How does text/SMS marketing measure up against other forms of advertising and promotion?
Very, very well. This is not surprising when you consider that it is the only medium that delivers your message directly TO your prospects and customers. Other mediums deliver your message AT your visitor… in places where she is likely to see it, but may or may not do so, depending on a large number of factors.
A) To Your Visitor: Cell phone signals incoming text message has been received. Customer picks up cell phone and reads message.
B) At Your Visitor: Your print ad is displayed in a magazine whose topic and readership demographic matches that of your ideal customer. Or your email newsletter arrives in your customer or prospect’s inbox, along with 30 other messages.
See the difference?
For more detailed discussion, click the relevant heading below.
Open rates (i.e., the number of people who open an email newsletter) vary largely by industry, but the average is around 27%. And the click through rate (that’s the number of people who click on a link in a newsletter) is between 3-5%.So if you send out an email to 1,000 people, about 270 of them will open it, and between 8 and 13 of them will actually click on anything. Not so great.
Email newsletters are not sent TO your customer, they are sent AT your customer. “AT” because they normally arrive with dozens of other messages – personal, work related, spam, genuine offers from trusted merchants and so on. As with traditional advertising, your email competes with every other email your customer receives for viewing.
Of course, we are not suggesting that you should not publish an email newsletter. Such newsletters have a very low cost (short of the time it takes to compile them) and are very good at building long term relationships with those who DO read them.
As such, they are always a worthwhile strategy, although not as effective as they once were.
Social media is one of the hottest things going, and almost every business owner on the planet who has not adopted some sort of social media strategy is scrambling to do so. Whether that`s a Facebook Fan page, a Google Plus page, a Twitter feed or all three, it almost doesn’t matter… social media is the place to be.
Or is it?
According to your web developer or whomever is putting this stuff together for you it may be. But utilizing social media effectively is tricky business (which is why Facebook’s ability to turn a profit has been questioned numerous times since its launch in 2004), and why it continues to face problems (including being sued by shareholders after a disastrous IPO in 2012).
The problem boils down to the “intention” of the visitor when he or she visits a site like Facebook. To explain, consider this…
Why do you visit FaceBook?
To check out the picture of Uncle George’s prize winning pumpkin, recent pictures of your sister’s new baby, cute puppy videos and to reconnect with that cute guy or girl from high school you never had the guts to ask out, and wish you did.Ok, but how does that effect the potential success or failure of your FaceBook promotional strategies?
It’s because FaceBook does not intersect with people when they are interested in purchasing (something that Google does very well, which explains their continued financial success). People don’t visit FaceBook with the intention to buy – or to research with the intent to buy – anything.
They are there to be social – hence, “social media.”
That’s why promotional offers do not resonate that well. Visitors are simply not in the “open to purchase” mindset.
This in a nutshell explains why it is is extremely difficult for any business to leverage a FaceBook presence in any significant way. Consider the problems…
- You have to convince people to “Like” your business’ “fan” page. This means you need to provide some sort of incentive, and then hope that they actually go home, login to their computers and actually do so (only about 50% of your audience has a data plan – or internet access – and can do this on their mobile phones).
- Then, you have to hope these same people see your updated status in their home page activity feed (your update will continually scroll farther down the list each time your customer’s friends or contacts updates his/her status). FaceBook is on record as saying that only around 16% or so of a page’s followers even see their posts in the news feed. (Contrast this with the near 100% of the people who will see your text messages).
- Next, you have to hope that the customers who DO see your updates are so wowed by them that they forget all about Uncle George’s prize winning pumpkin, baby Michelle, and that hilarious picture of your best friend’s cat trying to climb into a fish tank, and re-frequent your place of business.
Are you beginning to see the problems?
Does this mean that your business should not have a FaceBook fan page? Absolutely not. Since they are free, having a Fanpage is something most businesses should have, even if for no other reason that your competitors have them, and it does offer one other way – as inefficient as it is – to connect with prospective customers. Plus, the “viral” element of social media means there’s the potential for massive exposure if your product or service “takes off.” However, unless you offer something extremely unique in a very memorable way, this is highly unlikely to happen.
Of course, there are some businesses that have capitalized on the potential inherent to social media, but they have invested some serious effort into it, financial and otherwise. Most small to medium sized businesses do not have the resources to hire full time staff to manage a social media campaign that may or may not justify the cost of such an expenditure.
So to sum up, there are four main problems with social media platforms (we’ve only talked about FaceBook here, but the issue is consistent across all resources)…
- They don’t do a great job of getting your message in front of your customer and prospective customer (16%, remember?)
- Your customer is not in an “open to buy” mindset when s/he visits a social media platform.
- Certain audiences – like many of the people on Twitter – do not appreciate being marketed to.
- You are “competing” for your customer’s attention – with other businesses, with friends and colleagues, etc.
- Approximately 50% of your audience does not have a data plan, which means they do not have access to social media platforms on their cell phones.
What about Twitter?
Sending out your marketing messages via tweets? Putting aside the fact that Twitter users are notoriously difficult to market to, a recent Pew Research Center study showed that only 5-10% of cell phone users use Twitter on a regular basis. If you’re thinking that using Twitter replaces the need for a text/SMS marketing service, you are sadly mistaken. Well over 80% of your customers do not use Twitter, which means your message will never reach them. Additional research suggests up to 71% of tweets are ignored.
Contrast this to text marketing…
- There is no technological “bottleneck”; even phones considered “obsolete” can receive text messages.
- No “data plan” or complex software is necessary.
- Your contacts are highly qualified, having verified their interest in your offers, and are ready and willing to buy.
- Your message is delivered directly TO their cell phones and read within a few minutes. You do not have to compete for your contact’s attention.
If you have a product or service that appeals to a wide range of the population, and you have the budget to advertise consistently, then traditional advertising options (i.e., print, radio, and television) can still make sense for a lot of businesses.But it’s a lot like standing in an arena shouting “look at me” while the 10,000 people beside you do the exact same thing.In other words, it’s tough to cut through the noise and get your prospect to focus on your message when s/he is exposed to hundreds of others every day.Plus, it’s incredibly expensive, offers no guarantee of performance, and is very tough to measure for ROI (Return On Investment).
Remember that old saying, “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half?” This saying was coined for “traditional” marketing.
These days, with the economy in the dumps, it’s getting more and more difficult for small to medium sized businesses to fork out large sums of money for what is essentially a gamble – that enough people will respond to an advertising campaign and become new customers to justify the cost of running it. If you’re Coca-Cola, you’re OK with advertising for “branding” purposes, but if you’re not, you need a very immediate turn around on your financial investment.
That brings us to another universal truth…
You should never gamble if you cannot afford to lose.
In the face of these uncomfortable realities, text marketing really shines…
- Your marketing message is only ever sent to those who request it. You never pay for “views”, “circulation”, CPM or anything of the sort. There is no “wastage” to speak of – you never pay to place your message in front of people who have no interest in what you offer.
- Text marketing is inexpensive. Our “Business Level” subscription package is priced at $34.99/month. Any increases in this cost result from contacting more customers, and so, will be offset by the ROI such campaigns yield.
- Almost 100% of text messages are read, usually within a couple of minutes. In other words, you don’t have to worry that your prospect or customer will miss your message – something that’s a big concern for business owners who can only afford periodic advertising with traditional mediums.
One of the great things about Text/SMS marketing is its flexibility. For instance, you can easily integrate it into your traditional advertising campaigns to leverage their performance. Adding a text-based call to action into a print ad (eg., Text BOBSGARAGE to 41932 to get 50% off your initial oil change at our total service garage) gives the viewer the ability to act immediately on your offer, thus improving its response. The same thing can be done with both radio and TV ads.