July 27th, 2015

How often to text message your customersHow often to use text message marketing

Do you know how often your business should text? Determining the frequency of messaging for your SMS campaign can be a challenge for marketers. At Momares, we usually recommend sending texts once per week (twice a week at most). However, the frequency of messaging in your campaign may vary slightly, depending on your requirements. Here are some things to consider when you are trying to determine how often to text your marketing list.

How frequently will a customer act on your offer?

As you consider the frequency, think about how often your customer will be able to take advantage of the promotions you offer. How often do they buy your product or service? A restaurant, for example, might text more frequently than a travel agency. The customer may not actually need or be able to buy what you’re offering until a certain amount of time has passed.

Is your campaign timely and relevant?

Evaluate your campaign to improve the relevance of your messages with regard to time, location and the potential for engagement. If you’re planning an SMS campaign with the goal of building brand equity, it’s important to ensure your campaign engages users effectively.

Try to avoid interrupting users at a time that may not be situationally appropriate and consider whether users will respond negatively to frequent texts. If you think they might, it would best to send text messages less frequently.

Frequency doesn’t have to remain the same

Keep in mind that the frequency of messaging doesn’t have to remain the same. Review your analytics data or converted sales to determine when buyers are more or less likely to buy.

As a result, you can send messages more frequently during the months when you think customers are likely to buy and less frequently during slow months. Conversely, you can do the opposite and send more promotions during slow months to motivate customers to buy.

Balance is important in SMS campaigns

To have an effective SMS campaign, you have to strike a balance between texting often enough that users will remember they signed up for messages, but not so often they decide to unsubscribe from your marketing list. This is why we often suggest texting once a week.

Contact us for help with setting up your (SMS) text message marketing.






June 9th, 2015

Every day, a growing number of your customers are interacting with you by mobile phone.  They’re not just calling your business, but also visiting your website, speaking to you on social media and redeeming your offers… all on mobile.

Are you speaking to your customer on mobile?

It’s time to cater to your customer’s preference for mobile. And one great way to do that is with text message marketing. It happens to be a great time to start text messaging for various reasons. Here’s why…

Infographic-Why-Text-Message-Marketing-sm

 

Infographic-5-reasons-cover2






June 1st, 2015
how_to_rent_to_own_2

We say Rent to Won! Yes, won.

How much do you depend on others to reach your customers?

You may have heard…

  • Facebook is going to “balance” the content your fans see from your brand.
  • If your website is not mobile friendly, Google will not show it in mobile search results.
  • Comcast complains about Rob Lowe’s Direct TV ads, which then get pulled by the networks.
  • Twitter bans live broadcasting app Meerkat then launches its own app, Periscope, for live broadcasting.
  • NHL bans Twitter’s Periscope app from streaming live coverage inside arenas.
  • And the list goes on and on

What would happen if the platforms or networks you depend on to reach your customers block your access or start charging you for access?

The examples above show case after case of what happens when marketers depend too heavily on “channel partners” for access.

In an ever co-dependent digital marketing landscape, marketers need to secure control of their assets, channels, and customer information. This is all important to help drive marketing decisions.

Grab Every Opportunity to Capture Customer Information

At every opportunity, whether you buy ads or reach customers online, you should get customer information and permission to reach them via direct channels that are within your control. Channels like email or text messages, for example. You “rent to won” your customers.

I can’t predict the future, but companies get bought or sold and internet services close quickly. What happens when Facebook fans migrate to other platforms (remember My Space or Friendster) as we see happening with Generation Z? What happens when your hard-earned marketing channels shift or close on you? Or when paid advertising budgets get cut? How do you reach your customers then?

Owning Your Media Channels

For marketers, owning the media channel and having customer data are key to cutting risk and reducing your dependency on third parties. With your own channel, you will always have access to your customers, regardless of platform or trend.

Channels you can own:

  • Mail: you can always send out mail pieces if you collect their addresses
  • Email: you can always email them as long as you have their email address and permission
  • Telephone: you can call them if you have their phone number and permission
  • Text (SMS): you can always text them with their mobile number and permission

How to Build and Own Your Media Channel?

All you need to start building your own channel is a simple web form and a good reason for customers to complete it. A good reason like entering a sweepstakes, downloading a white paper, getting an instant coupon or free item, etc. Give your prospective customer’s a good reason to exchange their information and grant their permission and you will be building your own channel, winning over your customers and gaining control and access to them.

Paid and earned media are important, but the media channels you own are vital to your long term success. Use initiatives not only to advertise and reach out, but to also capture data and gain permission from prospects for your direct channels. Then you will always be able to reach them without depending on a third party.

I’d love to hear what you think in a comment or email us at support@momares.com






May 19th, 2015

Is your business marketing smartwatch ready?

With Apple’s newest “it” product hitting the market, it’s a good time to look at how smartwatches and wearables might offer new marketing opportunities.

As marketers, we must be forward-thinking, right? Let’s first consider how smartwatches might affect consumer behavior.

  • Real time all the time?
    We already check our smartphones up to 150 times a day. How much more often will we check when we don’t need to dive into a pocket or purse? If you just angle the wrist and swipe, responses will be immediate and in real time.
  • If you think we have short attention spans now…
    Short messaging will reach a new max of tiny proportions. As Computer World said, it’s “all the news that’s fit to squish”… on a 38 or 42mm screen. The New York Times is creating one-sentence stories for smartwatches. Businesses going after this market will have to adapt as well.

With that in mind, here are a few smartwatch options we find exciting for marketers…

Wearable Ads

According to Bloomberg, wearable ads have begun and are tied to the wearer’s usage. If you have an app, you might allow a sponsored ad for a few seconds, as the Golfshot app did.  Your customized message can also be tied to a location, event or time. Deliver an ad after a person arrives at the airport, for example, or send an ad/coupon while they’re in a mall. The challenge is to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Text Message Alerts or Coupons

Text messages are read within minutes of arrival on a smartphone and that time will be even shorter on a smartwatch. This is great for us as our text messages will get immediate attention. Think of the applications for events, limited-time sales offers, flash sales, coupons and more. Text messages can cater to that immediacy and can also have more visual impact with images and links.

Customer Service Notifications & Perks on your Smartwatch

Book a room at a Starwood Hotel and you’ll get a confirmation with a keyless entry code on your smartwatch. You’ll only have to hold it up to the door pad to unlock your room. Lufthansa also offers an app to use the watch as a boarding pass.

You can also use it to charge purchases, find out when invoices are paid and get productivity reminders for team projects. As these examples show, the possibilities for business-related alerts and perks are nearly limitless.

Whether you use a smartwatch or not, it’s worth watching this trend for potential opportunities. The Apple Watch is sure to lift the wearables market as it did with smartphones and we’re eager to see what happens.

We’ll help you keep an eye on future trends and new uses in mobile marketing. Contact us for help with text message marketing.

(Apple Watch is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr)






April 28th, 2015
image_marcos

I met respected futurist, Salim Ismail, at the Exponential Technologies & Exponential Organizations seminar at Miami Dade College.

I like to think I’m an amateur futurist. I’m optimistic and involved with technology daily. I’m also on a team that creates tech solutions to marketing problems, so when I get a chance to hear someone speak about the future, I sign right up. That was the case this past month when my friends at Rokk3r Labs brought in Salim Ismail, author of Exponential Organizations, to talk about the future at a recent event at Miami Dade College’s Idea Center.

Here are a few things he said we can expect in the future:

(Note: Some of these don’t have sources, but are nuggets mentioned that I found interesting, thought provoking and inspiring.)

  • According to Salim, we won’t need to own cars. All cars will be provided by Uber-like services, so in the future, you won’t own one, you’ll just schedule a pick up.
  • The Google Self-Driving Car is so responsive and aware of its surroundings that it’s almost impossible for it to get in an accident. Here’s the Oatmeal’s take on riding in one.
  • DNA sequencing is getting cheaper. Currently, a full genome (complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome a single time) is approaching $1000 per read. In ten years, it should cost about one penny. In the future, your toilet will be able to give you your full genetic read out.
  • We are two years away from writing DNA. There’s a team at Harvard University working to bring back extinct woolly mammoths. Jurassic Park anyone?
  • Remember the genetically modified glow in the dark cat? One of the issues with genetic modification is how to teach the next generation the ethical implications of the practice.
  • An artist creates faces from DNA left in public. More…
  • Xprize Foundation is creating a competition for an Artificial Intelligence app physician that you could access from your smartphone. The AI smartphone physician has to beat or meet the diagnosis of 10 board-certified physicians.
  • Solar power is doubling each year. In the near future, solar power will be cheaper than producing energy on the grid.
  • All of the energy created in the world (with oil, coal, gas, etc.) added together would only amount to 5 days of solar energy.
  • Germany is almost 50% solar powered. More…
  • Think of the potential for solar energy exports. Consider that some of the poorest countries in the world are also the sunniest.
  • Technology is eroding our privacy and 4th amendment rights (right to privacy). The constitution, much like software, could use an upgrade.
  • By the time you finish your master’s degree in technology, your knowledge will be out of date.
  • We are in the best and safest time to be alive in the history of mankind.
  • With all of the emoticons (emotion icons) or emojis being used in our writing and texting, linguists say we are better at expressing emotions in our (text) messages. At Momares “We ”
  • The first generation of internet companies stored data (Google). The second generation of internet companies shared data (Facebook). The third generation of internet companies will share, but not store data (Snapchat).
  • It took Starbucks and Nike 24 years to reach $1B. It took YouTube 1 year to reach $1B and it took Grand Theft Auto 5, the video game, only 72 hours to reach $1B in sales.
  • A farmer in Africa with a smartphone has more information in his hands than President Clinton had during his presidency.
  • There is music designed to stimulate you and help you focus and it might be better than caffeine. Try Focus @ Will, music scientifically optimized to boost concentration and focus. (I wrote this article listening to https://youtu.be/Fp78Yu1LYvo)
  • A BitCoin-style transaction authentication system may end the need for banks. The authentication system called blockchain is like a central ledger recording every transaction. Apple Pay?
  • There were 2 billion people online in 2010. By 2020, there will be 5 billion people online. That’s 3 billion more minds online.
  • We don’t know when robots will become self-aware.
  • Water will not be in short supply in the future. Desalination technology is becoming cheaper and faster.
  • It’s not the shortage of food, but the distribution of food that is the challenge.
  • New organizations are scaling as fast as technology.
  • TechShop facilities, a tool shop for rent, allows you to build anything using their tools.
  • The damage done to the environment is irreversible. This is one of the biggest challenges of our generation.

I hope the points above have inspired you to think forward or at the very least entertain you. I’d love to hear what you think, comment here or email me at marcos@momares.com






April 3rd, 2015

Rules for Text Messaging

While text messaging seems like a casual medium, there are very serious consequences if you don’t follow the rules. In fact, you can be sued for up to $1,500 per text!

Who has the power to govern your program and what are the rules for compliance? Read on for a breakdown.

Governance, Guidance and Best Practices

Overall, there are 3 industry groups involved:

  • The FCC regulates SMS programs under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) which limits solicitations by phone. Text message marketers can be sued (and have been) under the TCPA. In fact, big companies like Facebook, American Eagle and eBay are currently facing lawsuits.
  • The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) is a trade association of wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint and others. It publishes guidelines for SMS and while it doesn’t have legal authority, it can report your program to the carriers, which can, in turn, suspend your account.
  • The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) is also a trade association. It offers marketing best practices for SMS and publishes documents to help marketers optimize their mobile programs.

Rules for Communicating by Text

There are some very strict guidelines you must follow when sending marketing messages by text. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid any violations:

Make the consumer opt in
Whether they sign up by text or web form, consumers must opt in. If you’re using a web form, follow it up with text asking the customer to confirm their opt in. This ensures the consumer does in fact want to receive your messages and that someone else didn’t enter their number by mistake.

Include required disclosures
There are some key pieces of information you need to include when you advertise the program and BEFORE a consumer opts in. They are:

  • Business name
  • Program name (or the keyword for the program)
  • Frequency of messages (Ex: “up to 4 messages a month”)
  • A disclosure that “data and messaging rates may apply.”
  • A notice of written consent: “By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an auto phone dialing system.”
  • Confirmation that “no purchase is necessary.”

Tell them how to opt out
You must also tell the consumer how to opt out. Ex: “Text STOP to stop.”

Link to your terms and conditions, privacy policy and/or rules.

An example message could look like this…

Get $5 off your next purchase at Acme Sporting Goods!
To sign up for this and other discounts and alerts, text ACME to 65047.

Message & data rates may apply. Up to 4 messages a month. Text STOP to stop. No purchase necessary. You consent to receive autodialed text messages from Acme Sporting Goods. See privacy/rules at www.acme.com/mobilerules

Keep in mind also that text messages are not allowed to be sent outside the hours of 8 am and 9 pm—in the consumer’s time zone, not yours.

Following these rules is a small price to pay to reach your customers on a powerful platform and the device they attend to the most… their mobile phones!

Contact us for help with your text message marketing compliance.






March 9th, 2015

Best Practices

Text message marketing can be extremely effective. However, there are a few guidelines that must be followed. They help you get the most return and make sure your program follows federal rules. When done well, a text message marketing campaign can yield fantastic results. To make the most of your text message campaign, here are best practices.

  1. Stay professional
    While it may be tempting to use texting shorthand or abbreviations it’s best to avoid them (think ‘u’ instead of ‘you’) and  only use regular abbreviations when necessary to save space (“exp.” instead of “expire,” for example). Your brand’s message should still be a professionally crafted message. Also, brevity is key – do not try to fill all 160 characters if you don’t need to.
  2. Make it easy
    Opting in (or out) of any text message campaign should be easy for the user. Keeping codes short, or asking the user to text a number should be something short. Pro tip: the best way to get a large number of entries on your list is to host a sweepstakes. Keep it short and easy to get the biggest number of entries!
  3. Plan what, then when
    It’s important for these text messages to come at a time that will not seem intrusive to the client. Acceptable hours for your text to go out should be business hours, around 9 am – 6 pm. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a client’s personal phone and to be respectful of it.
  4. Comply with the TCPA
    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was made to protect the very people you are trying to market to. To avoid any legal issues, make sure that everyone on your mobile list has opted into receiving messages from you. There are also certain messages that should be included in your opt-in language (“Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to stop. You provide consent to receive autodialed text messages.”)

These tips will  help improve customer response and ensure a successful campaign.






February 23rd, 2015

Mobile coupons from top retailers

Have you used mobile coupons for your business? Top retailers are sending them as often as once a week.

Whether you offer discounts weekly or monthly, there are plenty of opportunities to get your customers in the door. Best of all, these opportunities are only a click or text away.

All a consumer needs to do to sign up is text a word to a short code (a 5 or 6-digit number) and they’ll opt in for coupon updates sent directly to their phones. To quit, they simply text “STOP” to the same number.

Here are mobile coupon examples from top retailers:

1. Old Navy

Mobile coupon offer:  “Top off your long weekend with up to 50% off the entire store thru Mon., plus 50% off all fleece tops on Sat. only. Select styles, limit 5/person.”

2. Pet Supermarket

Text PETS to 65047 for pet deals and enter for a chance to win free pet food for a year!  Example coupon:  “We have treats, toys and gifts for furry family members. Plus get $5 off $25 or more w/ coupon 12420. Exp 12/21/14.”

Pets retailer text message coupon

3. Bed, Bath & Beyond

“Your mobile offer for 20% off 1 item in-store or online is here! [Link]”

4. Macy’s

Earn an extra 15% off by texting COUPON to 62297.

5. Target

Sign up online for mobile alerts such as this one: “Stock up for the Big Game with these Mobile Coupons! Click xxxx… Exp 2/4”

6. Family Dollar

Tell the cashier to use code 59409 and save $.50 on select Tylenol cold products.

7. Payless Shoe Store

Payless offers a 20% off coupon for texting PAYLESS to 747474.

8. Kohl’s

Enjoy 20% off at Kohls.com by texting SAVE02 to 56457. 

9. Avenue Women’s Fashion

“Take $5 off any purchase of $20 or more in store or online. Use coupon code xxxxx in store or code xxxxx at avenue.com.  Expires in 10 days.” To sign up, text AVENUE to 40679.  (Also a Valentine’s Day coupon below.)

Mobile coupon

10. JoAnn Fabrics

Text BEADS to 56266 (JOANN) to receive 20% off a purchase, plus five more coupons a month.






February 10th, 2015

Amazon Giveaway: Good or bad tool for marketers?

One of the biggest online retailers just got into the sweepstakes game today with Amazon Giveaway. And it looks like an attractive option. Running a sweepstakes involves a bit of work after all. There are entry forms to create, rules to write, prizes to ship out and even tax issues to handle.

Amazon handles most of that. So we can see why a self-service tool like this will appeal to “everyone from authors, aspiring artists, non-profits, brands, bloggers, social media gurus and more.”

But if you’re a brand marketer or have your own business, there are a few cons to consider as well. First, let’s go over how it works…

How it Works

  1. Select a prize on Amazon and pay for it.
  2. Use the wizard to set up the sweepstakes.
  3. Get a link you can share by email or on social media.
  4. Entrants click and log in to Amazon to enter (they must have an account).
  5. Entry is an easy instant-win process.
  6. Amazon notifies the winner, ships the prize & handles tax reporting.

A look at how it works

Sounds easy right? But there’s more to consider. Here are the pros and cons to using Amazon Giveaways for your sweepstakes:

PROS

  • Easy to set up
    You can leave most of the work up to Amazon, including entry setup, (some) rule requirements, winner notification, prize fulfillment and tax reporting.
  • Easy to enter
    It’s as easy as logging in and clicking two times to find out if you’re an instant winner.
  • More than a million prizes to choose from
    Electronics, books, home appliances… you name it, Amazon probably has it.
  • Option to build your Twitter following
    You can build in an option asking entrants to follow your Twitter account. This could help you grow your Twitter following obviously (a tweet doesn’t seem required though).

CONS

  • Who entered? You won’t know
    This is the biggest drawback of using the tool: you won’t know who entered. Sure, you’ll find out who won and may get a boost in Twitter followers, but that’s about it. As marketers, we all want to gather information from entrants (email or perhaps other details), but with Amazon Giveaway this is not an option. Per our contact with the company, all you’ll get is the winner’s name and address.
  • Website traffic? Yes, to Amazon
    Having the entry on Amazon means your prospects or customers will be visiting the big A’s site, not yours. Remember, all you’re getting is a link to the giveaway. We suppose you could set up a landing page or blog post to post the link on your site, but all your traffic will leave and will surely get hooked into wandering around this behemoth’s site, rather than your own. (The thank you page doesn’t link back to your site, in case you’re wondering.)
  • Official Rules are still your responsibility
    Some of the legal aspects are handled in the setup. For example, the overall prize value can’t exceed $5,000 (otherwise, you’d have to file a surety bond in certain states). This is helpful, but you’ll still need to create Official Rules for your sweepstakes and host them on your site.
  • Brand-centric or high end prizes are ruled out
    Yes, there are more than a million products to choose from, but there are still limits. You won’t be able to offer your own merchandise (unless it’s available on Amazon), gift cards to your store/site or items excluded by Amazon such as digital songs, movies or apps, along with Marketplace items (sold by third party vendors). Trips, cars and other luxury goods are also ruled out.

Longer-term benefits are missing

This tool will be great for Amazon’s business, but won’t give you all of the benefits of a good sweepstakes—especially, the ability to contact entrants after the promotion. You’ll get a temporary buzz boost, extra Twitter fans and the goodwill of offering a free prize, but the longer term benefits are missing.

Overall, Amazon Giveaway is a great option if you’re not worried about building your email (or mobile) list or don’t want the means to further contact entrants . But, for us as marketers, we consider that a primary goal.

Visit the site to try the tool for yourself.






February 2nd, 2015

Mobile coupons beat paper in redemption

The days of clipping coupons from the weekly ad will soon be coming to a close. More than 75% of shoppers have redeemed a mobile coupon from their smartphones and that number is expected to rise.

Our clients have seen an increase in mobile coupon redemption of 7% to 12%. Compare that to the average 1% to 2% redemption for paper coupons. Since mobile coupons are so easy to sign up for and use, it’s plain to see how they’ve become so popular.

Another reason for its adoption is smartphone use. Smartphone users are typically highly engaged users, used to having a wealth of information at their fingertips. For a whopping 59% of these consumers, digital coupons influence their purchasing decisions.

What does this mean for you?

Not only does a mobile coupon increase the likelihood a user will buy your product, it also lets you continue to market to repeat buyers. You have the potential to increase the number of visits and the average sale as well.

Even for products consumers haven’t tried, mobile coupons are effective. As reported by Forrester Consulting, 47% of consumers are likely to try a new brand when receiving a coupon on their smartphone while shopping in-store.

While traditional forms of marketing, such as print and mass mailers, do have their place, mobile coupons will play a key role. Many large retailers have already introduced digital coupons as part of their promotional campaigns.

This trend won’t be slowing anytime soon, either. Per Juniper Research, mobile coupon users are expected to top 1 billion by 2019.

With more consumers using coupons than ever, it only makes sense to go mobile with your coupons. They allow you to connect directly with the consumer in a way that’s immediate and personal—you’re communicating on their mobile phones, after all.