The Right Audience For Your Short Code Marketing Campaign

Anybody can write a letter promoting one product or another. They can put a stamp on it and drop it off to some mailbox but their message may fall on deaf ears. Or worse, people could start calling up and yelling about how they don't need the product or how they want to be taken off the mailing list in general.

Before starting a direct mail campaign and risking a marketing blunder, you need to go back to the basics of strategy. In fact, much of the success of your marketing campaign relies on how well you choose your audience and select the best channels.

Getting In Front Of the Right People

Many businesses believe in their products so much that they are convinced that everybody will want them. However, just because everyone could want it, doesn't mean that they will. Organizations can become narrow-minded and unrealistically optimistic if they don't take their egos out of the equation. Marketing guru Seth Godin reminds us that being blindsided by optimism is a surefire way to be disappointed by your campaign's results.

"You're not in charge," he said on his blog, "and your prospects don't care about you."

Although his words may sound harsh, he's making a valid point. But he is not entirely correct. In fact, if you select the right audience, then you won't be wasting money on those who aren't interested and instead can zero in on those who do. Therefore, one of the key questions to ask whenever starting a direct marketing campaign is, "Who is your target market?"

To arrive at the correct answer, you should start by looking at your offering from your prospective consumer's shoes, and then narrowing it down until it is a viable solution. It helps to ask questions in three different categories:

1. Demographics: What are the key characteristics of your most valuable prospects?
2. Geography: What areas or locations make the most sense to target so that you see the largest profit?
3. Budget: What can you reasonably achieve (marketing-wise) with the allocated budget?

By obtaining answers to such questions, you will be able to more successfully narrow down your audience to a population that will more likely deliver returns. When you think about your return on investment, the price of obtaining a list of individuals better suited for your product pales in comparison to the cost of designing, processing, printing and sending out materials that will go unread or unanswered. The success of a campaign is therefore rooted in how well you pick out potential consumers.

Finding the Best Way To Contact Them

Once you know exactly who your target audience is, the second most important question comes into play: "What channels should you use to contact them?"

Marketing campaigns will use one or more channels to achieve better results and warm up prospects. From traditional postal mail and phone to email, SMS services and other digital channels, this decision ultimately depends on three factors:

1. What are you selling?
2. What outcomes do you want to achieve?
3. What data is available?

Obviously, the main objective is to sell your product, but consider the stepping stones before the sale is completed. If you want to lure people toward your products with a free item – such as a report or book to catch people's interest – then an email channel would likely be effective and appropriate. that said, one channel doesn't fit all.

If you're selling a product worth approximately $5,000 or $10,000, then you might want to send a nice piece of mail before following up with a phone call or email. You may hope that the first piece of direct mail that prospects receive will immediately lead to sales. But it's very unlikely – you might gain some interest, but the sale most likely won't come until later.

You will probably have to send potential consumers more than one piece of marketing material.You will probably have to send potential consumers more than one piece of marketing material.

It's also unlikely that someone is going to reply to an email they receive from someone who they have no prior relationship with. Depending on how educated and aware your prospective consumers are, a multichannel, multistep approach could really help.  As Seth Godin says: "Build a relationship first, then make the sale."

Take the marketing guru's advice and don't rush into it! Instead, take the appropriate steps to weed out consumers who likely won't be interested, build a robust database and create stronger and more trusting relationships with prospects.

Making Sure the Right Targets and Channels Are Chosen

Making the strategic link between the audience and channel is not always easy, especially without much experience with SMS marketing. But this is where a quality SMS service provider like Swift SMS can help.

Utilizing text messaging services for your marketing campaign is inexpensive and convenient for your potential consumers. Plus, in today's world of short attention spans, a text message is an awfully convenient way to receive marketing material. In the U.S., about 81 percent of individuals keep their smart phones near them nearly the entire time they are awake, according to Gallup. Plus, 52 percent of people said they check their phone multiple times every hour. Instead of letting a marketing email go unnoticed and unread in a spam folder, send your marketing material to a place that you know individuals will check – their cellphones.

For more information or advice, get in touch with the team of professionals from Swift SMS today.

The Beauty Of Short Code Marketing

Marketing, like so many other aspects of business, is going through a digital renaissance of sorts. Traditional methods of attracting and engaging customers have given way to innovative new solutions, and the dynamic world of mobile marketing services is among the most exciting developments.

The State Of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation services are being used to improve customer management in exciting new ways. The ability to anticipate what your customers want before they realize it themselves is incredibly valuable, a large part of the reason why marketing automation has become such a focal point for many organizations.

To get a better understanding of how far the technology has come, Salesforce's 2016 State of Marketing report surveyed almost 4,000 marketing leaders across the globe. The organization's findings identified a number of elements that seem to differentiate between high-, moderate- and underperforming businesses, with marketing automation emerging as a key ingredient for success. More specifically, 50 percent of high performers said they were extensively using the tool, compared to 21 percent of moderate performers and just 8 percent of underperformers. 

Addressing the Challenges Of Marketing

Your customer's experience is like a journey, one that can run into roadblocks if the departments across your business are isolated from one another. In the interest of making that journey proceed as smoothly as possible, opening channels of communication and collaboration across various platforms of the organization is essential.

Consider the following example: A customer has his or her first interaction with your business through a salesperson, who generates the interest to take that relationship to the next step. However, as the customer is passed between departments, he or she has to repeat needs and requests again and again. This disrupts the process and can quickly lead to an unsatisfied customer ready to look elsewhere for the same service.

Mobile marketing services and mobile marketing software can tailor the customer journey at all points of interaction with a brand. This includes virtually all types of consumer interactions, including visits to the website, tweeting at the brand on social media, liking a post, visiting a kiosk in a mall or – in the old-fashioned way – picking up the phone and speaking to someone. Each of those points of interaction might have previously meant something different to the various departments of your company, but an effective marketing strategy works to remove those disconnects. You should focus on building a one-of-a-kind experience for your customers.

Marketing strategies have to evolve to keep up with technology.Marketing strategies have to evolve to keep up with technology.

The continued merging of marketing and IT is a key to moving forward, so it's important for organizations to plan accordingly. Technology is allowing businesses to bring down the walls between departments, evolve the customer experience and find new ways to serve up relevant content to consumers all across the world.

Why Should Businesses Consider Marketing Automation?

As businesses adapt to the digital age, new avenues to nurture customer engagement are opening up all the time. From email marketing to social media outreach, finding ways to integrate a personalized customer experience is yielding some lucrative results for businesses willing to change. Whether you're on board already or not, digital is here to stay. Online developments have removed some of the barriers of competition, so using this channel to help keep people engaged and satisfied is critical.

Customer satisfaction was once, by and large, the exclusive domain of service teams. However, by 2020, 85 percent of interactions with a brand will be managed without two humans ever speaking, according to Gartner. As so much of the transactional process happens virtually now rather than in person, marketing, service and sales are blending into a single entity. Automation can make that process as seamless as possible.

The Most Effective Channels For Marketing Automation

Looking closer at the results from Salesforce's survey, it's clear that different digital channels have proven extremely valuable when integrated into a marketing strategy. Let's break down some of the figures around the different channels:

Email
Smart marketers are still finding ways to make email work for them. Predictive intelligence and data science have both come a long way, making personalization capabilities much more sophisticated to cater to the modern consumer. High-performing organizations are over four times more likely to leverage new techniques into their email marketing than underperformers. That's no surprise, considering 79 percent of marketers felt email directly contributed to ROI in 2016.

Social
Social is the marketing channel where true person-to-person interaction is still king, even if it's only conducted via keyboards and touch screens. Just as personalization has wormed its way into email marketing, real-time communication via social networks is considered extremely important. High performers are achieving substantial results by responding roughly 11 times faster to customers on social, and with 82 percent of marketers agreeing that social marketing is key to their strategy, it's clearly a lucrative sector to nurture.

Social media outlets are important in today's age of marketing.Social media outlets are important in today's age of marketing.

Mobile
About 68 percent of people in the U.S. own smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center. Roughly 86 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 own them and nearly 83 percent of individuals ages 30 to 49 do as well. Clever marketing leaders are rising to meet the changing device landscape. Salesforce found that mobile push notifications and location-based mobile tracking had both grown by over 140 percent between 2015 and 2016, while the use of apps and SMS marketing software has also grown significantly. That translates to incredible ROI – more than three-quarters of respondents spoke of the value of mobile marketing in 2016, compared to less than a third the year before.

How Can A Pig Text Using A SMS API?

About a year after Swift SMS Gateway started in 2007, a telling moment happened when a hog farmer called our sales desk past 5:00pm when it was closed. He wanted a SMS API account. Our President, Brian J. Johnson took the call.

So Simple Even A Pig Can Connect To Our SMS API

Why would a hog farmer want a SMS API? He was using an integrator to monitor the temperature of pig herds; a passel of hogs. Each pig had a rectal thermometer attached to a small wireless modem. Using Swift SMS API, the integrator created a simple routine to send a text message to farm hands if a pig’s temperature was too high or low indicating a fever, or a displacement of the thermometer.

“Out of a hundred and one ways you can use SMS, I never thought you could get a pig to text!”
Brian J. Johnson, President & CEO, Swift SMS Gateway Inc.

SMS can improve health monitoring and biosecurity. Livestock disease can have catastrophic risk on the food chain and its link to human health. A simple text message can make the difference in managing a timely response to livestock health.

Our President was amused, because if you can put a SMS message up a pig’s butt, then you could put it anywhere! This example when Swift SMS started confirmed the potential of SMS and continues to amuse and enlighten people of the potential of SMS and its impact. That evening back when Swift SMS was starting out, Brian told his wife why he was smiling so much after ignoring her calls for dinner and took that call. Brian said, “Swift SMS Gateway is going places.” And indeed it has.

If you think you have a use for SMS that will amuse us as much as this one, give us a call at 1-800-264-7141 and mention Wilbur, the pig who could text and if you're not using Swift SMS yet, try a free demo today of up to 50 messages.

Hospitality Text Services Are Hot!

Text messaging is continuing its impact on the hospitality market and guests are welcoming its use, while more hotel operators are implementing hospitality text  SMS services to capitalize on this hot trend. If you have a good SMS API, text messages can connect into hospitality PMS (Property Management Suite) platforms for multiple purposes like; early check-in room availability, group member alerts, spa appointments, property promotions, concierge services and social events.

“Hotel operators using SMS enhance guest service, improve efficiency & better their guest experiences.”

Hospitality Text Connect To Swift SMS API

Since March of 2015, Maestro PMS partnered with Swift SMS Gateway and launched its SMS text communication module with the Swift SMS API to enhance its hospitality suite of services and created a flexible guest engagement tool. The success of this has increased their installation agreements, while allowing indie operators to better their Diamond Plus services. This would not have been possible if Swift’s SMS API was complicated. This SMS API was easy to connect to and enhanced Maestro’s PMS to allow hospitality operators flexibility to work the way they did and connect to guests in real-time with hospitality text.

Swift SMS Gateway continues to be delighted at the success in our partnering with Maestro PMS. Integrating our SMS into their widely installed Property Management Suite has been a huge success. A text message concierge service is the new standard in the hospitality industry and a pleasant hotel experience leads to returning guests.

Is SMS Data Residency Important?

Swift SMS Gateway connects applications, advertising and alerts to text messaging via simple APIs and keeps your data stored in Canada. Most importantly, SMS aggregation is all we do and with that philosophy, your SMS data is your own. Swift SMS does not share it, use it, or re-market it.

Should Your Business Be Concerned?
To institutions concerned over data sovereignty and ownership when using cloud computing services, Canadian data residency with a service provider that strictly does just SMS is important. These same institutions also demand an SLA (Service Level Agreement) beyond Best-Effort availability and express valid concerns over cloud-based solutions when using the virtual host giants.

“Swift SMS Gateway offers facilities-based service hosted in Canada.”

The “3 P’s” – Power, Ping and Pipe have long been the foundation of all enterprise hosted solutions. This centres around availability and scale in a bullet-proof environment, as the foundation that you build managed services on. Swift SMS Gateway is built on this same foundation, providing robust performance for your SMS broadcasting today and tomorrow.

When You Own It, You Can Support It Better
The truth is cloud providers get nervous offering guarantees when they don’t own the equipment hosting their own service. This leads to a lack of confidence and apprehension to provide reasonable and affordable support. That is not a concern with us. Swift SMS Gateway has scalable support: Standard for $0, Professional for $100/mth and Enterprise for $500. This is in combination with SLA (Service Level Agreements) and MTTR (Mean Time To Respond) metrics that guarantee SMS performance.

“You Can’t Guarantee What You Don’t Own.”

Add to that; data residency in a virtual host environment and that only adds to today’s concerns. This is what sets Swift SMS Gateway apart from other SMS aggregators. We handle your data efficiently, providing a secured facilities-based service located right here in Canada.

So is SMS data residency important? It is if you’re a business, or institution that is using SMS to its best advantage. SMS is the most efficient way to connect to mobile, because bar none it’s the most used application on mobile phones, exceeding the use of email and telephone. Connect to Swift SMS Gateway and take your business mobile.

Retailers Can Drive Sales With SMS

Brick-and-mortar companies that don't have a robust e-commerce presence are finding it difficult to compete with those that do. Considering the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Wal-Mart and Apple, which lead the e-commerce landscape with nearly $105 million in annual sales, according to CEOWORLD Magazine, you can understand why old-fashioned brick-and-mortar complexes are struggling. 

Take for example a report conducted by Antony Karabus, CEO of HRC Advisory, which showed that growth rates for 11 luxury and department store chains have sat at negative 1 percent since 2011. On the flip side, e-commerce for the same set of store chains grew by nearly 180 percent during the same time period. Now imagine if you're a retailer that doesn't have a great e-commerce presence or worse, not one at all. The disparity in shopper preference is frightening. 

"People shopping … may find that there are fewer brick-and-mortar shops selling these gift items (flowers, candy, wine or jewelry) than in years past, but the number of businesses offering online shopping is larger than ever," the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated in an article about 2016 Valentine's Day sales. While the BLS was specifically talking about sales during the Valentine's Day season, we can comfortably apply the same concept throughout the remainder of the year for other goods.

So, what should traditional retailers do to compete?

Interestingly enough, of the top 25 American e-commerce retailers, 18 of them are actually brick-and-mortar businesses, which means there's still time for other traditional stores to update their services and communication.

"Retailers must get creative. We suggest using SMS

services."

First and foremost, they do need to ramp up their e-commerce game. But that doesn't mean they have to do so at the expense of their brick-and-mortar strategies. They can still convince people to visit their stores, roam the aisles and purchase goods. To do so, these retailers must get creative, and we suggest using SMS services, which can help retailers get back in the game.

If you're a brick-and-mortar business owner who is struggling to increase in-store foot traffic, use SMS in the following ways:

1. Offer Coupons or Promotional Offers
Countless companies use mobile text marketing to increase sales. Customers opt into the company's SMS program, and they begin to receive deals and promotions. One business currently using the software is Bed Bath & Beyond. The company directs customers to an easy-to-fill out form on its website where they enter their mobile number and zip code and then check a box that provides their consent for the company to send them offers. It's a perfect way to build strong connections and keep in touch with customers.

Armen Matosyan, chief innovation officer at TTAG Systems, said in his article "4 Reasons You Should Send SMS Coupons to Your Customers" that a company's goal should be to make the "brand experience easy for customers." Tossing them a ton of paper coupons doesn't simplify their shopping experience, it makes it more cumbersome. By offering customers text-message coupons – which they can redeem by visiting the store – companies can reduce costs and increase foot traffic.

"People are much more likely to

engage with text messages."

2. Promote Flash Sales
If you're still not convinced that SMS is right for your brick-and-mortar shop, then ask yourself how well your flash sales and other promotional offers are working? If they're not increasing foot traffic, it's likely because your company doesn't have the technology capable of supporting such aggressive marketing practices. 

It often takes too long for someone to open email (if they even do), and even longer for them to open direct mail. It's much more likely that emails are sent to spam folders or that direct mail winds up in the recycling bin. On the other hand, people are much more likely to engage text messages, according to a report by FunMobility. You can easily use SMS messages to notify customers of in-store flash sales.

If you'd like to know more about setting up SMS for your company, talk to a third party who can analyze your current marketing strategy and help you tailor your SMS ambitions to fit it. You may even find during the process (we believe you will) that SMS is a much more efficient way of communicating with new and returning clientele than with email, direct mail or even over the phone. It's quick and easy for customers to use and will help you cut costs.

Swift SMS Support is Cheap, Because Our Service is Great

If your provider can’t offer affordable great support, then their service isn’t great or affordable. When you consider how important SMS is to your business needs, you may want to take this simple statement seriously.

SMS is fast becoming the cheapest most effective way for business to connect to mobile and people everywhere. Be it customers, distribution, or supply chain logistics, SMS is the simple bridge connecting it all in real-time. But what happens when development is delayed or something goes wrong? If SMS performance impacts your business, then clearly “best-effort” support is not enough.

"How Can Swift SMS Gateway Offer Such Great Support So Reasonably?"

Everyone Raves About Swift’s Support
We are often asked how we can offer such affordable support to our clients. The answer goes beyond saying we offer great service. The deeper answer is we are picky about who we choose to service. When suspected clients sign-in to Swift SMS Gateway, we mediate their entrance into our network. This follows a staged approach that secures the operational layer of our business, network and protects our trusted clients from fraudulent users and hackers.

Better Support Makes a Difference When You Need It
Swift SMS Gateway has scalable support: Standard for $0, Professional for $100/mth and Enterprise for $500. This is in combination with SLA (Service Level Agreements) and MTTR (Mean Time To Respond) metrics that guarantee performance for your business grade services. Our philosophy extends to the idea that better support means approachable support people. Sometimes it helps to bounce an idea off another IT person – One that knows SMS. At Swift SMS, you are talking to an IT person who knows SMS inside out. Our team’s sole goal is to help you connect SMS into your business and do it meeting your specs simply and efficiently.

SMS Solutions Transform the Shipping Industry

No matter the company, shipping departments all have the same goal: to move products from one area to the next as quickly and efficiently as possible. To do so they need to consistently stay ahead of the competition with state-of-the-art technology.

That technology is SMS services, which we suggest these departments use to improve everything from moving containers from one side of the world to the other, providing delivery updates to employees and customers and issuing alerts about packages, orders and delivery with real-time capabilities.

"Eighty percent of people opened their emails within 12 days of being sent."

Why You Shouldn't Call or Use Email
Imagine Amazon's managers calling their employees to update them on the availability of products, make changes to routes and orders or ask other job-related questions. They'd be on the phone all day! This wouldn't be a useful way for them to manage their time, let alone their employees. With email, managers may find themselves in lengthy thread conversations, or worse, spending hours or days waiting for a response.

HubSpot analyzed over six million emails and found that 50 percent of people open their emails in the first 24 hours. However, past that point, 80 percent of people opened their emails within 12 days of being sent. Yikes! Imagine trying to run a company and not hearing from your employees via email for upwards of 12 days. Your business would quickly fall apart. Sure, the emails studied likely addressed a wide range of situations (from promotions to business-related matters), but that further strengthens the point that people just don't answer emails very quickly.

How SMS Can Make a Difference
For drivers, alerts are crucial to their ability to do their job effectively. Years ago, drivers may have not been under as much pressure to deliver products within days or hours of a purchase. But today, suppliers and customers have strict deadlines, and SMS helps ensure that shipping departments meet them.

With SMS companies can issue bulk orders and tracking services with a few clicks of a button. They can then use mobile text messaging to issue similar tracking services to customers as well as record responses to ensure outstanding customer service.

SMS isn't just an extra feature companies can add to their existing processes. It's a robust software type that can actually be the glue holding the company's entire logistics and transportation services together.

Make shipping easier and more efficient by using SMS services. Make shipping easier and more efficient by using SMS services.

How to Transition to SMS
If you're relying on email or phone (including walkie-talkies) and want to switch to SMS, the process may at first feel overwhelming. Don't let it be – by adhering to these tips:

  • Strategize: Research how SMS can help your company's bottom line by improving shipping processes and employee productivity. Present your findings to upper management and then to your team.
  • Communicate: Ensure your team understands how to use the new SMS software, and don't falter when training and developing their skills. Full training courses and support allows employees to quickly get up to speed on SMS technology and its best practices, which saves you time and money.
  • Test: It's not enough to integrate SMS into your current business model. You must test how effective it is. Study the numbers and talk to employees about usage.

If you're not sure the different ways SMS can work for your company, work with a third-party specialist. These professionals will help you analyze your current transportation and logistics sector, and provide suggestions as to how SMS can increase general workflow. You'll also have the opportunity to study results, which will allow you to make adjustments. SMS is a complete solution that has overtaken e-mail and phone as a viable, quick method of communication.

2 ways SMS plays a role in the financial industry

SMS services can help your banking institution flourish by improving the relationship you have with your customers and helping you market new services easily and efficiently. Here are two ways SMS can do that.

"Old fashion direct mail is not a viable, reliable means to communicate these offerings."

1. Marketing services
Looking to promote a new checking or savings account or a low interest rate? And do you want the promotion to reside within a certain time frame? Whatever you do, don't rely on letters and postcards! Old-fashioned direct mail is not a viable, reliable means to communicate these offerings. Most people toss direct mail away without even considering it, let alone reading and acting upon it. The same can be said about email.

Instead, use SMS, which allows companies to more quickly relay offers to customers. SMS is opened 98 percent of the time, according to a Dynmark report.

3. ROI
Are you still not convinced direct mail is a bad marketing practice? A letter here and there won't damage an institution's wallet, but sending hundreds if not thousands of letters will cost them a pretty penny (or more). Banks can avoid this expensive disaster by using mobile text messaging. SMS technology is inexpensive to use and is much more likely to be read by customers, unlike snail mail or even email. So not only do companies save money on paper and stamps, they'll also likely see an overall improved bottom line.

If you'd like to use SMS at your banking institution but aren't sure how, first contact a third party who can analyze your business needs and develop an app for you. This professional will develop an app that fits your bank's specific needs.

3 Reasons SMS is Better for SMB HR Professionals Than Email

Small businesses don't have it easy compared to more established, larger corporations. One of the areas SMBs struggle the most is when trying to hire and retain top talent.

Just how important is this process to SMBs? Even the word "massive" fails to adequately capture its significance. In a 2016 survey conducted by LinkedIn Talent Solutions, 42 and 38 percent of SMB leaders said that recruiting top talent and retaining employees was a top priority respectively. Twenty-nine percent noted that improving how they hire was a main concern, while 19 and 17 percent said upgrading sourcing techniques and pipelining talent was a priority.

In a sense, all of these are linked together in some way, so it sounds like SMB leaders have one overarching concern: how they manage their HR activities.

That's where SMS comes into play.

While many HR professionals are still relying on email to reach top candidates, mobile messaging is becoming a more appropriate form of communication. Here are the advantages of SMS over email:

1. Overcome Spam Folders
The ominous presence of these black holes (spam folders) should scare every recruiter. Imagine the amount of effort HR professionals put into reaching out to top talent only for their emails to get lost in some junk folder that's never looked at? What a complete waste of time! SMS allows recruiters to bypass this problem because they can send messages directly to the candidate and know they're being opened. 

"Recruiters have to find quality candidates, conduct interviews, convince people to leave their jobs."

2. Easily Hire candidates
Recruiting isn't easy. Recruiters have to find quality candidates, conduct interviews, convince people to leave their existing jobs and then follow up with them throughout the hiring process. This takes time and costs money. To make this process run more efficiently, hiring managers should use mobile messaging to engage with potential employees throughout the onboarding process.

3. Stay Ahead of Competition
Recruiting moves at breakneck speed, which means hiring managers can't rely on old technology if they want to stay ahead of their competition. After all, top talent is heavily sought after, so one wrong email in the spam folder likely means disaster to the entire recruiting process. With mobile messaging, recruiters can quickly reach top professionals because 90 percent of all mobile messages are read within three minutes, according to a report from Mobile Squared.

If you're thinking about instituting text messaging services into your current HR initiatives, contact a third party. These professionals will analyze your current situation and provide SMS recommendations that will help you fulfill your HR goals.