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With eMarketer reporting that over 1.75 billion people worldwide will have smartphones by the end of 2014, going the SMS marketing route probably looks like a slam dunk for virtually any organization. While the regular readers of our blog know that we’re more than partial to the process, that doesn’t mean that just jumping into this form of outreach headfirst is the only option in front of your business. In order to avoid a marketing calamity for your brand, let’s spend some time discussing the particulars of this process to find out if it’s really the right option for your organization moving forward.

The Evidence for SMS Success

Aside from the massive number of aforementioned people who can’t get enough of their phones, Brett Nuckles of Business News Daily points out that the case for texting with customers is strong, and only growing stronger. Essentially, the power of this tool begins with it’s engaging nature. By providing customers with actual discounts and promotions that they can put to use immediately, as well as the ability to opt-out at any point in time, text marketing gives consumers choices – something that most audiences prefer when compared to restrictive interactions and clunky traditional advertising methods.

Aside from the interactive side of SMS marketing, Nuckles goes on to note how inexpensive the entire process is for brands working on even the tightest marketing budget. Considering the shocking disparity in return on investment (ROI) between text messaging and other methods uncovered in our case study featuring Mobil1 Lube Express, it’s not just that text messaging is cheap, it offers a great bang for your buck as well.

Is It Always the Best Option?

So after reading that last section, you’re probably thinking that there’s very little in the way of a counterargument to the benefits of SMS interaction, right? The truth of the matter is that texting with your customers can definitely be powerful, but it is not in fact always the universal best solution for your marketing operations.

While a proper SMS campaign can offer up major benefits to your brand, the success of this approach relies entirely on your audience’s preferences. Before going all in on this type of initiative, take some time to learn a little bit more about your target demographics. It may seem unlikely, but there are consumer groups out there that don’t respond well to to this form of connection.

Finding the Right Approach for Your Audience

Most of the time you’ll find that there’s more than one right way to connect with targeted audience members. In fact, complimentary marketing campaigns, often take the best of a variety of approaches to generate a powerful and varied program of interaction.

For instance, if you’re already running an email marketing program, why not leverage this existing contact list to help foster and grow your SMS operations? By offering cross-platform benefits to these subscribers, you not only double your chances of interaction with this group, but also help lay the foundation for a new branch of your brand’s marketing endeavors. Naturally, this goes the same way for supporting a fledgling email marketing contact list or even drumming up some additional interest in your latest on-site content offerings.

The big key here is that SMS marketing, while not a universal slam dunk for every business, is powerful and versatile enough to fit into the vast majority of marketing situations. Whether it’s supporting other facets of your marketing practices or standing on its own, this process is usually hard to beat, assuming your audience isn’t hamstrung by an antiquated view of modern technology. Thankfully, by putting the information in this post to good use, as well as doing a little research into the habits and trends associated with your target consumers, you can feel confident that when it comes to connecting with these shoppers, you’re always following your brand’s best option.

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How Immix Wireless took advantage of Central Pennsylvania’s love for SMS messaging and sports entertainment to garner increased engagement.

What’s more exciting than watching Triple H make his long awaited return to the ring on WWE Smackdown? For the people of Central Pennsylvania, the answer to this question came in the form of winning tickets to the show for free via a smart SMS promotion. Even if you’re not a fan of the WWE and sports entertainment in general, there’s no way you won’t be on your feet and cheering after you learn a little more about how Immix Wireless turned this event into an opportunity for SMS success.

Putting the Plan in Motion

While some of the other case studies covered in this series delve into the topic of building a new SMS contact list, the guys at Immix Wireless faced an entirely different problem. As a leading cellular service provider in Pennsylvania, this company obviously knew a thing or two about texting. However, the big problem facing this brand came in the form of reengaging a dormant mobile audience.

To overcome this issue, Immix Wireless’ team identified the upcoming WWE Smackdown event at the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania as a prime foundation for a major SMS push. As part of this campaign, existing subscribers and new contact list members alike were invited to text in the keyword “WWE” for a chance to win four tickets to the big show.

Hyping Up the Match

To help spread the word and boost participation numbers, Immix Wireless advertised the promotion via several platforms. Aside from the in-store banners and posters found in the retail locations across ten counties in the region, this cellular service provider also notified existing contact list members via an early access push message. Additionally, an extensive social media and on-site digital campaign helped spread the word to those browsing the various virtual fronts operated by the brand.

The Final Count

After the final bell rang for the night and WWE Superstar Triple H made his much-awaited return to the ring, the lucky fan who won the tickets wasn’t the only person happy with the outcome of this campaign. In total, Immix Wireless enjoyed a participation rate just under 10 percent, in addition to adding a healthy dose of new members to its contact list. Considering that this promotion lasted only a week, this success story becomes even more impressive. Outside of the initial success offered by this program, Immix Wireless also gained the confidence to run larger, more extensive SMS campaigns based around future sweepstakes and giveaways.

Setting the Stage for Your Own Success Story

So now that you’re up to speed with the excitement and results surrounding Immix Wireless’ WWE-oriented SMS campaign, what’s next for your brand? For starters, this story proves that texting with your customers goes beyond the initial opt-in phase. While most brands tend to run powerful campaigns and then follow-up later with another push to boost subscriber numbers, Immix’s example transcended this practice and accomplished far more by reengaging current subscribers.

Naturally, you always want to find new members for your SMS audience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to offer high value messages and promotions to the people already on your list. Even if you’re not giving away tickets to one of the biggest sports entertainment events of the year, it’s still a smart call to start with your current subscribers and work your way out to new members. By doing this, your organization can stay at the forefront of these shoppers’ minds, all while continuing to expand its reach.

From here, the other major lesson provided by Immix Wireless revolves around the timing of the event. By running the campaign for only a week before the big event, this organization generated an astounding amount of interest and a sense of urgency among the local population that didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. For the brands that want to send their audiences into a frenzy like the WWE fans during a Smackdown main event, combining this concept with a powerful giveaway and an approach that motivates subscribers, both new and old, is a clear recipe for success.

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By now you know that email marketing is one of, if not the, best ways to reach your target audience. However, do you really know if things are firing on all cylinders once your campaign gets in motion? To help answer this question, as well as ensure you always have the tools necessary to optimize your marketing strategy, let’s spend a little time going over the six performance metrics, sometimes referred to as key performance indicators (KPI), you can’t live without as you connect with consumers in the inbox.

Response Rates

First up is a pair of closely entwined metrics. As Lisa Cannon of Business 2 Community explains, when talking about open or click rates among your audience members, it’s hard to mention one without the other. Naturally, the open rate details the amount of emails opened during your campaign, while the click rate highlights the amount of viewers taking the plunge and visiting your site.

The reason it’s important to compare both of these metrics side-by-side is that doing so can illuminate potential issues within your email content. For instance, having a high open rate but coming up short with consumer clicks could point to a deficiency in your message content or promotional material. At the very least, keeping an eye on these metrics can help uncover potential weaknesses in your campaign before any lasting damage ruins your marketing initiative.

New Prospects

Another powerful powerful metric, prospect allocation, looks toward the growth of your contact list and helps map out future lead generation strategies. Unlike the generic total membership statistic, Cannon notes that prospect allocation looks at the rise and fall of new opt-ins during a set period, providing key insight into the progress of your campaign outreach and promotion. By comparing this number to historic data or even prior initiatives altogether, you’ll have a standard by which you can judge the success of current and previous methods of connecting with new audience members.

Unsubscribe Rate

Unfortunately, the other side of the new subscriber coin isn’t as fun to look over as you audit your campaign. However, keeping up with the amount of members that unsubscribe each month is vital to gauging your email marketing health. As Christopher Ratcliff of Econsultancy points out, this process can go far beyond simply watching this stat rise and fall.

To properly manage unsubscribes, Ratcliff suggests tweaking email frequency and content layout. Naturally, making a drastic switch on either of these fronts should only be done in the face of great turmoil, but that doesn’t mean making subtle changes to how often you send out emails, as well the design of the message itself, can’t pay off huge dividends. In the end, there’s no way to completely avoid unsubscribing contact list members, but that doesn’t you’re completely at the mercy of this metric.

Bounced Messages

As far as the actual transmission of your messages goes, few stats tell this story quite as well as your campaign bounce rate. Like the name implies, this KPI measures the deliverability of your emails in terms of “bounced” messages. To add a little extra insight into the discussion surrounding bounced messages, many campaigns split the metric into two separate categories.

The first, hard bounces, comes from having the wrong email address in your contact list and requires immediate attention. On the other hand, soft bounces simply denote a temporary error in the delivery process, like a downed server or full inbox.

“Send to a Friend”

One of the more intriguing metrics for keeping tabs on your email marketing campaign, the “send to a friend” rate, helps keep a track on the viral nature of your operation. In his post detailing key performance metrics, David Baker of MediaPost points out that this stat also comes with a more formal name – the viral rate. Regardless of how you care to label this metric, the point remains the same;

keeping track of the amount of shares, likes, and referrals your messages generate helps highlight the power of your email content, as well as the social factor that goes into the development of these offerings.

Total Revenue

Finally, as intriguing as all of these metrics may be, the evaluation process always winds up in the same place – revenue generated by your email marketing operations. At the end of the day, if this number isn’t up to par, changes always come next. Naturally, what changes need to happen often takes shape based on the results of the other metrics. However, when it’s all said and done, if you’re reeling in the conversions at a healthy pace and you can keep the trend going, there’s no denying that you have a firm grip on the direction of your inbox initiative thanks to utilizing the proper measuring tools.

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With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror here in Canada and Halloween just around the corner, saying that the holiday season is in full swing is a bit of an understatement. Aside from the frantic rushing of families trying to keep up with all of the festivities, this time of year is also special for your brand’s email marketing campaign. To help ensure that you keep up with the holiday cheer, here’s a few simple tips that can help maximize your inbox presence from Halloween to Christmas and beyond.

Prepare for the “Creative Crunch”

Even if you’ve been around the block before during the holiday season, that doesn’t make the influx of increased sending, as well as the development of creative content, any easier. As Steve Dille of Marketing Land points out, adding in Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day, and all of the other major shopping events that occur before the start of the New Year onto the standard holiday dates puts a strain unlike any other on brands looking to stay connected with consumers during this time.

To avoid a complete email marketing meltdown, spend some time with your team and make sure they understand the need for quality and expedience during this time. Also, connecting with your email service provider to ensure that there won’t be any technical hiccups when the time comes to ship out massive amounts of marketing messages can also save you some headaches during peak times of activity.

Optimize in Real-Time

Additionally, to help make the development and optimization of your email creative content operate smoothly, Dille suggests getting your team acclimated to working with consumer data and information in real-time, or working with professionals that embody this approach. By familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of deciphering customer trends, as well as maintaining easy access to this information, your brand can implement fast responses to any sudden changes to your ideal consumer profile. When compared to the sluggish reaction times and techniques utilized by your competition, it’s hard not to feel a little extra holiday cheer when enacting this approach.

Seasonal and Segmentation Go Hand-in-Hand

One of the biggest mistakes brands make when trying to capitalize on the holiday season is forgetting that, even though profiling helps describe the average customer, not all members of the target audience are alike. As Stephanie Zatkyo of HubSpot explains, failing to incorporate list segmentation with your seasonal offers can lead to some sticky situations with these readers. For instance, just because the majority of your contact list celebrates Christmas doesn’t mean that it’s okay to fire off emails filled with this type of content to the members of your list that identify with other religious orientations.

Again, this comes down to the amount of data you have on your target audience. However, the message still holds true; if you have the ability to segment your list and offer varied seasonal content, this endeavor is well worth your time and effort, especially when compared to potentially offending these valued customers.

Make the Holiday Season Interactive

Another smart tip that can really drum up some major interaction with the members of your email marketing list is to encourage user submissions as part of your holiday campaign. In his post for Marketing Sherpa, Adam T. Sutton explains that finding ways to promote an interactive experience, especially during Halloween, is one of the most engaging techniques brands can implement as the holiday spirit sweeps your target audience.

Even something as simple as requesting photos of your contact list members in their costumes for an on-site gallery is enough to add a little fun to your seasonal promotion. Of course, if your brand can find a fun and creative way to tie these submissions or acts to its products and services, you’ve struck pure email marketing gold. Regardless of how you decide to follow this tip, keeping things fun, lighthearted, and interactive is a recipe for success that’s hard to beat.

Branch off Into Uncharted Territory

For the last tip, Sutton goes on to suggest that leaving the beaten path behind and blazing your own trail in terms of holiday email marketing is a clever way to stand out from the competition that’s locked into standard offerings. Instead of sticking to the traditional spooky skeletons and red-nosed reindeer that come with this time of year, taking a more subtle approach and embodying other aspects of the holiday season, like rich red and gold autumnal colors in your templates, can help put a fresh spin on seasonal marketing. When combined with the rest of what you’ve learned about maximizing your impact in the inbox during this festive time of year, there’s nothing stopping your brand from sitting back and enjoying an extra-large helping of holiday cheer along with increased traffic and conversions.

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How Mobil1 Lube Express in Willow Grove Pennsylvania used smart SMS tactics to bring in customers and put an end to wasteful marketing expenditure.

Taking the car in for a quick oil change is something that most people probably don’t do enough of on a regular basis. The folks over at Mobil1 Lube Express in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania knew this, but needed to find the right way to connect with consumers and make routine car care a top priority again. With this in mind, let’s spend some time digging into the particulars of how the experts at Mobil1 put SMS to the test against email and conventional direct mail reminders, answering the question of “which is best?” once and for all.

The Grand SMS Experiment

This entire case study begins with a competition of sorts. As part of its overall marketing promotion, this quality automotive service provider pitted SMS communications against direct mail and email offers to find which method generated the highest return on investment (ROI.) From here, Mobil1 Lube Express could then focus on streamlining its advertising budget by migrating away from the strategies deemed inefficient by this program.

Enacting the Strategy

To begin the promotional outreach, the various Mobil1 locations in Willow Grove and the surrounding areas supplied in-store consumers and participating local businesses and civic areas with hand-out cards. After receiving a card, customers then opted-in to the program by texting his or her license plate number, as well as the short code “OILCHG” to the number supplied within the instructions. After doing so, the customer identified the preferred channel – either text, direct mail, or email – for receiving an oil change reminder and limited time offer for discounted service.

Tallying the Results

Over the course of six months, Mobil1 Express Lube compiled the results for each channel in order to determine a victor. In total, 2,187 of a possible 6,849 customers opted-in via one of the three selected methods. On average, 21 percent of the individuals who chose a traditional mail reminder returned to claim the discount offer within 45 days. For the email and text alternatives, this number jumped to 29 and 35 percent respectively, leading the marketing team for this brand to declare SMS marketing the most responsive of the three channels.

However, the team also found that the text-oriented portion of the audience didn’t just claim the offer in greater numbers, but also responded faster. When compared to consumers who received no reminder, the group that chose the SMS route returned an average of 8.4 days sooner than either the email or direct mail respondents.

Based on these results, as well as the costs associated with shipping out direct mail, email, and SMS messages, Mobil1 Express Lube found that texting with customers also generated the highest ROI. In fact, when compared to direct mail’s $24 return on each dollar spent, the $308 and $344 generated per dollar spent by email and SMS respectively proves that this comparison isn’t even a close one.

In case you’re wondering about the average cost of each channel that went into factoring these ROIs, Mobil1 provided a general breakdown that paints an even more unflattering picture for direct mail programs. In terms of SMS messages sent, Mobil1 spent a grand total of $0.20 per text to returning customer. While email was a close second at $0.24 per message to returned customer, the whopping $2.76 in supplies and shipping costs accumulated per mailed postcard proves just how prohibitive archaic marketing tactics can be for businesses on a budget.

Finding the Right Blend for Your Brand

Now that Mobil1 Express Lube did all the work for your brand, the lesson from this case study is clear – SMS marketing, when conducted properly, offers up the biggest bang for your buck. Additionally, email marketing had a strong showing as well, which in turn signals that a strong blend of the two definitely has a spot in many marketing budgets. Regardless of which of these routes you choose, the message is as easy to understand as the discount promotion offered by the team over at Mobil1 Lube Express; if you want to connect with your customers, the best way to do so is by sticking to the mobile technology they prefer and avoiding the costly snail mail trap.

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Email marketing is all about capitalizing on potential opportunities with your target audience. Unfortunately, plenty of brands let a substantial portion of these chances slip by the wayside, all thanks to a lag in the marketing process. One of the best ways to overcome this hurdle, and get a leg up on the competition, is by setting up an email campaign based around triggered events. To learn a little more about how this approach works, as well as what your brand has to gain by making the switch, let’s spend some time breaking down the particulars of event-driven email marketing.

Understanding the Idea Behind Event or “Triggered” Messages

Before rearranging your entire approach to connect with consumers in the inbox, it’s probably a good idea to properly frame what a triggered email actually does when compared to a standard marketed message. Essentially, this type of campaign aims to fire off emails when something important – known as an event – happens in the lives of your target audience, instead of sticking to a set schedule.

Naturally, the definition of an event varies widely depending on your brand, industry, and ideal consumer profile. Whether it’s a national holiday in your region, religious occurrence, or even something as simple as abandoning a cart in your online store at the last minute, all of these examples serve as events worthy of firing off a marketed message that goes beyond your standard branded newsletter or weekly email.

The Benefits of This Process

Obviously, leaving behind the “set it and forget it” mentality that comes with a normal email marketing operation adds some extra work to the process. However, spending the time to enact a system that develops and deploys creative email content in real-time does comes with some substantial benefits, according to George Passwater of Business 2 Community.

In his look at the usage of triggered emails, Passwater notes that properly utilizing this strategy helps increase conversions and promote the rise of “brand ambassadors.” If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s a fancy way of saying increased consumer goodwill and the ability of word-of-mouth to help spread the news about your products, services, and email contact list. The big key here is that even though direct gains in conversions and the residual effect of additional brand ambassadors come from two ends of the awareness spectrum, both provide a significant boost to your email marketing return on investment (ROI.)

Finding the Right Opportunity

So now that you know how event-driven email marketing works, as well as what this process has to offer in return for your effort, what’s next? To start, Passwater suggests honing in on the events, or triggers, that matter most to your audience. Naturally, navigating this territory depends entirely on the information you currently have regarding these consumers. For some companies, the right opportunity comes in the form of sticking to major life events, like changes in marital status, birthdays, and holidays.

However, the room for creativity expands significantly when the triggered event turns toward abandoned carts. For instance, firing off an email with the subject line “Forget Something?” after a consumer skips out on the final steps of a purchase is an easy way to frame the message in a fun manner. Having the body text of the message stay in theme, while gently reminding the shopper to return and finish the deal or offering an enticing discount, helps enhance this process and take advantage of this event.

If you’re feeling extra bold with the humor portion of event-driven email marketing, don’t be scared to have a little fun with some of the more flavorful life events. In particular, 40th birthdays are ripe for the picking. Naturally, this can be a touchy subject for some consumers, but as long as you keep the copy found in this message lighthearted and engaging, you’ll have no problems connecting with consumers during these memorable events.

Taking the Next Step

Of course, just because honing in on triggered-events offers plenty of opportunities to connect with your audience, it’s far from a stand-alone approach. To truly take the next step with this type of email marketing, and any type in general, finding the balance between capitalizing on these events and keeping up a consistent traditional approach is vital to the success of your brand. As enticing as it may be to focus on only one side of the equation, connecting with consumers in the inbox doesn’t boil down to a single right method. Instead, maintaining a stable presence, while keeping an eye on the opportunity presented by these events, is your best chance to make a great impression with the viewers that matter most.

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Our society can’t get enough of putting a ranking or a value on everything. Whether it’s comparing the best NHL prospects too early or finding the best spot to eat lunch with your friends, the idea of having a clear “best” option seems to be universal across every facet of life. When it comes to email marketing, our industry is no different. Every brand wants to have the best marketed messages in place before connecting with contact list members. But is there really one right way to do everything with your emails? To find out, let’s spend some time breaking down some of the major pieces of the greater email marketing process to answer once and for all what goes into “the best” content hitting the inbox across the web.

Perfect Email Text Content

First on the list, the content found within your messages, is arguably the most important part of any email marketing campaign. However, with each series of messages developed for your audience, it’s impossible to lay out a universal plan for success that fits every brand perfectly. Instead, the best content comes from tailoring the viewing experience to what resonates most with your readers.

As Courtney Eckerle of Marketing Sherpa explains, relevant content is the key to making a mark on this front. By spending some time learning about the desires, concerns, and needs of these readers, your brand can then generate impactful and engaging content that both addresses these issues and helps promote your deals and offers in ways that go beyond standard pleas for business.

The Right Send Time

Much like the particulars surrounding the content of the message, timing is also a subjective part of the process that depends entirely on what works for your targeted audience. In his look at the importance of timing, David Moth of Econsultancy reports that finding the optimal times to send out these emails doesn’t come from some guide online, but rather via thorough testing.

By exploring different send times that span both day and night, your brand can pinpoint the exact moment that garners the most views, providing a serious competitive advantage over other organizations that don’t bother with testing this parameter. Considering that Moth goes on to note that only 49 percent of businesses undertake this process, that’s quite a bit of ground you can gain on others in your industry.

Superlative Subject Line Length

While most of the rest of the work that goes into embodying the best practices found in email marketing doesn’t come with a clear cut answer for all brands, optimal subject line length actually goes in the other direction. According to a study highlighted in Ayaz Nanji’s post on Marketing Professors, the most effective length for subject lines falls in the six to ten word range. With the average open rate standing at 21 percent, this length blew past both longer and shorter offerings in terms of performance and reliability.

Oddly enough, Nanji explains that more than half of all brands utilizing email marketing outreach incorporate subject lines that end up being between 11 and 15 words long. If your messages currently sit in this range, it’s time to get tough with the edits and trim down this word count to a more manageable, and effective, total.

Developing an Unstoppable Call-to-Action

The final piece up for discussion, the call-to-action (CTA), returns to the predominately subjective trend found within the world of email marketing. In a review of examples of individually great CTAs, Chris Hexton of Marketing Land points out that it’s easier to trim away what doesn’t work for your brand when compared to focusing on a universal “one size fits all” answer to the this challenge.

To start the process, ask the question of whether or not your CTA promotes a need for urgency and action on the viewer’s end of the promotion. Readers respond well to direct propositions that explain why they should make a visit to your site, so don’t be afraid to point out exactly why dropping everything else and clicking the redirect button is the best thing your audience can do with their time. In fact, Hexton goes on to explain that repeating your CTA throughout the message might not be right for every brand, but it’s an effective tactic in many circumstances. Again, testing goes a long way to uncovering what’s right for the readers that matter most to your organization.

Even though the cookie cutter option doesn’t always exist for each part of the message, there’s definitely enough evidence to point you in the right direction for success now that you understand the true nature of what goes into the best email marketing practices. With this realization on your side, as well as a few quick and effective tips, you should have everything you need to maximize the impact of your limited time on screen in the inbox.

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the Women’s Southern Show brought SMS success to the Jacksonville, Florida area, all thanks to an innovative cross channel approach.

There must be something about the warm Florida sunshine that brings out the best in mobile marketing practices. After making the trip down to Jacksonville once in this case study series to chronicle the success of the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, our attention now turns to the Southern Women’s Show – a traveling shopping and entertainment expo based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. To find out exactly how this exhibition put on an SMS show to remember, let’s spend some time breaking down the particulars of this campaign and what these lesson mean for your brand moving forward.

The Basic Plan

As no strangers to the power of SMS marketing, the team behind the promotion of the Southern Women’s Show in Jacksonville decided to spread the word thanks to a series of smart and effective text messages. At the heart of this campaign was a simple focus – connect with women, age 18 to 40, who like to shop.

While this might sound as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, the truth of the situation is that women in this area, and across North America in general, have a plethora of options when it comes to spending their hard-earned money. To sweeten the deal and entice these shoppers to make a visit to the show, the Southern Women’s Show campaign offered new contact list sign-ups a chance to win a $250 shopping spree at the event, as well as a guaranteed $2 off the price of admission.

Additionally, the team involved in this initiative decided to spread the word via energetic radio commercial spots and physical promotional material, such as tent cards and posters, located within participating stores in the area. As a nice finishing touch to the basic plan, each participant in the mobile marketing list received a “bounceback” message thanking them for their registration, as well as a friendly reminder about the show two days before the event kicked off.

Doing Your Homework Matters

Of course, if you’re familiar with this case study series, you know that sticking to the basics isn’t good enough to earn you a spot in the limelight. To ensure that this promotion went above and beyond the normal level of results, the Southern Women’s Show decided to optimize its text message content by researching keywords and phrases that perform well in other marketing channels. This in-depth research helped uncover a variety of inclusions that resonated with viewers and listeners, generating additional interest and interaction.

Reaping the Rewards of Hard Work

So what did the Southern Women’s Show team get in return for their hard work? To start, the digital $2 coupon garnered a 20 percent redemption rate, further proving the point that mobile marketing creates more opportunity and interaction than traditional coupons. In this case, the increased redemption rate correlated directly to a massive turnout at the Jacksonville rendition of this traveling event.

Outside of the immediate boost the Southern Women’s Show received from this expertly executed promotion, the organization as a whole gained some invaluable consumer data that would later serve other campaigns in different markets. First, even in predominately radio oriented markets like Jacksonville, printed tent cards drew a ton of attention thanks to easily understood written instructions. From here, learning about optimized keywords created a reusable foundation for future promotional content.

Putting These Lessons to Good Use on Your End

Even if your brand is not in the business of setting up expos in major cities across North America, that doesn’t mean you can’t pull a lesson or two from this example of outstanding mobile marketing. First, the recurring theme of giving your customers something worthwhile pops up again. Gaining contact list members is all about the value proposition, so offer up some enticing freebies in addition to interactive text content.

As far as promotional materials go, don’t be afraid to optimize this content with a little keyword research across several channels. By doing your homework on this front, your organization can generate stellar results and boost opt-in numbers significantly. Considering how well this worked for the Southern Women’s Show, it’s far from a bad thing to count your brand in this kind of company.

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It’s officially Small Business Month here in Canada, so there’s no better time than now to talk about how your business can connect with the local community and build some lasting relationships. Considering that people across the country can’t get enough of social media these days, as well as the fact that these networks play an integral part in any successful email marketing campaign, let’s spend a few minutes talking about how your small business can change up its outreach approach and hang with the industry big boys on Facebook, Twitter, and more moving forward.

Relationships Come First

Just like going through the process of requesting permission before firing off marketing emails, you can’t get ahead of yourself when it comes to connecting with your audience on social media. As Donne Torr of Hootsuite, a social marketing aggregation tool, explains in her look at the particulars of navigating these platforms from the perspective of a small business, emphasizing relationship building is a key part of the process.

Instead of spamming newsfeeds with requests to buy your products or join your brand’s email contact list, focus on interacting and conversing with followers and individuals who frequent related social circles. If you can present this kind of personable front for your organization, the potential for conversions will grow organically from this solid foundation.

Run with a Different Crowd

When it comes to picking the right network for your social endeavors, Emily Wight of The Guardian’s Small Business Network points out that business-to-business opportunities are better suited for LinkedIn than anywhere else. If your brand focuses on forging contracts and finalizing sales with other organizations before reaching retail markets, it makes sense to skip the casual appeal of Facebook or Twitter and opt for this more professional platform.

One of the best ways to engender this concept and make major headway in regard to professional relationships comes from posting in relevant industry oriented groups. The more you provide thought-provoking or conversation-inducing content in these groups, the more likely you are to notch a few more members on your contact list.

A neat little trick that works especially well once you join these groups is to repurpose your email or blog content into condensed posts. Naturally, you’ll want to freshen up these offerings and avoid simply copying the source material. If you can do this, repurposing is a quick and easy way to share something valuable on the network without spending hours trying to reinvent the wheel.

Find Ways to Stand Apart

Regardless of which networks you decide to incorporate in your approach, Nicole Fallon of Fox’s Small Business Center explains that it’s vital to the success of your campaign to stand out. While following in the path of the bigger names in your industry definitely requires the least amount of work, it’s also unrealistic to expect much out of this approach.

To really embody this mindset, Fallon suggests stepping out of line and doing something creative and fun. Whether it’s putting a premium on humorous or light-hearted content that adds a little levity to your followers’ coffee breaks or posting a weekly look into the daily operations of your organization (a video blog uploaded to YouTube works wonders for this concept), doing something aside from a few generic posts a day is the best way to stand apart from the masses.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

For the history buffs out there, Sun Tzu’s famous words of advice regarding knowing oneself and the enemy as well before a battle will ring especially true for this next social media tip. Specifically, Jean Moncrieff of Business 2 Community suggests spending some time looking at the profiles of your top three to five competitors in the industry. By doing a little “scouting” on these organizations, you can see what works and what doesn’t in terms of interaction and visibility, which in turn refines your brand’s approach before it even begins.

Spend Some Time Measuring Progress

Finally, Moncrieff goes on to point out that none of this work matters if you don’t spend some time analyzing your success and failures. Whether it’s keeping a pulse on the rise and fall of raw follower numbers and email contact list opt-ins or going a little deeper and recording the shares, likes, and favorites on individual posts, having some sort of metric in place goes a long way to finding out if your campaign is a finely tuned machine or if it’s closer to “fixer-upper” status. Regardless of how you measure your campaign, adding in some performance indicators, as well as the rest of the other tips covering social media success, can help your organization make the most of its time spent on these networks during Small Business Month and beyond.

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For some of the regular readers of this blog, it’s probably next to inconceivable that some brands still don’t understand the power of mobile marketing. However, with the emergence of new players in nearly every industry, as well as the constant development of small businesses, there’s plenty of room for unwitting organizations to slip through the cracks when it comes to SMS awareness. To help cut through this marketing inertia and show how vital connecting with shoppers on their phones is to a successful outreach initiative, here’s five stats brands simply can’t ignore that support the continued rise of text marketing.

Mobile Will Soon Pass Desktop in Terms of Searches

To start the discussion, Andrew Gazdecki of Business 2 Community offers up a true gem concerning the prevalence of smartphone usage in the modern world. In referencing a study from Google, Gazdecki notes that the search engine leader projects mobile search queries to surpass those made on traditional desktop platforms by nearly one billion requests in 2015.

At first glance, this looks like it has nothing to do with mobile marketing. However, this projection, which will put total mobile queries above 85 billion for the upcoming year, helps support an important notion for brands looking to connect with consumers via SMS promotions – the vast majority of virtually any target audience can’t get enough of their smartphones. Essentially, if your customers plan on spending so much time on these devices anyways, why not build a campaign that takes advantage of this predisposition with powerful targeting and easy access to the right demographics?

Conversions via Mobile Marketing Are Lightning Fast

While other forms of marketing play toward a longer form approach for sealing conversions, mobile and SMS offerings take a much different approach. Again, Andrew Gazdecki provides this insight, noting that conversions via this platform traditionally happen within five hours of the event. Basically, as soon as your marketed message arrives on the phones of your contact list members, the clock starts counting down toward an acceptance of your offer or promotion.

Naturally, this number can fluctuate between brands and marketplaces, but there’s no denying that organizations looking for fast conversions don’t have to go any farther than value-oriented SMS offerings. Adding in that a large portion of these consumers accept such offers on-the-go provides even more credence that a fast conversion on a “flash” deal can occur anytime, anywhere.

SMS Marketing Provides Constant Access

When it comes to a steady stream of access to consumers, brands can’t go wrong with SMS marketing. Sure, 57 percent of people log on to Facebook at least once a day, and 58 percent check their email at least three times every 24 hours, both according to Allegra Tepper of Mashable. However, while these stats are nice, Tepper goes on to point out that average person looks at his or her phone 150 times a day. Whether these individuals are checking social media, texting friends, or simply looking at missed calls, it all boils down to one undeniable fact – after sending off a marketed text message, the odds of your message going unnoticed is next to none.

Virtually Every Message You Send Is Opened

In fact, this kind of constant viewing of smartphones ensures that virtually every message you send is opened and read by the targeted viewer. As Laura Varley of the United Kingdom’s Digital Marketing Magazine points out, 98 percent of all messages fired off not only reach the target, but also end up opened. This eye-popping stat easily eclipses the visibility offered by sponsored ad spots on social media networks and even the biggest name in the business – email marketing. If consistency and a fair shot at promoting your brand is your primary goal, it’s easy to see that connecting with consumers via SMS marketing not only fulfills this desire, but goes above and beyond it with flying colors.

It Doesn’t Take a Lot to Run a Campaign

While these stats are definitely compelling, if you’re new to the mobile marketing world, chances are you probably think that to reach these levels of success, you’ll need to spend day and night creating promotional content. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Varley goes on to explain that 83 percent of readers only wish to receive two messages a month, at most.

To really connect with these consumers, you don’t have to go overboard. Instead, simply connecting with them on their preferred platform and incorporating value-driven content should be more than enough to help you turn these impressive statistics into a successful and fruitful branded campaign of your own.

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