If you have a roadmap for your mobile marketing initiatives (and you should), it must in almost all cases include a mobile messaging program.
You might be wondering what is the best way to execute on a program or how it fits into the rest of your mobile initiatives. Here are a few essential tips for success in the mobile messaging space…
Messaging Is Important
You likely have a mobile application and mobile website in your plan, but have you included mobile messaging yet?
Mobile messaging is one of the only push-based mobile marketing technologies, meaning that you are not relying on your customer to initiate all communication.
Typically, your customer may need to open the app to engage, or navigate to the mobile website, but once your customer opts into a mobile messaging program, you can control the conversation by sending relevant information when your company or organization has updates.
For instance, let’s say you are a retailer with an upcoming promotion for 25% off all new arrivals for the season. You can control the conversation with mobile messaging, by alerting your customers about the promotion before it takes place. Take it one step further and offer the promotion to subscribed members early to incentivize being a subscriber. This will further drive store traffic and build loyalty by delivering value to your customers.
Mobile messaging is also a unique technology that can help you target the right customers to your other mobile initiatives. Using device detection, if you know your customer has an Android or iPhone device, you can drive them to download the mobile application for a richer experience with your brand.
Mobile messaging is a great mechanism to connect your mobile initiatives and helps you connect the conversation with your customers, while guaranteeing readership (as open rates exceed 99%) to ensure you customers will see your promotion.
Respect Your Customers
For a messaging program to work, it is essential to opt-in your customers correctly. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the FCC have strict guidelines to follow around setting expectations for your customers when opting into your mobile program.
In fact, the FCC just recently implemented new amendments to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that went into effect October 16, 2013, requiring mobile marketers to obtain, and maintain record of, prior written express consent from individuals before texting. In addition, the request for consent must specify that “”consent is not a condition of purchase.”
Much like email, mobile messaging is a highly regulated direct marketing touch point, and it is important to remember that although messaging is a very effective communication method, it is also very intimate and needs to be used sparingly to avoid opt-outs or content burnout. Make sure your opt-in messaging is clear and users have the option to opt-out of every message blast.
To avoid opt-outs, it is best practice to collect opt-ins using attributes so that messages can be sent to customers based on personal preferences. For instance, if you are a retailer and you have data that shows your customer just purchased a new pink crop top, you can use that as a foundation to suggest other items that may complement their purchase such as accessories, skirts, jackets or jeans. This suggestive sell could ultimately lead the customer to consider items they may not have otherwise, as well generate additional revenue for the store.
Demonstrating that you know and understand your customer through personalized messaging will generate better results with your customers and help you meet your campaign objectives. Segment your list by geographic location, device type and interest to get the best results. Continue to optimize your list by utilizing A/B testing for best results over time.
Make It Interesting
SMS-based content is not always the best mobile messaging technique, as a 160-character maximum is very limiting. Now, with options like Rich Media Messaging, it is worth looking at how to engage your customers using image- and video-based messaging content to get better results and maintain your branding across all your mobile initiatives.
Say your store has just launched a new commercial with great deals for the holiday season and you want to inform all of your customers. With Rich Media Messaging, you can deliver that commercial to your entire subscribe base on any device at any time. (Remember, however, that in most cases users are paying to receive that message, so be judicious with your use of this option.)
We have found that promotions, sweepstakes and survey-based content tend to outperform simple branding content. Varying the content week to week is also an essential technique to keep users interested. Try different message styles or new ways to get your customers involved to keep results at their best over time.
A strong messaging program can serve as the foundation to understand the types of devices your customers have, how to target and connect them to all your mobile initiatives and of course reengage the conversation when there is relevant content to share. Make messaging an essential part of your roadmap and understand how to best use it to be successful in your full mobile portfolio.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.