While channels such as web and email remain popular, there’s one communication channel that continues to spectacularly outperform every other channel when it comes to driving retail traffic with immediate engagement. That channel is sending a mobile text message via SMS.

Text messages having a 98% read rate, with 9 out of 10 text messages opened within 3 seconds of being received. On top of this, 29% of people targeted with SMS opt-in campaigns respond to the message, with 14% of people targeted making a purchase as a result of the original opt-in message.

According to research by Biz Report, approximately 49 percent of all customers surveyed were interested in giving out their information into an SMS marketing program, probably more than you would have expected. The single biggest reason why customers said they would opt-in was to receive coupons (29.9 percent). Other reasons included to receive information (7.3 percent), event notifications (6.7 percent) and to sign up for a contest (4.6 percent).

Customers Opt-in if They Can Get Something From It

The fact that receiving coupons is by far the most popular reason for opting-in to a SMS marketing program clearly demonstrates that the best and most effective SMS campaigns offer some sort of value to their customers; value that they can’t necessarily get elsewhere. Whilst some people might be interested in receiving information about your company, what they are really interested in is saving money.

This means that when you are advertising your SMS campaign and focusing on getting people to sign up, you need to push the idea of exactly how it benefits your customers to do so. You’ll want to give examples of sales or discounts they can expect to receive, and also add an element of exclusivity.

So how do you grow text message opt-ins? First you will need to create the opt-in message. Here are some handy pointers:

  • Use a sender name rather than a plain 5-digit number. This will allow customers to know who is sending the message and, in turn, they will be more likely to respond.
  • Use appropriate abbreviations, but avoid excessive text speak.
  • Use shortened URLs such as ‘bit.ly’ to condense a website addresses. This will allow for a more visually appealing format.
  • Keep messages brief- ideally within a 160-character limit.
  • Use capital letters for important keywords such as call to action phrases, e.g. WIN or NEW.

Once the creation of the text messages is done, the next step is convincing customers to opt-in. One way could be to give customers the autonomy to choose what they want from the opt-in messages based on factors such as location and interest topics.

You need to be transparent about your intentions so customers will not be annoyed by unwanted messages. Whatever you choose it is vital to make it clear what you are offering the customer, otherwise, why would they bother signing up?

The last step in growing your leads is figuring out how you will target your intended customers. This is where timing, database management, marketing and tracking become very important. The saying timing is everything has never been more crucial than in SMS marketing.

When the Time Is Right

 Customers will not want to be woken up in the early hours by a text message, nor promotions, regardless of whether they are of use to them. Likewise, you should be sending messaging in good time, but not so early as to risk the message being forgotten about. So, if you are having a sale on the weekend, it is important to get the message out to perspective customers on the Friday.  Database management is a no brainer. Keeping the customer database up to date ensures the correct people are receiving the messages, even if phone numbers are unexpectedly changed. Lastly, tracking engagement rates can help to get a full perspective on how successful the campaign is and which incentives attract the most interest. This data can help inform future campaigns and ensure you are targeting the right customers.

In summary, growing an opt-in database creates a very streamlined strategy which will help drive sales results. It not only improves the efficiency of your marketing efforts, but also leverages your existing customer base and reduces the advertising cost, eliminating the need for spray and pray adverting approach. Most importantly, text opt-in messages outperform other technology based advertising and social media, so don’t delay!

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About The Author

Matthew Winters, CEO, Veoo

Matthew is a seasoned mobile expert with over 15 years’ experience. He started his career in mobile content and moved onto the management of online storefronts for Microsoft, MSN, Wanadoo and AOL. Matthew moved into aggregation in 2005 and worked for two of the top five UK aggregators.