On June 11, 2010, Smallbiztechnology.com produced 12HoursOfTech as part of Internet Week. The full day event, followed by a reception, brought together speakers from Ez Texting, Kutenda, Infusionsoft, Orange Soda, Net@Work, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, IT2Max, Tap11, Affect Strategies, Pattie Stone, Odesk, Hill Data Management , Yelp, RatePoint and Antonio Neves.
12HoursOfTech was hosted by Microsoft NYC and sponsored by Net@Work
Watch the video or view the transcript
Using SMS To Market Your Business And Boost Revenue
Shane Neman, CEO, EZ Texting
EZ Texting was founded in 2007 as a simple, affordable text-messaging platform. The company specifically focuses on small to medium-sized businesses. Its goal is to make SMS mobile marketing as easy as possible and to allow small businesses to grow faster using cost effective and high-end technology.
The basic components of EZ Texting are: powerful texting features, intuitive sorting tools and easy mobile marketing.
Mr. Neman gives some basic definitions:
The SMS text is limited to a 160 characters.
A short code is a 5 digit or 6 digit number that allows you to receive and send short text messages to and from cell phone numbers from a computer system. The mobile carrier’s customers send text messages to short codes to access and subscribe for a wide variety of mobile content. Common short codes are easy to remember and they are compatible across all US carriers.
What are the advantages of mobile marketing?
To start with, mobile marketing protects consumers by unifying marketing practices. For example, whenever you get an SMS marketing message, it has unsubscribe information on it, Mr. Neman says. Mobile marketing itself is like any other form of marketing. It is just another medium – like print, radio, TV or search engines.
Next comes an exploration of the best practices in the industry.
Different types of mobile marketing such as the classics – SMS marketing and SMS advertising.
SMS marketing is essentially the same as e-mail marketing when you grow an e-mail list and you market to that list, except that now you are using text messages instead of e-mails.
SMS advertising is when you purchase short 20 or 30 character advertisements that are appended to third party informational messages. That’s the equivalent of purchasing an advertisement at an e-mail newsletter.
SMS has become the most popular branch of the mobile marketing industry and has the best reach, the lowest price and the fastest setup, Mr. Neman says.
In the age of the smart phone you can expand the list of mobile marketing services starting with ads for the mobile web. Web banner advertisements are very low cost. However, the mobile display ad is even less effective than traditional banner ad on web sites.
Also there is mobile search, which has great potential. If you already have a search engine marketing campaign you’d like to be on the top-place results then the profit is guaranteed.
Developing your own mobile app can be a great marketing tool.
It better be a compelling one though, or you will have wasted a lot of your money and time. Just recently introduced isthe new iAd by Apple. It’s interactive and it’s rich but it’s expensive to make.
Bar codes and QR codes are also worth considering
You can receive a bar code on your mobile device for a coupon, for example, or you can use your phone’s camera to take a picture of a bar code for searching or purchasing items.
A big game changer is Location Based Services /LBS/
Messaging, especially SMS, has been used in combination with various LBS applications, such as location-based mobile advertising. On the down side nobody has really quite figured out the revenue model yet.
When talking about MMS, Mr. Neman points out it is a great technology that allows interactivity, like sending videos to cell phones. Also it helps you to break down the SMS’ 160-character limit. However not all phones are MMS compatible, they are costly to send and receive, and there isn’t cross-carrier compatibility.
SMS is still the main technology carrying mobile advertising/marketing campaigns to mobile phones because of its simplicity and the fact it can reach all mobile phone users.
The key factor for a successful mobile marketing campaign is gaining permission. People must want to listen to what you’d like to say.
What are acceptable ways to get a consent from the people you want to text to?
The most common way is to let people submit a key word or a short code. It’s quick and easy.
How can you start your own SMS marketing campaign? You can do it yourself with companies like EZ Texting. It’s easy but it’s also powerful and effective. It has the broadest reach at the lower cost.
What else can you do with short text messaging? Coupons are a great way to add contacts to your list. Reminders are great for appointment-based businesses, such as salons, medical or dental offices. Special events or sales-related messages are a good way to attract traffic to your store.
You can communicate with your costumers through poling and voting. Engaging costumers and getting feedback from them is always valuable.
The give-away text messages are another good way to get your costumer’s attention.
Are there other ways to build your contact list? Use your existing ways of advertisement to put your key word or short message through them. Give your potential costumers a good reason to sign-up.
If people want to unsubscribe from your list: it could be because you are texting people too frequently or you are giving them information that they really don’t want to receive. A general rule is – don’t text people more then once in two weeks. If you do – give them something that they’ll enjoy and use, like a coupon code.
There are many innovative companies that profit from the fact that SMS is now part of the fabric of everyday life. As an example Mr. Neman tells about the company that collects user generated embarrassing text messages.
Coming back to his company Mr. Neman states his conviction that anybody no matter how big or how small can profit from SMS marketing compaign. EZ Texting will provide you with the same quality of service regardless of your campaign’s budget. They have a great variety of customers from big medium and small businesses to religious and community groups.
Mobile SMS Marketing is done by a number of rules established by the carriers jointly with the businesses – the permission rule is one example – and EZ Texting assists its customers in understanding and observing these rules. Also it gives the possibility to personalize the content of the messages and target different content to specific groups of people, so that they receive only the information that is really relevant to them.
EZ Texting has many web tools available so they make the service very accessible and if you have an experience with email marketing you will understand mobile marketing very quickly.
The advantage of SMS marketing as opposed to email marketing is the immediacy of it as Mr. Neman puts it. It is much more direct and doesn’t require the target audience to be near a computer in order to receive or to subscribe for SMS advertising messages.
EZ Texting differentiates form its competitors in that it is specifically designed for small and medium sized businesses and small organizations thus making accessible a great marketing tool to companies that are not able to otherwise compete with the big corporations.