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How to generate almost 20,000 retail SMS subscribers in less than 20 days

Posted by Sheera Eby on July 15, 2013

Building a subscriber database is critical for all marketers who want to embark on an SMS/MMS campaign. According to Papimedia, 85% of people respond positively to SMS messages. Furthermore, one-third of consumers say they interact with a brand via text message on a regular basis.

Most importantly, consumers are open to and actually are demonstrating a propensity for SMS messaging. HubSpot reports that 33% of U.S. mobile customers prefer offers via text message.1 Furthermore, purchasing via mobile devices tends to lead to a higher average order.2

We recently executed a campaign that resulted in 19,600 new SMS subscribers in 18 days. That is a pretty impressive result in a very short period of time.

So how was this accomplished? Here are 5 factors that we believe led to the success of this SMS campaign:

1. Promote the SMS/MMS program as part of an integrated channel mix.
Most marketers realize that channels work better and more effectively together than as a stand-alone effort. Existing channels ensure maximum reach and visibility for mobile messaging programs, especially during a launch phase.

An integrated strategy was critical to building the SMS/MMS subscriber base for this program. It started by promoting the SMS subscriber offer within each existing marketing communications tactic. This campaign promoted the SMS subscriber offer through online channels, such as email, enewsletters and the website, as well as integration with the social channels such as Facebook. The message was crisp, succinct and benefit-oriented.

Within retail stores, the campaign leveraged in-store posters and messaging on register receipts.

This particular campaign was architected just days prior to launch. If more time had been allowed, we would have recommended direct mail also be included in the mix. The goal would be to deliver the SMS subscription message through as many channels as possible.

2. Provide an exclusive offer for subscribing to the SMS/MMS program.
A SMS program should have a unique incentive for signing up. It’s critical that there is perceived value and exclusivity to the offer, and that it’s something you can
only receive for subscribing to the SMS/MMS program.

3. Provide immediate gratification for subscribing.
It is critical to provide immediate gratification for new SMS subscribers. As a thank you for
signing up/providing mobile numbers, we typically recommed a welcome offer. This is critical to demonstrate immediate value for the SMS program.In the campaign mentioned above, all new SMS subscribers immediately received an offer after subscribing. This offer could be redeemed in-store.

In addition, offers were sent within a week of subscribing to drive recent buyers back in-store. The initial offer had a redemption rate of more than 20%, successfully driving incremental revenue within a short time period. This redemption rate was impressive for a first-time offer and demonstrated the power of SMS marketing.

SMS messaging provides a strong, cost-efficient channel to deliver a series of bounce-back offers to recent buyers. I believe this campaign had such huge success because it leveraged a proven behavior, specifically the recency principle, driving traffic among recent buyers.

4. Get frontline employees on board.

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Frontline employees are critical to the success of a SMS subscription effort. Ensure that frontline employees are aware of the program’s benefits. While you want to ensure that salespeople stay focused on selling your products, it’s important for them to understand the benefits of the program and immediate rewards for new SMS subscribers.

The retail program we just completed had strong frontline sales and management team support. The management team was instrumental in supporting the launch of the program and underscored the importance of SMS marketing to the entire organization. This enthusiasm played a strong role in the success and 18-day creation of this SMS opt-in database.

5. Track by keywords.
Utilize different keywords for different channels for tracking purposes. This allows you to determine which channels are generating SMS subscribers. This information can provide insight and help you prioritize channels for SMS/MMS integration moving forward.

Those are five proven keys to delivering a successful SMS program. Following this blueprint led to the acquisition of almost 20,000 new subscribers in less than 20 days. Want to learn more about how to build a successful mobile marketing campaign? Check out our Mobile Marketing ebook.

1. HubSpot, “Mobile Stat Report,” 2012
2. Practical eCommerce, “Ecommerce Trends Point to Bright Future,” May 2013

Mobile Marketing

Topics: Mobile

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