Exciting new customers with SMS marketing helps you maximize your database as well as your sales.

Enticing new customers with SMS marketing is simple — or is it? Many (other) SMS service providers will tell you all you have to do is set up an SMS account, advertise a particular offer that people can only respond to by SMS, and the new customers will come rolling in. If it were that easy, everybody would be bringing new customers with SMS marketing. But they´re not.

The reasons why everybody is not pulling new customers with SMS marketing are varied. Some companies do not involve in B2C marketing. Others have a business profile that would not be cooperative with bulk texting, or products that would not be appropriate for a mass market. For some businesses, their target audience might consider SMS marketing too invasive.

However, the most common reason for businesses failing to acquire new customers with text message marketing is that they are repeating the most commonly made mistakes — mistakes that are going to be illustrate throughout this article. First, an explanation of how attracting new customers with SMS marketing is supposed to work.

How to Obtain New Customers with Text Message Marketing

The first step of what many SMS service providers tell you about attracting new customers with SMS marketing is correct. You have to set up a bulk SMS service account. Once you have an established database of customers, you will be able to communicate with your existing customers through the bulk texting account with promotions, surveys, and loyalty programs. But for now, the focus on how to procure new customers with text message marketing.

In order to acquire new customers with SMS marketing, you frequently have to offer an incentive for them to send you an SMS service message and opt into your text marketing service. This is often in the form of advertising a special offer that people can only respond to by SMS, and usually involves inviting consumers to text a “keyword” to a “shortcode” in return for a coupon or special offer. When customers respond to your advertisement, they receive a coupon, redeem the coupon, and become a new customer.

You have probably seen many models of how companies acquire new customers with text message marketing using this method. This method works well provided that you have an easy-to-remember keyword, an easy-to-remember shortcode, and that the directions are clear. Here is an example of one of the most famous commonly-made mistakes where the company failed to make the instructions clear. It comes from a source you would think should know better:

In 2011, Pepsi Max ran a “Field of Dreams” competition in which the winner was welcomed with ten of their friends to play a six-innings baseball game against a team of MLB legends. In order to opt-into the competition, consumers were invited to text “PEPSIMAX” to 710710. Unluckily, many people sent their text with the quotation marks included, and their entries never registered. Not only was this bad PR for the company, but it also refused Pepsi Max the opportunity to maximize its marketing database.

More about Keywords and Short Codes

Keywords and shortcodes have to be instantly memorable. Prospects may be passing a billboard in a car when they notice your advertisement or may hear it on the radio when they do not have their cellphones on hand. Analysis has shown that people will forget or confuse difficult keywords and shortcodes within five seconds. Consequently, the most suitable keywords to use are short, familiar, and only use the twenty-six letters in the alphabet (no numbers or special characters).

Businesses have a choice over the shortcodes they can use. They can either use the shared short code allocated to them by their service provider or pay extra for a dedicated shortcode. SMS service providers try to make it easy for clients to remember and serve simple codes to share. However, sharing a short code limits what keywords are available to you, because other shared short code clients may already be using them.

Infrequently is this a problem. There are enough words in the English language to communicate a special deal in more than one way. However, if the unavailability of specific keywords will affect your ability to acquire new customers with text message marketing, it may be to your advantage to pay extra for a dedicated short code – preferably a “vanity” dedicated shortcode to ensure it is memorable, rather than a random dedicated shortcode that can be any combination of five or six digits.

Where to Advertise your Keywords and Short Codes

If you are trying to collect new customers with SMS marketing, your keywords and shortcodes should be advertised everywhere. Companies that have a brick-and-mortar premise should advertise their keywords and shortcodes inside and outside of their premises. “In-store, on-demand coupons” have a retrieval rate of between 70% and 80% – nearly twice the redemption rate of “out-of-store” coupons, and up to eight times the redemption rate of coupons attached to emails.

More Tips for Attracting New Customers with SMS Marketing

As mentioned earlier about using keywords that are short, familiar, and only use the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, but it is also important to choose which keywords you use carefully. If, for example, you are a beauty salon advertising a discount on “Trim Tuesday” over the radio, you should not use the keyword HAIR. This could be misspelled as HARE or misheard as HERE, HEAR or even HOYA depending on your accent. The same would apply to any word that is frequently misspelled.

You also need to be careful about some vanity dedicated shortcodes. It may be cool to have a numeric sequence that spells out the name of your business, but there may be other interpretations of that same numeric sequence. For example, if you own the Shintu Health and Fitness Center, the numeric sequence 744688 spells the word SHINTU on a cellphone keypad. However, the numeric sequence 744688 can also spell PIGOUT – not such a great idea for a health and fitness center.

While you’re carrying on your SMS marketing strategy, it is important to keep in mind the SMS mistakes and plan your campaigns with care and caution.

The final tip for pulling new customers with SMS marketing is to keep monitoring your responses, review your studs in engagement, and your churn rate (the percentage at which customers opt-out of your service). Then adjust your text message marketing campaign as necessary. It could be that a different keyword would help you acquire new customers with text message marketing. It may be your selection of shortcodes, or you may have to change your incentive for attracting new customers with SMS marketing.

Hopefully, this data has given you a better sense of what SMS marketing is and what it can do for you. If you’ve been on the wall about using it, consider starting a small SMS campaign to see how it suits your business and target audience.