Category Archives: SMS Marketing

An in-depth look into Text Marketer’s tracked URL feature

Being able to see how many clicks your URL received can really help drive a successful campaign. But being able to see exactly which of your customers clicked it, when, and how many times, is even better. Which is why within our analytics section, you can see exactly that.

Which means you can:
– Test different campaigns and see which link got the best click through
– Send another message to those that didn’t click
– Send another message to those that did click but didn’t take your desired action

For a basic understanding of how our tracked URL feature works, check out our blog here.

This post is a more in-depth look into the feature, explaining in detail what each section is, how it works, and how you can see who clicked your URL.

1. Tracked URLs – The first drop down box shows the full URL, before being shortened, that was included in an SMS message that was sent. When selecting different URLs, all other information on this page will be updated to show data for that specific URL. The sections that will update are; Sent Messages, Tracked URL Details, Message Details, Short URL Clicks, Clicks per device type, and the report at the bottom of the page.

2. Sent Messages – Here is where you can see the different SMS campaigns that have used the URL that was selected in ‘Tracked URLs’ dropdown box. When selecting different SMS campaigns, both the ‘Message Details’ and ‘Message’ will update to show that specific campaign. All ‘Tracked URL Details’, ‘Short URL Clicks’, ‘Clicks per device type’, and the report at the bottom of the page, will still show the overall clicks from the URL selected in the ‘Tracked URLs’ dropdown box and not details for an individual campaign.

3. Tracked URL Details – This shows the total number of SMS campaigns (Sent Messages) that the URL selected in ‘Tracked URLs’ has been used in, along with the total number of clicks. This is displayed as total clicks and not unique clicks, so if 1 customer has clicked the link 5 times, it will show as 5.

4. Message Details – The ‘Message Details’ section shows information about a particular SMS campaign, with date, sender ID, which contact groups the message was sent to, how many customers it was sent to, and the number of credits required for that SMS campaign. This will update when selecting a different option from the ‘Sent Messages’ drop down.

5. Message – This section shows the message that was sent. This will update when selecting a different option from the ‘Sent Messages’ drop down.

6. Short URL clicks – Under the ‘Short URLs clicks’ header, is a graph that displays the total number of clicks per day, week, or month. This can be changed using the ‘Timeframe’ dropdown. This will update when selecting a different option from the ‘Tracked URLs’ dropdown.

7. Clicks per device type – The pie chart shows the percentage breakdown of devices that your URL has been clicked on. This will update when selecting a different option from the ‘Tracked URLs’ drop down.

8. Report – At the bottom of the page you will be able to see a list of your customers’ mobile numbers, the device they are on, number of clicks, and the date and time of the first click. You can download this by clicking the ‘Download Report’ button. This is a total of all clicks on any given URL. This will update when selecting a different option from the ‘Tracked URLs’ drop down.

*You can then follow our simple instructions to see details about which of your customers have clicked your URL – how to see who clicked your tracked URL link

Text Marketer Tracked URL analytics

If after reading this, you are still unsure about how it works, please give us a call and one of our support team can take you through it.

Why spring is the perfect time to connect with your customers

With the cold months of Winter behind us and the warm Summer air on the horizon, Spring really is the best time of the year.

During Spring we have the longest day of the year, the UK has 4 bank holidays, Easter weekend, school holidays, Mother’s and Father’s day, plus the clocks go forward. All this means consumers have more time on their hands to see friends, go on trips, but probably the most popular activity for us Brits . . . . Shopping.

We seem to take every possible opportunity to do a bit of shopping, so when there is more time in the day, the sun beaming down and a chance to go on a weekday, we will undoubtedly grab our wallets and purses and go on a shopping spree.

To be able to capitalise on all the extra hours in the day and extra days off over Spring, we would recommend you take 3 very simple actions, which together will give you a huge boost over the Spring season.

3 simple activities to boost your Spring sales
Spring Sale – The best way to attract customers to your store is with a sale. Make sure your sale isn’t a really small percentage off, and run it for a few weeks. Making your sale last months will lose its effectiveness, you want to create a sense of urgency and not allow customers to think they have all the time in the world to take advantage of it.

SMS Campaigns – Send out multiple SMS campaigns to promote your sale. Your first SMS campaign should go out at the very start, with at least one more a few days before it ends, reminding customers it is the last chance for them to save money.

Competition – Everyone loves a competition and running one will increase engagement, which in turn means more people will see your sale and buy from you. You may even want to think about running an ‘in-store competition’, which would require people to come into your store to enter.

Use SMS Web Pages to improve your SMS campaigns
To help you with your sale and competition, why not try our completely free feature, SMS Web Pages. You can create a bespoke landing page and include images, extra information about your offer, and a call to action button.

By creating an SMS Web Page, you won’t have to include all the information of your sale or competition within the body of your text message, meaning you can keep it to 1 message length, saving you money.

Example text messages for your spring SMS campaigns
To help get up to speed as quickly as possible, we have created a few example text messages that you can use.

“Our Super Spring Sale is now on! Don’t miss our Spring Sale and get 30% off everything. Sale ends 21st June. For more info visit our website www.link.com”

“Put a spring in your step with our Spring Sale & Competition. Save 30% off all items and at the same time enter our competition where you can win 1 of 3 £100 vouchers. For more info click here www.link.com”

“Competition time! Want to be in with a chance of winning 1 of 3 £100 vouchers? Simply come into our store and play a little game. Store location here www.link.com”

 

If you would like any help setting up your SMS campaigns ready for your sale, call us or drop us an email and one of our expert team can help you.

Text Marketer is part of Commify Group

We just thought you might like to know that there have been some administrative changes here at Text Marketer, but don’t worry, we are still here offering an amazing SMS service at a low cost.

Text Marketer is part of a group of business messaging service providers called Commify. To simplify our legal structure, we renamed TextMarketer Limited to Commify UK Limited on 31st January 2019 with Companies House. At that point, Text Marketer Limited became a trading name of Commify UK Limited.

This has had no impact on the services our customers receive or the team who deliver those services; it simply means that invoices are now from Commify UK Limited trading as Text Marketer. All existing contracts remain valid – it is very much business as usual.

Public notices have been issued which list the various non-trading companies being wound up – and some customers have seen these notices and sought clarification that Text Marketer itself is not being wound up. It is not.

Text Marketer is alive and well 

Commify as a group works with over 45,000 companies across Europe and APAC; we employ close to 250 of the brightest minds in the industry, and have offices in the UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Australia.

Our mission is to make business communication brilliant, and we are proud to be the number one provider of business messaging solutions in many parts of Europe.

You can find out more about Commify here; if you have any questions about this administrative change, please do get in touch.

Again we just thought you would like to know, we are still here, still low cost, and most importantly, still bright orange.

How and why businesses can use SMS to communicate better with their employees

We aren’t going to start this post by going into the whole, “SMS has a 98% open rate whilst email only has a 22% open rate” and “email inboxes are filled with spam messages” spiel, just to show you that sending a text message is MUCH better than sending an email . . . Oops, we did, oh well.

What we really wanted to start with was a fantastic quote from Richard Branson . . .

This sounds simple enough but can be hard to achieve. To improve employee satisfaction, businesses will look at improving the office, making it homelier and less like an office, or improve benefits they offer like extra day offs, bigger bonuses, flexible hours.

All these are great and will help to improve employee satisfaction, which will then feed down to your customers, but a big area that businesses are missing is communication.

You can have all the benefits and freebies in the world, but if your communication is poor, then your staff won’t be happy.

Bad communication can range from; too many emails, too few emails, emails at the wrong time, emails about unimportant things, not emailing about important things, employees not knowing what is going on, the list goes on. But one thing it has in common is emails.

A study found that managers who were spending around 100 hours per year on unimportant emails, didn’t want their email access limited. They did however, want policies put in place that would reduce the volume of emails sent to their inbox. (Source: Grossman Group)

We all get thousands of emails and very quickly we start to scan them and not fully take the information in. But if some of those emails were sent via SMS instead, employees would not only receive fewer emails but would take these emails onboard more as they know that these fewer emails are important and not just mass updates.

But how do you go about deciding which emails would work better as a text message? Below we have outlined 3 different scenarios where SMS would work better than emails, and why you should move to internal SMS communication.

How to use SMS for internal communication
SMS can be used instead of emails in most areas, we would, however, advice that you to start by looking at 3 different areas to implement SMS; alerts, reminders, and questions. These 3 options are easy to change to SMS and you can then see what impact that has on employees.

Alerts – Major updates and alerts should be sent out via text message and not email due to the importance of them. Because these alerts are important, you want to know that your staff have received and read the message almost instantly. These alerts can range from office issues, road closures, media events, and a change of meeting time to name just a few.

Reminders – A great way to use SMS internally is for reminders. This can be set up automatically, so 10 minutes before a meeting or event, those attending receive an SMS message reminding them. Staff away days, work parties, and end of month expenses are just a few more ways that reminders can be sent out via SMS instead of email.

Employee Feedback – Whether it is an end of year survey to find out the overall satisfaction of your employees, or a single question to ask whether you should implement a new policy. Using SMS Surveys to collect quality feedback from your employees is the quickest and easiest method.

Why should businesses use SMS for internal communication?
To put it simply, employees don’t always have access to their emails, meaning they may not see your message for an hour, day, or even week. Unlike with our mobile phones that rarely leave the palm of our hand and we check multiple times every day.

On average people check their phones 150 times per day and spend 177 minutes using them (Source: Device Atlas)

Reasons why your employees may not have access to their emails:
– Working remotely/off-site
– Out on the road and no access to the internet
– Lunch break
– On the shop floor

You may even to get a message out to everyone in the morning, say if there has been a crash and to get to work safely they would need to take a different route. Sending an email about this would mean the majority won’t see it as they are unlikely to check their emails in the morning.

All this means that if you need to get an important message out to everyone, the quickest and most effective way is with a text message. With 90% of all text messages being read within 3 minutes, you know that using SMS instead of email your message will be read almost instantly.

 

Using SMS ensures you reach all employees at the same time, and in a much faster manner than relying on emails alone. At Text Marketer, we take our own advice on board and use SMS for internal communication, which has been received extremely well of course!

March Flash Sale! 10% extra free SMS credits

What a month February was, with records temperatures it almost felt like the summer. But as soon as March came around so did the rain, cold, and wind. Making March feel like a very long and miserable month.

So to turn all those frowns upside down, we have decided to give you some free SMS credits. That’s right, it’s back, Text Marketers Flash Sale is here.

Now is the perfect time to top up with some SMS credits ready to send a Mothers day campaign, a huge Easter campaign, or simply top up and get some free credits because you can.

Purchase 1,000 credits or more and we will add an extra 10% of free SMS credits to your account. Offer ends Sunday 31st March

By now you all know the drill, the more credits you buy, the more free SMS credits we give you.

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

The benefits of automating your text messages and when to automate them

Text messaging automation is not new, it has been around for years and successful companies have implemented SMS automations into the core of their business. Unfortunately, there are many businesses yet to see the true value of automated text messages and are still stuck in the old days manually sending text messages.

By automating your text messages, whether it is before, during, or after the customers buying experience, not only frees up your time but more importantly, provides your customers with great service and experience. It is this great experience that will make consumers think of you next time they look to buy.

Mobile marketing has changed from sending a bulk text message that will help you get a load of sales at once, to integrating SMS into businesses core marketing strategy to get a continuous flow of sales and keep customers happy.

But why should you even bother setting up SMS automations when manually sending your customers messages have worked so well for you in the past?

Benefits of automating text messages

The main reason to automate your messages is to provide a better experience to consumers. Marketing automations allow you to send behavioural triggered, personalised messages. For example, when a customer signs up to your SMS loyalty program, you can send them a personalised message welcoming them.

Customer experience is not the only driving force behind setting up automations, other areas of the business can see a huge benefit when automating text messages.

Save time and get better results – Sending your customers booking reminders or SMS Surveys, either one at a time or in bulk sends, are just two of the activities that you would no longer have to do if they were automated. These can also be easily optimised to achieve the best result by testing when the best time is to send these. For example, maybe sending a customer a survey 2 days after purchasing is the best way to get feedback, rather than sending the survey at the end of the month.

Structured plan and fewer mistakes – By automating text messages you will know exactly what goes out and when, meaning you can keep track of how many times you are communicating with your customers, what messages work well, and overall have a better marketing plan. Also because you won’t have to keep doing the same task, you can take your time and check the content of the message, ensure there are no mistakes that may have happened when doing the process manually.

Instant communication – Consumes no longer want to wait. Automations allows businesses to provide instant communication to customers, giving them a delivery time, the success of an application, information on a new product or service and more, all without the customer asking.

When to automate text messages

Whatever the reason behind sending customers a text message, we can almost guarantee that you can, and in most cases should, be automating them. Even sales messages can be automated, but even if you don’t want to automate your sales campaigns, there are a few areas that you really do need to automate.

Welcome message – As soon as your customers’ sign ups or registers with you, send them a welcome text message thanking them and providing them with some handy bits of information.

Purchase and delivery notifications – The most popular automation we see is of purchase and delivery notifications. As soon as a purchase has been made, the customer would receive a text message with details of their purchase on and a link they can click to update or change it. You can then keep them updated with various delivery messages, telling them the date and time of delivery and an easy solution if they need to change it.

Reminders – By automating reminders messages you know that your customers will get a reminder for their appointment, event, or booking, exactly when you want them to. This can be the day before, or whenever you find it best works.

Updates – Keep your customers up to date without them requesting it. Whether they are waiting on a support ticket, or a loan application you can send them weekly updates. Even a simple, “Your loan is still being processed” will mean the applicants won’t feel the need to keep ringing your call agents and tying them up every time.

Ask for a review – The best way to improve your business is to ask your customers what they like and dislike about you. Sending an automated SMS Survey a couple of days after they bought from you, or as soon as they have finished talking to one of your customer service team, can really help you gain quality feedback and understand what you are doing right and what areas you can improve on.

Instructions – Sending a text message with a link to information that guests can easily read is a great way for hotels to send check in and check out instructions. This can be set up, so guests receive the instructions the day before arriving, and then the day before departing.

Be different – And why not do something different? You can easily automate weekly or monthly tips, or maybe even offer customers a sale 3 months after their first purchase?

 

Automate your text message by simply linking into our SMS API, which you can find all the details about in our developer area.

The evolution of mobile marketing and how it has helped businesses provide better customer experience

Since the first text message was sent out in 1992 that said, “Merry Christmas”, text messaging and mobile marketing has continually grown to become an ever-integral part of business sales and marketing plans.

The two main reasons behind the sustained growth of SMS, and why 97% of businesses said it works in 2019, are;

1. Simplicity – There isn’t anything easier to do than sending your customers a text message.
2. Evolution – It has evolved and adapted to fit consumer needs throughout the years.

Sending a bulk text message to thousands of customers at once takes a matter of minutes, you are able to track the ROI of an SMS campaign, who and how many people clicked the URL link, and a whole host of other functions – it is just so easy. It is still just as easy to use as some 20 years ago but now gives the end user a better mobile experience.

Take a car for example, the first car had wheels and an engine to power it. Cars today still need those basics features but have been developed to enhance the drivers’ experience with air con and heated seats.

Mobile marketing is very similar, when it first began businesses could send a text message, which they can still do today, but mobile marketing has also evolved to include extra features that enhance the users’ experience.

Early mobile marketing years
In its early days, mobile marketing was very basic, it allowed businesses to send a simple 160-character text message to their customers. But soon 160 characters was not enough, with businesses wanting to send longer messages, which is exactly what happened. SMS quickly moved forward and allowed the sending of multiple part messages.

Mid-00s technology boom
Technology boomed at the beginning of the millennium with thousands of new ideas and inventions, some good, some not so good. On the good side were the advances in mobile marketing which over the past 15 years has seen a huge jump from simple SMS to what it can offer businesses today.

Email to SMS – Businesses were jumping on the idea of sending their customer text messages, but some weren’t so keen on logging into another platform to do so. This is where Email to SMS came in, allowing employees to message customers from their email accounts.

Keywords & Short Codes – Mobile marketing was no longer a one-way communication channel, with keywords and short codes allowing businesses to offer an easy solution for consumers to get in contact with them, capture more numbers, or run a text to win competition.

Virtual Mobile Number – On the back of keywords and short codes came virtual mobile numbers. Businesses could now have a two-way conversation with their customers, meaning a better way to communicate as mobile phones became more entangled with our lives.

Automated SMS – Businesses no longer wanted to manually send their customers a text message, they wanted everything to be automated and by using an SMS API, businesses could. Text messages could now be automated allowing businesses to send automated appointment reminders, purchase and delivery notifications, alerts, and much more.

SMS Surveys – For any business to grow they must constantly deliver great customer service and keep customers happy. They only way to know if customers are happy is by asking them. By this time mobile phones were an integral part of consumers day to day lives, never leaving our side, meaning using SMS to survey customers was the most efficient and effective way of collecting customer feedback.

SMS today and in the future
Technology continues to grow, meaning for mobile marketing to keep up and deliver great user experience, new features must be developed. This is where rich messages comes in, allowing a simple SMS to be turned into something that gives the end user a better experience.

SMS Web Pages – The first step to rich messaging was to give the user a better experience than a simple text message. SMS Web Pages gave this to businesses as they could now send a dedicated mobile landing page that included images, extra text, and a call to action button. This would then display a preview image of the page within the body of the text message, increasing engagement and clicks.

RCS – A step further in richer communication is RCS (Rich Communication Service). Instead of the user clicking a link to view the landing page, RCS delivers the content straight to the users’ handset allowing them to interact with the text message. RCS is currently being rolled out with a view in the next few years for it to be on all mobile phones. If you want to learn more about RCS have a look at how Esendex are leading the way in rich communication here.

 

Mobile marketing has truly grown from a simple 160-character text message to a richer communication channel. Over the next 20 years, SMS will continue to grow and adapt to provide better communication for both businesses and consumers.

SMS survey example questions

The easiest and most effective way to communicate with your customers is through SMS, it takes around 5 seconds for your message to be delivered and because smartphones are now capable of almost everything, our mobile phones never leave our side so using SMS to communicate with your customer base is the perfect medium.

Using SMS to build a relationship with your customers means when it comes to asking them about how happy they are with you, sending them an SMS survey won’t come as a surprise.

SMS surveys provide businesses with an easy to use solution for obtaining feedback from customers and helping businesses to improve on what they do. Because SMS surveys are being sent through SMS, it provides the most efficient and convenient way to attain information from customers.

Consumers don’t want to spend time filling in long questionnaires, so ensuring you ask the right questions that both make it easy for them to answer, whilst giving you enough information to analyse and improve your business on, can be hard. Questions that are too long mean your customers won’t bother to answer them, too short and simple, and you won’t get the right data.

Asking the right questions is hard, which is why we have come up with some example survey questions below. All questions are under 160 characters therefore only costing you 1 credit to send.

Open-ended questions

Using open-ended questions in your survey are a great way to delve deep into what your customers really think. They are great as you can ask the question of ‘why’ giving the user freedom to give an in-depth and honest answer.

“What do you like the most about the service we offer?”

“Why did you attend our latest event?”

“If you could change anything about what we do, what would that be?”

“Why did you choose us over someone else?”

“Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?”

Pros: Respondents can define central issues
Cons: Difficult to analyse results, can be time-consuming for respondents

Yes or no questions

Yes or no questions are far easier for the recipient to answer and can give you data to analyse. If all you want to know is if they would buy from you again, recommend you to a friend, or merely ask if they are happy with you, then asking your customers to reply with a yes or no is perfect.

“Were we able to fix the issue you raised in a timely manner? Yes/No”

“Reply Yes or No – Did you find the purchasing process quick and easy?”

“Are you planning on using our service again for future events? Reply with yes or no.”

“Did you find out all the information you needed? Please reply Yes or No”

“Would you come back and stay another night? Reply Yes or No”

Pros: Quick and easy, can analyse results, does not allow for ambiguous answers
Cons: Unable to determine how strong each answer is (could be a strong yes or strong no)

Multiple choice questions

If you require more information than what a yes or no question can give you, providing recipients with a couple of answers that they can chose and reply with is just as easy. Multiple choice questions give the respondent more freedom whilst allowing you to easily analyse the answers.

“Which of the following options best describe us? Reply with all that apply (Corporate, Professional, Informal, Fun, Reliable, Unreliable, Low cost, Expensive)”

“How often would you see yourself using our software? Never, Sometimes, Often, All the time”

“How much do you agree with this statement – You feel like a valued customer? Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree”

“What time of the day do you mainly use our website? Select from; Morning, Afternoon, Evening.”

“What other services are you interested in? Reply with; IT Management, Cloud Solutions, Computer Hire, Cyber Security, Interesting in all, Not interested in any”

Pros: Easy to answer, allows you to easily compile and analyse results
Cons: May not give the respondent the answer they want

Rating scale questions

Rating scales are great for both the respondent and the surveyor. It gives the respondent a wide range of choices to pick from and business are easily able to analyse the results. You will need to make sure you explain the scale in the question, leaving it to the user to guess would render the question meaningless with different perceptions of what number is good and bad.

“On a scale of 1-5 how clean was your room on arrival, 1 = Very dirty 5 = Very clean”

“From 0–10 how likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague? (0 = Not at all likely, 10 = Extremely likely)”

On a scale of 0 (Poor) to 10 (Excellent), how would you rate our products you’ve used?

“Using the scale 1 (Extremely slow) to 10 (Extremely fast) how would you rate the speed in which your support case was fixed?”

On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied are you with your order? (1 – Totally Dissatisfied, 5 – Totally Satisfied)

Pros: Easy to analyse data and compare answers
Cons: Can be hard to gauge the meaning of an answer (one person putting 7 may mean they loved the product, but someone else’s 7 could mean they were indifferent)

 

When creating your own survey, it is best to include open and closed questions. This gives you a good variety of areas you can cover and allows your customers to give you feedback that you can really analyse and use to improve your services with.

We hope these example survey questions helped you and remember to always include a closing message to thank your customers, they have spent time filling out your survey and the least you could do is thank them for it.

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.