fbpx
How to Set up Text Message Marketing

How to Set up Text Message Marketing

Text Message Marketing

Businesses love SMS, because almost everybody uses text messaging, even those that are still using non-smartphones. The tools available online allow businesses to provide many types of messaging services.  So, what is SMS marketing software? SMS marketing software gives businesses and organizations the ability to communicate with their customers via text messages and SMS messages. 

There are two types of SMS software available today and they satisfy different segments of the marketplace — engineers and marketers. When purchasing a SMS service, businesses need to consider whether they need a standalone SMS solution that plays well with their existing tech stack or whether they need a turnkey third party text message marketing program

Text Message Marketing – Engineering Software 

An SMS gateway allows a computer to send and receive SMS or MMS message via an application programming interface (API). Some SMS solutions offer an API to enable businesses to connect their existing applications to an SMS gateway. With this type of integration, developers may text enable an organization’s current communications applications rather than purchase a separate solution. 

In some cases, a business may want to integrate its text messaging into a larger product or business offering. For instance, a trucking company may want to immediately send a text message to every new applicant that fills out their job application online. This would require integration with the website. An astrologer, for instance, may want to send out a daily astrological forecast to his or her followers. This requires integration with its database that recognizes both the mobile phone number and the astrological sign associated with the owner of that phone number. 

Services such as those mentioned above are the ones that are targeting engineers who need to use messaging as a part of an overall business campaign. One high flying business that pioneered this process is Twilio (TWLO – NYSE) . If you had purchased its stock a few years ago, you’d be very happy today. Twilio provides all of the API tools that a programmer needs to easily integrate text messaging into almost any kind of product or service. 

Based on the success of Twilio, there are other companies that have begun to compete with it. One such company to jump on the bandwagon is Bandwidth (BAND – NASDAQ). It beats Twilio on pricing and is poised to be a strong competitor to it. 

Text Message Marketing – Marketing Software

The good news is that there are many great, user friendly, text message marketing services available online that will do exactly what you need to do for your small or large business or organization.

Let’s take a look at a few of those that are commonly found in these services.

  • Interactive Text Message Marketing — With interactive services, the consumer sends a keyword to a short code or long code and then receives a reply message in return. In many instances, this is the initial interaction that kick starts a long relationship between the business and the consumer, because the reply message includes a verifiable opt-in that enables the business to legally add the consumer to its database.
  • Broadcast Text Message Marketing — Once a business has a valid opt-in from a consumer, it now has the ability to send periodic broadcast messages to that person. Broadcast messaging, sometimes called “Bulk SMS,” is really the value center of messaging, because it allows the business to consistently remind the user of its products and services.
  • MMS — With MMS, the business or organization can add an image, video, meme or sound bite to the message. Obviously, this may make the message considerably more engaging than with SMS, but there are also some negatives. A customer who has a feature phone will not be able to see the MMS. And, then there’s the cost. Sending an MMS is about five times more expensive than sending an SMS so if you have a large database, this could be a consideration.

Many online messaging providers also offer special offerings to compliment their basic interactive and broadcast text messaging services. Usually, such services are in the areas of couponing and sweepstakes. 

  • Couponing — With any marketing campaign, the goal is to encourage the consumer to act now. So, with a mobile coupon, it’s important to be able to accommodate your customers accordingly. Having one expiration date for a coupon can be problematic, because perhaps the consumer may only have one day to redeem it. That’s why many online services enable you to set up a mobile coupon with a certain amount of days from receipt to redeem the coupon. Also, some businesses may not want to provide an unlimited amount of redemptions of a coupon. Therefore, the business may include a unique alphanumeric coupon code on each text message so that once that code is used, it cannot be used again.
  • Sweepstakes — Sweepstakes are a great way to increase your database. Remember, getting the consumer to opt-in to your database is never an easy task, because they know they are committing to future promotional text messages. Providing a chance to win a prize can overcome that issue and encourage a greater amount of opt-ins. Some online text message marketing providers have unique offerings for sweepstakes. These may enable the business to award instant winner prizes to those that enter while building a database for a grand prize. 

One of the negatives about shared short codes is that a keyword can only be used once among all of the users of that shared short code. In some cases, the companies above will assign you a random keyword for your test and not allow you to choose a memorable keyword. That’s OK. Use it anyway and when you write your paper just note that you would replace the random keyword with whatever memorable keyword you recommend.

QR Codes: It’s Hip to Be Square

Thanks to the pandemic, the QR code has made an unexpected comeback from the marketing ashes. Once a convenient way to access a website, the once slumping QR Code was replaced by the proliferation of mobile apps and interactive text message marketing programs that utilized embedded links for consumer web access. 

QR codes made a comeback when Snapchat began using them as a quick means to access accounts. Then there was the pandemic when dining out meant scanning a QR code for safety reasons rather than handling a traditional menu. 

A QR code is now hip again. If your ultimate goal is to drive consumers to a website, you can do it with a text message with an embedded link. Or, a QR code can take them directly to the website. With the increased affinity with QR codes, and the fact that smartphones can now scan them without downloading a QR code scanner, those funny black & white boxes are a terrific add on to a text message campaign.

If you are going to integrate a QR code as an alternative option to your text message marketing campaign, consider a custom QR code. Custom QR codes stand out and increase consumer curiosity, thus resulting in a scan rate that is 3x greater than a standard black and white QR code. (Bentz, 2016)

Snapchat QR Code
QR Code

Bob Bentz, President of Purplegator’s Snapchat filter code and an award winning QR code as awarded by CNN.

Top 10 Things To Consider When Creating a New Website

Top 10 Things To Consider When Creating a New Website

Whether you are a web designer searching for new ways to revamp your company’s website or you are totally new to the whole web design idea, there are many strategies you should keep in mind when designing a new website. Web design is important because it influences how your audience will view your brand. It can be the one deciding factor in someone staying on your page or exiting immediately. To attract a large number of viewers to your site for a period of time that is not only long but also productive, you need to arrange your site wisely and attractively. Here are 10 tips to think about while designing your next site:

 

  1. Plan out the sites organization

An important element of your website should be that it is easy to navigate. You want your audience to be able to find different categories easily. The most important information should be on the website’s homepage. It is vital that you strategically decide where everything is placed on your site. This will help draw traffic to the places where you want to gain the most attention. Color scheme and word font should also be carefully considered. You want to use colors and fonts that are easy for your audience to see. You also want to be creative and stand out so that your site can help to achieve your goals. 

  1. Emphasize the benefits of using your service

A sufficient website should not only represent your business in a positive light, but it should also highlight the level of business that you want to do with your audience. You should include descriptions of your services and how they can specifically benefit your audience. What do you want to help your client accomplish? How do you plan to do that? The more information your website has about how your services can directly benefit your audience, the better. Including positive customer reviews or any awards that you have earned on your website can also help strengthen your credibility. 

  1. Carefully choose where your website is developed

It is important to keep in mind whether your website should be developed in the USA or overseas. You can certainly get things developed a lot cheaper if you use an overseas developer. But, you’ll have the added hassles of having to interact with a person whose first language is not English, there will be a time difference to deal with, and you’ll also have a cultural divide to accommodate. Using a USA-based developer will eliminate those issues, but you’ll pay more too. That’s where mixing it up by using a hybrid approach might be your best bet. Look for a company that provides domestic project management, but outsources some of the heavy coding overseas for savings for you.

  1. Understand your audience 

With every decision that you make regarding your website, you must keep your main audience in mind. If you know that your site is going to attract mostly children, then you want it to be kid friendly and extremely easy to navigate with less words. If you know that you are going to attract more adults, you want to have more specific information present. Consider what services your audience wants to know most about and have this stand out more on the website. Making sure that your website is appealing to your target audience will improve the likelihood that they stay on your site longer and even reach out to you as a business opportunity. 

  1. Utilize photos and videos

Besides just words, providing strong and captivating photo and video content can really make the difference on your website. Most people prefer watching videos more than reading information on a website. Being able to visualize and hear about what you offer might resonate with them more. In fact, studies show that people remember 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. Showing pictures of people with your product or using your service makes your business come alive and helps to make it seem more useful. Adding pictures and videos of your team can help make your company seem more personable and approachable. Using meaningful images can also help to create the atmosphere that you are going for and can create certain moods in your audience. Cinemagraphs can also be used on your site to capture and keep your audience’s attention even better. 

  1. Keep your site safe 

There are many steps you should take in order to make sure that your site stays safe from hackers or losing all of its content. First and foremost, make sure that your website has a backup. Nothing is worse than putting months and months of time into website content for it to be deleted forever. Next, ensure that only a few people are given administrative rights and access to the website. Only people who contribute to the site regularly should have access to prevent the website from getting into the wrong hands. There should also be a strong password for the website administrative access. Make sure to keep your website up to date with the newest software updates. 

  1. Consider keyword research

One of the key aspects of search engine optimization is using the most appropriate keywords. By taking the time to figure out which words you should include, you are helping draw the right people to your website. You should do some research to see how your target audience searches for products or services. From there, you can prioritize certain keywords for search engine results. Utilizing SEO plug-ins will give you tips that can help make your content more visible from searches. 

  1. Design your site as mobile first 

Since we are living in a mobile first world, your site should be able to function properly on a mobile phone, tablet, or smartwatch even before desktop. People are constantly checking web pages on the go so it is important that your site is designed to function this way. When using a mobile-first design strategy, website creators can increase the chances of their site ranking higher on Google. Conversion rates can also be increased for businesses by utilizing this strategy. In 2018, it was found that 52.2% of global web traffic was from mobile phone devices. This should tell web designers that only designing for desktop users will not cut it anymore. 

  1. Utilize WordPress 

60 million organizations are now choosing to use WordPress to power their business or personal web pages. The platform has gained popularity for a variety of reasons. WordPress is an easy to use platform that allows expansion and updates regularly. It is SEO friendly and offers ready to use plug-ins. WordPress provides tools, security, and analytics that help to grow your business. 

  1. Use strong copy

While pictures, videos, and color scheme can all make your website look great, these elements are just not enough. The actual copy within your website is what will make the difference in drawing people to your page and keeping them there. Your website should contain good copy that speaks to the specific audience you are trying to reach. You should mention key issues that the audience might need your service for. You can explain what services you offer and how they would be helpful to your audience. Your website’s copy should be straightforward. All copy should be grammatically correct with no errors and written in a professional manner. If your audience likes your copy then they will stay on your site longer. This will increase the likelihood they use your service. 

There are many key elements to remember when designing a website, especially for your business. You want to design the site with your audience in mind. You want to inform and persuade. Most of all, you want to make sure to explain how you can help your audience reach their goals or needs. 

Sammy Chmara is a marketing consultant at Purplegator — a mobile first marketing agency in Philadelphia with offices in Des Moines, Buffalo, Dallas, and Honolulu. Sammy is both a Blue Hen (U of Delaware) and a Purplegator.