keyword.

    This is easily done with a confirmation email that auto-responds when a person texts in the keyword. In this confirmation email, include some brief terms and conditions and a link to more information. Ask them to reply to confirm their opt-in to the program.


    The great thing about texting is that people can take action from anywhere.

    An example might be "Text CONFIRM to join our texting program or STOP to opt-out. Click here for terms and conditions [with link]."

    Also, when you create a call to action, you want to use the right language to get people to take action. This typically includes strong motivational language. This works no matter where you include a call to action, including on any future texts in your texting program.

    It is best to use action verbs along with some adverbs that create a sense of urgency. This should be done in as concise a manner as possible since you only have 160 characters.

    A good example of a strong call to action that can be used to get people to join your program is "Text [Keyword] to [shortcode] to join our list and receive exclusive deals and offers. Get 20 percent off for texting today."

    Engagement

    The second main element of MMS marketing is engagement. Customer engagement has become an essential component of business because more and more customers choose where they buy products based on their experience of that business. They rely more on emotional reasoning rather than logical reasoning (such as price or location).

    This makes it even more important to create excellent customer service and find ways to continually engage with customers.

    SMS marketing is a great way to engage with customers. In fact, it has a higher engagement rate than email and other forums. There are several types of messages that you might send to garner more customer engagement:

    • Surveys
    • Polls
    • Contests
    • Information and tips
    • Exclusive news
    • Customer service messages
    • Offers and deals

    Each of these avenues of engagement provides something different for customers. Surveys and polls let customers tell you what they think. Contests are always fun and increase the number of people who choose to opt-in since customers love to win new things. Many customers will wish to learn information and tips, especially if it is exclusive news about your company, products or services.

    Offering customers service via text improves your service to your customers since it is easy for them to contact you with questions or problems from anywhere at any time.

    Some of the most common message types are offers and deals. These get people to come in and shop at your business, but you want to always mix up your offers so that they are not the same basic offer every time. This reduces the impact of your offers since people know they can use them at any time.

    Engagement Best Practices

    Many companies choose to use several of these forms in order to keep customers excited about their program, rather than deciding to opt out because they tire of the same, boring messages over and over again. The important consideration in terms of engagement messages is that you create content of value for your customers.

    There are several ways to determine what your customers might want from your program:

    • Perform market research
    • Review the demographics
    • Directly ask customers through a poll or survey

    Many companies find it beneficial to create a persona based on their target audience that is created through looking at shopping behaviors, demographics, and psychosocial characteristics. You might have more than one of these personas. Then, create messages that are attractive to your target audience.

    If you have more than one ideal customer persona, divide your subscriber list into groups based on their various characteristics and then send personalized targeted messages. This increases the efficacy and engagement of your program.

    Although it is tempting to send out several messages to really take advantage of the benefits of customer engagement. However, people do not appreciate being inundated with text messages, even though they do wish to hear from companies via text. This means you need to find the right frequency of texts for your program to get the peak success rates.

    If you text too little, then customers will forget about your program or decide to opt out. Alternatively, if you text too often, then customers will get annoyed and opt out.

    Most companies find that texting between two and four times per month is ideal, but you might need to poll your customers and perform some testing to determine the ideal frequency for you.

    Timing is also important, especially for offers and deals. You want to provide customers sufficient time to use the deal, but you also want to create some urgency. Because most people open texts within a few minutes of receipt, it is the perfect medium for flash sales and limited time coupons.

    Alerts


    Send out texts to let people know about emergency situations.

    Another common type of MMS marketing messages is alerts:

    • Emergency alerts
    • Alerts about events
    • Transactional messages

    Educational institutions find SMS marketing a great way to alert their students, faculty, and staff of any activities on campus, including any emergencies that might arise. You might also use this to alert your staff to any emergency situations.

    Because most people open text messages and have their phones on them, you can feel confident that they have read the message. That is why it is so great to use texting for important information, like emergency alerts.

    Many customers prefer using texting for transactional messages. This might be for when they have bought something, it has shipped, it is ready to be picked up, or any other message that you might normally send via email or mail.

    When it comes to alerts, there are not too many unique best practices. You want to avoid sending them more often than you need to do, and you want to be careful about the timing. Emergency alerts might be fine to send outside of business hours, but any other messages should be sent during the day at convenient times that are not disruptive to the customer.

    Reminders

    Reminders are similar to alerts in that they send specific information to your customers. Their purpose is to simply remind customers about something they already know about. For businesses that sell products or offer services, this might be reminders about sales or events in store. Businesses with many events might also use it to send a last-minute reminder about events to boost attendance.

    Medical professionals, service-oriented businesses, and other appointment-based business find that sending appointment reminders via text leads to fewer no-show appointments, reducing the financial loss when that happens.

    When you send appointment reminders, you want to find the right time. It should be close enough that people do not forget, otherwise, you have missed the purpose of the reminder. However, you want to provide sufficient time to let the person alert you if they need to change the appointment.

    Most people send out reminders about 24 hours ahead of time, but you might choose to send them closer to the time. The same SMS marketing best practices apply to event reminders as well.

    General SMS Marketing Best Practices

    The above discussed certain best practices for each of the central elements of marketing. There are some additional ones that should be used for every single text you send out, no matter the intention behind it.


    Make sure to get permission before you start texting customers.

    First and foremost, always get permission from your subscribers, especially if you plan to send marketing messages. This ensures that you remain in compliance with texting guidelines and rules.

    If you send out several types of messages, such as reminders, transactional messages, and marketing messages, then you will need to have permission to send all three types of messages. You cannot assume that someone who signed up for reminders will also want to receive your marketing messages.

    Make it clear to them what the program will provide, and then adhere to this contract. Also, make it easy to opt out. Keep track of all opt ins and opt outs in case you need to review it at some point.

    MMS marketing is a unique channel that needs to be utilized as such. Do not simply reproduce the same content to send to your subscribers. Remember that several of them will follow you on social media, regularly read your blog, receive your emails and otherwise engage with you through several channels.

    Therefore, they will have no incentive to join your texting campaign if it does not have its own unique enticement. This might be special offers and deals, exclusive information, early access to sales or other motivations for joining.

    Ready to get started with your text message marketing campaign? Sign up for free.

    Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:24 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company


    Viveka von Rosen is internationally known as the "LinkedIn Expert" and is the author of 2 best-selling books on LinkedIn. We had a chance to chat with Viveka about how to make LinkedIn profiles more attractive and effective, and found out which premium LinkedIn features are worth the investment.

    Tell us a bit about yourself. How and why did you become an expert on LinkedIn?

    To be honest, I really lucked into my LinkedIn career. I was running a coworking space and had managed to double our membership through face-to-face networking. Since we had a lot of entrepreneurs at the business center, I invited my friend Laurie Macomber to come and speak to them about Web 2.0 (which shows you how long ago it was.) At the end of her speech, she mentioned a little network called LinkedIn that had 7 million members. I imagined how I could really make business explode with an audience of 7 million people.

    By this time, it was 2007, and I was beginning to teach and train locally on LinkedIn. I got my first big break when ABCN (Alliance Business Centers Network) invited me to speak in the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom to their group of 500 millionaires and billionaires. That's when I realized that I had found what I wanted to do with my life.

    I started doing a lot of virtual training and establishing myself in the LinkedIn space and social media in general, After about a year, I was able to quit my day job and focus solely on LinkedIn.

    Why has LinkedIn remained so popular when compared to all other professional networking sites on the Internet?

    I think LinkedIn has stayed pretty steady because it doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: a social business networking site focused on the growth of its members' businesses. You know what you are getting with LinkedIn. It's not terribly sexy, but it works.

    How can LinkedIn users easily improve their profiles?

    I think because it's not as exciting as Facebook or Snapchat, people forget that it is still an important place to establish and promote your business brand. Doing simple things on a regular basis can make a world of difference, such as:

    • Add a background image to your profile to promote your brand and share contact info
    • Add rich media to demonstrate your product or service and prove your expertise
    • Share updates to stay top of mind and create (personal) brand awareness
    • Use LinkedIn Publisher to position yourself as a thought-leader

    At what point should an individual consider purchasing one of LinkedIn's premium packages?

    Some of LinkedIn's best features (Advanced Search, Saved Search, Tagging, and Notes) were just removed from LinkedIn's free account. So now more than ever, it is worth investing in the premium account - and not just any premium account, but Sales Navigator. And even though I have not, traditionally, been the biggest fan of Sales Nav., now that I have been forced into using it, I am really discovering value in its features. While it is not cheap, it only takes one new client to pay for it for the year.

    Is an InMail message perceived to be more important by LinkedIn members than a regular email message? [What are other advantages of using InMail?]

    One of the added benefits of Sales Nav are the 15+ inMails a month. (An InMail is simply a message to someone who you are not connected with.) InMails really give you the opportunity to reach out to anyone on LinkedIn. It's a pretty powerful tool.

    The problem is that most people waste their InMails with a sales pitch. Like any sales transaction, you have to warm your prospect up a bit. Get to know them. Use your InMail to ask for a connection request, and use it to demonstrate that you have taken the time to research your prospect by referring to something in their profile or something they have shared on LinkedIn.

    What types of traditional online marketing techniques can be effectively used for text message or SMS marketing? When crafting a marketing text or SMS message, what is it important to avoid doing?

    Last year, LinkedIn switched from a traditional inbox to LinkedIn messenger (copying Facebook). It allows for more responsive and casual conversations on LinkedIn. While the responsiveness of this chat-like feature can certainly stimulate conversation, I would warn not to go "too casual" (or add too many emojis.) to your conversations. This is still LinkedIn after all, and the average user is 41 years old - not your kid's age.

    Will LinkedIn continue to be one of the leading social media platforms in the coming years?

    Time will tell as to whether LinkedIn will maintain its position as the premier business networking site. It was recently acquired by Microsoft, and my hope is that the resources MS brings to the platform will continue to help it to improve. My fear is that MS will try and monetize the platform to the extent where the average business person will no longer want to use it. This latest user interface make-over seems to suggest the latter. But since there really is no competition (for the time being,) it's most definitely worth investing your time (and maybe some business dollars) on LinkedIn.

    See if text message marketing is a good fit for your business. Sign up for free today!

    Wed, 12/21/2016 - 11:06 — Ez Texting, a CallFire Company

    Text message marketing complements any type of marketing and promotion you already do. There are many areas with which texting works to build a stronger marketing campaign. Effectively integrating your marketing efforts helps increase your success for all campaigns, especially holiday campaigns <
    >. Although it is easy to incorporate your texting campaign with any of your marketing efforts, it really complements email, social media, blogging and print ads.

    Email marketing


    Ask your email subscribers to sign up for your texting campaign.

    When you integrate SMS marketing with other channels, it goes both ways. For example, it is possible to use your email marketing campaigns to increase your subscribers for your texting campaign and vice versa. Send a text out to your subscribers and ask them to send a text with their email to join your newsletter. This has the potential to bring in more people to your newsletter, and you might also be able to sign them up to your text marketing program as well.

    Conversely, ask anyone who signs up for your email newsletter to also sign up for your texting campaign. By capturing all the information at once, it is more likely people will do so. Additionally, you can also include promotion about your SMS marketing program in your email newsletters so that interested clients will sign up at a later date. Make it easy for them to do so; otherwise, you will end up losing them.

    Social Media Marketing

    Social media marketing provides a way to utilize people's personal networks to build your brand. You also have the ability to connect directly with your followers, creating a more intimate relationship with your clients and customers. A texting campaign helps to build that personal relationship even more. Most people do not view texts as marketing, since it is not as saturated with ads and spam as other forms.

    Therefore, take advantage of the close relationship of both mediums to relate even further with your fans. Ask your social media followers to join your texting campaign and vice versa. Any time you run a campaign on one, cross promote on the other.

    Blogging

    Blogging helps you to continually bring in new clients to your website. This is because you can find ways to increase your organic traffic through optimizing it for SEO and providing information people want. Once people on your page, you have the ability to get them to sign up for ways to remain in contact with you, like your texting campaign. Similar to email marketing, have a way to capture information from them on your blog form, including their mobile number. Alternatively, have a call to action that includes a keyword and your number so they can easily opt in.

    You can also promote your blog to your text messaging subscribers. Send out a brief description of the blog and a link. This will keep customers engaged with your brand, increasing the chance they will continue to choose you when it comes time to take advantage of your goods or services. Just be sure to remain within the 160 characters for the text message and make it easy for them to link to the blog.

    Print ads


    With SMS marketing, people can take action from wherever they see your ads.

    Text message marketing is the perfect complement to print ads. It is a strong call to action that helps improve the efficacy of your ads. Simply add a keyword and your number to all of your print ads to give an easy way for customers to take action upon seeing your ad. Add in an incentive, like an offer or a deal, for greater efficacy. You can also use print ads to promote your texting campaign and get more subscribers.

    For integration to really work, it is necessary for you to create unique content of value that is exclusive to the medium. For example, the deals you offer through email might be different than those through text. This increases the chance that people will sign up to follow you across the board. With a seamless integration, you can run a holiday campaign <
    > or any other campaign that has a higher reach, because you will talk to the customer anywhere they are, whether email, blogs, social media, print media or texting.

    Contact us to learn more about integrating your marketing campaigns.

    Sun, 12/18/2016 - 22:23 — Jeremy Pollack

    #furbaby is a thing, a really big thing. Lurk social media and you’ll see the great lengths people will go to ensure their beloved pets live a fulfilling and comfortable life. With a plethora of bougie pet boutiques available, pet owners expect the same high-quality of service from their veterinarians. As someone with a veterinarian practice, you likely want to find the best way to retain your clients and capture leads. A powerful tool you can use is SMS to effectively communicate with clients, as well as promote your business. Check out a few helpful SMS marketing tips:

    Send Appointment Reminders

    When a prospect calls or walks into your office to make an appointment, you can ask them to opt-in to your text subscriber list. If they decide to opt-in, you can send your subscriber a text to confirm their appointment and then send a reminder 12-24 hours before the appointment with an option to cancel or reschedule. Those who are subscribed to your text alerts may appreciate a reminder each time they have an appointment if they live busy lives. 

    Follow Up With Pet Owners Post-Appointment

    Pet owners want to feel valued and as if their pet matters to you. To develop a relationship with clients, and keep their loyalty to your practice, sending personalized text messages can be most rewarding. If a pet has a procedure or is prescribed a new medication, shoot the owner a text a day to a week after the appointment, and check in to see how your patient is reacting to the change. You can also segment clients into lists based off breeds, species, conditions, and more, and send each group general tips on how to maintain good health. 

    Allow Clients to Inquire Via SMS

    It has become a primal instinct to Internet search symptoms or unusual behavior as soon as we notice them. Most often, panic and assumptions ensue. Reassure clients by offering an open line of communication where clients can ask your office staff questions about their pets’ health during business hours. Although not all questions can be answered with a simple text message, and some circumstances call for emergency help, clients will be grateful that they can get a professional opinion firsthand rather than diagnose their pets through Internet searches. 

    Offer Promotions and Mobile Coupons

    You can show your clients that you treasure their business by sending them the occasional discount or letting them know about promotions and exclusives before non-subscribers. Many pet owners may skip out on routine checkups and vaccines because they cannot afford all the expenses. Giving clients a discount or occasional freebie can significantly help them and thus influence them to refer you to other pet owners. 

    With the ever-growing popularity of mobile use, it is imperative that you use it to your vet practice’s advantage. Use SMS to best engage with your pet-loving clients. 

    Fri, 12/16/2016 - 01:31 — Jeremy Pollack

    Do a 360 right now and you’ll likely notice that many people are absorbed in their mobile devices. It has become the norm to multitask with a phone in one hand, so it makes sense to incorporate text communication into your marketing strategy. SMS alone can be a successful tool for your business, but using it in conjunction with other marketing tools can take your business to a new level. There are at least five ways you can use SMS marketing to boost your marketing efforts if you integrate it with different channels such as website, email, social media, ads, print, and radio/TV.

    Have a Successful Call-to-Action 

    Text messages are instant. Including a call-to-action on a print or digital ad, prompting people to text in, can deliver quick results i.e. SMS subscribers or conversions. Providing this call-to-action via SMS makes it easier for people to act on the spot before they are injected with another brand’s pitch. Text marketing makes it simple for customers to engage with your brand through different channels at once. 

    Ability to Cross Promote

    Each marketing channel can serve a different purpose and can reach different demographics. Include your text marketing program in your newsletters or social media accounts with an incentive to receive exclusive offers through the program. If you develop a contest campaign on one channel, let followers know that text subscribers will get additional bonuses or an inside scoop into your events. Those who follow you on other channels already show an interest in your brand, so they may want to become more intimately involved with your brand through text messages.

    Generate Unique Content

    Make every channel valuable. Rather than copy and paste the same message onto each channel, create unique content for each. It is important to develop a different strategy for each channel because not only does the formatting change throughout channels, but audiences may vary per channel. When you structure content according to your audience’s preferences and engagement styles, you remain exclusive. 

    Complement Other Channels

    Once you begin to understand which channels see the most conversions, traffic, or engagement, you can scope out better ways to improve your marketing plan. If there is a specific channel that you wish to promote on a slow day or to improve engagement through it, introduce your text program on the channel and increase visibility. Offer exclusive coupons that can be redeemed once a follower opts-in or enters a campaign-specific keyword. 

    Target Frequency of Subscribers’ Sales Texts

    If possible, figure out which followers follow which channels in order to prevent over saturating their experience with your brand. Text marketing allows you to filter people into different subscriber lists so that you can launch campaigns according to their interaction with your brand through different channels. For those that follow you on every channel, send them a minimal amount of sales texts and instead build brand loyalty by engaging through friendly conversation or sending last minute updates about the brand. 

    Mon, 12/12/2016 - 17:53 — Jeremy Pollack

    Get your champagne bottles ready, it’s the season to celebrate financial gains. Given that there are a cluster of holidays this month, all of which are centered on celebration and giving, it is necessary that you vigorously take action toward marketing your business. One quick and easy way to secure these holiday benefits is by implementing SMS to your overall marketing efforts. More than $650 billion is spent during the winter holidays. That’s pretty intense, so why not figure out how to get a taste of this yourself? Here are a few ways to increase brand awareness or ROI before the year is over, and to spare yourself those sweaty palms.

    Use Holiday Marketing To Offer Special Mobile Deals

    There is an unspoken expectation that brands must offer deals during holidays. Loyal customers may seek your company during holidays to justify spending while new customers may become aware of your brand through unique deals. If you are okay with tailoring to your leads’ expectations, then offering customized deals via SMS is quite ideal this holiday season. If you are trying to plump up your text marketing subscriber list, advertise it with an irresistible incentive such as a steal deal welcome coupon when users subscribe. Once you are ready to send out a holiday campaign, make sure you know your audience well in order to send valuable texts. Review your already-subscribed users’ shopping data, demographics, market research, and survey results, (if available). If you do not have access to this information, and if you need data from new subscribers, send out an SMS survey with several questions, including perhaps a funny elf graphic to let people know you understand how important it is to lighten up during this stressful time. Use the answers to put subscribers into appropriate subscriber lists and target each group with exclusive holiday offers. Awkward unfitting text coupons are a ticket to the unsubscribed list.

    Integrate it With Your Other Marketing Efforts

    Text marketing alone can be effective, however, using it with other channels such as print and digital ads, social media, and TV spots, can increase the potency of your efforts since each channel may reach different demographics, and it may align better with your company if it prides itself in design, social engagement, and more. Although quick reminders of holiday deals can be effective on social media and through email marketing, text messages are instant, and instant is good in this instant gratification culture. In fact, more than 98% of people open text messages. Therefore, a last-minute reminder for a sale or new inventory alert will get people to act fast, which is imperative during the busy holiday season when people need certain goods in a short period.

    Whether you want to focus on conversion or brand awareness this holiday season, SMS marketing can take your business to a new level because of its immediacy. While people hurriedly shop with a latte, shopping bags, and mobile device in tow, they will appreciate instant text alerts with up-to-date information on your company rather than have to physically scope out deals during lunch breaks or traffic jams.