Text Messaging Featured Article

Three Ways Not to Utilize Text Messaging for Mobile Marketing

January 18, 2012

Mobile marketing has definitely been a buzz term for the last couple years and with text messaging expected to grow beyond half a trillion in 2012, it's certainly not slowing down.

According to a Pew (News - Alert) study, a median of 75 percent of cell phone owners surveyed say they use their phones to text.

While text messaging offers “a huge opportunity” for marketers, they have yet to figure out a value proposition that doesn’t turn off cell phone users, and unfortunately, if you are following along with the mainstream of how others are using text messaging in marketing then you're missing the boat with the greatest ARPU (average revenue per user), because you're doing it wrong.

I'm going to list some ways text messaging is typically used wrong, let's see if you are using one of them.

1. SMS SPAM.  Is this you: 'Get $1500 in a hour! Quick online application. Go to xxxxxxxxxxx.com for more info. Rebate Code: 493xX3 Reply STOP to end?” Ok, that may be an extreme or it may not but that IS SPAM. If you fail to believe that is spam, go up to your friends, relatives and co-workers and ask them if they would mind you starting every conversation with that. Better yet, the next new client or prospective buyer you encounter, use that as your opening instead of 'Hello’ or just stop a random person and ask them....they will tell you too, IT'S SPAM! No one that signed up for anything and willingly gave their mobile number as well as stated that it was OK for you or affiliates to contact them agreed to that. If this is you, or what you were thinking of doing then you are doing it wrong. There is no positive spin on that, just stop.

2. Mobile Advertising.  This area has so many wrong examples; let's choose one inspired by Scott Stratten - Real estate. Home buying is a stressful exercise for the majority of people and there are so many questions that go unanswered as well as questions a lot of people do not think of. Realtors, if you are using social platforms (including text messaging) only for the purpose of having another avenue to post your listings then you are truly doing it wrong. Instead, why not take the opportunity to post useful information and answers to situations and questions you run across with new prospects. Offer to host a Q&A session on Twitter (News - Alert) or invite prospects to text you with any questions and ask them if they would be interested in you texting them any new listings that come along. This opens them up to you connecting with them, instead of you invading their space.

3. Automation. Automatic responses and automatic postings = automatic ignorance, and if this is you then you are doing it wrong. People want to know there is a warm body on the other end. People want personalized responses, and trust me they know the difference. When you think of automating any social platform, then you miss out on every opportunity that the machines do not understand or interpret. Set time during the day to dedicate to engaging with those who are reaching out to you and reach back. This will lead to conversations bringing a community feel to those you interact with instead of them feeling as if they are attending a lecture.

Many companies are studying ways to effectively use text messaging for marketing. But barring specific case studies, experiments or “serendipitous activities,” the practice has failed so far to gain widespread acceptance, I can only agree to this when it is done wrong.

I'll go out on a limb and say, if you take the opportunity to embrace text messaging as a marketing conversation instead of media push then you will be sure to see an increase in activity and gain the momentum others are losing when they do it wrong.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

David Vaughan is an industry veteran of telecom, now Director of Projects at TSG Global, Inc. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca
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