Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

In the Palm of their Hand December 11, 2010

Filed under: Ideas,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 4:07 pm
Tags: , , ,

Targeted contact with your most likely buyers is time well spent. Your most likely buyers are people who have said “hey, keep me informed.” Folks are doing that by liking your Facebook Page, opting onto your email list, and regularly reading your blog. The next layer of this is using mobile phones to reach those consumers. Opt-in text messaging accomplishes that.

The Red Cross uses opt-in texting to collect donations. It’s the “text Donate to 12345” that you heard after Haiti’s earthquake. People used their mobile phones to text in the donation. Up until now, everything I’d researched had the start-up price-point of services like this at around $10k. That’s not doable for my customers.

Last week I started working with a company who makes available an affordable opt-in text messaging service for small businesses. So I was intrigued to find out more and pass it on to you. The company is Tingme, owned by John Martinenza. Tingme lets you send messages to consumers phones.

Here are stats on text messaging:

* SMS or text messaging allows users to send and receive up to 160 character messages from and to mobile phones.
* 94% of text messages are opened in 9 minutes or less with a 15% average response rate.
* On average, a traditional email is read within 72-hours.
* 82% of people aged 18-49 use texting.
* 33% of people change their email address annually: only 5% change their cell phone number each year.

Source: The Wireless Telecom lndustty (CT/A)

Here’s how does opt-in text messaging works:

1. You give people a keyword to text in to a specific number (example: text “savvy” to 12345)
2. When they text to that number, they have added themselves to your texting list. Your texting list is similar to your mailing list.
3. You then send a single text message and it reaches everyone on your text list.
4. When your next shipment of Michael Stars Ts arrives, you send out a text letting your list know you’ve received inventory.
5. Everyone on your list gets the message on their mobile phone. “New batch of Michael Stars Ts just dropped off by Stan the UPS man.”

Text messaging works best for businesses with these characteristics:

* High demand items – customers want to know about so they can get them while you have stock. Think Webkinz when they were the bomb.
* Limited time offerings – like lunch specials or 2 for 1 gift certificate offers.
* Sense of urgency for the consumer (not you) to act.
o “Movie tickets to the new Harry Potter are now avail on the website.”
o “Interest rates just dropped again to x.y%”
o “Another home just listed in Pike Creek neighborhood (attach link to listing)”
o “Mani apt w/ Jenn just opened up at 3pm today”

Text messaging is not right for everyone, but it may be right for a portion of your business. It puts your message in the palm of their hand. There are clearly a group of consumers who respond to texts much more readily than emails or print ads. Find those folks and give them a way to opt-in.

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