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Opt It’s new age gate feature allows customers to add a message or gate into their message flow that requires the end user to text back their date of birth in order to proceed. This feature is ideal for liquor or beer companies that must verify a user’s age in order to send special offers and promotions or to permit contest participation. Controlling entrance to specific groups allows businesses to meet all laws and requirements for age verification.

Here’s how the Opt It Mobile age gate feature works:

  • In an attempt to join your specific group, the user texts in any keyword, for example: LIQOUR.
  • The user will then receive a message stating, “You must be 21 to join this program – reply with your date of birth in the format DDMMYYYY to join.”
  • The user responds via text “01181974″.
  • The user receives a message back stating that they have successfully joined the LIQOUR group.

Many Opt It clients have had great success with this age gate feature, such as Corona, who has launched campaigns such as contests, targeted event reminders and discounted offers around Cinco de Mayo, as well as the Kenny Chesney summer concert tour. Budweiser currently uses the age gate feature to ensure valid entry into many summer contests and promotions.

Contact your account manager regarding how you can apply the age gate feature to your business needs. Keep in mind that this feature is not available in your account by default, so talk with your account manager for more information.

According to some recent reports, the economy may be showing the beginning signs of an upturn. For folks in the retail industry, this is great news. Adding mobile marketing to your retail business plan now is a powerful way to set your business apart as the economy moves forward. This low cost and extremely effective use of text messaging can drive business through the door during slow times and raise business to new levels as things turn around. Consider how adding Opt It Mobile can bring big advantages to you and your customers with ease.

As a retailer, it can be difficult to connect with your customers during tough economic times. With mobile marketing via Opt It Mobile, you’ll have the ability to communicate directly with customers that have given you permission to do so. With immediate release of information regarding limited time offers, specials on expiring inventory or new product and sales alerts, you’ll boost sales no matter what the economy is doing. Opt It Mobile offers features that allow business owners to track redemption on special offers and promotions. This instant customer connection allows you to increase incremental revenue, while reducing promotional costs and earning a higher return on investment.

We know this all sounds great, but how will it work? How can you put Opt It Mobile and mobile marketing to work for you? Our customers in the retail industry utilize Opt It features in a myriad of ways, such as contests, coupons for limited time offers and announcements and reminders for promotions and events. Targeted messages or value added alerts with lifestyle type content, based on the individual interests of your customers, can be sent directly and instantly. For instance, a running store might send alerts regarding stretching before and after runs, a hair salon could text information on managing hair in humid weather or a grocery store might send the latest news on healthy food choices. What’s more, retailers can use the Opt It Mobile platform to obtain customer feedback through text messaging.

In addition to the business advantages of mobile marketing, there are many benefits for your customers as well. Always privy to the latest promotions and special offers, your customers are ‘in the know’ when it comes to your business. Belonging to your VIP club gives them a sense of membership in your business’ community and ensures that they are getting special deals not offered to the general public. They’re also able to receive your information on the channel they prefer – their mobile device – eliminating the need to search for deals or clip coupons. They have everything they need to know about your business right at their fingertips.

Harness the power of mobile marketing with Opt It Mobile and add it to your retail business’ action plan. Your customers with thank you again and again.

In the previous blog entry we talked about how your organization can generate ideas for offers and promotions in the mobile market. Now it’s time to discuss an equally important concept.

Here we talk about how to lure, entice, and tempt your customers to give you their mobile number.

Keep these simple ideas in mind –

  • The younger generation- sometimes called Generation Y or Millenials – is much more likely to give up a mobile number. Older generations think of a phone number as something they have to protect so they don’t get harassed by intrusive callers. Text messages are not as intrusive as calls, and for younger generations, the mobile phone is all about being connected. It’s a fundamental difference in the way people see their phone. More and more, people want to stay in constant contact with a wide range of friends, family, associates, and co-workers; they also want to stay closely aware of value in the marketplace where they shop and play.

  • Once you have people on your mobile marketing list, you have to provide value in your offers or people will opt out. The idea is to build a relationship over time with individuals and the people who associate with them. Although an amount of turnover is inevitable, you want to make sure that people are not joining your list one week and then leaving it the next. You need to find the right mix of value and timeliness in your offers. If you send a message every day, they may be easy to ignore in a short time. If you send one message a week with real value and appeal, you may do better, but the real goal is to find the right combination of frequency and value for your customers.

Where do you start?

  • Start with your web site. Yes, it can be a drag to do updates to your web site, but it’s a powerful “always there” presence that people can easily access. Make sure that on your home page you have a clear invitation to your visitors to “opt in” to your mobile messaging program. When they click through to your “opt in” page where your customer elects to give you their phone number, there are several things you need to tell them. First, explain to them that they can always opt out, and explain how. That’s a pretty basic requirement that makes it harmless for them to sign up. Second, give them some idea of how often they will be hearing from you, and what kinds of offers they will receive; if you are not sure about how often and what, you will have to be vague about it until you know. Third, tell them that you value their feedback, and give them a way to talk back to you. Why? Because you DO value their feedback! That’s the only way you can improve your offers. Put a link to your opt in page on every other page on your site.

  • After the web site, offer your mobile updates in as many places as you can. Put up signs in your facility on the walls, in your storefront window, on counter tops and desktops, and especially on surfaces that people stare at when they are paying or waiting for service. Any promotional brochures or paper of any kind that a customer looks at or takes with them should say “Text (your keyword) to 46786 to receive our free mobile updates and offers.”

  • Provide an immediate discount/incentive that can be used during their visit.

  • Run a contest weekly or monthly giving away something of value to your audience.

  • Educate your staff on the program so that when patrons or guests ask questions you make sure that you do not lose a subscriber.

  • Next: Whenever you reprint anything for your business, include the text about signing up for mobile messaging. What if you have 10,000 printed brochures and don’t want to reprint them just to include a message about mobile marketing? That’s what stickers are for! What do you put stickers on? EVERYTHING! Have some attractive stickers made up in your company colors and place them on every bag or brochure or receipt or business card. Don’t let anyone or anything go out of your door without a sticker. If you want people to sign up for the program, they need to know they can and it is your job tell them in as many different ways and places as you can.

  • Recognize that mobile or text message marketing will be an important part of the marketing mix in the future. If you do coupons, or mailings, or send emails, remember to encourage customers to sign up for mobile messaging via those media too. Couponing and direct mail are expensive, and moving customers to less expensive media like mobile marketing is a smart move for increasing your bottom line.

Finally, delegate the job of coordinating this important activity to an individual within your organization who needs a challenge or development. Encourage them to see what competitors and others are doing to build their lists, and empower them to try the things that will create a powerful list for increasing future revenues using text message marketing.