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Would you rather have a business send you a special offer or coupon:
- through email – where you have to wade through 100 daily messages to find it and then print it off and bring in to redeem OR
- as a SMS text message (where you see it instantly and can redeem it simply by bringing in your mobile phone)?
The answer seems pretty obvious for most of us. According to a recent study, nearly half of U.S. Internet users said they prefer receiving loyalty-related messages via SMS.
And yet, fewer than 25 percent of brand marketers are currently using SMS for loyalty programs.
Email marketing has exploded over the past 10-plus years thanks to heavy marketing and well-known platforms such as Constant Contact and MailChimp. This has made it easy for even the smallest of companies to set up and manage email campaigns.
They aren’t as well-known or understood (yet), but there are similar platforms for companies who want to reach potential and current customers via SMS messages. These SMS marketing platforms are ridiculously effective too. Open rates for SMS messages average 90 percent or higher. The best email open rate tends to be in the 40 percent range.
In our experience, the biggest concern businesses have using SMS marketing is they don’t want to be seen as spammers. And that is good. Nobody wants to be spammed (especially in a text message). But this really should be your approach with ALL outbound marketing. You want your messages to provide some level of value to your audience – and you want to make sure your audience actually wants to hear from you.
There are much stronger rules and laws in place to prevent SMS spammers compared to email. Databases are built by asking people to opt-in by texting a keyword to what is called a “Shortcode.” Even after opting in its easy for users to opt out of text campaigns – they simply reply “Stop” to messages. If you want an example of how this works, text “David” to 71441 and you’ll receive my contact information.
Think about how many businesses can benefit from using mobile SMS text marketing for loyalty programs and coupons. Restaurants, coffee shops, ice rinks, retail stores – any business that relies on constant (and repeat) customers are fair game. Businesses can toss aside punch cards, loyalty cards or printed coupons. They don’t need to invest in costly new mobile apps that need to be found, downloaded (and activated).
We have partnered with My Edmonds News to provide SMS text mobile alerts! Simply text “MyEdmonds” (without the quotes) to 71441 and you’ll see how it works. Whenever there is breaking news (such as major road closures or incidents) you’ll receive a text alert. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
(This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in My Edmonds News)