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Making SMS Marketing work for merchants and consumers

There are lots of reasons to engage in SMS marketing. but there are many more ways to get it wrong. We have primarily restricted our consumer  touch points to email and social media until now.  We have been reluctant to open up to text message marketing, even while spending time on mobile wallet integration, a market that is “not here yet”.  We  will now be allowing our merchants to enroll consumers with a phone number at the point-of-sale and engage them with automated text marketing messages, triggered by purchasing behavior of customers.  So why the change of heart?

The reasons we have been initially reluctant to engage in SMS marketing stemmed mainly from our worries about getting customer permissions wrong and annoying consumers through such an intrusive media, and the expense of text messaging itself to both sender and recipient. Who wants to get a badly targeted and timed text message from a local shoe store?

When we started talking in some depth to many many business owners as to why they wanted SMS marketing, we realized (a) we could intelligently automated and get SMS right for both merchant and consumer, and (b) the cost structure of SMS messages has changed considerably in recent years, it becoming almost free to consumers on smartphone plans. Our partner First Data, whose merchant customers will be the initial target market for the upcoming SMS product, has an excellent article on SMS Mobile Marketing – A Growing Trend Among Merchants. Below are the top 10 reasons highlighted in the article to implement Text Message Marketing.

Top Ten Reasons to Implement Text Message Marketing

10. Interactivity. SMS allows for two-way communication, giving customers the ability to immediately respond to offers.

9.    Build Loyalty. If your SMS interaction offers value to customers, they may gladly grant permission to send targeted promotional messages.

8.    Low Cost. While merchants are charged for each message sent, the fees typically translate to a much lower total cost than other marketing channels – making SMS a reliable and cost-effective consumer engagement solution.

6.    SMS Messaging Can Increase User Engagement. Delivering SMS marketing messages or targeted offers can assists in developing deeper user engagement. It can also foster adoption of other relevant SMS messaging.

7.    Easy to Implement. Merchants can easily convert an existing text messaging platform into a marketing channel. Ask users to opt-in for marketing communications when they sign up.

5.    Texters Mean Higher Profits. The average SMS user is also more profitable, transacts more frequently, and has a higher purchase basket size—generating greater income for merchants.

4.    Immediacy. Text messaging has an average send-to-open time of 14 minutes, compared with 6.4 hours for email.

3.    Reaching the Masses. SMS marketing provides a solution that is ubiquitous across nearly all mobile handsets.

2.    Reaching the Young. Younger consumers represent the future and are essential to growth.  About 95 percent of adults 18 to 29 years old use text messaging.

And @ #1.    High Response Rates. Approximately 95 percent of incoming texts are read, compared to just 11 percent of e-mails. Those receiving text offers had an average redemption rate of 20 percent, while for email, it was just 2 percent.