This post was originally written by Omer Navaid, Online Marketing Specialist at Apartments.com
If you’re in the marketing industry in any capacity, over the past few years you’ve probably heard something along the lines of mobile is the future. Now that it’s 2013, that really should be changed to mobile is the present.
According to research conducted by the Gartner Group, by 2013, mobile phones are expected to be the #1 web access device. That’s quite a staggering thought, given that the web is still a relatively new medium. But if you’re a smartphone owner, it can’t be that surprising, right? For many of us, checking our email or browsing the web through our phones is the first thing we do when we get up in the morning, and the last thing we do before we go to bed. And of course there are the countless times we look at our phones throughout the day. Sitting on a train? Check your phone. Standing in an elevator? Check your phone. Pause in a conversation? Check your phone. Smartphone use has become so ubiquitous that, for better or for worse, it has become a crucial component of our lives – almost like an appendage. It’s gotten to the point where many of us feel lost or panicked without our phones.
As a marketer, you’re probably now thinking, Ok, great. Now how do I reach these mobile users in an effective and cost-efficient manner? Enter mobile SMS – that’s right, text messages. What? People actually let companies send them texts? They do. According to an ExactTarget study, 22% of consumers say they’ve given a company permission to contact them through text messages. And there are solutions out there like ExactTarget’s Mobile Connect product, which we use here at Apartments.com, that allow you to build a mobile SMS program with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Now, I want to stress that the absolute last thing you want to do is text people without their permission. That’s a sure-fire method of making folks angry and losing potential customers. Therefore, you must ensure that you provide a clear and well-defined method for people to both opt in and opt out of your mobile messaging program. Once you have mobile messaging up and running, the results may shock you. How does a 97% open rate sound? If you’re an email marketer, that kind of figure is unheard of, but it’s very much commonplace in mobile SMS.
If people are subscribing to your mobile SMS program and are actually giving you permission to text them, it’s a pretty safe assumption that they trust your brand and are willing to have a relatively intimate relationship with it. So you must not disappoint. Just as you need to provide compelling reasons for someone to opt in, you also need to provide compelling reasons for them to stay opted in. Discounts or coupons are always a popular and effective way to reward your subscribers. If that’s not possible, then you should at least be sending them content that’s timely, relevant, and engaging. If you can do this successfully, you’ll be able to interact with your customers literally wherever they are.
Have you tried mobile SMS messaging? Share your thoughts in the comments below!