One of the first questions we always hear from our clients is, how do we get people to opt in? Over the past 6 years of watching what works and what doesn’t, we’re happy to share our insights on how to effectively grow your recipient list:
Incentives: You must offer your customers an incentive, or prize, for giving you their cell phone number. People are weary to give away their number, so offering them a discount, or something for free, motivates them to join.
- Choose the right incentive -the difference between 5% and 50% off is huge. It’s up to you how much you’re willing to give away to get someone to opt-in. Just ask yourself, “How much is someone’s cell phone number worth to me?” Remember, if the offer isn’t enticing, people won’t sign up. We’ve found that the better the incentive, the faster your list size will grow.
- For Customers with Established Lists -use our reporting tool to check the time of day that you have the greatest amount of opt- in’s. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner and the majority of your members opt in at 1 PM, offer a special on a lunch item. This may seem obvious, but we’ have seen too many examples of a company pushing a certain item and not listening to what their customers really wanted. Using our analytics allows you to zero in on what your customers are looking for, getting you the biggest return on your investment.
Contests: In conjunction with offering a guaranteed incentive, create a contest that your subscribers will automatically be enrolled in if they sign up. Adding this incentive gives customers more reason to opt-in. Make the contest weekly or monthly to keep it top of mind with your members.
Illusion of Exclusivity: Make sure your customers know that they will only receive the best deals available at your location via text message. The language you use in your signage for people to opt-in should portray this exclusivity.
Be Clear: Tell people how many messages you plan on sending them. If you include a short line at the bottom of signage that says, “we will only send you 4-6 messages a month”, people will feel more in control of what they are signing up for.
BOLD and Capitalize your KEYWORD and SHORT CODE: Not everyone understands keywords and short codes just yet, so giving clear instructions on how to join your list is very important. For example, if your keyword is “coupon”, the main line of your signage would read: “Text COUPON to 46786” This will effectively grab the attention of your customers.
No Surprises: Let people know that message and data rates may apply.
Get Your Employees on Board: Make sure your personnel are not just aware but actually educated and excited about your text message marketing campaign. Your employees are the face of your company and the primary contact for your customers. Employees need to be able to help people sign-up from their phones, as well as to promote the list. Turn it into a contest for them and watch your list grow twice as fast.
Change is good: Change your incentive and the way you present your text campaign to your customers periodically so that you can capture a more diverse group of people to join your list. Your offer for X% off may get some of your clients interested, but if next month you are giving away a free ____, you might get an entirely different crowd to opt-in.
Get creative: Don’t just rely on a sign for people to join. Make t-shirts for your staff with a call-to-action to sign up, create a monthly contest for your staff encouraging them to get most members to sign up, etc.
An example layout of a sign that incorporates all of these ideas is as follows:
“Text SAMPLE to 46786 to join our exclusive mobile group”
“You will automatically receive a FREE _____!”
“Also, you will automatically be put in a drawing to win a FREE ____!”
Msg & Data Rates May Apply. To Opt Out Reply STOP
We will only send you 4-6 exclusive messages a month.
All of these ideas can and should be incorporated into all of your mediums for marketing the list. Try out these simple ideas and keep us posted as your campaign really takes off!
Two recent articles regarding communication caught my attention this week, both pertaining to the restaurant industry. I thought I’d share them with you and give you friendly, hardworking restaurant owners some insight about how restaurants are using text message marketing to not only increase revenue, but also to improve employee relations and motivation.
A May 2010 survey conducted by Harris Interactive discusses the level of consumer interest in receiving text alerts, with the majority of respondents opting for messages received from the restaurant industry. Interest varies by age, but with 18-34 year olds showing a 44 percent interest in text alerts and 35-44 year olds reporting a 29 percent interest, it seems advertising in the form of text alerts is a natural fit for this age group.
The article goes on to explain that the most desired text alerts are coupons and promotions, so restaurant owners and managers can save some money, and a few trees, by skipping printed ads and simply send a mobile coupon.
It’s not just your customers that are waiting for a text from you – your employees are, too! This week Nation’s Restaurant News reported that major restaurant chains, such as Auntie Anne’s, are tapping into text messaging not only to communicate with customers, but to communicate with employees as well. As Which Wich sandwich shop owner T.J. Schier puts it, “You need to get into the world of your employees in order to reach them.” Managers and owners are now using text blast services like Opt It Mobile 3.0 to send schedule changes, meeting reminders, and even accolades. The main reason restaurant managers have chosen this form of communication is because they know their employees will always get the message and even text back, whereas trying to get a response from a phone call or email can be rough. If you’re a restaurant owner and you still haven’t tried text messaging as a major form of communication for your business, it’s time to jump on the mobile marketing bandwagon.
July’s issue of Nightclub & Bar Magazine creates a spotlight for one of Opt It’s loyal partners, Wicker Park Tavern. The article talks about how the partnership with Opt It and the establishment’s text message marketing campaigns have increased traffic for the hoppin’ Chicago bar. Wicker Park Tavern’s General Manager, Daryl Havrish, describes his reasons behind the choice to use mobile marketing. He talks in detail about the behavior of the bar’s clientele, whose fingers constantly switch from beer mug to cell phone. “One of the easiest ways to pull these technologically savvy bar-goers into your venue is reaching them by text” says Havrish, whose experience has taught him that mobile marketing is the most powerful way to reach his customer base.
Havrish talks about the beginning stages of the campaign, a point at which it was necessary to invest a bit more time into the marketing initiative. “I think it’s important for management to start these campaigns,” Havrish says. “But when it takes off, it’s OK to empower your staff to run them.” Delegating the responsibility to send out text messages to employees is simplified by Opt It’s software -you can edit security settings and assign only certain capabilities to employees. Also, the software allows you to pre-schedule messages, turning the task of creating a text message into one that can be done at any time during an employee’s shift, and it only takes a few seconds.
Not sure which member of your staff is best fit to take on your mobile campaign? Havrish recommends a seasoned and young member of your staff, who is fresh and focused, and your team here at Opt It agrees. Creating messages for your cientele that are original and animated is one of the most successful ways to keep them coming in the door. A young mind with an understanding of the preferences of your customers is ideal for the undertaking.
This week comScore, Inc. reported that mobile content usage continues to steadily increase, especially when it comes to the total amount of text messages sent. In April 2010, 64.6 percent of the 234 million American mobile phone users used text messaging to communicate, representing a total of 152 million people. With 156 million Americans falling between the ages of 15-64, according to CIA Factbook, it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of the American population with significant purchasing power is using text messaging.
Compare the 64.6 percent of mobile subscribers that send text messages with the amount of mobile users utilizing a browser (31.1 percent) and the amount that downloaded apps (29.8 percent). Clearly, there is still a significantly higher portion of the population using text messaging instead of mobile apps and mobile Internet. For businesses and marketers searching for ways to make contact with the majority of the population, text messaging via the mobile channel is the communication form with the most power and reach available today.
It’s a common practice for folks to take their mobile phone along anytime they go shopping. A recent study conducted by InsightExpress reports that 4 out of 5 people reported using their mobile phone during shopping trips. However, who are these “people”? And what exactly is meant by “using their mobile phone while shopping”? (Many of us might be imagining a man in the milk aisle, calling his wife to ask whether she prefers 2% or skim.)
The truth is, that stereotype no longer exists. Men ages 25-34 are now looking at their phone to browse coupons that have been sent to them, and they’re doing this more than any other group of consumers. Here are percentages of men, compared to the general population, that used a mobile coupon last month, by location:
- Electronics store – 30 percent (general population 10 percent)
- Clothing store – 33 percent (general population 15 percent)
- Department store – 30 percent (general population 15 percent)
- Service location – 16 percent (general population 7 percent)
According to a recent article by Dan Butcher titled “Who is today’s mobile shopper – and why it’s not her”,10 percent of consumers made a special trip to the store after receiving a mobile coupon and for 18-34 year olds, the figure jumps to 20 percent. Since a younger generation’s actions typically predict future trends, this is likely an indicator that the acceptance of mobile coupons by the general population has already begun.
These figures show the evolution of consumer buying behavior, something that marketers need to understand in order to properly communicate with their audience.
Even in a world of constantly changing consumer behavior, a few things do remain consistent: people are always looking for a deal and shopping is still a social function. So how can you tie the knowledge of these constants into your mobile coupons?
Providing your customers with mobile coupons makes finding a bargain even easier, a conveniance they’re sure to appreciate. The social aspect of shopping may mean your customer is shopping with a group with whom they might share your coupon, stretching your brand’s reach far beyond your customer base.
The bottom line is this: if you want to convince your customers it’s time to check out your latest offerings, especially males and the younger population, send them a mobile coupon.