Are You Making These 13 SMS Marketing Mistakes?

July 27th, 2018

Are You Making These 13 SMS Marketing Mistakes?

 

In this article we’ll take a look at 13 SMS marketing mistakes that businesses and marketers make including:

  1. Not knowing Your Customer Avatar
  2. Failing To Build A Responsive List Of Eager Customers Plus The Homer Simpson Test
  3. Not Mapping A Customer Buying Path
  4. Not Creating Subscriber Buckets
  5. Locking Yourself Inside The 160 Character Prison
  6. Thinking SMS Is Email
  7. Making Subscribers Feel Trapped
  8. Creating A Disconnected Mobile Experience
  9. Not integrating SMS Into Your Marketing System
  10. Not Fencing Off Your SMS Subscribers
  11. Not Cutting The Fat From Your List
  12. Opening The Door To Lawsuits
  13. Ignoring The Truth & Missing Out On Massive Conversions

 

 1. Not Knowing Your Customer Avatar

Why is a customer avatar important?

In short: A customer avatar makes selling easier.

Let me quickly explain:

Think of your best friend or someone you know intimately well.

How easy is it for you to persuade them to do something?

Chances are you’re able to influence them because you know their what makes them tick.

  • You know how to make them laugh.
  • You know their fears, frustrations, challenges and their wants, aspirations and desires.
  • You know their existing beliefs.
  • You know their family and background.
  • You know what they do for a living.
  • You have a rough idea of how much they earn per year.

Knowing this much about a person allows you to connect.

 

What is a customer avatar?

A customer avatar is a fictional character that represents a section of your market.

Think of an avatar like a container that houses all of the information above (beliefs, fears, frustrations, aspirations, family, income etc.)

How much easier is it for you to influence and attract this type of person to your SMS list, provide targeted offers that get accepted and deliver valuable information?

 

Step 1: Interview your best customers by phone and/or survey them (doing a combination of both is ideal)

The biggest question you want to find the answer to is their single biggest challenge as it relates to {whatever it is they’re trying to achieve}.

For example: if they’re a sales manager then you want to find out from them what their single greatest challenge is as it relates to growing sales.

In addition to that you want to find out what their current reality looks like and the problems that exist inside of it and what their desired outcome is.

If you’re selling smaller items like chocolates then these questions are obviously a little too heavy so you’d want to find out why they chose you and get into a general conversation around what they like, don’t like etc.

 

Step 2: Give the customer avatar a name

Think of a name that would suite that particular persona.

 

Step 3: Get it down on paper

Now bring that avatar to life by printing out a piece of paper filled with that information along with a photo (can be a stock image or swiped from the internet this is only for your personal use).

Let’s imagine that my avatar’s name is Sandy, before I begin to brainstorm my SMS campaign I will ask questions like:

  • “What does Sandy need to get her one step closer to her desired goal?” (as it relates to your solution)
  • “What information does Sandy need from me to make better buying decisions?”
  • “What offer would make Sandy want to forward my SMS on to her friends or at least brag to her friends about?”

The idea is to build an SMS campaign that speaks to her world and offers value into it as opposed to making offers because you really need to sell some stuff today.

Think from your customer avatars perspective first and you give your SMS campaigns a huge advantage over your competitors!

 

 2. Failing To Build A Responsive List Of Eager Customers

Building a strong SMS list comes with obvious benefits the most important is generating action on demand whether that be:

  • Downloads
  • Opt-ins
  • Purchases
  • Attendance (to an event etc.)
  • Reviews & feedback

 

The success of an SMS campaign hinges on two main elements:

  1. Highly engaged and responsive subscribers (Avatar + Intelligent Segmentation)
  2. Big list (Aggressive Promotion)

In that order.

I’d rather have 100 highly engaged and responsive customers than 10,000 that ignore me.

 

Step 1: Customer Avatar

The first step to creating a strong subscriber list is to know your customer.

How well do you know your various customer segments?

Here’s a test to find out:

 

The Homer Simpson Test

Do you know more about Homer Simpson’s life than you do your customer?

Or think about one of your favourite TV shows – do you know more about that character’s life than your customer’s?

If you know more about Homer Simpson (or favourite TV character) than your customer then it’s a #Fail.

Since you read the first tip hopefully you understand the importance of knowing your customer.

Next…

 

Step 2: Highly Relevant Value Proposition

Once you have a good idea of your customer’s world then you need to create a compelling value proposition.

A compelling value proposition makes it a no-brainer to join your list eagerly waiting for your SMS promotions.

Come up with as many offers as you can that would be highly magnetic to your Customer Avatar.

Think about their current frustrations, fears, worries, wants, desires and aspirations.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:

 

Are you a personal trainer or a consultant?

Think about the specific, tangible end goal of your client

If you could break up the journey into stages or steps, how many steps would it take for them to achieve their goal?

Perhaps you could give them the first step free?

 

Are you a beauty salon owner?

What end result does your avatar desire?

What services and products does your avatar need in order to achieve that result?

  • Build a package offer around that and give it name that mirrors that aspiration or…
  • Create a strong offer for the first service or product and then send out a sequence of SMS messages over the next few months promoting the other services.

The goal is to offer highly relevant value that either helps them move away from frustration or displeasure and towards their wants and desires.

 

Step 3: Select the top offer

Out of all the ideas you came up with pick one that you think is the strongest.

 

Step 4: Craft your offer

Write out a few different versions of your promotion.

This is not an SMS, this is an ad that you would place inside and email or on your website etc. to drive people onto your SMS list.

Here’s an example:

Text “GoddessAfter30” to 1234 and I’ll help you lose at least 5 kilos in 30 days with my Goddess After 30 Package which includes 4 PT sessions (valued at $320) 2x nutrition coaching calls (Value $100) and my step-by-step 30 day eating blueprint that my current goddesses have used to lose at least 5 kilos (value $47) all for only $97.

Ends March 30. I’m only accepting 20 clients for this package.

Text now to grab this offer!

Let’s break the offer down:

  1. The keyword and package name reflects the aspiration which is looking amazing after 30.
  2. The “5 kilos in 30 days” is a specific, tangible goal.
  3. The PT session is a tangible offer which carries high value by itself.
  4. The coaching calls and eating plan are a nice added bonus.
  5. The $97 price tag seems small in comparison to the total value
  6. Ends March 30 and a limit of 20 clients adds 2 levels of urgency and scarcity.
  7. Simple call to action at the end.

Obviously there is not a lot of money to be gained here on the offer but this is designed to help the personal trainer acquire new personal training clients.

You may test just the personal training sessions first and the diet plan or come up with a completely different promotion but the important thing is that you start testing which brings us to step 5…

 

Step 5: Promote

Now you have your offer it’s time to promote that offer everywhere you can.

  • Email list
  • Website
  • Sandwich board
  • Window
  • Chalk on the pavement

This needs to be an all-out campaign to get people on the list.

Now you should be building your list up with highly qualified customers, clients and leads.

Next it’s a good idea to start thinking about what products you need to be moving those customers into next.

Which leads us to our next tip…

 

 3. Not Mapping Ahead (Promotional Calendar)

Planning out your future promotions is incredibly helpful because it shows you visually how all of your marketing is working together.

They also help you to:

 

  1. Map out the buying path for your customers

This means if they purchased Product A then what should Product B be and then Product C etc.

Challenge yourself to line up products for your avatar that they would really benefit from.

You would also have your testing hypothesis locked into this calendar as well.

 

  1. They give you clarity

Promotional calendars are great because they help you map out the next 90, 180 or 365 days.

This relieves you from having to “come up with the next SMS campaign”.

This doesn’t mean that you have to stick rigidly to the plan because things do change but it allows you to tie all of your marketing together to achieve company goals.

If you’re a restaurant with a seasonal menu then you will most likely have at least a 90 day scope to create promotions and information leading up to the next season.

If you have an eCommerce store which is FMCG then you may not know what is happening even next month so it is definitely tougher to create a promotional calendar.

Either way, set aside a few days to really map out the products you’d like to send to your customers.

The time needed will depend on the complexity of your product or service and how far into the future you can plan.

 

 4. Not Creating Subscriber Buckets

Easily one of the major mistakes most businesses make with SMS.

This one is probably responsible for a lot of unsubscribes that happen.

In Tip 2 I said that the goal was to create a highly relevant value proposition.

Segmentation takes care of this for you.

Segmenting means that you’re grouping like-minded people together.

With online SMS platforms you can create countless contact groups.

If I’m a marketing agency I may have my different marketing segments set up like this:

  1. Bob The Builder
  2. Patty The Personal Trainer
  3. Lenny The Lawyer

Each of these segments have very unique needs and use very different language so I need to adjust my messaging to match that.

But there are other ways to segment for example by product:

Using our personal training example, we can groups for the following:

  • Female clients over 40
  • Goddess over 30 clients
  • Long distance running clients
  • Muscle building clients
  • CrossFit clients
  • Trial clients

To take it a step further you can drill down in to each of these groups for example:

  • CrossFit Women
  • CrossFit Men
  • CrossFit Mixed
  • CrossFit Beginner Mixed

You can also segment based on the stage of the journey the client is on since you wouldn’t want to be sending advanced concepts/offers to a beginner and vice versa.

Wherever it makes sense for you to segment do so.

 

To recap:

Segmentation helps you to:

  1. Keep your message super relevant
  2. Reduce your costs by not sending to people who would never respond
  3. Increase retention by sending targeted messaging that is valuable
  4. Increase ROI by reducing spend and increasing response

 

 5. Locking Yourself Inside The 160 Character Prison

A lot of SMS marketing sites tell you “use brevity”, “be concise” etc.

And that is true.

You never want to waste words for SMS or any other marketing channel.

But the reason they’re saying this is that they’re trying to tell you that you only have a precious 160 characters to work with.

This is not entirely the case.

It’s actually not a hard character limit like Twitter.

You can actually use long-form SMS messages which give you 400+ characters.

Keep in mind that these do cost more.

If you write a message that is 320 characters it would cost you 2 SMS messages because 160×2=320.

And so on.

Most of the time you will only need 160 characters.

But there are some occasions where it’s worth it to spend a little extra.

For example, if you’re putting together a customer win-back campaign you may want need to use more characters to find out why they left and make an offer including the call to action.

It adds up quick.

We have clients that routinely go over the 160 character limit because the promotion requires it.

 

 6. Thinking SMS Is Email

SMS is often compared to email because the mechanics are the same.

  1. Build a list
  2. Send content to that list

SMS is however more of a precision tool.

Its power comes from knowing with almost 100% certainty that your message will get seen and read – so it is best used for important, high value work.

Think of a surgeon using a scalpel.

Email is more of a blunt instrument that requires a high volume approach where you bludgeon your list to death.

Email subscribers are more tolerant of this type of communication because your message is going to a place that honestly isn’t that personal to them – their email inbox.

Your SMS message on the other hand is going to a very personal space – their mobile phone.

Keep the volume low when doing promotional campaigns most businesses will do roughly one per week 1 (at most 2) per week.

 

 7. Making Subscribers Feel Trapped

Just like with email it’s important to provide an opt-out option for your subscribers this is important for 3 good reasons:

Good reason 1: It is the law – people have to be able to unsubscribe from your messages.

Every country has different laws regarding SMS communications so it’s important to learn what they are first before you start sending out promotions.

Good reason 2: Gives the subscriber peace of mind.

People feel a lot more at ease when they know they can stop receiving messages from you so include this in all of your messages.

Good reason 3: You want remove anyone from your list that is no longer interested in what you have to offer.

Since each SMS costs money you don’t want to be spending money on people who would never buy from you.

People who remove themselves is good but you also want to see who hasn’t responded to your promotions in a while so you can remove them.

 

 8. Creating A Disconnected Mobile Experience

Are you linking to a landing page from your SMS?

It’s unlikely that the person will go to their PC and type in the url to see your landing page.

They will stay on their device which means that the site needs to be mobile-friendly.

What does this mean?

Here are just 4 areas to check:

 

Loads quickly (less than seconds preferably)

Studies show that mobile users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

That is pretty brutal but mobile is a fast channel.

Here’s a site that can tell you how fast your site loads.

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

 

Looks good on mobile.

Have you ever been on a website using your mobile and you constantly have to zoom out and scroll left to right to see all of the content?

This creates a tricky and frustrating experience for the user.

 

Don’t lose the scent

To follow on from the earlier personal training example, if you’re promoting the Goddess After 30 personal training program then make sure that the headline mirrors that.

This is called “keeping the scent”.

If they land on a page that is maybe just the home page where you talk about your credentials and no instant mention of the offer then the user has lost the scent and will most likely bounce from that page.

 

Call to action

Make sure there is a crystal clear action that you want the person to take.

  • Purchase a product
  • Sign up for an event or webinar
  • Download a report
  • Jump on a waiting list

Whatever it is, make sure that you state what you want the user to do next and have a form or order button right there.

 

 9. Not integrating SMS Into Your Marketing System

We often treat each marketing channel like it’s an island.

The truth is that your marketing is (or should be) one system that is interwoven.

When you send an SMS promotion that requires your subscriber to go to a specific landing page what happens to those that don’t follow through on that promotion?

You can’t send them another SMS.

But you can retarget them with ads.

Businesses typically have an email list and an SMS list which rarely ever work together.

If you just sent out an important newsletter or catalogue why not send an SMS out to let people know that you just released an important email that they need to open?

Hi Mike, we’ve just sent out an important newsletter that I think would help you improve sales. Let me know if you haven’t received it. Jeff.

Find ways to integrate SMS into the overarching marketing strategy and you’ll bolster your results!

 

 10. Not Fencing Off Your SMS Subscribers

This one almost seems opposite to the last tip where the go was to integrate.

The goal here is to segregate.

“Fencing off” means that you’re sending exclusive offers only to your SMS list.

The goal here is to reduce unsubscription rates.

When people know that they can only receive special information or offers on the SMS channel they’ll be a lot less likely to unsubscribe from that list.

 

 11. Not Cutting The Fat From Your List

Over time our lists can get quite bloated.

What I mean is that we are holding on to subscribers that are no longer responding to our messages.

It’s a good idea to prune off people who haven’t purchased in a while.

List pruning helps to reduce costs?

For example if you’re a hair salon males will get their hair cut every 2-4 weeks females every 4-6 weeks so if someone hasn’t rebooked or purchased product in 3 months it could be a good time to remove them.

When is a good time to prune a subscriber?

It depends on your product.

You can place a time limit on it perhaps 6 month blocks.

Another indicator is ROI.

If you have 5,000 subscribers which costs 6 cents per SMS that equals $300 per campaign.

If you’re making $300 in return with a profit of $120 then this list needs to be reviewed.

If you’re campaigns aren’t bringing in a lot more return than they should then chances are also that you’re not doing Tip 1 & Tip 2 & Tip 7.

But they may buy from me at some point?

In this case you could be proactive and ask them if they would like to be removed from your list.

Hi Sandy, I noticed you haven’t purchased from us in a while. Would you like me to keep sending you offers? Reply “YES” to stay or “NO” to unsubscribe. Kim.

Or something similar.

If they don’t respond or reply “no” then you can safely remove them from your list and replace them with actual buyers.

 

 12. Opening The Door To Lawsuits

No SMS mistakes list would be complete without this one.

I want to share with you something that most people won’t tell you about permission as it relates to SMS.

Here’s how most businesses get permission from people.

Text ‘keyword’ to ‘number’ and get 30% off X.

In this example you don’t actually have permission to text these people beyond giving them the special.

If you want to continue to send them offers the subscriber has to agree to that otherwise you can get into trouble depending on the laws surrounding SMS in your country.

In the promotional offer you are going to have to mention that in addition to getting this special offer you will occasionally send them more great offers and that they can opt-out at any point.

You could also mention it in the confirmation SMS after they have sent the special keyword to you.

Hi Kim, thanks for redeeming your voucher! Just show this SMS to our team code #12095. Text “morespecials” to receive offers like this in the future.

Nice and easy and keeps you clear of legal issues.

 

 13. Ignoring The Truth & Missing Out On Massive Conversions

What is the truth?

The truth is not what we think it is, it is what the market believes it is.

We often think our customers are more sophisticated than what they really are.

We say things like “no one would buy that, it’s too expensive!” or “my customers wouldn’t go for that!”

If you don’t intimately know your customers and haven’t tested these theories out then you are just sharing an uneducated opinion.

This is not grounded in reality.

In order to uncover the truth you need to test your assumptions in the only place that matters…

The marketplace.

Testing always begins with “what if…”

“What if we split our list up and sent the same offer but at different times 12pm to one list and 6pm to the other list?”

“What if we tested percentages vs. hard numbers for example: 50% off vs. $30 off?”

“What if we used an excited tone of voice vs. a more natural tone?”

Testing is just a game of data and the list is your laboratory.

Through many tests you slowly begin to see what works and potentially carry that across other marketing channels.

Anything can be tested but offers would be the main element.

Other areas of testing could be:

  • Time of day
  • Salutation vs. no salutation
  • Long form SMS vs. short
  • Tone of voice
  • Offers
  • Hooks and angles

The reason why testing is no important is that it reveals the truth about what works and what doesn’t

It rescues us from our assumptions.

The truth is we are not our customers so we need to use testing to find out what they respond to and what they don’t.

 

Summary

The secret to successful SMS marketing is to create good habits and set a strong foundation.

Even though we covered a lot of mistakes if you spend most of your time:

  1. Knowing who you’re talking to (Avatar)
  2. Build a big list (Promotion + Strong Value Proposition)
  3. Stay relevant (Segmentation)
  4. Finding the truth (Testing)

You’re well ahead of the competition and will be creating a powerful business asset.

If you want to learn more about SMS marketing check out our SMS Marketing Guide and our 16 Pro SMS Marketing Tips article!

 

 

 

Steal These 37 Text Messaging Templates For Your Business

July 25th, 2018

What does the most effective, eyeball-grabbing SMS look like?

The good news is that SMS messages by their very nature are eyeball-grabbing since it is delivered to the mobile phone which creates instant curiosity for the recipient.

But what makes them effective comes largely down to:

  1. Who you are sending the message to and…
  2. What you are offering

SMS is not a “blasting” channel where you send a generic offer to everysingle…person on your list.

It is a direct marketing channel where you send a very specific offer or message to a very specific group of people and most of the time you are asking for a specific action.

SMS is also incredibly versatile and can be used in multiple areas inside various processes.

In this article I’ll give different ways people are using SMS including the basic format for each including:

  1. SMS Marketing
  2. Customer Reactivation
  3. Customer Reviews
  4. Lead Generation
  5. Appointment Reminder Template
  6. Notifications, Updates & Alerts
  7. Delivery Reminders
  8. Cancellation Management
  9. Payment Reminders
  10. Service Feedback
  11. Contests
  12. Team Communications

 

Steal These 37 Text Messaging Templates For Your Business

SMS Marketing Templates

SMS is the weapon of choice for businesses that like to run promotional activities and is arguably the most effective channel when it comes to driving buyer traffic towards targeted offers.

Special Offers

Send special offers to targeted lists to who your offer would be highly magnetic.

For example, if you’re a hair salon and you’ve got a 30% off deal on eyelash tinting then you may not want to send this text to the men on your SMS list.

 

SMS format:

{Special offer} + {Urgency} + {Location/How to redeem} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Valerios Pasta House is giving away a free $30 voucher with every table booking. This week only. 22 Hutt Street, Sydney. Call 02XXXXXXX to book your table.

 

Loyalty Programme

Repeat business is where real business growth comes from and creating a club around buying is a popular way to foster back end sales.

 

SMS format:

{Loyalty Programme Name} + {Programme benefits) + {How to join} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Join our SMS 13 Club and get weekly travel deals plus 13% discount on any holiday package you book with us. Text: SMS13 to 0421 123 456.

 

Special Events

For an event to be successful it needs high volume traffic (either online or offline) for PR reasons and of course it needs to generate revenue and brand awareness for various businesses promoting product at the event.

If you’re an event organiser then you will need to generate the leads and also sending out SMS reminders as the event draws near.

This is also a great time to send special VIP offers to make pre-sales.

If you’re a business owner at the event then send out your own promotions to drive people directly to your booth.

If you don’t have mobile subscribers (shaking head slowly) then simply set up an SMS lead generation campaign to start collecting potential buyers you can learn how to do that with our 2018 Guide To SMS Marketing.

 

SMS format:

{Event name} + {Enticing benefits} + {Location/Date} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Text ‘TGWE’ to 04XXXXXXX and get free wedding goodies and special offers at The Great Wedding Event on 11 September 2019! Get your tickets here bit.ly/2O9vDFP.

 

Event Reminders

Every event no matter how small must have reminders leading up to (and post-event) to maximise show up rates to increase overall sales or desired actions.

The reminder SMS is straight forward but it’s worth reminding the recipient of the benefits if possible.

 

SMS format:

{Event name} + {Start time} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Hi Mike, the ‘How To 10x Your eCommerce Store’ webinar is live in 10 minutes! Here is your access url bit.ly/2O9vDFP. See you there!

 

SMS To Website Traffic

A good way to let the search engines know that your website exists is to drive traffic to it.

If you’re revamping an old site then what some marketers will do is get their audience to enter in a specific search term into Google and have them click on your link specifically.

This has been known to increase rankings.

With any announcement look for ways to make it worth the person’s time to investigate.

Never underestimate how hard it is to get a person to do what you want them to do.

This could be a special offer, a limited time product range, new products etc.

 

SMS format:

{Announcement} + {Special offer/New product/Limited stock} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

We’re live! Visit our new website and see our new range of muscle growth supplements. Join our newsletter and receive a $10 voucher. www.mystore.com.au

 

Invitation to Subscribe

Getting subscribers is the name of the game for any business that has long term goals for growth.

Building SMS lists allows you to capture highly qualified buyers or at the very least capture people who may not be ready to buy right now but will be shortly with a little nurturing.

That said, SMS isn’t the only channel you should be using.

It’s also a good idea to move people from one channel to another for example having your SMS subscribers directed to your email.

The benefits to email are no character limits, images and a high tolerance for message frequency.

 

SMS format:

{Subscription Name} + {Special offer} + {Scarcity/Urgency} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Get 50%+ off our overstock range of women’s shoes when you subscribe to our VIP list. Invite only. Pass this SMS on to friends www.mystore.com/vip-deals

 

Customer Reactivation

Reactivating a customer who is trending out

This type of SMS is sent out when you notice that a customer, client or member seems to be steering away from your business.

The goal of this SMS is to avoid losing them altogether and reengaging them with your product/service again.

If you’re going to send and offer then make sure you give it a cut-off date and if you like you can make it conditional, they need to call your front desk to activate it – this means your team can ask a few questions to make sure everything is ok with your service.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for texting} + {Time sensitive offer} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

We haven’t seen you in the gym lately? Here’s a $70 voucher to use for any of our services. Call our team on 04XXXXXXXX by November 18 to activate it!

You haven’t rebooked with us in a while. Did we do something wrong? Rebook with us before November 18 and get 20% of your usual cut and colour.

 

Reactivating an inactive customer

When customers go inactive they can be quite hard to win back.

This requires a strong offer that should be very difficult to refuse.

 

SMS format:

{Reason or texting} + {Killer offer} + {Urgency} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

The below is a long-form text message which costs twice as much to send but spending an extra couple of cents to win back a valuable customer should be a no-brainer.

Hi Frank, we’re sorry to see you leave and apologise if we have under-delivered in anyway. We were hoping you might give us another chance by offering you this $200 voucher for any of our gym services including a 90 day meal plan (value $99). Call us on 04XXXXXXXX before November 18 to redeem your voucher.

 

Short version:

Hi Frank, sorry to see you leave. Can we win you back? Please accept this $200 voucher including 90 day meal plan. Call us on 04XXXXXXXX by 18/11/18 to redeem.

 

 

Customer Reviews

Some industries live and die by word of mouth and so it is worth using as many ways to generate positive reviews as possible.

 

SMS format:

{Acknowledgement of purchase/Ineraction} + {Ask for review} + {Link to review page}

 

Example:

Thanks for dining with us at Valerios, if you enjoyed your experience would you mind giving us a quick review online? Link here bit.ly/2O9vDFP

 

 

Lead Generation

Generating highly-qualified leads that are close to making a purchasing decision are the best kind of leads you can get and SMS is perfect tool for the job.

Consumers are incredibly protective of handing out their personal mobile number so when they do they tend to have a higher level of interest in what you have.

 

SMS Advertisement:

In order to generate leads you will need to create an ad that gets people who are thinking about selling their home to put their hand up and ask for information.

Once you have their mobile phone then have your consultants give them a quick courtesy call to further qualify them to find out how serious they are about selling.

 

Important Note: with this campaign you do NOT have permission to continue to send them text messages after you have delivered them the report.

 

Advertisement elements:

{Qualifier} + {Call To Action}

Example:

Curious to know how much your property is worth in the Hills area? Text ‘HILLSREPORT’ to 04XXXXXXXX and we’ll send you our current sales and market report.

 

SMS format:

{Confirm their request} + {Link to download}

 

Example of confirmation SMS:

Thanks for requesting your Hills Valuation Report. Please click on this link to download www.mysite.com/hillsreport

 

Ongoing SMS communication:

If you want to send them ongoing information then send this SMS right after you send them the confirmation SMS above:

Interested in receiving market updates and houses sold in your area? Text ‘HILLSUPDATES’ to 04XXXXXXXX.

 

 

Appointment Reminder Templates

The job of this SMS is to reduce no-shows and allow your team enough time to fill that vacant spot should the customer need to reschedule.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for text} + {Time & Date} + {Option To Call/Text Back}

 

SMS examples:

Recruitment Agencies

London Trust have invited you to interview with their senior team on Friday 9:00am, 18 November. If you need to change the time please let me know.

 

Hair Salons

Hair appointment reminder: tomorrow at 9:15am with Emma. Any questions call us on 04XXXXXXXX

 

Dental Clinics

Dental appointment reminder: March 7, 9:00am with Dr. Bell. Any questions feel free to call us on 04XXXXXXXX

 

Property Manager

Property inspection reminder: Hi Mark, Kelly from Hill Realty will be viewing the property Thursday, March 7, 12:00pm. Any questions call us on 04XXXXXXXX.

 

Banks

Home loan appointment reminder with Highland Bank Trust: March 7, 9:15am, 23 Jordan Ave. Your account manager is Dana White. Any questions please call 04XXXXXXXX

 

 

Notifications, Updates And Alerts

Notifications and alerts are an excellent addition to the customer service process and are easily templated.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for text} + {What to do next}

 

Bank Delivery Notices

Your new bank card is ready for pickup at our South Dunedin branch, 23 Forbury Road. Want us to deliver to another branch call us on 04XXXXXXXX

 

Flight Reminder

Flight NZ0702 boarding begins in 30 minutes please make your way to Gate 13. Enjoy your flight, AIR NZ.

 

Flight Updates

Flight NZ0702 has been delayed by 1 hour. Questions regarding this flight or connecting flights? Please call Air NZ on 04XXXXXXXX. Sorry for any inconvenience.

 

Children Travelling Alone On Flights:

Ruby has now boarded flight NZ0702 to Sydney and is with our flight attendants.

Hi Mark, Ruby has now arrived in Sydney and has been collected by Sandy Jenkins.

 

Delivery Notifications for Packages

Your package DN-5555124 has been successfully delivered to 5 Ingram Street, Kensington. Post Couriers.

 

 

Delivery Reminder

One of the big headaches for courier services is delivering a package and having nobody there to sign off which is an incredible waste of time as these add up throughout the day.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for text} + {Confirm date/time} + {Reschedule option}

 

Example:

Your new lounge suite has been dispatched. Order #DN-555333. ETA 12-1:00pm 7 March. If there is no one home please call 04XXXXXXXX to arrange suitable time.

 

 

Cancellation Management

Cancellations are going to happen so it’s best to have contingencies in place either someone else on the team can provide the service or rebook with the same person with a possible offer.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for text} + {Solution/special offer} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Hi Kim, Emma has had to cancel your appointment for tomorrow due to illness. Bec is available. Please call 04XXXXXXXX to confirm with Bec or rebook with Emma.

Hi Sandy, Emma has had to cancel your appointment tomorrow at 9:15am due to illness. Please call 04XXXXXXXX to rebook and we’ll send you a $20 voucher.

 

Booking And Payment Confirmations

Payment confirmations are designed to close of the sale. It lets the customer know that you have received the order and if possible what they can do next.

 

SMS format:

{Purchase confirmation} + {Date/Time/What happens next} + {Contact details}

 

Examples:

Hotel Booking Confirmation

Welcome Sandy! Your room has been booked for March 7, 2019 at The Hills Resort. Any questions about your booking please call us on 04XXXXXXXX.

 

Online Purchase Confirmation

Thank you for your purchase. Order #321435 will be dispatched today. ETA Thursday, March 7 12pm-1pm. Please call us on 04XXXXXXXX if you will not be home.

 

 

Payment Reminders

Email is not an ideal method of contact when it comes to recovering money. SMS allows you to know with certainty that the recipient received the notification so that they can make sure the funds are available for the next debit or that they know how to resolve any problems.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for text} + {Date/Amount due etc.} + {Call to action}

 

Examples:

Upcoming direct debit

Hi Will, your direct debit of $276 will be deducted from your account on Thursday, 18 November. Please call us on 04XXXXXXXX if you are unable to make payment.

 

Missed payment notification

Payment failed notice: Your monthly payment of $276 was unsuccessful. Please call 04XXXXXXXX to make that payment to avoid fees or to adjust payment plan.

 

Defaulted Loan Reminder

Hi Mark, your loan is now in default. Call us on 04XXXXXXXX so we can help you get back on track or pay the outstanding balance and receive a 20% discount.

 

 

 

Service Feedback

Feedback is essential for customer centric businesses and is not always possible to do over the phone or even on your site.

You can have people send you feedback right from inside the SMS.

Alternatively you can send them to a short online survey.

 

SMS format:

{Thanks for purchasing} + {Ask for feedback/Send to survey}

 

Example:

Hi Sandy, how would you rate our service today? 1=bad, 2=not good, 3=average, 4=great, 5=excellent. Thanks for your feedback!

Thanks for your purchase! Could you please let us know how we could improve by filling out a short survey? It would mean a lot. Here’s the link: bit.ly/2O9vDFP

 

 

Contest

A great way to re-engage your SMS list is to hold competitions – this means they’re more likely to stick to your list.

Contests are also good for generating new leads, just make sure that the competition involves your products or services because giving away unrelated prizes will bring in freebie seekers who would have no intention of purchasing from you after the event.

 

SMS format:

{Offer} + {Urgency} + {Call to action}

 

Example:

Text ‘MAXCART’ to 04XXXXXXXX and win the chance to fill up your shopping cart up for free at our store. Offer ends November 18. Winners drawn November 28.

Travel Italy for FREE! Text ‘ItalyDream’ to 04XXXXXXXX and go in the draw to win a 4 week, all-expenses paid trip around Italy! Offer ends November 18.

 

 

Team Communications

In more corporate settings email is used to keep teams up to date on what’s going on but if you have team members that are on the floor or who are mobile with no email access then SMS is perfect.

 

SMS format:

{Reason for text} + {Deadline/Reschedule/Gift} + {Call to action}

 

Examples:

Rosters

Late night shifts available December 1 – 23. Reply if you’re keen to grab some shifts.

 

Meeting Cancelled

Leadership team meeting cancelled for this Thursday. Rescheduled for next Thursday 18 November.

 

Team Milestones

Happy 1-year Keith! Show this SMS to the team at Café Rue and they’ll give you a free dinner for two up to the value of $150. Enjoy!

 

New Job Roles

New email specialist role now available forward on to friends who may be interested. Go to this url: www.mysite.com/emailrole to see learn more about the role.

 

Summary

Due to the explosive growth in mobile, this is now the number one way to communicate with team mates, consumers, friends and family.

Think of SMS like a fine scalpel which is used for more precision high value work like generating leads, assisting conversions, or winning back a customer.

The examples above demonstrate high impact areas where SMS exceeds over and above other communication channels.

 

 

 

 

4 SMS Solutions To Recover Lost Sales Revenue

July 23rd, 2018

SMS Solutions To Recover Lost Sales Revenue

When you’re tasked with generating more sales revenue, the first thing most companies will do is start spending more money on marketing, train their sales teams and arm them with the newest pitch materials.

Or worse, starting cutting “costs.”

What they don’t tend to do is look for growth potential that already exists inside the business that can be leveraged into more revenue.

By optimising processes that already exist inside your business you can generate more revenue with less work, less expense and typically bring about more revenue and profit than investing in a new marketing roll-out.

In this article you’ll learn how SMS specifically can be used to help increase organic revenue inside your business.

 

 

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Online retail suffers from a lot of revenue waste and amongst the largest are abandoned carts.

Did you know that the average online retailers suffer from an average abandoned cart rate of 69.23%!

60% of those abandoned carts are triggered by extra costs (shipping, tax, fees etc.) check it out below:

Abandoned carts are a substantial revenue killer and is definitely worthwhile implementing an abandoned cart recovery campaign.

Put together an automated abandoned cart SMS that goes out 1-3 hours after the cart was abandoned you may want to test including an time sensitive offer (maybe reducing the number one reason for abandoned carts by including free shipping, free tax or waiving additional fees.)

The above statistic of 69.23% is an average so what you need to do is find out what your abandoned cart percentage is per month – just look back  on the previous 90 – 180 days to get a running average.

This will give you an idea of how many abandoned carts you’re receiving as well as the dollar amount (opportunity) lost.

 

 

Appointment Recovery

Do you book appointments?

For Hair Salons or businesses that generate revenue with client appointments understand the frustration that no-shows can cause, they hurt you in at least two ways:

  1. Missed revenue from the client
  2. Dead time – you still have to pay your employee

If you have too many of these double costs happening regularly you’re losing out on a lot of money.

Now a lot of businesses will charge the customer a cancellation fee which actually does a lot of damage to the relationship between the client and the business.

A better option is to pre-empt this and build a system that can dramatically reduce no-shows from happening.

All you need to do is find out from the client whether they are going to make it in or not?

Calling clients on the phone is often times not a practical inside a busy salon.

Instead, after you’ve booked a client in schedule in a text message reminder 24 -48 hours out from the actual date.

Then forget about it.

Check your computer for any cancellations and then find bookings to replace them.

How much are no-shows worth right now to your business?

  1. Measure how many no-shows you get every month including staff costs. This tangible dollar amount will give you a number to start optimising and converting into more revenue.
  2. Put an SMS system in place dedicated to reducing this number.

Why SMS?

  • It’s guaranteed to get seen by the client and will allow them to respond quickly with either a yes or no that they will be there.
  • If no, you have time to fill that appointment with another client.
  • Because SMS is so cheap even if you manage to quickly replace 1 no-show with another client your investment is returned thousands of times over.

 

 

Convert More Web Visitors

It is said that at any given moment in time only 3% of the market are financially and emotionally ready to buy.

Inside that other 97% there are people who are:

Close to buying but an additional push or need specific information

Aware they have a problem and have narrowed down their search to a handful of providers.

Researching for information on their problem

Aware they have a problem and trying to learn more about it

Not looking

Unaware of an existing problem or maybe they are aware but the problem isn’t severe enough for them to look for information about it.

This means that you will lose nearly 97%+ of the visitors that land on your site and maybe convert 1-3%

What if you could convert more of those visitors on your site to sales?

Ecommerce store Bohemian Guitars found a way to do just that.

They inserted an SMS function into their website that allowed website visitors to ask questions and get recommendations on their products.

This little tweak increased their sales 98%!

Who else wants to almost double their sales?

Just by inserting a human into the sales process you can guide web visitors toward completing their purchase.

 

 

 

Reactivation Campaigns

Health clubs or any business that relies heavily on client retention knows how expensive it is to replace a lost client.

It is often said that acquiring a new customer is 5 times (or whatever the actual number is) more expensive than selling back to an old one.

When you lose a client you’re losing more business than you think.

  • You’re losing repeat business.
  • You’re losing higher frequency of purchases (good customers tend to spend more frequently).
  • You’re losing higher volume of purchases (repeat customers spend more on average than a new customer).
  • You’re losing recommendations to their networks.
  • That client now offers all of the above to your competition!

 

Reactivation Campaigns

There are two areas where you will need to monitor:

  1. Clients who are disengaging with your business
  2. Clients who have left your business (inactive)

 

Clients who are disengaging with your business

Ideally, you’ll want to find clients who have not completely left your business.

You’ll want to find clients who seem to be “trending out” of your business which could mean that they’re spending less with you or perhaps coming in less frequently.

In other words they are not following a typical customer pattern.

If you’re able to pull this information from your CRM or other software send them out a friendly email with an offer to try and get them back into the normal zone again.

 

Clients who have left your business

Strong offer: Same idea as above but you’ll need to send them a stronger offer since it is a lot harder to get a client back once they’ve left.

Survey: if you can’t win them back, try to get information. Ask if they would complete a short survey to help you improve. Takers for this are generally low but it depends on the relationship you had with them.

 

Summary

With SMS you are able to use one of the most direct communication tools on the market and for only a few cents generate more revenue for your business.

If you’d like to test out the effectiveness of SMS you can start with just $7.95 and receive 100 SMS.

 

How To Send Texts Internationally From Australia

July 11th, 2018

How To Send Texts Internationally From Australia

Text messaging is quick,easy and is still one of the most popular ways for people to connect with one another around the globe and a common question that is asked is how to actually make sure your SMS is received by the intended recipient.

In this article we’ll look at:

  1. How to send a text message internationally.
  2. How much does it cost to send an international text.
  3. The 2 main SMS platforms available (mobile vs. online SMS).
  4. The dark side of free SMS websites

 

How to send a text overseas

Sending an SMS from Australia to anywhere in the world is very easy and follows the same rules as making a phone call overseas.

Texting internationally is broken down into 4 parts:

  1. Exit code (that takes the SMS out of Australia)
  2. Country code
  3. Mobile network number
  4. Recipient’s unique number

For example if I am living in Australian and I wish to text someone in New Zealand I would key in 0011 64 21 1234567

Let’s break this down:

  • 0011 = The exit code to take your SMS out of Australia
  • 64 = Country code
  • 21 = The mobile network in New Zealand
  • 1234567 = The recipients mobile number

 

How much does it cost to send an international SMS?

The price for sending an international text message varies but here are some guidelines:

  • Mobile (texting to top tier countries) = Free – 20 cents
  • Mobile (other countries with standard SMS) = 20 cents
  • Mobile (global roaming) = 50 cents
  • Online SMS Provider (all countries or global roaming with standard SMS) = 2 – 8 cents

Let’s take a look at the current SMS platforms available:

  1. Mobile
  2. Online SMS

 

Mobile SMS

The costs for sending SMS with your phone will obviously depend entirely on your provider and the rate plan that you are currently on.

Most plans (including some pre-paid) will allow you to send unlimited texts to specific countries which makes it a solid option, some of the most common countries that you may be able to text free to include:

  • Canada
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • UK
  • USA

If you are texting to any of other 200+ countries then you’ll incur texting charges typically 20 cents per standard 160 character text message.

 

Sending SMS While Abroad

What about if you’re planning a trip overseas is mobile texting a good option?

One of the downsides to mobile when travelling abroad is that you activate a service called ‘global roaming’ which means you will incur additional fees regardless of whether you text inside the country you are currently in or outside.

If you’re only going to be sending the odd SMS here and there then this won’t be a problem.

If you’re sending a few texts per day then this will quickly add up so keep this in mind.

 

Advantages

  • Everything is on your phone, the interface is familiar.
  • You don’t need to be online; all you need is cell phone coverage.
  • Unlimited SMS if you’re texting to the free countries provided on your plan.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive if texting outside of the free country zones.
  • Can only send texts if you are in cell phone coverage or are connected to an overseas provider if travelling overseas.
  • If overseas global roaming will make texting more expensive.

 

Online SMS Providers

Sending text messages online from your computer has been a popular option for international texting and works in the same way but with a few additional features such as:

• Receive replies to your mobile phone or email address.
• Scheduling or setting recurring reminders (great for birthdays).
• Let’s you know when it’s been delivered.
• Create multiple contact groups (family, friends, wedding party, customers, work etc.)
• Send SMS from any email platform (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc.)

The other benefit is being able to type out messages and get them sent off very quickly.

 

How much does online SMS cost?

This will depend on the provider you choose but you’re looking at anywhere from .0795 (7.9 cents) down to .05 (5 cents) per SMS.
Generally speaking, the higher the SMS package the cheaper the price per SMS.

 

Are their international roaming charges with online SMS?

Since the SMS are being sent from Australia (regardless of where you are) there are no roaming fees.

Whatever SMS package you’re on is the rate you’ll pay.

 

Advantages

  • No need for cell phone coverage which means you can be in fairly remote areas and still have the ability to send a text.
  • Speed: you can send out texts from your keyboard.
  • It’s 400%+ cheaper than mobile texting.
  • You can send messages from your email, mobile phone or any device that has an internet connection.
  • If overseas, no need to sign up to a mobile service provider just log in to your account on your mobile phone or computer.

Disadvantages

  • You need to have Wi-Fi coverage.
  • If you’re using a laptop it can become a hassle pulling it out when you want to text.

 

The Dark Side Of Free SMS Websites

Being able to send free SMS’s to anyone can definitely be an enticing idea and it’s something that I haven’t found much about online and because of this it’s definitely worth mentioning since people will often look for free online texting options which is perfectly okay as long as you are aware of the potential risks.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

 

How are websites able to offer free SMS?

Free SMS websites still need to pay for each SMS they send which means that they need to find different ways to monetise their sites.

Free SMS sites will typically rely on these 3 main monetization strategies:

1. Display ads (website ads)
2. In-SMS Advertising (messages sent inside the SMS)
3. Selling your data (not good)

Let’s take a quick look at each:

 

Display Advertising

This is when the company displays advertising on the website.

This is the most harmless of the 3 tactics and is really more of an annoyance than anything.

How they get paid

They get paid whenever a person see’s those ads (ad impressions) and/or clicks on them.

 

In-SMS Advertising

This is when they drop an ad inside the SMS message.

This is only an ad that the recipient can see.

This could be anything including adult, gambling, money making, offers or just the promoting SMS website itself.

How they get paid

If the recipient clicks on that link or if they click on that link and take a specific action (sign up for something or make a purchase.

 

Information Collection

This is easily the most concerning as it involves you handing over your private information and potentially having it on-sold to a 3rd party.

How they get paid

There are companies and even individuals who are willing to pay good money for private information.

This information can be for “legitimate” companies who may want your information to sell legitimate services but there is also the business or person who will use this information for more sinister reasons.

 

Summary

  • If you want to send text messages internationally you need to enter the exit code + country code + mobile network number + recipient’s number.
  • Texting overseas from your mobile is great because you may have be able to get unlimited texts to specific countries.
  • If your mobile plan doesn’t support those countries and you’re planning on sending SMS messages quite frequently then consider looking at an online SMS service.

 

Want to send cheap SMS messages overseas from your computer?

5 Ways SMS Marketing Helps Small Businesses Win

June 29th, 2018

Up until the late 90’s consumers congregated across limited channels typically TV, radio, newspaper so it was fairly easy to get to them but today the market is fragmented, it’s a mess, consumers hangout on search, social media, email, websites/blogs, news sites, YouTube and now mobile which spreads the marketing budget even thinner.

But even with all of the new ways to advertise a lot of the same marketing issues are present:

  • Which of my marketing is actually working?
  • Which advertising will give me the highest response rates?
  • How can I market to consumers with less competitive threat?
  • What is next big marketing trend I need to pay attention to?

In this post I’ll share with you how SMS marketing intrinsically answers these problems to help you achieve higher response rates, reduces competition, tells you which campaign is working and helps you take advantage of the biggest marketing trend…mobile.

 

I don’t know what marketing is actually working…

“Half of my marketing is working; I just don’t know which half…”

This is a classic joke in business but when I speak to business owners this still rings true!

If you don’t have a luxury of an open marketing budget then the majority of your efforts should be focused on advertising that can be accurately measured for ROI.

How does SMS make it easy to track?

Finding out if your SMS marketing has worked or not is fairly straightforward and organic, for example just by sending out a standard promotional offer that requests a reply gives you trackable data:

Text “50off” to 89898 to get 50% off your next hearing check this month only.

This campaign will show you the exact number of leads generated and by combining actual sales volume tells you how successful that specific campaign was.

 

Low engagement and response rates

Getting your marketing seen and then acted upon is crucial in marketing, even with the best offer and creative, low engagement rates can sink a campaign.

Email is one of the primary marketing tools uses by businesses to help generate leads, build awareness around new offerings and improve sales but email marketers are constantly trying to find ways to improve their open and click-through rates.

Typically they’ll achieve around 20% and if they have a hyper-responsive list they achieve around 40% – that’s not bad for email in fact, I’ve achieved 22% and 41% for two different companies and no matter what I tried I couldn’t break those percentages.

What about click-through rates?

The typical click-through rate for an email campaign sits at around 4.2%.

I used to be an email marketing specialist and I can tell you that the time and effort it takes to design, create content and testing to make sure all of the elements are working properly just to achieve those response rates is sickening.

This is why you need to have a large email list to make it worth it.

How does SMS measure up?

When you compare email marketing to SMS marketing the response rates aren’t even close, there is an ocean of difference between the two channels.

SMS, on the other hand, offers open rates of around 97% and a click-through rate of up to 19%.

It gets better.

On average, it takes a person 90 minutes to respond to an email, but it only takes 90 seconds for them to respond to a text message.

When you receive an SMS there’s more urgency to see who it was that sent you a message so you’re always going to have people open up your messages shortly after your campaign goes out.

Too much competition

Pay-Per Click
PPC costs are largely dependent on what your competition is willing to pay. If your competition has deeper pockets they could increase bid prices across the board making everyone pay more.

Search Engines
Google & Bing only have 10 positions available with competitors fighting hard to get on that first-page search results.

Email Marketing
Email is free to send which means that your customer’s inbox is inundated with countless emails from direct and indirect competition.

Banner Advertising
Banner ads are everywhere and people have become so used to them they unconsciously filter them out (banner blindness) making repetition key. To win here you need to spend more money for more impressions and/or get into premium spots that capture more attention from website visitors.

Social Media Marketing
Social media is similar to email in that people are getting hit with new updates every other second. In order to gain special attention here, you need to re-post frequently and/or create loads of content.

There’s a lot of noise out there and for small business, it’s tough to compete.

How does SMS combat competition?

Bulk SMS is one of the last level playing grounds where small business can outmaneuver big business for only a few cents per SMS.

• Everyone pays the same amount of money and gets the same 160 character limit.
• There are no “premium spots” to purchase for those who have deeper pockets.
• There is no ranking algorithm where your competition skips the line.

Consumers are careful about subscribing to SMS lists since it is a more personal private channel than email for example, so if you do get a subscriber you will not have a lot (if any) competition to deal with.

 

Getting past spam filters and ad blockers

One of the big headaches as a marketer is removing key elements of a campaign for fear of it being rejected by an ad network, thrown into the trash by spam filters.

Today’s consumer also has ad blocker software on their browser so that all of that work won’t even get seen by some.

How does SMS get around spam filters and ad blocking technology?

The good news is that there are no ad-blockers, SPAM filters or ad networks governing your ad copy which means when you send 500 SMS messages then 500 will be delivered.

Keep in mind that there are of course SPAM laws you need to be aware of which are different in each country these are typically getting explicit permission to market to them (like email) and having a way for people to unsubscribe.

 

Keeping up with marketing trends

Smartphone usage is growing rapidly with 85% of adult’s in the UK using smartphones in 2017 up 33% from 2012.

This steep growth curve means companies now have to adjust to new mobile advertising technology if they want to monetise it effectively.

But most small and mid-sized business owners haven’t got the time or resources to keep up to date on emerging mobile technology.

How does SMS measure up?

SMS technology, on the other hand, is almost 30 years old and is becoming even more relevant for business (due to consumer mobile usage) and has almost zero learning curve – if you’ve ever texted another person then you have 90% of what it takes to run an SMS marketing campaign.

This means that you can sign-up and start generating leads on day 1.

Not only does SMS work with the latest smartphones it still works with standard mobile phones that can only call and text.

Text messaging only requires that your customer have mobile phone coverage.

 

What makes SMS one of the highest response channels in marketing?

Consumers bounce from dozens of different channels including search (SEO, AdWords, Bing etc.), social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc.) to traditional media (TV, radio etc.) and as a marketer, the goal is to find out which channels to go after.

Today, consumers use their mobile phones for search, social and traditional media making mobile the dominant channel.

By using business SMS you can go right to their inbox no ad blockers or search rankings to deal with and because it’s a highly personal channel your response rates are higher making SMS arguably the highest response marketing tool available to business.

If you’d like to learn more about SMS marketing then check our SMS Marketing Guide and SMS Marketing Tips.

24 Restaurant Marketing Ideas (That Actually Work)

May 18th, 2018

When it comes to restaurant marketing the competition is intense and winning in this area means that you’re going to have to find (and master) a select few marketing tactics that can help you create a dominant presence inside the mind of the market.

In this article I’m going to share 24 great ideas that you can add your your restaurant marketing strategy to help you increase bookings.

Let’s dive in…

 

1. Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) helps you get listed on Google in your local area, it’s great for driving traffic and it’s also free if you haven’t already set yours up yet here’s a great guide on how to set up your GMB account.

Fill out all the information Google asks for or someone else will fill it out for you – that’s right, anyone (including competitors) can suggest an update to your listing that could actually go live so it’s best that you monitor your listing and keep it updated.

This listing shows important information like opening hours, cuisine, reviews etc.

Follow this quick guide on how to get everything sorted.

Remember add as much content as you can including:

  • Latest menu
  • Photos
  • Opening hours
  • Address etc.

 

 

 

2. Food Photos & Videos (build up your marketing assets)

In the restaurant business food shots are your best marketing weapon.

Food photos and videos should be taken often and promoted endlessly on your various media channels (social media, email, websites, flyers etc.).

What should you take photos and videos of?

  • Signature dishes
  • Everything on your menu (or at least the main items)
  • Parts of your process (sourcing, preparation, cooking, serving etc.)
  • Your Team
  • Festivals or events that you’re involved in

By collecting footage about your restaurant you begin to build an image inside your customer’s mind giving them the feeling that they know you.

 

Find Different Ways To Promote Yourself

Don’t limit yourself to the food on your menu, create unique, fun and amazing dishes that are designed to stop people in their tracks once they set their eyes on it.

Photos that showcase great food instantly snaps up attention and has a person imagining what that food would taste like and gets the salivation glands working.

 

3. Instagram – Build A Following

Instagram was practically designed for restaurants due to the highly visual nature of the platform.

The goal of Instagram is to build a following of foodies who will actively promote your restaurant with the purpose of creating new customers.

 

Find Gold Inside Hashtags

Hashtags are basically a way Instagram categorises content and you can use this to get a lot of eyeballs on your foodie shots.

There are two types of hashtags:  brand and community.

Brand hashtags are brand related and will be your #RestaurantName this is where you’ll add all of your photos as well as encourage followers to contribute their photos as well for example, contests and giveaways.

Community hashtags are general hashtags that use keywords related to specific interest’s for example #FoodPorn.

 

Finding Relevant Hashtags

Use the search function inside Instagram to find good potential categories (hashtags) to place your photos into.

Start entering in keywords that are relevant to your business and it will start to auto-populate suggestions.

If you have a keyword list for SEO or PPC ads then this will provide a lot of good ideas.

Find competitors who are killing it on Instagram, look for hashtags that they use consistently.

Use hashtag tools like hashtagify to give you some more ideas.

Don’t use hashtags that have millions of posts, instead look for tags that have 20k – 50k and see how you go but test larger or smaller sizes.

 

Model & Innovate

Smart restaurants have already gone through the trial and error phase and have now settled on their winning formula – take that formula and innovate on it so you can start benefiting for yourself.

  • See how many hashtags they’re using for each post
  • See which hashtags they’re using
  • See the level of engagement on their post and the hashtags they’ve used
  • Look at the types of photos they use – try to look for themes

 

Stay Close To Your Competition

Like most other social media platforms, Instagram is a great monitoring tool.

Setup an account that you use to follow your competition and also follow restaurants in other cities that are doing well this platform.

This will give you an endless supply of ideas to use for menus, plates, events and marketing ideas.

This is quite tedious at the beginning but Instagram is a good marketing channel and worth mastering.

 

4. Facebook Post Boosting

For most businesses Facebook just isn’t worth the time and I agree if we’re talking about organic posting.

What is organic posting?

Any post you put on Facebook that you haven’t paid for.

Why has Facebook killed organic posts?

One of the main reasons is that they want to keep their users on the Facebook platform, so if you’re posting free content and asking people to click away you’re competing with them.

They are willing to let you take visitors off their platform if you’re prepared to pay which we’ll to next.

 

Boosting Posts With Facebook Works Well

A lot of marketers will tell you not to waste your time on boosting posts because it brings in little return and that is true for a lot of businesses but for restaurants I’ve had success with it.

The best part is it is very simple to use.

 

How To Boost A Post:

  1. Create a post or select a post you want to promote.
  2. Click the boost button on the post.
  3. Select your audience.
  4. Select your budget (I recommend starting with $5).
  5. Engage with comments to give the post more legs.

If the post doesn’t gain any traction then kill it and try another post.

If you find a winning post, that is it is getting a good amount of comments and shares then put another $5 behind it to keep it going.

Facebook advertising requires a lot of trial and testing but when you find that winner it can go crazy and expect bookings to fill up fast!

What you’ll find is that the more comments and shares a post gets the more people will chime in and engage in conversation to keep the interaction high – people love it when the Chef or business owner responds to comments.

You should be getting bookings from this promotion as well as a lot of engagement.

Some of the posts that go “viral” are really driven by boosting or paid ads since it is tough to get an organic post to gain momentum.

 

Paid Ads

Facebook ads is an incredibly powerful targeting platform.

If you’re an Italian restaurant you can target people who:

  • Love eating out with friends
  • Love Italian food
  • Enjoy wine
  • And live in the immediate areas near your restaurant

You can drill even deeper if you like to find a highly profitable pocket of customers that your competition have not found.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to launch your first Facebook ads campaign.

 

Organic Posting

Facebook is considered a “pay to play” platform and as of the time of this article is not recommended for organic posting simply because your reach is effectively zero but it still helps to post images on there just so people can see that you’re active but for organic posting there are better platforms to spend your time on.

 

Automating Facebook Posts

It is recommended that you use social media management tools to help automate as much of the workload as possible – especially if you’re doing social media yourself.

Hootsuite is a great little tool that allows you to schedule your Facebook posts so you don’t have to be on there every day posting content you can schedule

Also, Meet Edgar is a social media tool that recycles your old posts.

Why would you want to do this? You may have posts that are evergreen (they are relevant today as they were when you took them) these posts should not be forgotten about and should be shown to people who started following you today.

 

5. Twitter

Twitter is often times overlooked but it shouldn’t be because your customers are on there.

With Twitter you can get your restaurant images, blog posts and offers out quickly and because Twitter is a “fast channel” meaning that content is updated very quickly you can actually post the same post multiple times per day without being seen as spam.

As with all marketing timing is essential.

Again, use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to schedule all of your Twitter posts for the week and then get on with running your business.

Create a post with an image and schedule it to go out at the most opportune times during that day 11am and 4pm for example.

 

6. Yelp

Review sites are essential for any business especially in hospitality.

Yelp is a directory where customers can leave reviews on businesses that they frequent.

With Yelp you can add all of the necessary information about your restaurant including:

  • Opening and closing times
  • Photos
  • Directions
  • Information about your cuisine

If you’re currently receiving great word of mouth from customers then review sites like this become an incredibly powerful marketing tool because they amplify your restaurant and will help you get more customers for your restaurant.

If you don’t have a Yelp page yet, claim it by submitting your business details to show you are the owner.

After you’ve claimed your page, you can respond to reviews and participate in advertising if you choose.

Upload your best photos.

 

7. Urbanspoon

Reviews are essential for driving traffic to your restaurant and website and although Google displays reviews anyone can get on there and make up a bunch of stuff i.e. give you a bad review just because they’re a competitor of yours – this happens a lot!

Urbanspoon actually have a different process for taking reviews from customers.

Unlike Google, reviewers actually need to build up a reputation before their reviews will be placed at the top this means that the reviews that you see are from genuine food lovers instead of one-off bad customers.

For example, if a competitor of yours decides to go on there to leave a nasty review it will be at the bottom of the review heap because they haven’t developed a reputation yet – whereas Google will place the latest review first.

 

8. Encourage User-Generated Content

User generated content is great because it’s like having an endless supply of marketers promoting your business to their friends.

People who dine out love nothing more than to see art on a plate so they can take snapshot and fire it off on their favourite social media accounts.

Obviously the food needs to be presented well but it’s important that they have a good time so there’s a story to go along with their photos.

 

Decide The Rules Of Engagement

Where do you want these photos appearing? What hashtag will be used (if any)? Will they have to wear a Viking helmet in the shot?

 

Give Prizes For Best Photos

Give away free dinners and other offers when a customer uploads amazing shots of your food. This will give your UGC strategy a good push. This also encourages people to get a little more creative, they’ll be looking to take the best angle and even add props to make the photo even better.

 

Engage On Submitted Content

It’s always cool to see the business owner take time out to weigh in on a post to give their approval or opinion. Commenting on posts are great for starting a conversation and giving it more legs.

 

9. Build A Brand People Can Connect To

People love familiarity and is one of the reasons people come back.

Creating a vivid image of what your restaurant is about and the people who are in it can create that sense of familiarity before a person has even eaten at your restaurant.

Brand building is far beyond the scope of this guide but a great way to build a personable brand is to showcase your team, product and restaurant.

  1. Take photos of your team (shoulders and head shot). Create a “Meet Our Team” page and add photos.
  2. Take in-the-moment photos of your team while they’re working to capture more natural shots.
  3. Snap photos of your customers enjoying the atmosphere and the food.
  4. Take photos of the restaurant décor
  5. If you shop local organic produce then take photos of where you buy your food – this helps to reinforce your image.

 

Videos Are Great Too!

Videos tend to get high engagement on social media.

  • If you’ve got something interesting like a giant cheese wheel take a video of your team opening it up.
  • Take videos of signature dishes being prepared

Photos and videos can capture the various characters inside your business and people can connect to characters.

Reinforcing ‘what you are about’ through video and image allows people to connect to that idea, this creates more commitment which helps with customers coming back time and again.

 

10. Monitor Your Social Media Reputation

If you’re going to be on social media you’re going to have people talking about you which is great but you don’t want to let it get out of control.

 

Boost Positive PR

If you’re getting lots of great comments, you want to be their commenting and replying to ‘fan the flames’ so you can keep driving that momentum.

 

Be Proactive With Online Reviews (It’s Free PR)

If you’re getting negative comments you want to act fast and jump on it.

This does a few important things:

  • Give you an opportunity to improve your service by identifying recurring problems developing processes to reduce similar issues.
  • You can win that customer back by showing you’ve heard them out and are willing to resolve it for them.
  • Shows potential customers that you’re a proactive restaurant that cares about its customers.
  • Creates PR via online conversations.

Most restaurants won’t go that extra mile and actively monitor their online reputation outside of Google or Yelp reviews which will.

There are tools like Hootsuite, Buzzlogix and Sprout Social that will help you keep your finger firmly planted on the pulse of what people are saying about you to give you the general feel of how the market feels about your brand.

This form of PR is extra work but think of it as an additional marketing channel that you can use to get people talking about you.

 

11. Spy On Competitors (Or Yourself) With Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free tool that will send you a daily email on specific keywords that are of interest.

The keywords you should be tracking are your own brand name, your competitors brand names perhaps specific dishes or trends.

 

It’s Useful For Content Curation (using other peoples content)

It’s also a decent content curation tool, set up keywords that your customers might be interested in and post the best finds on your social media channels, this will save you from having to come up with ideas yourself.

Whatever intelligence you want to stay abreast of you can let Google keep you updated.

  

12. Optimize Your Website For Maximum Traffic

Your website should be your top marketing tool, think of it as your 24/7 sales rep that will bring in web traffic and turn that traffic into table bookings on autopilot.

This means that your site needs to be:

  • Clean: when a person lands on your site you want to have a site that is free from clutter and make it easy for people to take specific actions (see the menu, book a table etc.)
  • Easy to navigate: every visitor has a goal that they want to complete and your job is to help them and navigation is an important factor because it helps them find specific information. Keep your navigation as simple as possible and design it in a similar way as other websites so that visitors aren’t fumbling around your site, they know exactly where to go.
  • Answer questions: visitors are going to have questions in their mind like “do they have parking?” “where is the menu?” “how do I book a table?” “are there tables left?” “what time to do they open?” etc. so make sure that you have all of the answers on your site.

Ultimately, the job of the restaurant website is to get your phone ringing with hungry customers – that’s it.

 

Make Your Website User-Friendly

Before a person lands on your website a lot of the times their mind is all over the place – they are thinking about 101 things this is not good for you.

A clean website has a calming effect on a person it has few options available and always has the main call to action (make a booking now) always present.

Here’s a quick example from Bop Design:

On the before version it is quite confusing as what the user should do now look at the redesigned version of their website below, you’ll notice that the option has been simplified with the two largest button on the screen displaying “search jobs” or “find talent”.

They have determined that the majority of people who land on this site want either of these two outcomes.

If the user clicks the top right hand menu then they are presented with more options.

Make your site easy to navigate, build it with their needs in mind and you’ll create a high-performing website.

 

 

Optimise These Areas To Improve Website Performance:

  1. Implement an ongoing SEO strategy
  2. Create epic content
  3. Keep your site code clean, compress images, use less plugins to increase loading speeds
  4. Make sure you have a mobile website (most people are searching for restaurants using mobile search)
  5. Have a way to collect email addresses
  6. Include a click to call (when a person touches your phone number it automatically rings your restaurant)
  7. Include a feature that allows people to book online (not essential however)

 

13. Use SEO To Move Up In Google Rankings

SEO is incredibly important because it helps people find you – if you can find yourself on the 1st page of Google preferably in position 1-5 then you will notice a dramatic increase in bookings than if you were on page 2+.

According to SEO authority Brian Dean (Backlinko) Google has around 200 ranking factors – but you only need to focus on a few key areas:

  1. On-Page SEO – this tells the search engines what your site is about.
  2. Keywords – these are search phrases that a person enters into Google “italian restaurant” .
  3. Content – video, audio, images and written articles.
  4. Backlinks – other websites that have a link on their site that points to yours.
  5. Mobile Optimized Website – a version of your website that fits on a mobile screen.

 

Help Search Engines Understand Your Website With On-Page SEO

This helps Google understand what you page is about.  This is a fairly large subject and beyond the scope of this article however there are plenty of resources online about how to create great on-page SEO.

Check out Neil Patel and Brian Dean (Backlinko) and MOZ for information on on-page SEO.

 

Find Keywords That Drive Traffic

Keywords are short phrases that you will use to match up with what people are typing into Google (search queries), for example:

  • “Italian restaurant”
  • ‘Italian restaurant Sydney”
  • “best Italian restaurants”

Each of these keywords will have a specific numbers of monthly traffic behind them and your job is to create content based around these keywords in order to cut you off a slice of that traffic.

For example:

Let’s say you have a restaurant in Sydney.

  • “Italian restaurant Sydney” has 2,100 monthly searches in Australia.
  • “best Italian restaurant Sydney” has 700 monthly searches in Australia.
  • “Italian restaurant CBD Sydney CBD” has 350 monthly searches in Australia.

That’s 3,150 people looking for Italian restaurants in Sydney just with these 3 keywords and there are at least 200 more keywords similar to these that will give you even more traffic potential!

Most of the keywords that you use will be the same ones that your close competitors will be using as well and you can use tools like AHREFs to find those keywords and how much traffic they are receiving.

 

Get Backlinks To Skyrocket Search Rankings

What is a backlink?

When you’re on a website and you click on a link that takes you to a different website that is called a backlink, the site that you are on has linked to another site that it deems valuable.

Think of backlinks as a form of ‘digital voting’ since Google is only a machine it can’t really tell what is valuable content (although it is getting better) so it relies on humans to fill in the gaps.

When a lot of websites link back to another website or specific piece of content, Google assumes that website is valuable and so it pushes it up in rank so that more people can see it.

There are plenty of experts on how to create backlinks, if you do a search for Brian Dean, Neil Patel, MOZ this will give you a good place to start learning how backlinks work and how to create them.

 

Avoid Future Penalties By Having A Fast Loading Website

Your website needs to load quickly but mobile users are especially intolerant of slow websites so you need to make sure your site takes no longer than 2-3 seconds to load on a mobile device – you can test your website speed here.

Here are 4 ways to increase site speeds:

  1. Clean code: Websites are made up of coding language and sometimes if not coded correctly can make it hard for the search engines to read and also slow down your site speed.
  2. Images: You’re going to have a lot of images on your site so it is essential that you compress these down to under 100kb each preferably 50kb in order to do this resize your images so that they’re 800-1200 width this will cut down on the file size quite a lot, next you’ll need to compress the images further using a tools like TinyJPG or if you’re using WordPress using a plugin like WP Smush will help.
  3. Less Plugins: To many plugins can slow down your website, they can also create website issues and conflicts between other plugins.
  4. Use A Faster Host Provider: Moving your site over to a faster hosting service like WP Engine (if you’re using WordPress) will improve site speed time. There are plenty of great hosting providers available.

 

Is Your Site Mobile-Ready?

In 2018 52% of searches are happening on mobile, not only that but smartphone usage is only going up with the U.S. has 237 million smartphone users (2018), Australia has nearly 100% smartphone penetration with currently 88% of the country (2018) owning a smartphone device, New Zealand is already at 100% penetration.

The world is heavily mobile based with customers pulling out their smartphones to find places to eat out.

For this reason it’s important that you have a mobile-ready site.

The image on the left is an example of a site that is not mobile responsive. This is a site that you actually need to zoom in to see the text – not a good experience for a mobile user.

The image on the right is able to neatly get all of the necessary elements onto the mobile screen. Here’s a good example from BentoBox an unoptimised mobile site versus optimised. Notice in the first version the website is crammed into the mobile frame? This is not good for the user experience and as a result could impact your Google rankings.

 

 

Can People Book Straight From Their Phone?

Make sure that you have a “click to call” function on your mobile site so people can tap your phone number or “make a booking” button and call directly to your restaurant.

 

14. Local PPC – Search Advertising

PPC is performance-based advertising meaning that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

In this case we’re talking about Google AdWords PPC advertising – also known as search engine marketing…

Imagine finishing work late, you’re tired and you want to get home quickly and you think to yourself “I would really love a cab right about now.”

At that exact moment, an empty cab (that doesn’t smell like bad body odour) comes around the corner.

Perfect.

This is how search advertising works.

Someone wants to go out for Italian cuisine, types “Italian cuisine in hampton hills” into a search engine and your ad shows up on that page.

Timing plays a major factor in marketing and there’s no better time than showing up when someone is looking for you.

While generally not as good in terms of conversions as an organic listing, AdWords is great if you’re not on the first page as you will be able to snap up bookings that would have otherwise gone to another restaurant.

To learn how to set up AdWords use this guide.

 

15. Great Content

People will often make certain assumptions about your business based on what your website looks like and the content inside it.

Used correctly, content will help you get people over the line and have them booking a table.

What kind of content should you have?

  • Have fresh new articles that talk about the dishes you have right now not last season.
  • Show video teasers of dishes being prepared in the kitchen.
  • Show happy customers enjoying your food.
  • Have press releases and reviews so visitors can see how good your food is.

 

16. Use HTML For Your Menu

Your menu is one of your central marketing pieces and should find its way into as many homes, emails and mobile devices as possible!

What I see most restaurants do is that they convert their menu into a PDF which are typically a pain to read on a mobile device.

Instead use HTML to showcase your menu and make sure it is Mobile friendly, not only that but you can make it interactive, like including “book now” button or link that calls your restaurant up.

That said, have a PDF version available for download if they want to store it on their phone or computer.

 

17. Online Reservation Tools

When someone is on your website and searching your menu they have momentum so if you have a tool they can use to book online it streamlines the entire user-experience.

This isn’t a must-have tool but can be a good option especially for busy nights when the phone is busy and unable to take bookings.

 

18. Local Community – Stay Active

Getting involved in community projects is great for business any way you look at it.

Take care of the community and they will do the same.

Sponsoring events will give you something to talk about on your marketing channels, and give you a platform to leverage in various ways.

Get involved with local schools and hold cooking classes or offer to update their school menus for example.

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder in business, it makes people forget, so finding ways to stay in the light is a good idea.

 

19. Food Blogging

Content creation is incredibly useful for generating traffic, increasing your website rankings/visibility and driving customers.

If you want to generate traffic through search then you must create delicious content.

Of course this requires time and attention but this does pay off.

There are two food blogging strategies that I recommend:

  1. Food blogging for your own site
  2. Food blogging for other peoples sites

 

Food Blogging On Your Own Site

This is posting food blog posts on your website.

I don’t think you should post because everyone else is doing it.

Since you (or your marketing person) only have a limited number of hours in a day each tactic must deliver on multiple objectives.

For example let’s say you create an article on a relatively low competition keyword like” Fresh semolina pasta recipe”.

By creating various posts on low competition keywords you can overtime dramatically increase site traffic while improving your Google rankings from people backlinking to your content.

 

Food Blogging On Other Websites

Why would you spend time writing for another website?

  1. To reach new audiences
  2. To get new backlinks
  3. To make new connections

There are plenty of food blog websites that are looking for people to provide content, by giving them your content you can get access to their audience, drive those people back to your website and of course Google will start ranking you higher in search results.

It also gives you an opportunity to make a connection with an influencer, if they have an email list (they will have one) and you have an event, you can shoot them an email to promote your event or special offer to their list of followers or just write more content or maybe add banner ad on their site etc.

 

20. SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing is overlooked by a lot of restaurant owners which is great for those who do decide to integrate into their overall marketing strategy.

Here is why we recommend SMS marketing:

  • Less Competition: You can advertise where there is less (or even zero) competition – inside a customer’s SMS inbox.
  • No Internet Required: Unlike mobile marketing (which is largely dependent on the customer being connected online, to send and receive an SMS a customer only needs to be in mobile coverage.
  • Effective Reach: Incredibly high open and response rates.
  • Affordable: It’s one of the cheapest advertising channels – you can have a person make a booking with you and all it costs is a few cents in messaging costs.

Earlier I mentioned that the job of your website is to generate bookings but what about people who land on your website and didn’t actually make a booking?

This is where SMS Marketing comes in handy!

Include a highly visible space on your site that offers some kind of incentive in exchange for their mobile number, for example:

Text the word FREEVINO to 9999 and get a free bottle of red when you book this week!

Anyone who texts in is automatically added to your SMS list which means whenever you want to drive more bookings just send out an SMS message to your list and watch the bookings come in!

But this is not limited to just your website add this offer to your:

  • Social media channels
  • Flyers
  • Sandwich board
  • POS
  • On the tables
  • If you offer takeaways, include a flyer with the food

 

Generate bookings on demand

SMS has up to 45% response rate and almost everyone opens an SMS they receive making SMS marketing one of the most effective strategies for generating new customers on demand.

By having a list of customers you don’t need to rely on paid advertising or SEO you can create revenue with the click of a button.

Click here for a Free SMS Trial and start collecting mobile customers.

 

21. Partnerships

Partnerships are a good way to share resources and get access to each other’s customers further building up your awareness.

Finding local food producers are very popular now and will be well into the future as people become more conscious and weary of mass processed foods.

A restaurant I worked with set up partnerships with local cheese makers, wine makers and a high end butcher and held events which attracted a lot of attention from local foodies as they were able to experience different produce.

 

Partner Up With Delivery Services

Not everyone wants to eat out but they probably want great food.

By partnering with a delivery service you extend your reach beyond the chairs you have available inside your restaurant.

 

Insert Marketing Into The Takeaway Package.

If you’re going to give a delivery service a cut of your profits then you need to maximise that opportunity by including special offers to those people.

I have ordered from countless restaurants and I have never received additional marketing to entice me to come in, or join their SMS or email club…nothing.

 

22. Deal sites

This one is a sore point for most restaurants because many restaurant owners believe that it:

  1. Devalues your food
  2. Attracts the cheapest customers
  3. Crushes your team with orders
  4. Increases complaints from unsatisfied customers

The list is long and I don’t recommend this option if without a solid strategy in place to further monetize the bookings you get.

Deal sites can still be a fantastic way to create buzz, awareness and also fill up your SMS list with hungry buyers.

Grow your own customer list fast

Big coupon sites are valuable because they have large lists of buyers, by capturing as many of these buyers as you can and placing them into your email or SMS list you are actually using that site to grow your own list of customers.

 

23. Food Blogger Outreach

Food blogging is big business and there is no shortage of opportunity to continue to grow awareness around your restaurant and brand.

 

Food Bloggers (Influencers)

Leveraging the influence of others is a powerful way to get not only get access to another audience but to piggyback off the influencer’s reputation.

Food bloggers are seen as authorities inside various foodie communities and because of this they are able to command and send traffic to places they recommend.

 

Start With Smaller Food Bloggers

If you don’t currently have contacts with well-known bloggers, start building relationships with smaller food bloggers because they’re looking for great content to put on their websites and are a lot more open to any offers.

This typically includes a free meal of course.

You do want to make sure that they have:

  1. A good sized audience on multiple platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.)
  2. More importantly that audience is engaged (do they get a lot of shares and comments?)
  3. Do they get comments on their food blogs (this isn’t a deal breaker since most comments will come from the social media channels)

Offer them free dishes to come in and review – you never know if they become popular and grow a large audience they will remember you.

Let them try your signature dishes or dishes that you know will strike a nerve with their audience.

I found it relatively easy to get food bloggers to review the food of a restaurant I was working with – it was a little tedious initially but the payoffs far outweigh .

  1. Building key relationships.
  2. Getting access to new groups of potential customers.
  3. Giving you content to send out on your social media channels.
  4. Getting backlinks back to your site.

 

24. Guest Blogger Outreach

Guest blogging means that you will write a piece of content and another website will place it on their website for their audience to see – not only that but you will be able to promote your restaurant (typically in the bio link at the bottom of the article/recipe) and ALSO get a backlink which will boost your rankings.

Guest blogging on a website with a good reputation is one of the best ways to increase your Google rankings.

I’m not going to lie – it is very time consuming, which is why most restaurants won’t do it and Google places a high value on it.

But often times the greatest opportunities in business involve areas where your competitors are unwilling to try.

 

Guest Blogging The Basic Process

Writing out the entire process is beyond this article but this is basically how it works:

  1. Find a blog that you’d like to guest post for using Google search (see guest blogger search strings below)
  2. Review their content and get idea for what their audience likes
  3. Find a great article that you know their audience will love AND has been proven to get a lot of shares and comments
  4. Reach out to the blog owner / editor and let them know who you are and give them the idea for a post that you think their audience will love.
  5. If they like it write your recipe/article – make it unique, put your own twist on it – this is critical.
  6. Send it back to the blog including your bio, restaurant name and link back to your website

As you can see this is a lengthy process but if you have a marketing person, or are willing to hire someone temporarily to hand this process over to it is well worth the effort!

This needs to be a process, the more relationships you build in the foodie community the more your name gets out there.

 

Guest Blogger Search Strings

Here are some search queries you can use in Google to find websites that allow guest blogging:

  • Keyword + “guest blogger”
  • Keyword + “guest post“
  • Keyword + “guest article”
  • Keyword + “Add Guest Post”
  • Keyword + “Submit Guest Post”
  • Keyword + “Submit a Guest Article”
  • Keyword + “Guest Post Guidelines”
  • Keyword + “become a contributor”
  • Keyword + “contribute to this site”
  • Keyword + “Add Content”
  • Keyword + “write for us”
  • Keyword + “write for me”
  • Keyword + “submit your writing”
  • Keyword + “submit article”
  • keyword + “inurl:category/guest”

In this example I searched for: food blog “write for us” and it brought up literally hundreds of opportunities:

Check the authority of the blog

If you’re going to write for another site you’ll want to make sure that they have a good authority rating with Google.

In the above search example you’ll notice a little bar with a padlock, this is the MOZ SEO toolbar it’s free and plugs in to your browser.

This tool tells you the domain authority of each website, the higher the “DA” number the greater the benefit you’ll receive from having your content on their site.

 

Check the audience size of the blog

This is not a deal breaker, the DA is more useful, plus you’ll get an idea for the size of the audience by looking at their social media channels but by using a tool like Similar Web you can see how much traffic they’re receiving – this tool is a rough estimate, the traffic is typically more and sometimes it won’t work especially for smaller sites.

What’s most important is that they have an active social media presence with people commenting, sharing etc and that they have a DA 20+

 

Tools And Resources

Restaurant Guide

I recommend checking out this excellent in-depth restaurant guide, it’s loaded with fantastic restaurant tips & ideas (by the way most restaurateurs never do tip #34 even though it’s one of the core strategies that separates the best restaurants from those that struggle).

  • Guest blogging & Outreach: Guest blogging helps you not only improve your Google rankings but also gets you access to other peoples audiences and is one of my favourite strategies.
  • Google search: The best tool for finding opportunities to post your advice or recipes.
  • AutokloseAutoklose is a paid tool that allows you to send out hundreds of emails to bloggers and also does the follow up for you so you don’t need to do it one by one. If you’ve got a marketing person they can just use the free options like gmail or outlook etc.
  • Moz ToolbarThis is a free tool that will tell you the authority a site has, the more authority the better the opportunity. This is called the DA rating, you want to look for sites that are at least DA 20+.

 

Web Platform

  • WordPress – this is the best web platform in my opinion.

A lot of people are using Wix but I’ve heard it is not that good for SEO – I’ve used WordPress for years and it is an easy platform and is Google likes it.

 

Lead Capture Plugins

  • Thrive leads: Thrive leads is a paid wordpress plugin that can capture leads.
  • SumoMe: A free tool that can be used with wordpress.
  • OptinMonster: This is another popular paid lead capture plugin for wordpress.

 

List Marketing Tools

There are plenty of email platforms to choose from but these two are the best to start with.

  • MailchimpMailchimp is one of the most popular email automation programs and is incredibly easy to use.
  • Campaign monitorAnother great email platform has more features but is a little more complex than Mailchimp.

 

SMS Platform

Generating customers on demand helps you turn slow nights into highly profitable ones and SMS is an incredibly effective tool here.

Email is a good channel but it does fall down in terms of open rates (how many people see and then open your email) SMS on the other hand virtually guarantees everyone will see your text message and you can expect anywhere from 20-45% response rate depending on the offer.

If you’re interested in a free trial you can so here.

It only takes a few seconds to sign up and you can start sending a few SMS messages to see how it all works.

160.com.au

 

How To Send Bulk SMS Messages Online

March 14th, 2018

Bulk SMS (also referred to as Mass SMS) is an SMS solution that allows you to send SMS from PC to mobile devices quickly and easily.

Text messaging continues to be one of the most effective ways to deliver business to consumer messages thanks to the high open and response rates.

Both large and small businesses in Australia quickly realize the high upside potential of such a medium.

 

How Are Businesses Using Bulk Messages Services?

Online businesses

  • This helps online businesses encourage customers to come back (e.g. abandoned carts if it’s an ecommerce business)
  • Integrate online SMS as part of the buying process – a potential customer is learning about a specific product but may have a specific question, you can have your SMS details available for them to contact you directly to begin a dialogue.
  • To confirm presentations or appointments if you are selling online and then via webcam or face to face.
  • To improve webinar show up rates or email open rates on important newsletters.

Schools

  • Our clients are using SMS to notify parents whenever their child is sick. It’s also good for notifying parents about transport updates, weather conditions etc.

Marketing agencies

  • Create powerful SMS marketing campaigns for clients including lead generation or revenue generation campaigns to increase encourage repeat business and upsells.

Courier Companies

  • Keep customers updated on the delivery status of an item and also improve internal logistics communications.

Healthcare

  • SMS is incredibly effective here because it gives the medical centre direct access to their patients allowing them to send reminders of upcoming appointments and keep patients updated on any important news.

Restaurants

  • Restaurants can use a simple SMS blast to promote special offers to entice people to come in and try their menu.
  • Restaurateurs are able to send an SMS blast out to their existing customer list and turn slow nights into profitable ones.
  • Great for keeping staff updated on rosters

Clubs & Associations

  • By sending bulk messages to members clubs can instantly keep everyone updated on important events, accepting bookings or even target specific member groups with personalised messages.

Gyms & Health Clubs

  • SMS marketing can be used to generate highly-qualified leads for the sales consultants.
  • Build lists of potential new members and send out an SMS whenever there is a special new offer.
  • Keep existing members updated on class times, new product offerings, special offers or other important updates.
  • Re-activation tool for sales consultants to try and win back old customers.

Hair Salons

  • Remind clients of upcoming appointments
  • Let clients know if their hairdresser is away and when they will be back at the salon
  • Keep existing staff notified on rosters
  • Used for special client-only promotions

Bars & Clubs

  • Used for creating VIP lists and pushing out special offers
  • Text patrons inside the club to encourage spend
  • Keep teams updated on rosters

Real Estate Agents

  • Generate leads from interested home buyers
  • Notify homebuyers whenever there is a relevant listing
  • Encourage show up rates to open home viewings

Call Centres

  • Text messaging is typically used to reduce call congestion. Simple questions can be answered via SMS rather than taking up a phone line.

Almost any industry can benefit from SMS as long as your potential or existing customer has a mobile phone you can begin a conversation and make an immediate impact on important KPI’s.

 

Advantages of Bulk SMS Solutions

Here are a few of the reasons Australian businesses are looking to bulk SMS and SMS marketing services:

  1. 78% of consumers believe SMS/Text Messaging is fastest way to reach them
  2. 90% of all SMS/Text Messages are read within 3 minutes
  3. SMS campaigns have over 7 times greater performance than email campaigns
  4. 90% of mobile device users who were enrolled in SMS loyalty clubs felt they had benefited from being involved in the program
  5. Coupons delivered via SMS have redemption rates 10 times higher than those of printed coupons
  6. 75% of mobile phones worldwide are enabled to receive SMS/Text Messages
  7. SMS/Text Messaging will surpass apps in importance
  8. 50% of consumers in the U.S. make direct purchases after receiving an SMS branded text/QR code/discount coupon
  9. SMS/Text Message marketing is predicted to contribute a 40% growth rate of revenues by 2019.
  10. 98% of people will open an SMS/Text Message sent to their phone versus 27% of people who will open an email sent to a mobile device

 

What to look for with an SMS Service Provider?

This largely depends on your needs but at the very least you want to look for:

Free Trials and/or Special Offers

Free Trials will let you have a look around but typically the free trial is a little different to the real thing (service limitations) so you actually want to get a little skin in the game, buy the lowest package and see how it works without the limitations.

 

Customer And Tech Support

There will be times where you will need a little help – or sometimes you have an important campaign that needs to be sent yesterday having that customer and tech support is essential to get everything back on track again.

 

API Integration

Integration is not valuable for every company but having the ability to be able to plug all of your technologies together into one platform is handy, everything can be done from one dashboard and there’s no new software to learn. With SMS integration you will be able to literally plug SMS capabilities into your current software (e.g. CRM).

 

Should You Go Cloud-Based or Software-Based?

Cloud-Based is preferred for most businesses because software is limited in terms of:

  • Not being able to integrate into your existing communication eco-system
  • Relies on your computers resources and sending a large number of SMS can be resource hungry creating the potential for a crash – not desirable.
  • Chains you to only the device where the software is installed

What are the advantages of cloud-based SMS platforms?

 

Peace of Mind

Cloud-based SMS platforms run from a giant off-site computer that is designed to do one thing and that is, send bulk SMS messages – so there’s virtually zero chance of any crash happening during even the highest delivery task.

 

Freedom And Flexibility

Business owners and marketing teams also prefer the freedom of logging in to a bulk SMS portal anytime they wish, from any device and from any location in the world as long as there is an internet connection.

 

No Software To Install Or Learn

There’s no software to install and no IT team to wade through manuals learning about how to use it and fix it should the software run into problems.

 

Dedicated Support Teams – no need to troubleshoot on your own

Cloud-based platforms generally have dedicated customer support teams, if you run into a problem, call us up and we handle the rest for you!

 

Which Is The “Best Online Bulk SMS Service Provider?”

This is completely dependent on your goals.

But here are a few things you may want to keep an eye out for.

 

Dedicated Customer & Tech Support

Whenever you have a question or problem you want to be able to pick up the phone and get someone on to it immediately.

 

The Right Features

When it comes to deciding on the best SMS platform you want to make sure you have the right features.

For example:

Are you going to be running questionnaire poles, asking for feedback or engaging in dialogue then you’ll want 2-way SMS.

Do you want to be able to send and receive SMS from your email client? Then you’ll need Email To SMS capabilities.

Different SMS service providers will have different features, it’s important to know what you want so you can make the right decision –don’t just go with the cheapest provider.

Do you have customers internationally? If so, make sure your SMS service provider has an international SMS gateway that gives you overseas coverage.

 

Off-Site Server

You definitely do not want an SMS provider that houses their platform in their office – ideally you want your provider to be using an off-site server which is housed in a high-security, climate controlled environment.

This reduces the chances of the entire platform imploding in on itself.

 

Redundancy Measures

Does your SMS provider have ample redundancy measures in place? In other words, if something does go wrong do they have a backup service that will quickly take over?

 

How To Send A Bulk SMS Online

Send an SMS is incredibly easy.

  1. Log into your bulk SMS portal.
  2. Create a contact group and give it a relevant name.
  3. Upload your contacts to that SMS group either by spreadsheet, copying and pasting them in or adding them in manually.
  4. Select that group.
  5. Type out your SMS message.
  6. Do you want to send it out now or schedule it at a later date?
  7. To send it now click ‘send’ or to send at a later date, open the calendar select the date and time you’d like the message to go out and click ‘ok’.

Within a few seconds your contacts will have received your text messages.

 

Bulk SMS Rates and Prices

There are two basic pricing models:

  1. Monthly subscription (may or may not be contract based)
  2. Prepaid (pay for credits as you require them

 

Monthly Bulk SMS Packages

Monthly subscriptions are good if you know exactly how many text messages you’re going to be sending out – there’s no need to – it’s all automated for you.

If you do go over your allotted limit you will either be charged for additional SMS’s or moved up to the next plan ricing bracket for that month.

 

Prepaid Bulk SMS Packages

Prepaid is perfect for when you have variable SMS sending patterns and you also prefer more control over your account.

There are no monthly obligations or worrying about unused credits – you use the exact amount you need and if you need more you buy more.

Prepaid SMS services may however give you a time frame on when you can use those credits so you will want to find out if your credits expire and inside what timeframe.

 

160.com.au is a Bulk SMS website and service provider that delivers an easy-to-use SMS platform for its clients.

If you would like to learn more about SMSPapa and our services please read our FAQ.

2018 Guide To SMS Marketing [UPDATED]

March 5th, 2018

 SMS Marketing Guide 2018

 

In this SMS Marketing Guide, you learn about why SMS marketing (also referred to as text message marketing) has been slowly picking up steam in recent years, largely due to the way in which it works.

It’s a direct marketing channel that allows you to reach anyone with a mobile phone (smart phone or feature phone).

Few, if any other marketing channels come close to the power of text messaging when it comes to getting the attention of your prospect and having them respond or take a desired action.

In this beginners guide you’ll learn:

  1. Quick Facts About SMS Marketing
  2. What Is SMS Marketing?
  3. What Makes SMS Marketing Different?
  4. SMS Marketing Benefits
  5. What Is Permission-Based Marketing? (and why is it important?)
  6. What are the downsides to text marketing?
  7. SMS features you should be familiar with
  8. SMS Marketing Fundamentals
  9. List Building Basics (how to collect mobile numbers for sms marketing)
  10. Where Do I Start?
  11. The Money Is In The List! – How To Start Building Lists With SMS
  12. 9 Offer Types To Get People To Join Your List
  13. How To Launch An Effective SMS Campaign
  14. A Few Quick Tips
  15. Sending Your SMS Campaign
  16. Measuring The Performance Of Your Campaigns
  17. Summary

 

Quick Facts About SMS

 

 

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS Marketing is a way for businesses and organisations to reach subscribers via their mobile phone message inbox to keep them updated on news or events or to send special offers, coupons, invites and new products.

Businesses love SMS because there is virtually no learning curve in terms of using the technology the only difference is that you’ll send an SMS from computer as ooposed to sending it from your mobile.

While the technical side of SMS marketing is fairly straightforward the marketing side requires a little more thought and is the goal of this guide, by reading this guide you’ll understand the why SMS is different from all other marketing, the fundamentals of SMS and the features you will be using.

 

What Makes SMS Marketing Different?

Imagine an advertising channel where:

  • Customers actually wanted you to send them offers – did you know 75 percent of consumers would like to have special offers sent to them via texting?
  • When it comes to SMS virtually every message you send gets read.
  • Customers not only open your marketing but respond to it within a few minutes. On average, it takes a person 90 minutes to respond to an email, but it only takes 90 seconds for them to respond to a text message.
  • No ad blockers, SPAM filters or algorithm updates that could slap you into oblivion to concern yourself with.

In addition, SMS is not reliant on the rules of the web for example you don’t need to worry about Google algorithm updates, ad blockers or wasting valuable time on ad creatives.

It’s beautifully simple.

SMS is a completely separate channel which is also why it is one of the most powerful.

 

SMS Marketing Benefits

SMS marketing provides an almost endless list of benefits and is becoming an increasingly valuable part of any marketing strategy especially as younger generations (who prefer SMS and social media messaging to phone calls) come into the picture.

  • Increase foot traffic to your business
  • SMS is permission-based, an incredibly important marketing advantage.
  • Increase brand and top-of-mind positioning inside the minds of your customers
  • Create a profitable SMS list which provides a reliable revenue stream
  • Create brand loyalists due to value-added communications
  • Generate bookings and revenue within minutes of sending out an SMS campaign
  • Integrate seamlessly into your existing technology
  • There’s less competition inside a mobile inbox compared to say your email inbox
  • SMS is an instant direct marketing channel that has fast response rates
  • All mobile phones are text-capable you can reach consumers on feature phones (non-smart phones that have the most basic functions)

 

What Is Permission-Based Marketing?

Permission-based marketing simply means that someone has given you explicit permission to communicate with them.

The benefits to permission based marketing are long but the point is, that it makes your job easier whether that be to generate leads, convert more sales or get buy-in on a particular idea.

The flip-side of this coin is what we call “interruption-based” marketing and means that not only do you not have the right to communicate with consumers but they often times don’t want to hear from you.

Because of this, interruption-based marketing suffers from:

  • High rejection rates – think of telemarketers and cold callers
  • Low conversion rates – because your marketing has to start from a “cold” position the chances of conversion drop dramatically.
  • Advertising blindness (your ad not only gets consciously ignored but there are areas inside the brain that will pull your ad away from a person’s consciousness so that they don’t even see it – like a blind spot.
  • High advertising costs – to combat advertising blindness businesses have to run ads dozens of times, there’s saying in marketing: “someone has to see your ad 7 times before it gets noticed” (it’s even more now) well, with SMS you get noticed on the first go.

Interruption style marketing when done right can be incredibly effective but for most it’s a tough, dirty game to play.

How can you turn interruption based marketing around?

Most interruption based marketing (PPC ads for example) fail because it is pushing for the “sale” immediately – just like cold calling it suffers from high rejection because the risk is higher for the potential customer.

Smart marketers find ways to lower the risk and will instead create a PPC ad that offers a piece of relevant, valuable content and then onto a lead capture system i.e. your SMS marketing list which moves you closer to getting the desired outcome – it’s a longer process but the ROI is much higher.

The difference between interruption and permission messaging is night and day.

 

What Are The Downsides To SMS Marketing?

The two main downsides to Text Message Marketing are:

  1. Frequency and;
  2. Reach

Frequency

Frequency is that number of times a person see’s your text message.

Due to the personal nature of mobile it’s tough to contact your subscribers as often as other channels e.g. social media, email marketing because mobile has an incredibly low tolerance for SPAM messaging and can quickly increase your unsubscribe rates.

That said there will be times where you will be able to push the boundaries and increase your frequency rate for example, if you have customers that are responding well to your SMS’s and buying frequently then it may make sense to follow that upward momentum – but be careful.

It’s tempting to hit up your list every time you have a new product, a special offer, new event etc. but you want to make sure that you’re perceived as great copywriting legend Dan Kennedy would say: “a welcomed guest rather than an annoying pest.”

Message customers when you have something great to offer them an you’ll be fine.

 

Reach (at least in the beginning)

The other downside to SMS marketing is that your reach is limited by the amount of people on your list.

If you only have 100 people on your mobile marketing list then, your reach is only 100.

The upside to this problem of reach is that the people on your contact list are highly responsive, you’ll find the ROI to be a lot higher and as you begin to grow that list through consistent promotion you’ll be building an incredibly profitable business asset.

 

What about the 160 character limit?

Some SMS marketers will say that the 160 character limited is a downside but I disagree, it forces advertisers to create short compelling messaging – the problem with email is that there are no character limits so you can fall into the trap of thinking that the reader has the time and attention span to read every word – not true – customers need you to get to the point quickly.

This focus on tight messaging pays off greatly in other areas of the selling and marketing your solutions as well.

 

SMS Features That You Should Be Familiar With

Bulk SMS

Bulk SMS allows you to send out a large number of SMS messages instantly which will be received by the recipients within minutes.

 

Keyword Opt-in

List building is the engine room for SMS marketing – often referred to as “contact lists” this allows you to not only build profitable subscriber lists but also segment them into meaningful groups. We’ll take a closer look at this shortly.

 

2-Way Messaging

2-Way messaging allows you to create a conversation with your contacts; our clients will use these for customer service feedback, polls, a confirmation etc.

 

Email To SMS

Email to SMS allows you to send SMS from any email platform whether it’s inside a CRM, cloud-based like Gmail or software based like Microsoft Outlook. Used with 2-Way messaging you can send and receive SMS through email.

 

SMS Integration

SMS integration (SMS API) simply means adding SMS capabilities to your existing software. For example, if you use a CRM then by using our API you can now send SMS from your CRM platform.

 

Concatenated SMS Messages

This allows you to send long SMS messages beyond 160 characters up to 450 in one message. This means that the recipient will receive one long message instead of 3 separate 160 character messages.

Keep in mind that this will use 3 credits instead of one (one credit = 1 x 160 character message)

 

2FA – Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication is mostly used by companies where security is a major area of importance like banks, companies with large customer databases etc.

2FA requires that a person enter their mobile number into a website, they are then sent a special one-time code, and they then enter that code into the website.

You’ve most likely gone through this process when sending money overseas through your online banking account.

 

Opt-Out

When people on your list have no need for what you offer or no longer wish to receive messages from you they can easily opt-out. Always have an opt-out option on every message for two main reasons:

  1. SMS SPAM laws
  2. Reduce costs: keep your lists lean with buyers this reduces costs and improves overall ROI.

 

Contact Groups

This can be one or multiple groups. It is highly advised that you create separate contact groups if you serve a market with different needs. If you sell different products then it may not be a good idea to send a bulk SMS out to the whole group instead you’d want to send a specific product offer to the group that is most likely to response and purchase.

 

Name Merging

By entering in a special short code like #name# our SMS system will insert the person’s name into the text message. This can only happen if you have the person’s name on the contact list.

 

Automated SMS

Automation is a great feature because it allows you to set up campaigns or reminders in advance and then let the system take care of the rest.

You can schedule by specific time, day of the week and date.

 

Customised Sender ID

This feature allows you to send text messages using your brand name instead of a mobile number.

 

SPAM Compliance

Never start an SMS campaign unless you’re clear around what you can and can’t do, here’s a reference guide.

 

SMS Template

Not a necessity however it does at least two things:

  1. Speeds up messaging
  2. Helps you create a collection of proven successful templates.

 

SMS Marketing Fundamentals

The success of SMS relies on your subscriber list.

The better your list is, the more results you can generate from it.

What does “better” mean exactly?

By this I mean that you have cleansegmented lists filled with targeted leads and customers.

 

What do I mean by “clean”?

Every time you send out an SMS campaign it costs money and the larger your lists grow the higher the spend and also the higher the amount of non-buyers.

To keep your costs lean it’s important to have a clear “opt-out” function so that people can easily remove themselves from your list if they no longer wish to receive messages from you.

 

Segmentation (contact group lists)

Segmentation is the key to blockbuster SMS campaigns.

The worst mistake you can make with SMS is placing all of your contacts inside one giant list.

There are two reasons for this:

1. It’s expensive. People join your list for different reasons and because of this they’re only interested in specific offers and updates. Sending out an offer to people who would never convert into a sale is a waste of money.

2. Sending irrelevant offers to people is considered spam and will likely increase your unsubscribe rate.

Instead you want to have multiple contact group lists which target specific interests, demographics, solution goals etc.

The reason for this is that when you create a targeted offer you’ll be able to send it to a group of people who are pre-interested, pre-motivated and predisposed to accepting that offer.

For example:

A fitness club has members who are interested in vastly different things so they may put together the following contact groups:

  1. Crossfit
  2. Body Building
  3. Runners
  4. Powerlifting
  5. Yoga
  6. Circuit
  7. Dance
  8. Leads for sales team

You can see how having all of these groups jammed into one giant list would be a problem right?

Sending an offer about cross-fit training would not do well if we sent it out to the entire list it would to unsubscribe city!

List segmentation is essential for improving conversion rates.

 

List Building Basics (How to collect mobile numbers for SMS marketing)

In order to start building lists you need:

  • Keyword
  • Shortcode
  • Contact group

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a short word that people will reply back to you with and will automatically add that person to a segmented contact group.

What is a shortcode?

A shortcode is simply a short phone number that people will text that keyword back to.

What is a contact group?

A contact group is the specific contact group that you wish to add new subscribers i.e. the people who texted the keyword back to you.

Text “crossfitwraps” to 12345 to get your free wrist wraps.

Anyone who is interested in crossfit will be added to the crossfit contact group.

 

How To Start Building Lists With SMS

Building a list in the SMS world is incredibly easy and straightforward.

The first step is to create a contact group to place our subscribers into.

All you need to do is create a contact group and give it a name that will help you easily identify that group.

 

Step 1: Create Your Offer

The strength of your offer will largely determine the amount of new leads or customers you will receive.

Don’t be timid with your offer, make it irresistible!

The job of the offer is not necessarily to make a profit on day one but to help you collect as many mobile numbers as you can so that you can sell to those people for months for even years ahead.

In terms of constructing an offer it can be anything as long as the people that you’re targeting will find it difficult to not give you their mobile number.

However I’ve outlined 9 offer structures to give you a jump start:

 

 1. Time Sensitive Offers

It is said that one of the greatest inventions man came up with was the deadline – I agree. Deadlines are great for getting people to take action and should be included into most of your offers – if not a time sensitive offer then a quantitty-based offer i.e. “limited stock”.

All items in store are 25% off until midnight tonight.

 

 2. Price Offers

Reduced price offers are another popular choice – this is good if you have a good upsell process in place.

Take 10% off when you use this coupon code at checkout.

 

 3. Product Offers

Target a specific product or range.

Take 20% off our menswear with this coupon code.

 

 4. Bundle Offers

Instead of selling a pair of pants offer a complete suite. Be sure to mention the savings if bought separately.

Men’s business suites 20% off with this coupon code.

 

 5. Geo-Based Offers

Target offers aimed at people in specific locations. If you’re selling higher end range of product then you may target subscribers who live in more affluent neighbourhoods first.

Use this coupon code to take 15% off your purchase at our Springfield branch.

 

 6. Pre-Sell Offers

Sometimes you want to test new products, but before you can directly “sell” to them you have to warm them up first with some content. If you’re a retail store but you’re looking at hiring stylists that can put your whole wardrobe together then you may try something like:

Learn how to buy a complete new wardrobe for only $150 see this exclusive training.

 

 7. Free Gift Offer

Use this to incentivize purchases.

Buy X and get Y Free valued at $99.

 

 8. Referral Offer

Great for growing your subscriber list.

Refer a friend and get 50% off.

 

 9. Piggy Back Offer

Use this only with businesses that you know have a golden reputation and that your list will actually appreciate. You always want to be a like an over-protective brother with your SMS marketing list.

Buy X and get 50% Off at company Y

 

Step 2: Create your contacts list

Once you have your contact group group created it’s now time think of the keyword that you wish to use and the short-code you want to assign it to, for example:

Text “gimme50” to 12345 to get 50% off your main course.

‘gimme50’ is the keyword and ‘12345’ is the short-code.

Now that you’ve got your keyword and short-code you assign it to your contact list.

Everything is set!

When someone keys in the keyword and sends it to the short-code they are then placed into the new contact group you created.

Now you can follow up with this person whenever you like.

 

Step 3: Promote: Where will you distribute this keyword opt-in offer

This step is important as you want to drive as many people into your list as possible which means getting as many eyes on your offer as you can.

Add this to your current marketing activities and channels:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Website
  • Point of purchase
  • Sandwich board
  • Pamphlets

You want to drive this promotion as hard as you can so you can get as many leads or customers onto your list.

Once you have the names on your list you will now be able to drive sales from them long after this promotion has ended.

NOTE: If you’re driving them to a landing page then make sure you have it built and tested for mobile use.

Make sure that your landing page is lightning fast, studies show that for every second a web page loads your conversions drop by 7%.

Slow page loading times in the mobile world are a killer.

 

How To Launch An Effective SMS Campaign

Now that you’re starting to build your list you’ll want to plan your first Online SMS campaign.

At this stage it’ll be quite simple since you only have one list but over time you’ll have many lists so it’s important to keep your messaging tight in terms of relevancy.

To give your campaign the highest chance of success you want to make sure that you’re sending the…

…Right offer to the right person.

Nothing will increase your unsubscribes faster than sending offers or information to people who have no interest in it.

Segmentation will help you in this area.

You can create contact list segments around things like:

  • Buying history
  • Opt-in offer
  • Location
  • Gender etc.

Segmentation helps you plan your campaigns more effectively.

 

A Few Quick Tips

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when launching a text campaign. We go deeper into this topic on our blog post 16 tips to set your SMS marketing on fire in 2018 but I’ll go over a few of them here.

 

 1. Set The Rules Of Engagement

How do you want the relationship to work?

When someone joins your list, send them an SMS that outlines what they can expect from you, it could be things like:

How often you’ll be communicating with them

What kinds of messages you will be sending (offers, updates etc)

 

letting them know how often you will be communicating with them and/or what to expect from you.

You don’t have to try and fit this into a single 160 character text, use the concatenated message feature up to 450 characters.

 

2. Lead with value

Don’t’ be a pest. Only contact them with something valuable so they’re always looking out for your SMS’s. This is where group segmentation  comes in handy – by sending only relevant information or offers to specific groups of people your messages will always be welcomed.

 

3. Personalize

It’s not always necessary to include the person’s name, I mean, do you message your friends beginning with their first name?

If you look at your message inbox the messages in there are really just a continuation of an ongoing conversation, right?

Think in the same terms – create an ongoing conversation.

I do recommend that early in the relationship that you use their name but then just assume the relationship.

 

4. Have A Clear Unsubscribe Option

Never be afraid to end the relationship, keep your list full with only buyers and qualified leads – lose the rest. Always make it easy for non-buyers to exit your list by telling them how they can opt-out for example:

“STOP” to op-out

 

5. Clear Call To Action

At the conclusion of your message…tell them exactly what you want them to do next.

 

6. Mobile Friendly Pages

Make sure your landing pages are mobile friendly and load fast (less than 3 seconds).

 

7. Urgency

Use urgency where necessary, the goal is to get the recipient to take an action so if it makes sense to apply pressure then do so.

 

8. Track Performance

You need to know what’s working so make sure you’re tracking the performance of each campaign.

 

9. Segment Your Lists

It’s worth mentioning again how important segmentation is – there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” in marketing, especially with SMS.

 

Sending Your SMS Campaign

 

Log in to your SMS portal:

Click on your “contacts”

Select your contact group

 

Select the recipients you want to send the SMS campaign to and click “put selected contacts as recipients”

 

Type out your message (or use a template)

Click “Send SMS” or if you want to schedule for later the click on the “please send my SMS another time” and it will open up a calendar for you to schedule your campaign.

Within the next few minutes everyone will receive your SMS message.

 

Measuring The Performance Of Your Campaigns

Now that your SMS marketing campaign has been sent it’s important to create good habits, that is, tracking your numbers.

This may not seem exciting but it is essential to growth.

By carefully tracking data, you’ll spot trends that you can use to generate more sales, reduce unsubscribes, grow your opt-ins etc.

Here are 10 metrics that you may want to track:

  1. List growth rate (subscription rate): How many people are joining your lists daily, weekly, monthly, annually?
  2. Unsubscribe Rate: How many unsubscribes do you get daily, weekly, monthly, annually? Know what your base line numbers are here so you can see how different campaigns affect those numbers.
  3. Join/Unsubscribe Ratio: Ratios are a great way to see what is happening at a glance. During the month of January how many people joined X list vs. how many people unsubscribed?
  4. Attribution: What marketing channels are contributing to your list growth? Also, if possible, uncover which marketing channels are delivering you the best quality opt-ins.
  5. List Size: Is your list size growing, shrinking or staying the same?
  6. List value: Knowing what your list is worth to your company is essential, it could be an invaluable asset worth $1,000’s or $10,000’s per year or more.
  7. Revenue Per Subscriber: Another good metric to be aware of is your revenue per subscriber. If the revenue value of each subscriber is dropping then it could mean you have too many unresponsive subscribers on your list and that you need to do some house cleaning (removing people who are unresponsive to your SMS’s)
  8. Conversion rate: Always a good metric to know. Of the people who responded to your SMS message how many of them converted into a sale?
  9. Response rate: How many people are responding to your offers?
  10. SMS Lifecycle: How long do people stay on your list before unsubscribing? Is it worth finding ways to extend the offer? If you sell baby products, do you then find ‘toddler’ products or services to sell (e.g. affiliate sales for another company who sells to that age group?) and create a list around that?

 

Summary

When it comes to SMS marketing there are 4 main areas that you need to master:

  1. List Building: The money is in the list
  2. Revenue Generation: Send irresistible offers to build lists quickly
  3. Housekeeping: Keep your list clean from non-buyers to increase ROI
  4. Metrics: Track your numbers for continuous growth

Want to see more tips on SMS marketing? Read our “16 Pro Tips For SMS Marketing” article.

 

 

 

7 Ways Schools Can Use SMS Services

February 2nd, 2018

SMSHow schools benefit from SMS services.

SMS messaging is one of the key methods schools use to keep parents and students updated on what’s going on either with a particular child or school related activities.

What makes SMS such a powerful communication tool?

  1. Reach: you can send a single SMS or a thousand.
  2. Open rate: people open their text messages.
  3. Speed: from the moment a text is sent to that message being delivered is literally seconds.

SMS has also become a lot more advanced making it similar to email but more powerful because of how it’s delivered to the recipient.

Below are 7 ways schools can use the power SMS services to optimise their communication channels:1. Weather and emergency alerts

1. Weather and emergency alerts

SMS weather alerts are especially good in climates where the roads can ice or snow over leading to cancellations or a change in transportation times tables. Fast communication is essential in an emergency and SMS plays a critical role here too.

2. Parent-teacher meetings

Letters and email are often times too slow a medium to updates parents or teachers on a change of time. SMS not only allows a faster response time it can also be scheduled to a specific time and date to remind parents of the meeting – this automation also, frees the teacher up to focus on other activities.

3. Exam reminders and updates

Exam information can easily be sent to students updating them on location, date, time and extra course materials needed for that day.

4. New student recruitment

SMS can be an effective enrolment tool to help students quickly orientate themselves into their new surroundings.

Using the scheduling and automation features you can send pre-programmed pieces of information letting them know the location of important areas, where to find information on classes, who is teaching those classes, extra materials, transportation to and from school etc.

5. Urgent updates and messages

Whenever there is an urgent update or emergency SMS really shines because it’s the most efficient and effective way to update an almost unlimited number of people simultaneously.

6. Staff updates

Internal communications benefit greatly with SMS it’s easy for teachers to stay in the loop with updates regarding student absenteeism, changes in class materials or recent events that may require internal process change.

Begin a Free Trial and see how easy it is!

 

How Restaurants Can Create Customers On Demand With SMS Marketing

February 1st, 2018

Empty Restaurant?

The competition among restaurants is incredibly high, not just between each other but with the consumer as well.

After a long day at work most people just want to get home, switch on some bad reality TV show and heat up last nights dinner.

When I was learning about marketing I was told to never underestimate how hard it is to get people to travel outside their cave.

In this post I’m going to share how SMS can be used to (quite literally) generate customers on demand.

 

Seizing the attention of the customer

Before you can get a customer, you must first capture their attention.

How do most restaurants go about capturing attention?

 

Facebook

In a recent post by Digiday they had a headline that read:

‘Organic reach on Facebook is dead’:
Advertisers expect price hikes after Facebook’s feed purge

That’s grim.

They went on to say that Facebook organic reach has been as low as 2%!

That means when you throw up a post on FB to 1,000 followers 20 people will see it.

For that strategy to start making sense, you’ll need to get 5k to 10k followers to allow for 98% of your followers to completely miss your post.

 

Sandwich board

I like sandwich boards but the problem is you have to rely on customers remembering your message during their busy and stressful work day.

 

Website

In order for a website to work you have to bank on your potential customer to:

  1. Decide that they want to eat out
  2. Decide on what cuisine they feel like
  3. See you on the first page of Google search
  4. See what the other 9 guys on that page have got
  5. Hopefully you’ve got good reviews
  6. Call in to book
  7. Sit in traffic
  8. Drive around looking for a park

Have you ever thought about the tortured process a person must go through before they sit down at a restaurant? Well they think about it.

Later on in this post I mention how important it is to put together an irresistible offer not just to remove the competitive threat but to move the customer to want to come and see you.

 

Why SMS is a power tool for restaurant owners

Imagine being able to talk to people who have either:

  1. Already eaten at your restaurant
  2. Have shown an interest in eating at your restaurant

Sound good?

  • Unlike Facebook you will reach every single person on your list.
  • Unlike sandwich boards you will be able to remind them of your offer at any point in the day.
  • Unlike your website you use a preemptive strategy, that is you don’t wait for them to start searching, you reach out to them first!

 

SMS Marketing For Restaurants

First thing is first you have to build a list of customers – much you may have done with building a Facebook following.

Some people think that this is hassle but that’s only because they miss the bigger picture which is, you’re not “building a following” you’re building a business asset that will drive revenue straight into your restaurant whenever you need.

Step 1: Choose a reliable SMS provider.

Step 2: Decide on an irresistible offer that people will love!

Step 3: Choose a special keyword (you may want to tie it to the offer) and short code (ask your provider for both of these things) for example:

Text “gimme20” (this is your special keyword)
to 12345 (this is your short code)
and receive 20% of your total bill.

Step 4: Create a contact group (acts exactly like a contact group on your mobile phone) to place these people into.

Now that you have these elements in place, whenever someone texts your special code to your short code number they will automatically be added to your contact list for you to text later!

 

Aggressive Promotion

This part is crucial.

It’s time to promote your SMS list everywhere you can so that you can quickly fill up your list with potential customers, for example:

  • Facebook & other social media channels
  • Website
  • Sandwich board
  • Flyers
  • POS
  • Customers who are already in your restaurant etc.

Everywhere you can you’ll want to promote this channel.

As your list grows you will be able to send more customers your way.

 

Customers Respond Fast To SMS

Due to the nature of SMS when someone receives a text message they tend to look at who texted them very quickly and people will often respond to SMS messages rather quickly, 90 seconds.

What this means is that you can expect to start receiving table bookings not long after the recipient has read your message.

Below are a few tips on how to get the most from SMS marketing, if you want to see a more in depth guide then read our 2018 Guide To SMS Marketing or our 16 Power SMS Marketing Tips post

 

5 SMS Marketing Tips For Restaurants

1. Use your restaurant name in the SMS message.

Do not leave this out.

Lead with your offer; tell them who you are and how to redeem and where to find you.

Better yet use your brand name instead of your phone number so you don’t use up valuable character space inside your message.

 

2. Strong offer

Don’t come with something weak like 10% off your main – that’s boring and will get ignored.

Your customer receives offers from all angles all day long from other businesses.

If you’re going to make an offer – make ’em an offer they can’t refuse.

If it is dinner time roll out the red carpet and give them a starter + main + dessert or cheeseboard for 30% off or make one of those dishes free.

The offer must be good to snap them out of their daily fog.

In marketing circles, this is often referred to as a “lead magnet”.

The goal of the lead magnet is to get people into your sales funnel (in this case your restaurant) so you can convert and upsell.

 

3. Urgency

If you’ve got the right target audience and the right offer, urgency will motivate them to pick up the phone to book a table.

Place a strict limit on availability, or specials etc.

Next…

 

4. Make the customer the hero (and collect more mobile numbers)

People rarely eat alone, if you’re putting on an amazing special they’re going to want to bring at least one other person or maybe a battalion of eager foodies.

Why?

• People love to socialise over food, and;
• They also enjoy a little kudos from their peers for selecting a good restaurant.

The next step is where most amateur restauranteurs drop the ball.

Your service must be excellent.

You’ve invested money to get them into your establishment so you must create an environment that is conducive to making sales.

When people are treated well and are having a good time they will spend more.

Not only that but if you ask them for a small favour, whether it be to leave a review or share with friends on social media they will be more likely to comply with those requests.

Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence” called this the law of reciprocity.

When you do a good deed for someone, they will return the favour often times by multiples of what you initially gave them.

You already gave the table a strong discount and treated them with excellent service.

Now you want to ask them for their mobile numbers so you can place them on your VIP members list.

If asking makes you uncomfortable, have a table piece that promotes your mobile only VIP member offer.

The reason you sent out the offer wasn’t just to fill up tables, it was to get more people onto your mobile list.

If each person brings in 2 other people on average you have an opportunity to double to triple your list.

 

5. The ‘Thank You’ SMS

Send your customer a simple “thank you” text and include another offer if you like.

 

Final Takeaways

  • The money is in the list! By having a list of interested potentials and existing customers you don’t need to rely on hope and pray style marketing to drive business – all you need to do is write a message and send it out, within a few minutes to an hour you’ll start filling up those empty tables.
  • SMS is an incredibly direct advertising medium as it goes right to the intended person but it also has an incredibly high open and read rate.
  • Sending out offers on Facebook? Facebook has recently changed its approach making Facebook more family-friendly and less business-friendly before only 1% of people would see your posts who knows what that will be now.
  • Send out offers via email? That’s good too but with an open rate of 20% to 30%, and a click-through rate of 3-7% you’re still leaving an enormous amount of opportunity on the table.
  • SMS has a whopping 98% open rate and around 37% click-through rate making it (currently) the strongest advertising platform.
  • Treat these customers with excellent service to reduce unsubscribes and to drive more people onto your SMS list.

 

160.com.au can help your restaurant drive new customers by letting you grow your own V.I.P SMS list with our feature-packed SMS solutions.

• Create custom lists (i.e. fine dining, corporate, cooking classes, special events etc.)

• Use special sign-up codes to automate customer segments: E.g. a person interested in a wine tasting event texts 888 to ‘winetaste’ and is automatically added to the wine tasting SMS list. When the event comes around you send out your SMS to that list only.

• Schedule SMS’s to go out based on special promotions – schedule your SMS’s and watch the bookings come in!

• Cloud-based service. No need to install software, just log in to our website using any device type out your message, select the group that will receive your SMS and hit send.

• Get replies from customers with 2-Way SMS.

• Send SMS’s from your email software or any business software that has email capabilities.

• Built-in opt-out feature for those who want to unsubscribe from your list.

Plus more…

Want to see how it all works?

Begin your Free Trial and have a go at sending SMS messages.