There’s a great article in iMediaConnection this morning by Zaw Thet, CEO of 4Info about advertising on SMS content networks. He lists out his “Top 5 things to know about SMS advertising“. Definitely worth a read.
4Info is an SMS network that allows you to buy ads on existing content that they provide such as sports scores, weather, news and many other targeted content area.
The “Top 5 thing” that stood out to me the most was #5.
5. Use SMS as the entry point to a richer experience.
SMS offers a variety of ways that marketers can engage consumers. Just because you start with text doesn’t mean that’s all you get. SMS offers a variety of ways to further engage customers and leverage the initial response to further interaction via additional text message, multi-media messages, email, voice, mobile web, and video. Marketers offering mobile services can drive sales instantly, targeting a built-in audience that is already interested in getting information on their phones. The ability of SMS to deliver cross-media interactivity allows marketers to pick the method that best fits their business goals. These methods include:
- SMS reply: A short ad with the option to reply with a keyword for additional information. This platform can also be used to allow the consumer to search for information, play games and receive coupons, reminders or special offers.
- SMS click to WAP: Advertising containing a URL to a mobile website.
- SMS click to call: Advertising including a phone number.
- SMS branding ad: Branded content without a call to action.
He makes a great point that I think a lot of our customers miss. The ultimate goal is always to get the consumer to do something that will lead to more money in your pocket.
Let’s go through his list.
- SMS reply: You can already do this with Mobivity. Push your customers to another keyword and create a “sub-list” based on that goal. For example, let’s say you send out occasional specials via SMS. Have them reply with a different keyword to get the “daily special”, or to be notified about specific events. Create a targeted list within your list. SMS reply can also be used to provide more information. Have them reply with a keyword for directions, or to find the nearest location. Have them reply with a keyword to see if you have something in stock. Best of all, have them reply to be contacted or to purchase a product or service.
- SMS click to WAP: Every day more phones are manufactured with greater capabilities. The mobile web is growing quickly. If you are doing SMS marketing, then having a mobile web site to push your customers to is imperative. Provide them with more information, allow them to interact. Engage them. By combining SMS and a mobile web site, you can find out what your customers are doing. Track them through your mobile site and target promotions based on what interests them. Using Mobilytics, you now have their phone number and their browsing/purchasing behavior.
- SMS Click to call: It amazes me how many clients of our forget that the device they are marketing to is actually a phone! By putting your phone number in the message, the consumer can easily click on it to get more info, to place a reservation, to purchase a product, or anything else you need based on your business. One of my favorite campaigns of all time was when Jessica Simpson sent out an SMS with a phone number that played her newest song. This takes 2 minutes to set up. No special technology needed. Just a voice mail box and a recording.
- SMS branding ad: This is like the signature in your emails. Append a short ad to the end of your messages without asking for an action. This is best when used with external sms ad networks, but can be done when communicating to your own customers as well.
But even if you use SMS for content delivery and do no marketing, a richer experience can enhance your product greatly.
For example, Pingie is an RSS to SMS service that we have partnered with recently. With Pingie you can choose content that you want sent to you from any RSS feed available. I have used similar services before, and what I always found frustrating was that I could not read the entire story. With Pingie you can click on a link in the SMS summary and read the story on a WAP page. When combined with Mobilytics, our mobile analytics product, you can calculate click through rates, track most popular stories, and many other metrics. There is no reason this can’t be expanded later to include videos that might be embedded in the story or other related content.
So think outside the box. Combine SMS with other mobile capabilities to provide a more exciting experience, and to convert more consumers.