We’ve all experienced the spammy side of SMS – that 3am “FREE BEST BUY GIFT CARD” text with no choice to opt out. But there is actually a bright side to SMS marketing, led by brands using the platform to deliver legitimate deals and information to customers.
Key Components of an SMS Marketing Campaign
There are a few common themes among SMS marketing campaigns today. First and foremost, in order to get signups brands have to offer something that the customer wants, be it coupons, special offers or exclusive information. Many of these brands invite customers to “Join our Text Club,” a slightly more appealing call to action than “get on our subscriber list.” Finally, there are a number of legal requirements pointed out in the diagram below.
To illustrate these SMS marketing campaign components, let’s take a look at some of the companies using text messaging to keep in touch with their customer base.
Zip Car’s latest customer email reads, “you never leave home without it, so we have the best thing to hit your smartphone since Angry Birds.” Users can signup for text message alerts via their account page to receive exclusive driving deals on the go.
A recent study covered in The Journal of the American Medicine Association looked at the value of text message reminders in the healthcare industry. The study focused on low-income, urban parents and their likeliness to have children vaccinated for influenza. Results showed that parents who received text messages (up to 5 weekly immunization-related text messages) were more likely to have their children immunized. Of the text messaging group, 43.6% of children received vaccinations, versus only 39.% of the control group who did not receive text message alerts. In this case and others, text messaging has proved to be a reliable way to reach non-standard customers.
Starbucks’ Frappuccino Happy Hour
Starbucks has had great success with mobile applications and mobile payments, and now they’re adding SMS to the mix. In a May 2012 promotional email, Starbucks invited subscribers to sign up for mobile alerts tied to their annual Frappucino Happy Hour campaign.
Culver’s Text Club
When users sign up for on-the-go alerts from Culver’s they receive a signing bonus of a free single scoop of Frozen Custard, which can be redeemed by showing the text to a cashier. Members are then continually notified of special offers and coupons via text.
Redbox Text Club
Users can sign up for the Redbox Text Club by texting a keyword to the provided short code, which is advertised via Redbox kiosks, emails and the company website. Benefits included a free Red Box rental every month, plus additional offers and freebies.
The Obama campaign is well known for its digital savviness, and SMS marketing is no exception. Users are invited to sign up for SMS updates to receive reminders about voter registration deadlines, early voting periods and primary dates, as well as information about grassroots efforts like local events and volunteer opportunities. SMS, of course, is also used for fundraising fundraising efforts, and the campaign recently adopted a “QuickDonate” system that allows users to donate by simply responding to campaign texts with a dollar amount. According to a source close to the campaign this new fundraising system produced a response rate over 20 times greater than any other Obama-related SMS campaign.
Have you seen brands using SMS marketing in exciting ways? Or do you consider text messaging off-limits to marketers? Share your experience with us below.