Category Archives: SMS Marketing

Does SMS marketing still work in today’s modern world?

SMS has been around for more than 25 years and because of its versatility, it is a core part of business marketing and sales plans. But after all that time, does SMS still stand up in today’s modern world?

Back in the 90s, SMS was a brand-new technology, allowing people to communicate through their mobile phones without ever uttering a word. As technology has rapidly advanced in those 25 years, is this somewhat old technology still a favourite for businesses?

We already know that consumers want to receive SMS from businesses and with it boasting a 98% open rate, 90% of these messages are being read within 3 minutes, plus it boasts a huge response rate of 45%, you would be right in thinking SMS marketing works.

So, do these stats alone show that SMS marketing works?

No!

We know, not the answer you were expecting, but bear with us.

Those stats show that sending customers a text message will mean your message will be read and if you need customers to reply then almost half of them will, but what it does not show is the other side, the business side. Do businesses get what they want from it?

This time it’s a yes.

We know it works as we have lots of great customer stories about how SMS has helped these companies get more website visits, reviews, and sales.

Now with both those amazing stats and great customer stories, does this prove that SMS works today?

Yes . . . But also no.

Yes, those customer stories, and many more like them, prove that SMS marketing works. But imagine if SMS was a product, those customer stories would act as amazing 5-star reviews. So we wanted to put SMS marketing to the test and really find out if all businesses give SMS a glowing 5-star review. To do this we put a short questionnaire on our website asking businesses if they were using SMS marketing, if it worked for them, and why it worked. This way we can once and for all give SMS marketing a star rating.

Now with those stats, customer stories, and our own survey this surely means we can answer the question, does SMS marketing still work?

Yes, it does!

And without further ado, here are the results from our SMS marketing survey.

Does SMS marketing work?

We are very happy to announce that a whopping 97% of all businesses that use SMS marketing, said it works.

We love the fact that 97% of businesses found success with SMS, and what was even better, this wasn’t just from a handful of businesses, the answers ranged from multiple different sectors, proving SMS works for everyone.

97% say SMS marketing works

Who uses SMS marketing?

We can’t think of a single business that wouldn’t benefit from using SMS, either for external communication, sales, updates, surveys, or using it internally with their employees or contractors.

A large majority of those who said they use SMS marketing were in the Retail sector (14.6%) with Healthcare (12.2%) and Marketing (9.8%) closely behind. We had a split of over 15 different sectors that use SMS marketing.

Sectors using SMS marketing graph

What is surprising however is that we had many businesses saying they had never used SMS marketing before, 67% in fact. This means that only 33% of businesses use SMS marketing.

It is a real shame that there are still some businesses who haven’t experienced the power of SMS yet, we already know that of those companies that have integrated SMS marketing into their plans, 97% said it works.

Sectors using SMS marketing split

Why does SMS marketing work?

We weren’t satisfied with just knowing that SMS marketing works for 97% of all businesses, we wanted to find out why it worked. At the end of our survey, we included an open-ended question, to give the respondents a way to express why it worked so well for them.

We had some great responses from being able to keep customers informed, SMS being more customer-centric, easy way to communicate, and our favourite answer by far, “98% open rate” – this person has clearly been reading our blogs.

“It informs my followers of upcoming exhibitions”

“Keeps customers informed”

“People do not have time to communicate through phone calls”

“People can instantly check the SMS, compared to email and other communications”

“Gets the job done”

“Everyone who receives the message reads it and it doesn’t get deleted. Nowadays people are always on their phones so when the message comes through, they see it”

“More customer centric, customer specific & has one of the largest social media reaches”

“Enables patients to turn up for their appointment”

“Easy way to communicate and gives consumers flexibility to reply if they want to or not”

“Quick response to surveys”

 

So even with all the amazing technology we have at our fingertips, SMS still stands up to all of that and works wonders for so many businesses.

If you are new to SMS and want to see how easy and amazing it is, sign up to a completely free trial and use our online messaging platform to try it for yourselves.

 

We would like to thank everyone who took time out to answer our survey.

The 4 best call to actions to use in your SMS marketing messages

A call to action or CTA is a phrase designed to encourage people to take a desired action. It is used across all areas of business, particularly in sales and marketing. Call to actions are everywhere, you may not notice them, but they are there.

The above are just some of an infinite number of examples of a call to action, with over 170,000 words in the English Dictionary, you can imagine the thousands of combinations that businesses have come up with to encourage consumers to complete a task.

Even with all these words and extremely creative marketers, the most popular call to action is the very basic, ‘Buy Now’. It’s is clear on what the desired outcome is and it directly relates to selling a product or service, which is the ultimate goal for businesses.

However, ‘Buy Now’ would not work in all scenarios, nor would a lot of call to actions. It is imperative that the right call to action is used in the right situation. You wouldn’t include ‘Click Here’ on a poster, nor would you have ‘Read More’ in a radio ad, and SMS marketing is the same.

SMS is the perfect medium to connect with your customers and promote your products and services, however, it cannot directly sell a product or sign someone up. SMS is a delivery mechanism, which is why you need a call to action at the end to get your desired outcome.

Call to actions to use in a text message

1. Link to website
Perhaps the most common call to action to use at the end of a text message is to include a link to a website. With this, you can ask your customers to click the link to find out more, buy the product you are promoting, sign up, or just browse your website.

You can even track which of your customers clicked your link with our tracked URL Feature.

“Visit our website for more information www.link.com” or Buy now and save 40% here www.link.com

2. Text back
By adding ‘please text us back’ at the end of your message, you can get your customers responding to you quickly. The end user has received your message on their phone, and replying is quick and effortless.

Two ways you can allow your customers to text you back:

Virtual Mobile Number – use your virtual mobile number as the sender ID and replies will go straight into your Message Box account.

Sender ID: 447618920983 “If you want to learn more about the services we offer, please text us back with any questions.”

Keyword – add your desired keyword into the body of the message and use that to get customers to reply to you.

“Text SAVE to 88802 to get one of our adviser to call you back.”

3. Call us
Similar to asking customers to text you back, asking them to call you is just as easy as for them. Either include a phone number in the body of the message or use your own number as the sender ID.

If you do use this option, make sure you have enough people to answer the calls or use our Schedule Message feature and spread your messages over a couple of hours. We have had customers send bulk messages and included a ‘call back’ call to action which meant their phone lines got jammed with lots of customers all ringing at once.

“For more information call us on 0123 456 7890” or Sender ID: 447618920983 “To speak to one of our advisors call us back on this number.”

4. Visit us
You may want to use SMS to increase footfall to your store, so the correct call to action here would be to ask them to visit your store. We would advise that you either include the address of your store in the body of the message, a link to google maps, or a link to your website where they can find your store location on.

Some of your customers may only ever shop online and do not know where your store is, so just asking customers to visit your store without including any directions is poor customer service. Spending time locating a store could decrease the likelihood of them visiting you.

“Come visit our store located on Highland Road just off the main high-street.” or “Come see us in store and save, we are located here www.link.com.”

 

Remember that no matter which of the 4 options you use in your SMS messages, make certain it is clear what you want your customers to do. Ask them to call or text you back, tell them if they want more information to visit your site or come to your store. Don’t just include your telephone number or website link without specifically asking them to do something with it.

Example SMS Web Pages for food outlets

As a business that relies heavily on the taste of food, being able to whip up scrumptious dishes is the number one goal for every restaurant, takeaway, or food outlet. This will be second nature to your chiefs, but what is the point of making amazing looking and tasting dishes if no one is there to eat them?

Being able to promote your restaurant or takeaway is another kettle of fish. Some restaurants have a whole team of marketers working around the clock to promote them. Unfortunately, this can’t be said for most restaurants and takeaways, who will only have a handful of employees, meaning marketing your business and being able to attract new customers can be very hard.

A great way to promote your business is by taking high-quality pictures of the food and uploading these to your website. But unless people come onto your website, how will they see your dishes?

Including a photo next to an item on a restaurant menu increase its order by 30% (Source: Menu Cover Depot)

Wouldn’t it be great if you could almost guarantee that all your customers would see your amazing dishes exactly when you wanted them to? Well, you can with SMS marketing and SMS Web Pages, the perfect combination for promoting your restaurant or takeaway.

SMS has a 98% open rate, meaning more of your customers will see your message than if you send an email or posted a message on social media, and with our SMS Web Pages feature you can create your very own landing page, include images of your incredible dishes, extra information on what you are serving, and a big button for your customers to click and order or book a table.

63% of consumers said good images are more important than product description (Source: UltraLinx)

SMS Web Pages is the perfect tool to showcase your food and to ensure you get the most out of it, there are a few key attributes that you need to have to maximise the effectiveness of the landing page.

To help you get an idea of what you can create with SMS Web Pages, we have created 4 great examples of how restaurants and takeaways can use it to get more orders and reservations.

SMS Web Page example food

Order food
The most popular way that we see restaurants and takeaways using SMS is to promote their food, which is why SMS Web Pages is a perfect match. You can include a couple of your most popular dishes and a great incentive to tempt customers to order from you.

Nothing makes the mouth water than a big juicy image of a pizza dripping with cheese – now that sounds tasty.

Order food SMS Web Page

Book a table
Whether you want customers to book a table on a Friday night or you want them to book a table for a specific event, sending them an SMS Web Page with information on how they can book a table, with a nice image, will encourage your customers to book a table with you.

Book table SMS Web Page

We hope these examples have helped you create your very own SMS Web Page, but if you are still struggling, one of our design team can do it for you, just give us a call and we can give you a bespoke quote.

Remember that when sending your customers a text message, make sure you send it at the right time. Sending it after they have already eaten is a waste of everyone’s time.

How to extract a mobile number from a cell containing text in Excel

Uploading your contacts into our online messaging platform Message Box, couldn’t be easier. You simply add your customers’ mobile numbers into an Excel file, save it, and use our online platform to upload all your numbers in bulk, it really is that simple – to see how easy it is, read our blog on how to upload your contacts here.

But what happens if your CRM doesn’t allow you to export just the mobile numbers? What if when you download all your customers’ data, it includes your customers’ name, address, and mobile number all in the same cell? This can be a major pain, but there are 2 ways you can extract your customers’ mobile numbers into a single cell.

Option 1 – Manually copy and paste each individual mobile number into a new cell, which if you have 10 won’t take long, but if you have 10,000 it may take a while.

Option 2 – Simply read this post, use a very simple formula and complete this task in a matter of minutes, and in the process become an Excel wizard.

If option 2 was your pick, all you need is one very simple formula . . . =MID(A1,FIND(“07″,A1,1),11)

To some, the formula above looks like another language, but it isn’t complicated and the best part, you don’t even need to know what it does or how it works to extract your mobile numbers. If your mobile numbers don’t include any spaces, simply jump the section ‘Using the formula in practice’ and follow the 4 simple steps to extract your data.

Numbers with spaces in
Before you start, make sure your mobile numbers have no spaces in, if they do you will need to remove these, but again don’t worry we have a simple solution for you.

Highlight the column with all your data in and click Ctrl+F or your equivalent find feature on your computer. A small ‘Find and Replace’ pop up box will appear, from here navigate to the ‘Replace’ tab and in the box that says ‘Find what:’ press your space key. Make sure in the ‘Replace with:’ there is nothing, hit the backspace a couple of times to ensure there is nothing in that box. Now press the ‘Replace All’ button.

This will find all spaces in the column you have highlighted and replace them with nothing – essentially removing any spaces.

Using the formula in practice

To extract mobile numbers that are contained within a string of text, follow the 4 simple steps below.

1. Download your customers’ data and paste this into the first column in your spreadsheet. Make sure your data starts in cell A1, there is no need for a column header.

2. Copy this formula =MID(A1,FIND(“07″,A1,1),11) and paste this into B1. Hit enter and your customers’ mobile number will now be displayed in this cell.

3. Copy this formula all the way down to the bottom of your data.

4. Highlight all your customers’ mobile numbers, now in column B, and copy them. Then, open a new Excel spreadsheet, and in cell A1 on your new spreadsheet, paste your mobile number – make sure you paste as ‘Values (V)’ in the ‘Paste Special.’ header.

paste as value excel

Now you have your mobile numbers in a new Excel spreadsheet you can upload it these into your Message Box account. Make sure before uploading your contacts that you format the cells as a number, to see how you can do this, read our blog.

*Please note – If your mobile numbers are not a UK mobile number, ie they are longer or shorter than 11 digits, or if the proceed with 44, you will have to change the “07” and 11 in the formula.

Changing the “07” – If your numbers look like this, 447569875456 the “07” will need to be “447” – the first few digits of your mobile numbers including the UK international dialling code.

Changing the 11 – If your numbers look like this, 447569875456 then the 11 at the end of the formula will need to change to 12 – the number of digits in your mobile number.

The formula explained in detail

For those who want to expand their Excel knowledge, below we have explained the formula and how it works in more detail below.

There are 2 parts to the formula, the first part we will call the MID formula and the second part the FIND formula. The MID formula returns the mobile number and the FIND formula finds the mobile number. Even though the MID formula comes first, the FIND formula is the first things that the whole formula does, it finds the mobile number, and then once it has found it, returns it and displays it in that cell.

The MID formula: =MID(A1,9,11)
The MID formula returns the mobile number and displays this in a cell. We have broken down the formula into the different areas and explained them in more detail below.

A1 – The cell that your mobile numbers are in – this will change as you copy the formula down.

9 – This is where the first digit of where your mobile starts – so this number would essentially change for different cells as your mobile number wouldn’t always start from the 9th space in (this is the main reason we need the FIND formula, to change this automatically depending on where your mobile number starts in the cell)

11 – The number of digits in a UK mobile number

mid formula excel

The FIND formula: =FIND(“07”,A1,1)
The FIND formula finds how many characters in your mobile number begins, for example, if the data in your cell looks like this; TedSmith07898767678 – then the FIND formula will bring back the number 9 as this is how far in your mobile number starts.

Again, we have broken down the formula and explain what each section does.

“07” – The first two digits of your customers’ mobile number. If your number includes the UK international dialling code, then you would start with “447”.

A1 – The cell that your mobile numbers are in – this will change as you copy the formula down.

1 – Finds how many characters in your mobile number starts – this finds “07”.

find formula excel

The whole formula: =MID(A1,FIND(“07″,A1,1),11)
The whole formula brings both of those 2 previous formulas together. The MID formula is at the beginning as this is what we ultimately want to do, we want to physically show the mobile number. We then use the FIND formula in to find the mobile number.

A1 – The cell that your mobile numbers are in.

“07” – The first two digits of your customers’ mobile number.

1 – Finds where in the cell the first digit of your mobile number starts.

11 – The number of digits in a UK mobile number.

extract number formula excel

What channel yields the best results? Social media vs Email vs SMS

Would you rather 20% of your customers read your message or 98%?

We know probably not the most intelligent question to ask, of course, you are going to pick 98%. It’s a bigger percentage, meaning more of your customers will read your message, and therefore more people will complete your desired action.

Now imagine if you could send an email, tweet, or post a message on Facebook and guarantee that 98% of your following or recipients would read it. Impossible right? Not impossible at all, very simple, send your customers an SMS and 98% of them will read your message.

So why with such a big open rate are millions of businesses still using social media or email to communicate with their customers and completely ignoring SMS?

Using social media and email are great ways to communicate with your audience, but even using these you won’t be able to reach all your customers, with only a fraction actually seeing your message.

It amazes us that businesses who have been trading for years are only now just looking to use SMS marketing. Maybe that is because SMS marketing is not as well-known as Twitter or Facebook, or even seen in the same light as email marketing which has been around for what feels like forever, but SMS is far more superior at communicating with your customers than other marketing channels.

Not only is it a highly effective way of communicating, but your customers also want to receive text messages too, with 75% of people wanting to have offers sent to them via SMS (Source: Digital Marketing Magazine). It really isn’t rocket science that you should be sending your customers text messages.

Even with these two great facts and many others, businesses will still choose social media over SMS, or first look at using their email marketing provider when looking to promote their offers, rather than sending the offer through SMS.

This is why we have looked into two of the biggest social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, along with email marketing, and comparing these channels to SMS. We have compared the number of posts/messages being sent out on each platform, with a look at how many people actually see these messages.

marketing channel stats

An interesting stat to take from the above image is that 23 million active users on Twitter are actually bots. That means a large proportion of your followers could be bots, meaning your tweets are being seen by even fewer people than you first thought.

Another take from the above image is that almost 50% of all emails are spam, that is an astonishingly high amount of spam. This may be the reason behind such a low number of emails being opened, consumers are fed up of all the spam and even if your marketing emails are amazing they are being ignored.

If you already use social media and email marketing to promote your content and connect with your customers, but still aren’t sure about SMS marketing, even after reading those great stats above, feel free to sign up for a free trial account with us. There are no commitments and no need to enter any payments details, we will give you 10 free credits to test with, we will walk you through the system if you would like, and let you use it at your pace.

We truly believe that all businesses should be using SMS, and we hope that you sign up and see it work wonders for yourself.

Top 10 SMS marketing blogs of 2018

Well 2018 was a big year wasn’t it? With GDPR the big talking point of the year, the mighty England getting to the semi-finals of the World Cup, and a huge Black Friday, it really was all hands-on-deck for businesses in 2018.

The mighty mobile phone again continued to grow with a staggering 5.6 billion mobile phone users worldwide in 2018. Most of this growth is attributed to the increasing popularity of smartphones, where in 2014, 38% of mobile phone users were using a smartphone, and in 2018 this reached 50%.

With the increased popularity of mobile phones, it was inventible that there would be an increase in the popularity of the number one communication tool, SMS. Here at Text Marketer, we continued to see new and old businesses signing up and using SMS who have never used SMS before.

With SMS still as popular as ever, we continued to create great SMS related content throughout 2018 that were aimed at helping business communicate better with customers, keep existing customers happy, and helping businesses grow.

We knew they were great because of the amazing response and views we got on them. Which is why we have put together a list of the 10 most popular SMS marketing blogs of 2018. Have a read and see what trends there were throughout the year with our top 10 SMS post below.

1. What you need to know about GDPR when using Mobile Marketing
There is no surprise what takes the number 1 spot is probably the most talked about subject in 2018, GDPR. It was a hot topic throughout the year with businesses worrying over how they were going to contact their customers post GDPR. We now know that for most businesses it hasn’t really affected them, and everything is now back to normal.

Read the most popular blog post of 2018

 

2. Example marketing text messages for takeaways and restaurants
It can be hard to think of a great message to send your customers and entice them to eat with you rather than dining at another restaurant. Which is why we put together a list of brilliant example text messages that restaurants and takeaways can use to send to their customers.

Read the second most popular blog of 2018

Example marketing text messages

 

3. What is SMS marketing?
There will always be new businesses popping up, meaning there will be new people who have never heard of SMS marketing before. We wanted to let everyone know exactly what SMS marketing is, how it can be used, and why businesses love it.

Read the third most popular blog of 2018

What is sms marketing

 

4. The best time to send your Black Friday SMS marketing campaigns
Just like in our 2017 most popular blogs, our in-depth research on when the best time to send SMS was extremely popular. This time we took it one step further, and because we know how important Black Friday is for businesses, we looked through a whole load of data to find the best time and days to send your SMS campaigns was during November.

Read the fourth most popular blog of 2018

Best time to send sms campaign black friday

 

5. Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 predictions
For the past few years, we have made a prediction on what the sales figures will be on Black Friday. The first 2 years we were close and decided to continue the trend and make a prediction for what the UK would spend in 2018 over Black Friday.

Read the fifth most popular blog of 2018

Black Friday 2018 predictions

 

6. Everything you need to know to succeed this Black Friday
This is our 3rd and final Black Friday post that made it into our top 10, which just shows how popular Black Friday was. This Black Friday post gives businesses a few handy tips on how to succeed during Black Friday and includes a whole load of stats and facts to show how amazing Black Friday is.

Read the sixth most popular blog of 2018

People want offers via sms

 

7. How to win back customers with SMS
No matter the business, losing a customer can be devastating, so being able to win these customers back easily with SMS is ideal. Which is exactly what SMS can do, and why we created a blog on how to win lost customers back with SMS.

Read the seventh most popular blog of 2018

cost of new customer over retaining existing one

 

8. Win the World Cup with SMS
The World Cup was the biggest event of the year which was helped by the fact England had a real go and made it to the semi-finals. With any major event comes a great opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and make a few extra sales. Which is why we created a post on how using SMS during the World Cup could help your business.

Read the eighth most popular blog of 2018

example world cup sms competition

 

9. 5 tips for the best text to win campaign
During 2018 we noticed a lot of customers wanting to run a text to win campaign and we were being asked the best practice for it. We wanted to give businesses the best start to their text to win campaign and created a post on that exact subject. Once this went live we saw a huge increase in businesses running their own successful text to win campaigns.

Read the ninth most popular blog of 2018

example text to win competition

 

10. Why MMS is dead and has been for some time
Our final post to sneak into the top 10 blogs of 2018 was our post on MMS, why it never really took off and is now dead and buried. MMS has been around for years, but with new technology being capable of doing exactly what MMS can do and more, was there a need for it anymore? Or should we just lay it to rest?

Read the tenth most popular blog of 2018

mms vs sms comparison

 

There were some other fantastic blogs that we created in 2018, and we hope that all our blogs helped you in some way. We will continue to create in-depth and helpful SMS marketing blogs to help businesses of all shapes and sizes grow in 2019. So keep an eye out for all our blogs in 2019.

January sale – Get 10% free SMS credits!

After the high of Christmas and the New Year, January can be a tough month – hence the term January blues.

But at Text Marketer, we are here to help ease those January blues with our very own January sale.

In January your customers could be looking to ease their own blues, by booking a holiday or treating themselves to a new outfit.

They could be looking for fresh new beginnings, a new start, to try those salsa dance classes that they have always wanted to give a go, or learn that new language or instrument.

Or they could be looking to stick to their New Year’s resolutions by starting the gym membership or they healthy diet.

So why not try to cheer your customers up with a special, personal mobile marketing campaign!

Our January Sale Offer

Any purchase over 1,000 credits until the Thursday 31st January, will receive an extra 10% SMS credits for free!

The more SMS credits you buy, the more free credits we will give you!

To claim, forward your invoice to support@textmarketer.co.uk with the header January Sale – the offer CANNOT be used with any existing offer or discount, but can be used multiple times during the period.

So ease the January blues with our amazing January sale – enjoy!

Different methods of sending SMS

SMS is such a versatile communication tool, used for a wide range of scenarios and across a variety of different businesses. There isn’t much that SMS can’t do, and there aren’t many businesses that wouldn’t benefit from using SMS.

Retailers use it to send marketing messages and delivery notifications, restaurants mainly use SMS for marketing messages and reservation reminders, with IT businesses plugging it into their software to communicate with customers and suppliers.

It is not just the wide variety of ways that businesses can use SMS to communicate with their customers, staff, or suppliers, but the different ways that it can be sent that allows SMS to be so versatile. There are 3 ways that businesses of all shapes and sizes can send SMS, meaning large PLC’s, SME’s, takeaways, and every business in between, can easily send SMS.

You can send bulk messages using an online platform, easily have a conversation with your customers using Email2SMS, and hook up your CRM, website, or software, so you can send SMS messages automatically with an API.

These 3 ways of sending will suit some businesses better than others, which is why we have gone into more detail on the 3 different methods of sending SMS below, with examples of how each method of sending is used to send text messages.

Online platform
The easiest way to send all your customers a text message is using an online SMS platform. Message Box is our online SMS platform that we have developed to be user friendly, reliable, cost effective and simple, with it talking less than 3 minutes to send your customers an SMS.

Our online platform has tonnes of great features like; URL tracking, where you can see which of your customers have clicked your URL link. SMS surveys, where you can send your customers a survey all through text messages. Auto responders, analytics, contact groups, plus many more features that businesses can use to enhance their SMS campaigns.

Used for: sales, marketing, appointment reminders, SMS surveys, conversations

We have tons of helpful guides on using our online platform, Message Box, that you can read here.

Email2SMS
Yes, Email2SMS has been around for a long time, but it is still a very popular way of sending SMS, with businesses still signing up today to use it.

One of the main reasons that businesses still use it, is because you can have multiple users sending text messages out, all through their email. There is no long-winded way of setting it up, you don’t need to remember another password to log into anything, and with every employee who has an email address, becomes another user who can send SMS.

Email2SMS allows employees to easily track conversations they are having with your customers in their email account, with these messages being delivered to your customers mobile phone.

Used for: conversations, appointment reminders, website chat

To see how you can use our Email to SMS gateway, have a read of our blog here which will take you through the 3 different ways to set it up.

API
An API allows you to hook your website into Text Marketer and automatically send your customers text messages. For example, when someone purchases from your website, using an API you can send them a confirmation message and delivery notification.

To link your website, CRM, or software into Text Marketer using our API, you will require a developer. It is not hard for a developer to integrate as we have a great developer zone with helpful guides to get you setup and linked in to our API.

Used for: delivery notifications, appointment reminders, SMS surveys

If you are still confused on what an API is, have a read of our blog on what an SMS API is which includes a very helpful video from MuleSoft.

 

Text Marketer provides all these 3 different methods of sending SMS, with helpful guides on each. If you would like to sign up for a Text Marketer account and try these different methods of sending text messages, sign up here and get 10 free credits to test with.

Last minute Black Friday tips

The Super Bowl of sales is almost upon us, but wait, you haven’t planned how you are going to promote your Black Friday sale. Well don’t worry because SMS marketing is such a powerful and simple marketing tool, it will take you no time at all to tell all your customers about your Black Friday sale and start those sales rolling in.

The great thing about SMS marketing is how easy it is to use. It doesn’t require you to create any elaborate images like an email, or add any complicated HTML for your website, you can pretty much type your message, select your contact group, set your sender ID, and click send – a very simple 4 step process.

So why is SMS marketing a perfect fit for Black Friday?

By sending your customers a text message you will almost guarantee your message is read, and with smartphones being just as capable of online shopping as a computer or laptop, then the process from sending a message, clicking the link on a mobile phone, and searching your website is smoother and better than ever before.

There is no need after your customers have read your message to go to a computer and purchase, it can all be done from your customers smartphone.

With this in mind, to help you get the most out of your Black Friday sale we have added our 4 top tips below.

Tip 1 – Send your customers an SMS
If you haven’t started your Black Friday sale, as soon as it starts, send all your customers a text message telling them it has started, what they could buy, how much they could save, and how they can buy your products.

Even if your sale has already started, some of your customers may not be aware of it, they may be ready to shop elsewhere, so again send them a message telling them that your Black Friday sale is live and is better then everyone else’s.

“Black Friday Begins – Our huge Black Friday Sale has begun, so if you are looking for a wide range of gadgets with huge savings of up to 60% off, come visit is us in store or shop online at www.link.com”

Tip 2 – Send your customers an SMS on Black Friday
Of course you want to tell your customers about your offer on Black Friday, millions of pounds are spent in the UK alone on the day.

Remember though because it is such a big event, pretty much every business is running a Black Friday sale, so you may need to think out of the box to get people to come to your store or shop online. A simple prize giveaway along with the massive savings could be the trick.

“Black Friday is here, so come and visit us in store or online and save up to 40% off everything www.link.com. We also have a hook a duck game in store where you could win a £200 voucher along with other prizes.”

Tip 3 – Don’t forget Cyber Monday
It’s not just all about Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a huge day as well with £968 Billion being spent in 2015 and £1.1 Billion being spent in 2016, (Source: The Mirror) with Cyber Monday in 2017 thought to be even more.

Whether you are doing a separate Cyber Monday sale or your Black Friday sale is just extending to the Monday, sending your customers a text message on Cyber Monday is a must.

“Just because it’s not Black Friday anymore doesn’t mean you can’t save. Our Cyber Monday sale is on and you can continue to save up to 30% on all online purchases www.link.com”

Tip 4 – Send your customers an SMS on the last day of your sale
This is a must for all your sales, on the last day of your sale send your customers a text message informing them that they only have a matter of hours to make a purchase and save money. This is a great way to get those last few sales and nudge people who may have forgotten when your sale is ending.

“Our Black Friday sale is ending tonight at 12:00pm, so make sure you purchase before then and save up to 50% of selected products www.link.com”

 

If you haven’t already got an SMS account, sign up now and get set up and sending in a matter of minutes. Or if you would like any advice on your Black Friday sale, then give us a call on 0117 205 0202.

SMS is for life, not just for Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and not just because of Santa (yes, he is real) but because it is the one of the biggest holidays of the year for UK businesses. Millions of consumers are looking for that perfect gift for their loved ones, and businesses are looking to sell them that gift.

For consumers Christmas time is brilliant, retailers are constantly battling it out to win their business, but for the retailers themselves it can be hard. Trying to convince someone that they should shop with you rather than your competitors is not an easy task. It is very unlikely that your shop sells something that a consumer can’t get from another shop, most items can now can be bought from multiple places, especially with online retailers like Amazon and eBay.

How can you convince someone to shop with you? Well a big part of this is getting your products and offers in front of your customers as soon as possible. This is where SMS marketing can help, sending your customers a text message as soon as your Christmas sale has started, is a great way to inform all your customers of your sale, and with a 98% open rate, it almost guarantees that your message will be read.

But isn’t Christmas about giving and not trying to sell as much as possible? Are you planning on doing anything special for your customers this year? Or are you just going send them a text message with an offer in it? If you only plan on sending multiple text messages prompting your sale, we are afraid to say that this just isn’t enough anymore. Yes, SMS will help you make a sale, but it can do so much more than that.

So when you customers start thinking about gifts they are going to buy, how do you go about ensuring that they buy from you and not your competitors?

Well this doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and a lot of giving. Consumers don’t just want to be sold to, they want to be wined and dined, they want to be felt like a real human, rather than just a number that you send promotional offers to.

SMS marketing is more than a sales tool, there are many other great ways it can be used to show your customers that you care.

Other ways to use SMS other than to sell
Open and closing time – Whether it is just a day that you are closed for maintenance, or the whole of Christmas, consumers hate turning up to your store and finding out that it is closed. Send your customers a text message with open and closing times on. Why not use our free feature SMS Web Pages, to include more information which is just what Star Cars Birmingham did.
“Hi Jane, just to let you know we will be closed over the Christmas period from the 24th – 27th and then again closed on the 1st of January.”

Send holiday greetings – Wishing your customers a Merry Christmas is a nice thing to do, it makes them feel like your business is more personable. It doesn’t just have to be Christmas, there are other major events around the year like Eid and Diwali that your customers might like to receive a message about too.

You could even include a link to your open and closing times in the message, this would save sending two separate messages.
“From all of us here at Shoes Direct, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. For all our opening times see our website www.link.com”

SMS surveys – The only way you will improve your business is by asking your customers what they like and dislike about you, and this is where an SMS survey can help. Just after your customers have purchased, or at the end of the year, send your customers an SMS survey asking them a couple of questions about the service and products you offer. A handy tip to get more answers is to add a little incentive.
“We would like to thank you for being a valued customer and hope that over the year we have provided you with a great service. To make sure that we have, we would really appreciate it if you could complete a short survey. By completing this survey, you will be entered into a prize draw where you could win a £50 voucher.”

Text to win – By offering something away for free, customers are more likely to purchase from you in the future. A competition is a great way to get your customers interacting with your brand and who doesn’t like winning something. If you are thinking about running a text to win campaign have a read of our 5 top tips that will help you get started.
“Text WIN to 88802 to enter into our draw where you could win a holiday to New York and £500 spending money, courtesy of Holidays4Everbody.”

Appointment reminders – This may not be suitable for all businesses, but for those that it does, sending an appointment reminder massively reduces the amount of no shows. This will save you money and keep customers who have genuinely forgotten, happy with a little nudge.
“Hi John, just a reminder that your MOT is due on the 21/01/2019 so make sure you book it in with us before then.”

Making sure that you stay in contact with your customers throughout the year, and not just when you want them to buy, is vital to increase brand loyalty. By using some of the ideas above, wishing your customers a Merry Christmas, or just letting them know when you are closed, you will increase brand loyalty and when it does come to the time for you to send them an SMS offer, they will be more receptive and more likely to purchase.

In-between the regular updates and communication with your customers, of course you should send them a text message with your latest sale and discounts in, after all they are a customer of yours because they bought something from you.

With this in mind we have added a couple of major holidays throughout the year that you could have a sale and send your customer a text message on.

Major holidays throughout the year
Valentine’s day – Valentine’s day is getting bigger each year with £980 million worth of gifts bought in 2016 and a little SMS love can go along way during February.

Easter holidays – You may not think Easter is a big retail holiday but there are 21.9 million Easter cards sold (Source: Statisticviews) and 1.8 million Brits traveling abroad over the Easter weekend (Source: Visit England). It is a perfect time to send an SMS and not just about clothes or shoes.

Spring and Summer sales – The perfect time to send an SMS is when you have any seasonal sales, be that a spring or summer sale, whenever you have a sale, start it by sending an SMS to let your customers know it has started.

Black Friday – Last, but by no means least, Black Friday, this year is expected to have been bigger than ever before, potentially hitting over £9 Billion over the 4-day Black Friday weekend.

Remember that just because SMS can help you hit your sales targets, it is not just a one trick pony and can help you keep customers happy, engaged, and purchasing all year round.

Campus Living Villages speed up collecting customer feedback with SMS Surveys

Campus Living Villages is a global student accommodation provider with over 14,000 beds in the UK across 13 cities. Helping students find great accommodation in convenient locations ready for when they start university.

They wanted to find out how happy their UK residents were at the end of their stay and what they thought about them. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing exactly what your customers are thinking, which would be the perfect superpower for businesses. However, there is a way that you can find out exactly what your customers think quickly and easily. In steps SMS surveys.

Campus Living Villages decided to use SMS Surveys to gain quality feedback and help improve their service.

We managed to grab 5 minutes with them and ask them a couple of questions on how they found SMS surveys. Here is what they said.

What did you use SMS surveys for?
“We used Text Marketer to survey our UK residents at the end of their stay to determine the level of overall customer satisfaction, ensuring we continue to deliver a high-quality student experience year after year.”

How does SMS compare to other communication channels you’ve previously used?
“SMS was much quicker to both script the questions and in getting responses back. Being a self-service option, it also allowed us to hugely reduce costs and have full control over the entire process.”

What were your main reasons for choosing an SMS survey campaign over a normal internet based survey?
“We were up against a tight deadline and choosing SMS gave us the opportunity to create a succinct effective survey method to gain large amounts of insight pretty much immediately after hitting send.”

What were your results from your SMS survey campaign? response rate? delivery rates? Any Stats and figures you could share?
“We received responses from 1,080 customers at an overall response rate of 17%, falling in line with our usual amount of response but without the usual marketing around the survey and in a fraction of the time usually spent on the campaign.”

Would you recommend it to other businesses?
“We would recommend SMS surveys to other businesses which require quick reliable insight at a low price.”

 

If like Campus Living Villages you want to gain vital insight into your customers and gain feedback quickly, then SMS Surveys are for you. With costs per SMS from as little as 1.8p, why not sign up to a free SMS account and get feedback from your customers today.

Using SMS in a snow storm – the perfect communication tool

At the beginning of 2018 the UK was hit with a severe snow storm dubbed “the beast from the east”, this forced councils to shut roads, people were unable to get to work, which ultimately meant thousands of businesses were unable to open. This was estimated to have cost the British economy at least £1bn a day (Source: The Guardian).

It is vital that if your business is hit by a disaster, you have a plan in place, even if it a simple one. A disaster recovery plan doesn’t have to be complicated, a simple SMS informing your customers of the issue and a link to your website where they can find out more, is all most businesses would require.

Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than arriving at your store to find it closed, they have made all that effort trudging through the snow to get to you, to find out that you are not open. This is a complete waste of their time and will undoubtably frustrate them which could lead them to shop elsewhere in the future.

A very simple and effective solution to this is to send a text message. SMS is fast and reliable, and with 90% of all text messages being read within 3 minutes, using SMS to inform your customers, and even staff member of a crisis, is an extremely effective communication method.

“We are sorry to say that because of the severe snow we are forced to close our store for the next 2 days. For an update on when we will be back open please visit our website www.link.com”

If you manage to open your store despite the snow, your customers will want to know this. They may think that your store is closed, or simply don’t want to risk leave the house. Send your customers a text message informing them that you are open, could get people coming to store instead of your competitors as they know you are open.

“Even with all this snow, we have opened our doors and put the heating on full blast. So why not come in and have a hot coffee in our instore café then have a shop around once you have warmed up.”

Be careful not to fall into the trap of only communicating with your customers, your staff want to receive SMS too and they will be just as annoyed if they turn up to find that your store isn’t open. Remember happy employees’ equal happy customers.

Not just for retailers, schools too
We talk a lot about how SMS can be used in retail, but retailers aren’t the only business that need to communicate quickly when a disaster strikes. Parents want to know if their child’s school has a snow day, or if the school is closed due to unforeseen circumstances. They need to know so they can make arrangements for their children.

school communication stat

Schools don’t just have to us SMS in an emergency, SMS can be used to inform parents if their child has missed school that day, if there are any up and coming school trips and if the parents need to pay for these, when parents evening is, along with many other ways that schools can use SMS to communicate with parents.

How to plan for a disaster with SMS
1. Segment your customers – This depends entirely on your business, if you only have 1 store then this may not be required, but if you have multiple stores across the country, then segmenting your customers into locations is vital. Your customers in Newcastle don’t want to know or even care if your store in Birmingham is closed, and if they do receive a message about a store hundreds of miles away, this could confuse them.

2. Create various template messages – Depending on what the disaster is you will need a batch of messages ready to go out. These can be the same message but for different store locations, the same message but for a different issue, maybe the store has flooded or if your website is down.

3. Decide on who oversees the process – When a disaster hits, you need to act fast. You don’t want to spend half the day scrabbling around on what needs to be done. Have 1 person in charge of sending the text message out, they should know what message to send, who it needs to go to, and when to send it.

Turn the snow into a positive with SMS
Now that you have your disaster recovery solution in place, why not take the opportunity to make a few extra sales. When a big snow storm hits, your customers will more than likely be stuck at home, bored, and looking for something to do. Lift your customers spirits and send them a promotional SMS message offering them a discount because of the snow.

“Just because it’s snowy and too cold to visit our store, doesn’t mean you can’t get our latest winter line at a huge discount – get 30% off all clothes and stay warm this winter www.link.com”

Predicting when a snow storm will hit is hard, not even weather presenters get it right. But having a contingency plan in place, meaning you can quickly communicate with your customers when a disaster does hit, is extremely important to ensuring your customers are happy and most importantly, safe.

 

Pre-Christmas smartphone spending increasing by over 40%

We all know the last quarter of the year is where the retailers usually make the lion share of their sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday is quickly followed by the Christmas festivities – making it a Golden Quarter for retail where they can often sink or swim.

For many years now, marketing, tech and business experts have been saying that this year is the year of the mobile, and the truth is, it has been for the last decade or so. The mobile has changed the way we shop, communicate and live. It is now the preferred device for many things, from shopping to banking, and the list of the tasks you can complete on a mobile is endless.

Now the smartphone is really motoring on and leaving its competition of the desktop and tablet, far far behind. In the UK, the number of people using their smartphones to make purchases in the build up to Christmas has increased by 44% compared to 2017 (Source: Ve).

In 2017, 39% of Black Friday sales came through the mobile phone, making it the dominant preferred choice of the shopper over desktops and tablets (Source: IMRG). Ve’s Global report has predicted an over 50% rise in mobile sales for the Black Friday 2018 weekend.

Mobile now registers more sessions than both desktop and tablets combined (Source: Ve Global)

“UK retailers are beginning to meet the mobile-first expectations of the modern online shopper and in good time, given the continued demise of the desktop PC and even the tablet – all of which are fading towards irrelevance as the mobile experience improves”
David Marrinan-Hayes, CEO at Ve.

There really doesn’t seem to be any slowing down in the unstoppable juggernaut that is the mobile phone. However it is still not too late to start your mobile marketing journey, and here at Text Marketer we can help you construct the perfect mobile experience for your customers.

Our online platform Message Box, has all the tools and features that any retailer or marketer would need, from sending large mobile marketing campaigns and URL links, to analytics, SMS surveys and beautiful bespoke image based SMS Web Pages.

So sign up today and let us help you make the most of this mobile shopping revolution.

Black Friday 2018 SMS Sale – 20% Free SMS

The Super Bowl of sales is now upon us, and you know what that means . . . The Text Marketer Black Friday sale is here!

Year on year Black Friday gets bigger and bigger, with more people purchasing, more retailers offering a Black Friday sale, and ultimately more money being spent.

This year is no different, we have predicted that the UK will spend a whopping £9.2 Billion over the four day Black Friday weekend. And to help you, we have put together a post on when the best time is to send your Black Friday SMS campaign, with one extremely popular day being a few days before Black Friday – read more here.

With the increase in popularity and consumer spend, that means you are going to need more SMS to tell your customers about your amazing Black Friday sale. And with Text Marketer, more SMS doesn’t mean spending more money.

Introducing our Black Friday 20% Free SMS credits offer.

Any purchase over 1,000 credits between Monday 12th November – Cyber Monday 26th November will receive an extra 20% SMS credits for free!

So by purchasing more SMS credits, we will give you more SMS completely free, it really is that simple.

To claim, forward your invoice to support@textmarketer.co.uk with the header BLACKFRIDAY – the offer CANNOT be used with any existing offer or discount, but can be used multiple times during the period.

Please see our T&Cs for more information (Section 14 – 14.1)

Black Friday 2018 – everything you need to know to succeed this Black Friday

There is no bigger retail event in the year than Black Friday. It trumps all spring and summer sales, makes Christmas look tiny and is far superior to any January sale – it is simply the biggest and best event of the year.

Every year retailers try and top their competitors with a bigger and more creative offer, but you don’t need to create the most elaborate offer to triumph on Black Friday. All you need is for your offer to be seen by as many of your customers as possible – it really is that simple.

There is no point having the best offer if it is only going to be displayed on your website. You need to shout about it from the roof tops, promote it through multiple marketing channels, social media, email, in your shop, on the radio, on TV, but most importantly and by far the most effective, via SMS.

Not only do your customers want to receive offers from you via SMS, but SMS is the perfect way to get your message straight into your customers pocket, knowing that your text message, unlike email, will be read almost instantly with 90% of all text messages read within 3 minutes.

Even though SMS is such a powerful marketing tool, it can still go wrong, especially if you don’t send your message at the right time. Sending a text message to your customers at 9pm on Black Friday, even if it is a catchy message with an amazing offer, will get you very little response, by that time the majority of your customers have already seen other offers and have made their main Black Friday purchases.

It is vital you send your Black Friday campaign at the right time of day. To help you get the most out of SMS, we have put together a guide on the best time to send your Black Friday SMS campaigns, which you can read in full here.

Handy Black Friday tips
Copy Amazon – Well don’t just copy Amazon, but they do Black Friday very well every year. They have timed Black Friday deals and don’t just have one big offer, they break it down, adding a timer and unique offers to different products. This gives consumers a sense of urgency that the particular offer they are looking at, will soon end and never be shown again.

Remind customers – Remind customers that you have your sale is still on. First send all your customers an initial text message as soon as your Black Friday sale has started, then again on Black Friday itself and again the day before your deal finishes. By contacting customers at different times may promote them into a second or even third purchase, and for those who didn’t make a purchase, it will give them a gentle nudge of your amazing deals.

If you aren’t ready for Black Friday this year, what are you waiting for, sign up for a free account now and start sending your customers text messages in minutes. Or for those who already use SMS marketing but don’t really believe in the whole Black Friday hype, have a read of our amazing stats below. We are sure once you have finished, you will be a believer.

Black Friday 2018 infographic

The best time to send your Black Friday SMS marketing campaigns

Every business across the globe is gearing up for Black Friday, it is without doubt the biggest and best retail period of the year. Last year the UK were thought to have spent a whopping £8 Billion over the 4 day weekend, and this year an incredible we are predicting it will hit £9.2 Billion.

One reason Black Friday continues to grow year on year, is the mighty mobile phone of course. The mobile phone once again topped desktop last year with 66% of website traffic over the Black Friday 2017 weekend coming through a mobile device (Source: Salmon).

With SMS having an open rate of 98% and 90% of those messages being read within 3 minutes, there is no better way to tell your customers your Black Friday sale has started than sending them a text message. SMS boasts a superior click through rate, consumers are more likely to click your link and browse your products when sent a text message as well.

Here at Text Marketer we want your Black Friday sales to be the absolute best they can be, and one way we can help you is by telling you when to send your Black Friday SMS campaigns. We are going to look into the data and find the most popular times and even days that businesses send their marketing messages on.

Between 12pm – 1pm UK sales reached a peak of 976 transactions per second (Source: Expandly)

Before we give you the most popular times and days to send your SMS campaigns, we would always suggest that you send a bulk SMS message to your customers as soon as your Black Friday sale starts. Argos said that just 4 hours after they launched their Black Friday campaign last year, they had more than 2 million visitors to their website.

“These early record-breaking figures show that savvy shoppers are keen to bag themselves a bargain in the run-up to Christmas” – John Rogers, Argos Chief Executive

Consumers are waiting for your Black Friday sale to start, eager to save money and buy as much as they can, so why not tell them about it and get your sales rolling from the first minute.

Text Marketer stats
In the lead up to Black Friday we see a huge increase of messages go through our system, with the day itself seeing a 137% increase in messages being sent compared to the average Friday. Cyber Monday also sees an increase of 33% when compared to an average Monday.

It is not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday that there is an influx of messages going through our system. The day before Black Friday we see an increase of 65% compared to the average Thursday, with message volumes increasing as it gets closer to Black Friday, the week of Black Friday sees an increase of 49% compared to the week prior, and that week is 11% bigger than the week before that.

As Black Friday approaches daily message volume snowballs as retailers are starting their Black Friday offers.

Text Marketer retailer sending on Black Friday

Best time to send leading up to Black Friday
As we have said, Black Friday is no longer a one-day event and can last weeks and even the whole of November. Sending your Black Friday SMS campaign will mainly rely on when your Black Friday sale starts, if like Amazon, you start your sale the week before Black Friday, then as soon as your sale is live, you should inform all your customers with a simple SMS message.

This being said we have looked at the data and picked the more popular days in the lead up to Black Friday.

Tuesday of Black Friday week – Surprisingly there is an 81% increase in messages being sent on the Tuesday before Black Friday compared to a standard Tuesday. The week of Black Friday is a popular time to start a sale, it gives retailers time to promote the sale and consumers enough time decide and purchase something they like.

Day before Black Friday – The day before Black Friday is a huge day for retailers and a huge day for text messaging. Very much like the Boxing day sales, over the past few years consumers look for online sales on Christmas day instead of waiting for Boxing day, it is the same with Black Friday, consumers are looking at items they can buy the day before.

The best time to send your SMS campaign the day before Black Friday is either the morning or evening, with retailers wanting to get their message in early, or soon after consumers have left work.

Day before Black Friday sends

Best time to send on Black Friday
The morning is the best time to send your SMS campaigns with 82% of messages being sent between 7:00am – 12:00pm, this is because retailers want to get their Black Friday offer in front of consumers before their competitors.

In fact, the 5 most popular hours during the whole of Black Friday are all in the morning, with only 6% of messages being sent in the evening (6:00pm – 12:00pm).

Times to send on Black Friday

Best time to send on Cyber Monday
Before 10am is the best time send a text message to customers about your Cyber Monday sale, with 55% of messages being sent before 10am on Cyber Monday. Very few messages go out during the afternoon, with only 9% of messages going out during 12:00pm – 5:00pm and hardly any go out after 8:00pm.

Time to send on Cyber Monday

Sending your message at the right time can be the difference between a successful Black Friday sale and one that never really takes off. Make sure you think about when your customers would like to receive your messages, too early in the morning and people aren’t ready to buy, too late and they have already made their purchases.

We would also advice that you send a reminder message to customers letting them know about your sale on Black Friday itself, with 58% of retailers sending a message before Black Friday then again on the day itself.

Don’t be scared of sending out a few messages about your deals and offers, during this Black Friday period, customers are actively looking for the best deals and offers and will want to hear about them.

If you would like to speak to someone from our expert team who can advice you on best practice, then please call us on 0117 205 0202 or if you haven’t got an SMS account, then sign up for one now and get your Black Friday campaign off to a bang with SMS.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 predictions

Over the past few years, we have had a dabble at predicting the sales figures for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and over the past few years we have been pretty close.

We predicted that for the four-day Black Friday weekend in 2016, including Cyber Monday, UK consumers would spend £4.7 Billion, with the actual figure hitting £5.8 Billion. So last year we had another go at trying to predict it again, this time predicting that UK shoppers would spend a staggering £8.7 Billion over the four day weekend, with the actual spending figure for 2017 coming in at around £8 Billion.

First year we were slightly under, second year slightly over, but as we were pretty close both times we have decided to predict the UK spend again, 3rd time lucky we hope.

But before we tell you the magic number you have all come here for, firstly have a read of these amazing stats to help you get excited for the big Black Friday sales . . .

UK consumers spent a huge 515% more online than the average Friday in 2017 – Cyber Monday nearly doubled that (Source: Ingenico)

91% of UK retailers had a Black Friday promotion in 2017 (Source: SaleCycle)

In November 2017 the average weekly spend online for retailer was £1.2 billion – this is an increase of 10.2% compared with November 2016 (Source: Office for National Statistics)

Black Friday is no longer a one-day sales bonanza, millions of businesses start earlier, with Amazon historically starting their Black Friday sales 2 weeks in advance. It is now a 6-day sales festival, with the 6 busiest shopping days of 2017 being between Wednesday 22nd and Monday 27th November 2017 (Source: Ingenico).

Because it is the biggest and best sales opportunity for retailers, every year expert’s analysis consumer trends and sales, they look at the latest gadgets, what has been popular over the past months to try and predict what Black Friday will bring that year.

We are predicting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 that UK consumers will spend . . .

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 predictions

With the spend looking very likely that it will once again hit new records, we would advise that you start planning your marketing campaigns early, start collecting your data now and formulating a plan to engage with your customers and get the most out of Black Friday this year.

If you haven’t already got an SMS account, make sure you don’t miss out on millions of shoppers looking for great deals and sign up with an account today and start your Black Friday campaign the right way, with SMS marketing.

Halloween & Bonfire Night – why this extended holiday is great for businesses

Grab your mask, sweetie bag, and pumpkin spiced latte, it’s our favourite scary time of the year again, Halloween! That’s right, Halloween has already crept up on us, and if we aren’t careful Bonfire Night will fly by as well.

Us brits may not celebrate Halloween in the same way as our overseas cousins in American, but the Halloween holidays are undoubtedly not to be missed by retailers across the UK. It is a great opportunity to start your sales early with the following months including Black Friday, Christmas and January sales.

Every year Halloween grows in popularity, with sales of sweets, scary outfits and probably bed sheets (they make great ghost outfits). So we wanted to help you get your juices flowing with some scarily good facts and ideas of how you could incorporate Halloween into your marketing plan.

If you store isn’t selling Halloween costumes, or directly promoting Halloween, it doesn’t mean you can’t jump on the proverbial “ghost ship” and make some sales out of it. A simple SMS to your customers prompting a Halloween sale could be enough.

“Don’t like dressing up for Halloween? Don’t worry, we have great outfits that you can wear all year round with a huge 30% off & next day delivery www.link.com”

And Halloween isn’t just for retailers, restaurants can use this holiday to their advantage as well. Why not send a text message to customers who don’t want their door constantly being knocked on and just want some peace and quiet over the Halloween period.

“Don’t be tricked this Halloween and have a nice quiet night at Ed’s Bistro instead. Book a table between the 29th and 31st and get a free dessert www.link.com”

Once Halloween is over and people have finally stopped dressing up as witches and ghouls, the next big sales opportunity is less than a week after, Bonfire Night! This can be used as an extension to your Halloween sale.

With millions of people throwing Bonfire parties, and in need of food, drink, warm clothes, and of course fireworks, the lead up to Bonfire Night is the perfect time to squeeze in a few extra sales.

Bonfire night 18 stats

Remember people need warm clothes when out watching the fireworks, and those who are hosting the event will need food and drinks. Two great reasons to send your customers an SMS prior to the event.

“Don’t freeze this Bonfire Night and wrap up warm with our big fluffy coats reduced by up to £50 www.link.com”

“Get you snacks and drinks ordered and delivered ready for Bonfire Night and save 20% on your total shopping www.link.com”

So make sure you have incorporated both Halloween and Bonfire Night into your marketing plan, and by sending customers an SMS message, you know that your message will be read.

Halloween & Bonfire infographic

Why Email to SMS is still a popular communication channel for businesses

Email to SMS is like your old sturdy car. Yes, it may not be as glamorous as online SMS platforms, and some people think it is outdated, but the outcome is exactly the same. Your car takes you from A to B and your SMS goes straight to the recipients’ mobile phone in just a few seconds.

Email to SMS is so simple, you add the recipient, type your email, then click send, seconds later the recipient receives your email message as a text message on their mobile phone.

As the famous saying goes . . . “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

We have a brilliant online SMS platform Message Box, that has loads of handy features, from seeing who clicked your URL link, to being able to add a free SMS Web Page to your text message, where you can include images and extra text all for free, and much much more. We love Message Box and we always hear great things about it from our customers.

Even with all those great comments and more, we also recognise that some businesses don’t need, or even want all the amazing features that Message Box has. This is why we have our equally easy to use Email to SMS gateway.

Like the name suggests you can send an email that converts into an SMS. It is still extremely popular way to communicate with customers, especially if you need to have a conversation with them easily.

Customer quote: “So easy to use, I love responding from email it’s so much quicker”

Email to SMS can be used to send individual messages or bulk messages, both being delivered in seconds. It can be used for;

Appointment reminders – Get a list of people who have an appointment with you the following day and send them a message reminding them about it.

Website chat – Add a txtUs number to your website and get people to text you with their queries, you can then reply by email and see the conversation thread.

Marketing and sales messages – You can send mass marketing and sales messages from your email account, increasing sales and engaging with customers at the same time.

Delivery notifications – If you are a small retailer, sending personalised delivery notifications is a great way of keeping customer informed and happy about your service.

Four great ways to use Email to SMS, but why in this modern age is it still so popular amongst businesses? Well there are 3 major reasons as to why businesses are still coming on board and asking for Email to SMS.

Simple to use
We understand that employees already have a huge amount of marketing platforms that they need to login on, and with Email to SMS all you need is your email account. And like everything in Text Marketer, we have made our Email to SMS gateway extremely easy to use, with 3 very easy ways of setting it up and using it, all can be found here.

But in simple terms, all you need to do is enter the customers mobile number in the ‘To’ box followed by @textmarketer.biz, type your message, enter ## at the end (this is so your email footer is not included) and hit send. See we told you it was simple.

Multiple users
With email to SMS you can have as many users as you like sending and receiving text messages through email. Because it is all through the employee’s email address, what it means is with each email account, comes a potential new SMS user.

This gives businesses a way of allowing users to connect with customers on a personal level. As with a text message, 98% are read and 90% are read within 3 minutes, sending a text message instead of an email vastly increases the chance your message will be read and your required action completed.

Easy conversation tracking
Email to SMS allows you to have a conversation with your customers, and just like an email, you can see the thread of conversation between you and the customer. This is great as you can use Email to SMS as a chat option on your website, meaning consumers won’t have to wait around on the phone for hours before talking to someone. They simply send a text and wait for your reply, then have a full conversation with you.

Both your employee and recipient now have a full thread of the conversation if you ever need to go back and check it.

 

If you are interested in using Email to SMS for your business, then sign up for a free SMS account and our expert team can help you set it up and have you up and running in no time.

Why MMS is dead and has been for some time

The first SMS message was sent in 1992 and read “Merry Christmas”. Since then SMS has been on a meteoric rise, going from strength to strength and now used by millions of people and businesses across the world.

MMS came along 9 years later, with the first MMS capable phone being the Sony Ericsson T68i in December 2001 and the first MMS message being sent shortly after.

MMS was a great idea at the time, you could send pictures, attachments and more to your friends through your mobile phone. But it was not to last, when OTT messaging like WhatsApp was developed. Since then MMS has never really recovered.

This issue with MMS is that it costs a lot more than SMS. Currently sending an SMS to your friends and family will cost you anywhere between 10p-14p, unless it is included within your monthly subscription then it is free. MMS on the other hand can cost up to 4 times as much and can be around 45p a message, and even if you have unlimited text messages on your mobile phone contract, this will still cost you 45p.

The story is the same with business SMS providers. Some SMS providers offer MMS at 34p where sending a normal SMS would only cost around 3.3p. That means if you are send a message to 1,000 people, sending it as an MMS would cost you an extra £307.

What is worse is that not everyone has an MMS capable phone, with nearly 30% of all people in the UK not owning smartphone, and therefore cannot receive MMS. That means if you do send an MMS message to your customers, then potentially 30% of them won’t be able to receive it – that is a huge missed opportunity.

So why do some SMS providers still offer this dated solution? Well to be honest we don’t know, but we have taken a stab in the dark and thought of 2 reasons:

1. It makes it look like they have loads to offer, with extra features to their platform.
2. Because it costs their customers 3 times as much, meaning a bigger profit margin – more money for them, less for you.

Both not great reasons, and both not really beneficial to businesses or the end user.

Some businesses still use MMS because it is all they know, but what would you say if there was a way that you could send pictures, links, and more to your customers at no extra cost?

Other option to MMS
As we said above MMS was a great idea, with a huge emphasis on was. As technology has rapidly evolved, MMS has stood still, with other features have overtaken it, one of these being SMS Web Pages.

SMS Web Pages lets businesses create their very own landing page, filled with images, extra text, downloadable links and all for no extra cost. Like all Text Marketer products, it is so simple to use, and it only has a 5-step guide from start to finish.

MMS vs SMS Web Pages

SMS Web Pages is a great feature that all businesses can take advantage of, but as we developed SMS Web Pages to enhance SMS and give customers a better experience, SMS itself is also evolving to give businesses and customers an even better experience.

The future of SMS
SMS has been around for years and will continue to be around for years to come. SMS has continued to get stronger and stronger, and with technology rapidly evolving, SMS must also evolve . . . introducing RCS.

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services, it will allow people and businesses to send richer messages to customers. Allowing customers to interact with the SMS message, making their lives easier.

RCS will be coming out this year, but as a lot of new technology, it will take some time for it to really take off. Only the new Android phones will be RCS enabled and until Apple say yes to it, it will be some time before Apple users can use it too.

 

With SMS Web Pages giving businesses and users the same experience as MMS, and with RCS soon to be out, why do businesses still use MMS?

If you would like to talk about any mobile marketing options for you business then do get in touch on 0117 989 5139.