SMS promotions are so much more than bulk messaging. They’re a mobile marketing tool that can jump start your outreach efforts simply and affordably, whether you represent a church, pizza shop, tech startup or well-known brand. In this post, we’ll look at how you can use these promotions to get an edge on your competition.
As the pastor of a church, you might not think of neighboring institutions as “competitors,” but you are vying for the attention of potential parishioners. That means you’ll need to be creative in your outreach efforts, using some of the same tactics that commercial interests use to attract followers and loyal customers.
If you’re the owner of a pizza shop in a college area, you’re probably one of several. You’re facing a fickle audience with ever-changing tastes. They’re also short on time, frequently low on cash, and often unwilling to leave their couches. How do you stand out?
Your small, private preschool is finally growing. Although you’ve had a steady stream of enrollments from the neighborhood, you’d like to reach parents in the new condo development nearby, while keeping returning parents engaged with school activities.
For all of these organizations, SMS promotions are a simple, affordable solution answer. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Mobile Marketing for a Local Church
Model City Church is a congregation based just outside a large urban area. Model City is a small, family-oriented suburb with several churches within a few miles of each other. Model City Church has just launched a series of publications under the umbrella of its teaching ministry, which includes podcasts and online videos. Model City Church can use SMS promotions to:
- Distribute links to excerpts from upcoming publications and allow parishioners to download online. Those who engage receive a text confirmation and downloadable PDF instantly.
- Welcome new members with a link to a podcast detailing classes, publications, and resources available online. Members can also respond with their prayer requests or questions about services and other resources available through the church.
- Organize an onsite meetup after church, in which new members can meet up with relevant bible studies or support groups after church services. Participants can receive personalized messages welcoming them to the church, and telling them where to meet group leaders.
These are just a few of the ways churches can use text messaging to promote church engagement. Read more here.
Mobile Marketing for a Local Pizzeria
Hometown Eats, the local pizza shop, is facing stiff competition from a new mall that just opened in the center of town. Offering a variety of new restaurants (with multiple sales promotions for students) and a large chain department store, many long-time customers have disappeared. Hometown Eats can use mobile marketing to:
- Send SMS promotions to long-time customers offering discounts for bringing in fellow members of their fraternities, sororities, or student groups.
- Provide instant mobile coupons to students who are dining in the restaurant and wearing university spirit gear.
- Allow students to create an “order chain,” sending alerts to members of a dorm text messaging group that they plan to order pizza. Students who participate receive mobile coupons.
Local pizza shops have many opportunities to use mobile coupons to drive sales and attract new customers instantly. Read more here.
Mobile Marketing for a Private Preschool
The preschool seems to be running out of little ones to enroll. As the population of your community ages, young parents with children under 5 are becoming a rare sight. A new condo development has brought scores of new families to the area, but few are aware of the school. How do you reach parents who’ve never heard of your school and earn their trust?
- Use your blog to promote helpful information for new residents in the area. Identify your blog as an easy-to-remember source of up-to-date, useful “wayfinding” information. Distribute flyers at local businesses promoting your new blog along with open activities for families.
- Encourage parents to sign up to receive SMS alerts. Offer them the option to ask questions about the area and its resources at set times during the day.
- Promote “open days” at your preschool for parents of young children that offer networking and “mommy and me” type activities free of charge.
There are numerous ways that schools of every size can use SMS promotions to revitalize their attendance.
Learn from Your Competitors
What is commanding your audience’s attention? Even if you’re the only church or bakery in your local area, you’ll still have to fight for your members’ and customers’ interests amidst the endless appeals of digital media and e-commerce.
Some of America’s most competitive companies have taken advantage of generation-defining influences in pop culture to make a powerful impact on their customer base. Here are a few things to keep in mind when building a winning mobile marketing strategy.
- Visuals are crucial to grabbing attention.
MMS marketing (picture messaging) can help you stand out from the noise of social media and digital entertainment platforms. Emulate the most popular social platforms (think Instagram stories) and use visuals to underscore (but not distract from) the heart of your marketing message.
- Speak in the language of authenticity.
Audiences don’t want to hear a traditional sales pitch. Use SMS to briefly define your message with a clear call to action that offers an immediate benefit to the respondent.
- Connect with your audience’s core needs.
Every customer wants to feel as if the business or organization that they patronize knows them well. Present your members or customers with offers that match their needs. For example, a new parent might not be interested in your evening bible study classes unless you make it clear that there is infant care available. Customize your message to put their needs first (“child-friendly bible study!”).
- Make it easy to contact you.
The most successful companies make themselves available on every platform—from social media to email and live chat—so that their consumers can reach out with questions, comments or help to order. Granted, many of those responses are automated replies (or sent via “bot” driven live chat), but consumers feel valued when they get a quick response. Use two-way SMS messaging to let your consumers feel like you’re listening.
- Make your message unmissable and easy to understand.
If you shop on Amazon, you’ll know that despite the fact that they seem to sell absolutely everything, there’s no confusion on the landing page: if you want to shop or watch a movie, you’ll be on the right page in seconds. Your SMS promotions should do the same: send links to the specific page that your consumers will be interested in, not just your homepage. If they have to hunt for information, they might just give up and leave in frustration.
- Take advantage of the social impulse.
Every consumer exists within a circle of friends, influencers, and colleagues. Take advantage of their connections and send them mobile coupons that are easy to share. Provide links to your web or social presence to showcase your business. As interest grows, so will the audience willing to receive mobile coupons from your organization.
- Think like a “big box” retailer.
The biggest brand names seem to always have a holiday or seasonal sale or promotional offer. Long before holidays arrive, large retailers are preparing their customers to think about their wish lists. Start promoting your holiday events or offers well in advance. Encourage two-way conversations with your consumers on their “wish lists” for upcoming events. Retailers and restaurants can send out mobile coupons early, sending reminders to customers that discount days are a few weeks away, along with links to other offers that they can access right now.
- Court local influencers.
While many brands employ Twitter and YouTube stars to promote their products, small businesses owners don’t have the six-figure salaries that these internet celebrities demand. You do have access to local influencers—socially active students (such as club presidents or athletes) or owners of local businesses (think a t-shirt shop near your pizza shop). Give them access to mobile coupons, or provide them with event tickets that they can share to promote their businesses (or profiles) along with yours.
- Give away online goodies for free.
Facebook grew exponentially because it offered a valuable online service in exchange for personal data, rather than money. While you’re probably already using mobile coupons, you can also provide links to relevant digital content (“cook this great Italian recipe at home”) or information (“how to get your toddler to sleep through the night”) via SMS. You can encourage users to forward this text to friends as a way to get them to sign up for more great content, and you’ll build a following that keeps coming back.
- Indulge your consumer’s silly side.
If you’ve ever shaken your head in wonder at the sheer number of websites dedicated to pictures of cute cats and other furry creatures, you know that millions of Americans stop in the middle of a workday for a good laugh. Regardless of your business, you should remember that your audience, just like the rest of America, is probably receptive to a timely, relevant piece of content that brightens their day. Whether they’re harried office workers signing on to receive a clever cartoon image in the middle of the workday or a young mother looking for a funny video as a break while her newborn naps, your consumers will respond to digital “gifts” that are entertaining, and not just instructive.
SlickText has helped more than 40,000 businesses like yours engage existing customers while attracting new ones. We offer mobile couponing, two-way SMS messaging, and dedicated shared short codes to make your SMS promotions meet, and exceed, your marketing goals every time. Learn more about our SMS marketing services to see how we can transform your marketing outreach efforts.