by Dan Slavin
The value of a strong brand is how it inverts the traditional sales model. In the traditional form, a company employs a sales staff to actively search for customers and persuade prospects to buy their product.
A strong brand switches that relationship.
A name like “Apple”, “Coca-Cola”, or “Toyota” is so strong it makes customers seek the company out with the expressed purpose of buying their products. In this fashion, the sales staff working for a strong brand are converted from order makers to order takers.
How does one do this? In one word – “repetition.”
There is a big step between recognition (when a person remembers something from a previous encounter) to recall (when a person remembers something independently without a prompt) — and it is bridged with repetition of a message.
While the “HeadOn – apply directly to the forehead ads” were annoying, people remember this questionable product and its commercial to this day.
Is it possible to do something similar using SMS marketing? Yes, through four simple steps:
Determine an official program name and use it consistently
This step is the cornerstone in any brand-building marketing exercise. There should be one program name repeated and cross promoted across all marketing channels. This includes web, email, social media, print, radio, television, and SMS.
Only by following this market saturation tactic can marketers hope to break through the noise with their message. The intent is for your SMS subscribers to see the same message referenced in multiple channels. GAP and Dress Barn are good examples, taking advantage of popular social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. While many retailers will not disclose how large their SMS lists have grown, it is not uncommon for large retailers to exceed one million opted-in SMS subscribers.
Promote the SMS program on your social media channels
Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest, and ideally all of the above, a customer who receives communication from your company through multiple channels is your most engaged customer with high recognition and high recall for your products. For this reason, marketers should post regularly promoting the company’s SMS program and the benefits of subscribing.
Rewards can go a long way in boosting subscriber numbers—consider offering a discount when they sign up. Further, set up your SMS marketing program to make it function as an “insider’s club” that receives exclusive offers and promotions, but make sure non-subscribers know about these benefits of joining.
Marketers can also increase their SMS subscribers through the use of their in-house email marketing list. In this way, a large percentage of your email subscribers can be gradually added to your SMS list, which is a medium proven to have higher conversion rates.
Establish a Regular Cadence
The goal in establishing a regular cadence for SMS messages is for the brand to become part of the customers’ daily routine. That said, you don’t want to rely too habitually on sending messages the same day every week. The key is to establish regular, recurring offers that customers learn to anticipate. While setting up a set pattern is logistically easier to do, having too much regularity may be seen as annoying, as when the same offer is being pushed each week. It’s smart to break up your SMS campaign in unexpected ways. No more than four times per month and a minimum of twice per month is our rule of thumb, while throwing in an extra few during high traffic times like the holidays.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Customers will take as much time as you allow them. For this reason, mobile coupons and deals are highly effective if they are valid for a short time. Short-term offers have been proven to drive customers into stores quickly. Reminder messages that inform customers the promotion is about to end are also very effective. The goal is to inspire immediate action.
Following these four rules of SMS marketing will help you leverage text message marketing to transition your company’s brand from ordinary to extraordinary. Create a strong enough brand and you won’t have to seek customers out any more, they will seek out you.