Beginner’s Guide to SMS Marketing

sms mobile marketing

Communicating with consumers doesn’t need to be hard. SMS is a simple, yet effective way to contact consumers. Using the right strategies and techniques will ensure your mobile marketing campaign is successful.

Reasons SMS is powerful:

  • 23 BILLION text messages are sent per day
  • 97% of Text Messages are opened on average (compared to just 20% of emails)
  • 80% of people are now using text messaging for business in some form or fashion

Trumpia’s beginner’s guide to SMS marketing infographic down below will help kick start your SMS marketing campaign.

Beginner guide to SMS marketing infographic

 

Guest Author: Sophorn Chhay

Sophorn is the marketing guy at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS messaging, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests and giveaways.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this post. Please do leave a comment.

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How small online businesses and start-ups can plan for email success

email marketing plan

Email remains one of the most useful and consequently best-loved tools in a small business’ marketing toolkit. Despite plenty of claims that time is up for email it continues to flourish – showing no signs of being pushed to the sidelines by newer entrants such as social media. Indeed, you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.

According to recent statistics, the average person gets 121 emails a day and the human race as a whole gets 193.3 billion. Of those 193.3 billion,  business emails account for 108.7 billion.  With such high volumes you would be forgiven for thinking that people would be fed up to the back teeth with email.  On the contrary,  as consumers we continue to embrace email it because despite the high levels of unwanted communications we still find email valuable.  We actively sign-up to receive email from companies we like for information, offers and news. Indeed 95% of people who sign up for a newsletter from a recognised brand consider the email useful.

Small business owners and start-ups love email because it is:

  • Flexible – it is quick to set up and dispatch and we can use it for all sorts of business communication.
  • Cost effective – it won’t break the bank – indeed most email marketing providers offer free plans which is great for small businesses and start-ups. For example MailChimp offers up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails free per month.
  • Great ROI – email has one of the highest ROI of any marketing tool. Research shows that for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
  • High conversion rate – when it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more.
  • Plenty of DIY  options – there are so many excellent email marketing providers out there that we can create professional, visually appealing emails  all on our very own.
  • Lead generation – 89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation.

 

Planning for email success

“An email communications strategy defines the value you can offer to different target audiences through the range of different types of email to maximise response.” Smart Insights

We’ve established that email is a valuable tool for small businesses and start-ups . The majority of use email for all sorts of varied business and marketing communications. However in order to really optimise the potential of email marketing and help grow  your business, you should spend some time looking at your email strategy and planning your email marketing activities. If you have a rather ad-hoc and scatter gun approach you could be missing out.

email marketing plan

 

 

Taking a step back to review your current email marketing, identify any possible gaps and taking a systematic and planned approach to implementation really can help boost performance.  We’ve outlined a few key areas to consider when you are at the planning stage to ensure you are getting the most from your email marketing.

Know your goals and set objectives

A key question to ask yourself is what are the key goals for your email marketing – what is it you want to achieve? For example do you want to boost online sales, generate leads, grow brand awareness or build customer relationships ? The clearer you are about what it is you want to achieve the more focused and effective your email marketing will be.

Critical to this is knowing your audience – even at a simplistic level you will have different objectives depending which customer group you are targeting. For example, you may want to reach out to your lapsed customers and your objective may be to get them to re-engage  or get feedback as to why they lapsed. Or for customers who abandoned their cart midway through their purchase your objective would be for them to go back to their basket and complete their purchase.

Of course your goals and objectives will depend on your business and how you segment your customers, but the point is you need to have a clear goals and specific objectives in place to enable you to create emails that achieve what it is you want for your business.

 

Map it out visually

I’ve found that a great way to get  handle on your email marketing communications is to map it out visually. A visual representation such as a flow chart will help you quickly identify all the various customer touch points, how you approach customers depending  upon where they are on the customer journey, your different target groups, the frequency of which you send your emails and so on.

With this amount of information it is far easier to digest visually. Any gaps that offering a potential email opportunity will be far easier to spot.

flow chart

 

Growing your list

Your email is only as good as the data you have. Marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% each year, so planning ahead so that you continue to grow your list is an important element of email planning. What activities can you implement to plug any shortfall and build your list? For example;

  • Do you have a way for people to sign up to email communications such as a newsletter on your website?
  • Could  you consider implementing a refer a friend scheme?
  • Could you run a competition on social media?
  • Have you tried offering a free e-book download in return for contact details?

How does it look?

Thinking about how you create your marketing emails will also ensure a better response.  For example –

Brand consistency – email communications are a great way to build brand recognition so having a hold on all the emails that you send will help ensure that you are consistent across all your marketing communications .

Content – interesting, informative and engaging content is important if you want you email to get opened – there is no point sending out an email if you have nothing of value to the recipient in it. Plan ahead for interesting content – for example are there seasonal times of the year where you have special promotions or new products coming out?  If so timetable them in advance.

Visually appealing – visuals help people engage with content so spend some time sourcing interesting images and breaking text up into digestible chunks will make it more inviting to the recipient.

Email Automation

“Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email, and can generate 6x more revenue.

As a small business owner or start-up, there is a strong chance you are undertaking your business’ email marketing yourself. Indeed 91% of us are fulfilling our own marketing needs, often using an email service provider such as Mailchimp, Vertical Response or Weber. There are plenty of excellent providers on the market and if you haven’t already considered email automation then it is something that is worth thinking about when you are at the planning stage.

Automated emails are essentially email that are triggered automatically after a specific action. For example abandoned cart emails are often triggered automatically after a potential customer has abandoned their basket  and not returned to it after a specific period of time has lapsed. Another example is the automated email that you usually receive once you have subscribed or signed up to a newsletter.

Not only do automated emails help free up your time but statistics like the one above seem to suggest a very positive effect on response and revenue.

Have you buttoned down all the legal bits?

Sounds obvious but when you are planning your marketing just make sure that you have covered all the legal bits such as data-protection. Have you got permission to contact the person you are emailing? Have you included a clear unsubscribe button on all your email communications?

In the UK you would need to look at the Data Protection Act 1998 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation Act.

Measure and review

An integral part of your email marking planning is how you intend to measure and review performance. If you don’t measure your activities you won’t know what’s working well and what not working. When you are setting out your objectives it helps to include a measurable element for example, on an email newsletter your objective may be to achieve a 20% open rate.

Industry benchmarks can help with this initially for example current industry averages for email open rates and click-through rates for ecommerce are 16.82% and 2.48% respectively.

However you decide to measure the response rate of your email campaigns, just make sure you are setting realistic targets.

The key message to take away is that putting some time aside to really plan out your email marketing, will ensure you are fully optimising the benefits email can bring to your business, through generating better response, new leads, higher conversions and better customer relationships. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of email marketing so please do leave a comment. 

Email image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

How to build online trust – 6 helpful tips for small business ecommerce and start-ups

online trust

Trust is integral to the success of any business. A customer will only buy from you, continue a relationship with you and share their experience positively if they trust you. Of course, building trust takes time so a key challenge for small business ecommerce and start-ups is getting customers to engage when they have no experience of you or your business. Therefore, as a small business owner or ecommerce start-up you have to work harder to instill a sense of trust in order for a customer to feel comfortable handing over their hard-earned money.

Well-known companies have built up trust over time to the point that it becomes ingrained within the brand (think John Lewis). Start-up’s don’t have that luxury – you need to impart a sense of trust from the first moment a potential customer comes in contact with you business. You have to be able to quickly convey the message that you are a credible, professional and trustworthy company.

Happily there are some practical actions you can implement that can help send out trust signposts to potential customers signalling that you are a business they can feel comfortable and confident engaging with. A good starting point is to take a look the entire customer experience – start to finish. From initial promotions (both online and offline), a customer’s first experience of your website , right through to the checkout process. Identify all the touchpoint along the customer journey that can provide you with the opportunity to develop your  message of  trustworthiness.

6 ways to help instill trust

1. A great website

Like it or not first impressions count. Your website may well be the first significant experience a customer get of  your business. If a new customer lands on your site and it it looks disorganised, dated and unprofessional any natural hesitancy they had will be amplified and it will be increasingly difficult for you to win their business.

Your website needs to look professional, be easy to navigate and information should be up-to-date. Go through it with a fine tooth comb and check for broken links, spelling mistakes and out-of-date information. A credible website makes a customer feel comfortable and secure. Think about the following aspects:

  • Navigation – How simple is it for your customer to access the information they are looking for? Can they get to their desired destination within a few clicks?
  • Usability – Does it load quickly? How easy is it for a customer to complete a specific action such as sending an email request,  adding an item to their shopping cart or completing the checkout process? Make your website as user-friendly as possible.
  • Design – we’ve already mentioned the importance of a good first impression. The design of your site has powerful impact on how your business is viewed. Is your website structured so your customers don;t have to think too hard. Is it visually appealing? Does it contain interesting and engaging images?

2. Relevant, fresh and engaging content

online content

The quality of your content is central to building trust and establishing an ongoing relationship with your customers. Offer customers a wide range of interesting, engaging and informative content. Think about how you can provide information that is of value to your audience. For example blogging is a great way to show you are interested in your customers, it helps keep new content coming into your site and can add an air of authority to your business.

Look at your content continuously on an ongoing basis. Nothing shrieks unprofessional as stale and out of date content. Customers may think if you can’t be bothered to take time over the content of your website you may not be too bothered in other areas either. Keep your content fresh, relevant and up-to-date and don’t forget if you have a presence on social media, the same applies – keep active and post fresh, interesting content regularly.

Finally, do also have a think about the tone of voice and approach you take to your content. As your brand develops and becomes more established you may take more risks and become more playful in your tone but when starting out then it is probably safer to take a friendly but professional stance – for example err on the conservative side!

3. Customer reviews and testimonials

  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews.
  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers

Customer reviews on your website can act as a significant trust signposts. Customers trust reviews from other customers almost as much as word of mouth from friends and family – this can be particularly useful when starting out in a new business. Customer reviews can help improve customer trust in your product and/or service and helps build brand credibility. Having visible customer reviews on your website also conveys that you are confident in your product, having nothing to hide and are genuinely interested in and value the opinions of your customers.

There are plenty of online review sites available to help you manage and automate your customer reviews – for example Trustpilot, Feefo, Reevo. Alternatively don’t be afraid of directly contacting customers or clients  for a testimonial directly. If customers have had a positive experience they are usually quite happy to review you or provide you with a testimonial.

4. Display Trustmarks

 

trust mark security logos

Trustmarks in isolation won’t solve a customers concerns over the credibility of your site, but they can play a supporting role. A well designed, usable shopping cart checkout process is key but displaying trust marks security logos can help reassure customers that it is safe for them to shop on your website. Security logos and badges such as McAfee, Norton, TRUSTe, Twarte, Commode, PayPal will reassure customers that you have taken the appropriate steps to keep their personal  data safe and protect them from credit card fraud and identity theft.

In addition, if you are a member of any industry bodies or trade associations then it is worth flagging this up to. And, if your business works with closely with your local community or  supports a particular charity then highlight these activities as well  – they all help send out trust signals to customers that you are a credible, trustworthy and all-round good company to do business with.

5. Open communication channels

Your customers should be able to get in touch with you easily. Making them jump through hoops to make contact will undermine any trust you’ve built up. Being visible and easily contactable shows you care about your customers experience and have nothing to hide!

Ensure your contact information is flexible. Customers should be able to contact you in whatever way is most convenient to them be it phone, email or letter. Your ‘Contact Us’ page should be visible and easy for customers to find.

Central to developing trust offering excellent customer services. Being able to reassure a customer about an order or  a delivery goes a long way towards establishing a trustworthy relationship – particularly when a customer has no previous experience of your business.

6. Present a human face to the business

As a rule people like people and like doing business with people. Adding a human element is a great way for small business and start-ups to establish a rapport with potential customers. If they like the look of you and your business ethos, they are more likely to feel happy and willing to do business with you.

Checkout Riverford’s About Us page. It has genuine sense of community and you get a real feel for the people behind the business. So too take a look at Stella & Dot’s video – again is gives you a feel for the personalities behind the business.

Riverford About Us

 

Establishing brand trust doesn’t magically happen overnight it grows along with your business. However, as we’ve outlined above, when you are just starting out there are a number of trust signposts you can implement early on to help send out signals to potential customers that you are a credible, professional and trustworthy business that they can feel confident in engaging with. 

Online shopping image courtesy of sixninepixels at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thumbs up image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of building trust so please do leave a comment