Despite all the excitements surrounding social media, apps, and blogs, there’s still a solid place for good old SMS text messages in your marketing strategy. It’s 98% open rate, straightforward format, and high conversion rates are just some of the reasons why SMS Marketing should be a standard for businesses . On the other hand, SMS messaging done wrong could easily turn off potential customers. To ensure that your SMS campaign continues to bring positive growth to your business, keep the following guidelines in mind and revise your strategies accordingly.
Be short and simple
Most carriers limit the length of a text to 160 characters. This means you must be straightforward and concise. A good message gets right to the point and offers easy instructions on what to do. Don’t annoy your customers with extended and trivial messages. For example, “20% off Valentine’s day special. CLICK HERE. Expires 2/15.” would be an excellent message to communicate all essential information to the subscriber. It’s efficient, easy to follow, and discloses any important limitation.
Be mindful of appearance
A lot of decisions are based on first impressions. As such, the appearance of your text is important. Make sure it’s pleasant and easy to read. URLs with tracking extensions are not pretty. You can solve this by using URL shorteners like Google’s Goo.gl or Bit.ly. These will shorten your URL and clean your overall layout. Simplifying your links not only make them look better, but also save space for more substantial words.
Segment your customers
Your messages are only as good as the sales they generate. Therefore, make sure you’re effectively targeting your customers. Use data from your marketing automation software and CRM to segment prospects into the appropriate contact lists based on their past interactions, purchases, interests and preferences. Personalize the experience so what you’re sending is relevant and interesting to the receiver.
Timing is key
We know that SMS messages have high open rates, and 70% of opens happen in the first 60 minutes . Therefore, you want your customers to read your message at the most opportune time. For example, when someone makes an order, send him or her a SMS message about a complementary product to sustain interest. If you’re an eatery, send location based SMS messages around lunch or dinner time with special offers.
Additionally, take advantage of triggered messages to increase sales and consumer insights. These messages are triggered due to certain consumer activity (such as a purchase) or inactivity. For instance, if you haven’t seen a customer in a while, a trigger message can remind him of your products and services, or ask him about his experiences to discover the cause for his inactivity.
It’s a privilege to be able to send an SMS to a customer. But you will lose this privilege if you bother them with frequent and pointless messages. The success of your SMS campaign rides on your ability to balance between its content, timing, and frequency. Good messages should be personal, informative, and valuable to the consumer. You want your messages to be anticipated and missed.
We’d love to help you polish your SMS campaign! Please leave us a message or a comment.
Mobile marketing is a powerful tool to help businesses unlock opportunities. It allows businesses to engage and communicate with larger audiences in a way that is real-time and personal. If you’re new to the digital marketing world, you may be feeling some pressure from competitors to stay on top of the game. Fortunately, we have just what you need to get started. Below are 6 tips to help you hop on the mobile marketing wagon!
1. Use a simple template that works for all devices.
This is the bare minimum. Customers should be able to navigate through your contents and communicate their inquiries with ease. Incorporate the appropriate multi platform sizing so your contents are displayed as intended for the platform on which it’s being viewed. Don’t lose out on potential leads and conversion opportunities due to lack of functionality.
2. Utilize location based strategy such as geo-targeted ads.
There are more consumers on-the-go looking for local businesses. You want to capture them while they’re at the ready-to-purchase point.
3. Include information about your location in all mobile marketing.
On-the-go mobile users usually search with a local intent. In other words, local and mobile are strong catalysts for each other. Consistency is the key here. Location information such as address, neighborhood, area code, maps, or anything else that communicates your location needs to be consistently displayed across ALL mobile marketing channels.
4. Incorporate focused campaigns.
With so many competitors out there, sometimes the customer needs a little push, such as with mobile coupons or limited time offers when a search result pulls up. This helps to motivate purchase when the customer is deciding where or whether to buy.
5. Don’t miss out on calls to actions.
Typically, mobile on-the-go consumers are action-oriented. You want to equip them with the necessary tools to follow through with their purchasing decisions on-the-spot. Implement action functions such as click-to-call, online reservations, request for more info, or purchase. Make sure these buttons are easily accessible.
6. Don’t forget to include Millennials and Gen X consumers.
With aging boomers, you want to target younger consumers to build long-term brand awareness and customer relationships. More importantly, mobile marketing will reach younger consumers much more often than older consumers. Keep this in mind even if your products and services are intended for older audiences. It’s only a matter of time.
This simple list of items will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of your mobile marketing strategy. Just remember to regularly monitor your marketing results and change your approach accordingly.
If you are ready to create your mobile marketing plan, please leave us a message and let ERC elevate your marketing game!
As we enter the fourth quarter, it’s time for convenience stores to think about their 2018 marketing plan. With near 155,000 convenience stores in the U.S., competition is certainly fierce. To make the matter worse, large retailers and grocery stores—Walmart, Starbucks and Hy-Vee, to name a few—are also trying to take a bite off the pie by expanding their grab n go, hot foods, delivery, and drive-thru services. Their goal? To capitalize on the convenience factor. It is no secret that the strength of C-Stores lies in its convenient location, extended hours of operation, large variety of merchandises and speedy services. However, as large retailers close the gap on those fronts—exemplified by the launch of the revolutionary Amazon Go—how can C-stores differentiate themselves and retain customer loyalty?
Below is a list of actionable items to help C-stores show the value of innovation and all that a C-store has to offer.
In this day and age, going mobile is no longer an option. It’s a must. Whether through SMS messaging or mobile apps, C-store competitors are delivering products and services to the customers with a touch of a button. C-stores need to make it easy for their customers to reach them and connect with them. More importantly, they want to be there with an offer while customers are browsing. Mobile marketing communicates the business's messages to its audiences in a way that is real time and personal, so the business can effectively capture customer attention and bring them through the door.
Focus on Foodservice
A weakness of the C-store is that it is largely restricted by its location’s population density and traffic flow. To combat that, its needs to break through the location barrier and make the store a destination, and its should to do it through food. Why? Because the average gross margin on merchandise is only 27%, while the average gross margin on foodservice is 43.7%. Yet, foodservice sales only encompass 15% of total in-store revenue. Check out this article on the profitability of food service. But don’t start loading up on the Twinkies. The key is to embrace a better balance between health and indulgence to help meet the evolving demand for nutritional products without alienating core consumers.
Amplify the Convenience Factor
This includes creative payment functions that maximize convenience. For example, apps such as Pilot Flying J and Speedpass+ allow drivers to choose a fuel lane based on wait time estimates, and make payments through the app or touchless solutions such as MasterCard. C-stores should also explore delivery service options through yelp or their local delivery services--which brings me to my final point:
Look Smaller to Grow Bigger
In other words, localize. Leverage the ability of smaller, independent shops to remain flexible and cater to the needs of the local customers, whether it’s later hours or special accommodations, products or deals. Build the store's community presence through participation in community events or involvement with notable nonprofits in its area. Take advantage of location based social platforms like Yelp to increase its word of mouth effect. Lastly, use social media to differentiate the store from its competitors. Add an original twist or personality to its profile. People will always be responsive to enthusiasm, sincerity and passion.
What are your thoughts on differentiating your business from competitors? Share in the comments below or send us a message to plan your next steps with ERC!
If you’re in marketing, you’ve already bypassed pumpkin spice lattes and are thinking about Christmas carols and decor. Holiday creep isn’t anything new, it’s here and it’s real, especially in the advertising world.
According to the National Retail Federation, retailers can stand to make up to 30% of their yearly sales just in the holiday shopping season. [i] With customers starting their seasonal research early, it pays to be ready and armed with a plan.
Here are some tips to get you going:
Tip #1 Retailers should have websites and resources ready by no later than October.
Why? Customers start researching holiday gifts as early as September.
Tip #2 Make sharing of information easy with in-store apps or email marketing.
Why? 44% of customers get ideas from family and friends.
Tip #3 Create a sales recommendation list.
Why? 54% of shoppers utilize recommendations from retailers.
Tip #4 Send limited time offers via email, SMS, or direct mail campaign.
Why? 48% of shoppers still make impulse purchases for themselves and others. [ii]
Happy holiday marketing!
[i] To Maximize Holiday Sales Start Planning Your Marketing Early, Entrepreneur Magazine Online, August 1st, 2017 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248165
[ii] National Retail Federation Holiday Planning Playbook July 2017, https://nrf.com/system/tdf/Documents/retail%20library/NRF%202017%20Holiday%20Planning%20Playbook.pdf?file=1&title=2017%20Retail%20Holiday%20Planning%20Playbook
5 Reasons Your Business Needs an App
1. Keeping up with the times
Successful businesses are no strangers to the benefits of mobile apps. According to data collected by Biznessapps, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by the end of 2017. Apps provide an innovative mobile experience for customers that can be as unique as your business.
2. Solidify your brand
When a business creates an app, they are investing in their brand by improving recognition. Even when users aren’t directly interacting with your app, they see the icon on their mobile device. This serves as a visual reminder of your company which can lead to more sales. Competitors are aware of this and the trend of mobile apps is still on the rise.
An app is open 24/7 which means customers can access your goods and services at any time. By learning more about users and their preferences through app activity, you can also better target your audience. Increasing efficiency and catering to consumer needs will make your customers happier!
4. Provide value to your customers
Apps are often designed with incentives for loyal customers. Discount codes or reward points are only one example of how a business can retain their customer base through an app. Making it easy to connect with your brand will also provide value.
Apps are created to make a customer’s life easier, make the customer happy, entertained or are usually a tool. All of these things add value to the customers life. In return, through incentives and small surveys/questionnaires on an app businesses can receive feedback on their service as well as help them better understand and target their future audience.
5. Engage with your customers
Mobile apps receive a higher level of engagement than regular websites. This is a perfect platform to promote products or services, highlight special deals, offer discounts etc. Push notifications and social media channels through your app also provide additional ways to interact with customers.
Whether you love it or hate it, these tips will make writing content easier and more effective.
1. As much as you don't want to, create outlines.
Creating outlines can be daunting, but they’re worth the time spent. Focus on these few questions when brainstorming about your future blog article.
2. Set deadlines and stick to them.
It's easy to lose track of time when writing. In your next session, record how long it actually takes you to complete a post. This will allow you to budget time effectively in the future and work on becoming more efficient. After you have a schedule, shave off a few minutes on each task to challenge yourself.
3. Write about what you know.
Deeply familiarize yourself with a topic to establish credibility with your audience and to provide valuable content. Readers aren't going to waste time on a post if it seems vague, confusing, or inaccurate. Explore online forums to see what topics your direct audience is curious about to create content that is filling a void.
4. Use action words.
Motivate readers to action by making it easy for them to follow through on suggestions. Avoid salesy language and always be clear and concise. Adding visual content to demonstrate actions can also increase chances of users heeding your advice.
5. Include data and statistics.
It's all about the numbers. Adding stats can help build credibility by supporting your writing with clear-cut facts. They also make great headlines. Grab a user’s attention with some eye-popping stats to increase chances of your post being read.
Now, set the timer and begin writing effectively!
Utilize SEO to Increase Blog Post Rankings
Applying these 5 effective tips to the back end of your website and written content will get your site noticed and increase search rankings.
First and foremost, be sure to write captivating headlines to attract readers attention. Next, format headlines for search engines using the <h1> header tag. This will improve your ranking over other headlines that only do one or the other.
2. Title Tags
Title tags are by far the most important element for SEO because they identify your topic and theme to the audience through HTML. Title tags are displayed in the search bar of your web browser and help users find your website through post relevancy. Make sure your title tags are not more than 55 characters or they will get cut off in search engine algorithms.
3. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are a snapshot of text to entice users to click on your web link. Meta descriptions are shown in search results as a 160 character page summary of the webpage. Descriptions are just as important as titles; they both attract users and encourage them to click to action. Imagine this as an organic ad text for your business viewed by users.
Users need a way to find your posts, and the best way to help them do so is to create keyword enriched content. Keywords are words used to describe your business or products in a search engine. Including these words and phrases in your content can easily connect you with your audience. Do not mistake this for keyword stuffing, which is when titles, descriptions and page listings are filled with an excess amount of keywords to trick search algorithms. This dangerous practice will ultimately ruin your ranking because search algorithms will identify your page as spam.
Link new and old content posts to one another, along with product pages too! This will be helpful to users who are browsing for relevant content and encourage users to trust your business as a source.
The stats say it all... Having a mobile app can only benefit your business. Watch your brand grow once creating an app, we can help you do so!
Differentiate Your Business by Marketing to Women With These Tips
Even though the majority of household financial decisions are made by women, marketing campaigns tend to target men. By focusing advertising efforts on women, brands have an opportunity to create connections with an underutilized market.
According to a Forbes article, companies need to focus on ways to appeal to both genders, not just males. Women look for deeper connections, such as exceptional customer service and excellent quality of products. This means businesses need to highlight these strengths in their messaging. Customer service especially, remains a key element of sales.
Forbes states that storytelling is the most critical component for the success of nearly every brand. This method gives marketers the opportunity to differentiate themselves over competitors and create an emotional connection with buyers. This is especially important to e-commerce since most consumers do their shopping research and purchasing online.
By focusing marketing efforts on these key elements, brands can increase their appeal to women. This vital demographic could be key to increasing brand loyalty and sales.
Qinghua Lao & ERC team