Five Tips for Better Text-Message Marketing

1. Be brief and focused.
Your text message should be laser focused and succinct. There’s no room for fluff in mobile marketing. Know who your target audience is and speak directly to it. Leave out extraneous details and simply describe how to take advantage of your offer and its benefits.

2. Avoid hype, slang and abbreviations.
If your text message looks like spam, consumers will delete it without a second thought. It’s critical that you leave out anything that might seem too slick and promotional. That includes marketing hype like “amazing” offers, slang and text abbreviations, all of which cheapen the perception of your brand and can destroy your campaign.

3. Offer something of immediate value.

No one wants to receive texts from a company unless the messages offer something of immediate value. Because text messaging is an instantaneous medium, you should include real-time offers. Whether you’re providing information about a sale or a new product, the message should describe the benefits of acting now.

4. Identify yourself.
How often have you received a text that doesn’t identify the company or brand? Instead, you often see a phone number you don’t recognize and a vague message that could have come from any number of companies. And how often have you simply deleted those anonymous messages? It’s essential that you clearly identify your business or brand to avoid getting the spam treatment.

5. Make consumers feel special.
Don’t clutter consumers’ text message inboxes with offers and news they could easily get from your website or your brick-and-mortar locations. Instead, make recipients of your texts feel they’re special and have qualified for an exclusive promotion. Otherwise, they will most likely opt out of receiving any future texts from you.

Customers Want Online Shopping Options

When customers shop online, they want multiple options that all lead to convenience according to a report released by comScore and UPS.

The report — “UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper: A Customer Experience Study” – analyzed ecommerce preferences including mobile trends, social media impact, and the integrated buying experience of shopping in physical stores and online known as omnichannel retailing.

Customers want more choices when shopping online, and more control over how they order, how they receive the item(s), and how easy it is to make a return.

Earlier this year, comScore surveyed 3,000 consumers about which factors led them to shop more on their computers, smartphones, or tablets; to abandon shopping their carts, and to recommend retailers to friends. According to the report, 44% indicated they would be more likely to shop with a retailer if they could buy online and pick up the item in the store, and 62% want the ability to buy online and return items to a store.

As mobile and social channels evolve and impact the shopping experience, 46% of respondents said hey are less likely to comparison shop when using a retailer’s mobile app, and 47% said they want a retailer to send a coupon to their smartphone when they are in-store or nearby. A whopping 84% of online shoppers use at least one social media site. Among Facebook users — the most popular channel – 60% “like” a brand to receive an incentive or promotion.

“Consumers have a growing number of digital touch points, with more ways to stay connected with their favorite online retailers through every phase of the shopping, buying and fulfillment process,” comScore senior director Susan Engleson said in a release. “What will set apart one retailer from another in a competitive marketplace is how well they meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of customers.”

While shoppers expect more shipping options from online retailers, 78% choose the least expensive option. To qualify for free shipping, three out of four shoppers have added items to their carts. After free shipping, the ability to review estimated shipping costs and delivery times before checkout are most important. Almost all (97%) of those surveyed said tracking a purchase is essential.

Only 44% of consumers are currently satisfied with their ability to reroute a package. Retailers supporting changes while orders are in transit have a competitive advantage.

“As consumers move more of their shopping online and gain exposure to a variety of purchasing experiences, their expectations for retailers continues to grow,” Alan Gershenhorn, UPS’s chief sales and marketing officer, said in the release. “Now consumers can shop from anywhere, at any time and are looking for online retailers to have an integrated and robust set of options as the customer experience no longer ends at checkout.”

Email Marketing Must Be Reimagined

Email is here to stay – in fact our latest study shows over half (51%) of UK office workers expect email usage to increase over the next two years . Mobile devices are encouraging the majority of us to obsessively check our inbox around the clock, and a massive 81% of us check email outside of working hours. A third (31%) of people even admit to checking their messages while still in bed in the morning – a figure which jumps to 50% for those aged 18-24.

Our continued addiction to email, particularly by millennials, means nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers still prefer to receive marketing offers in this way, way ahead of direct mail (20%), social media channels (6%), the brand’s mobile app (5%), text message (4%) and phone (2%). Email is more relevant than ever before, and marketers cannot afford to let promotional messages go stale.

So why then are the majority of email offers sent by brands left unopened? Consumers are clearly not being wowed and are left frustrated by brands that have not yet broken away from the days of blast-style emails. People want to see fewer emails (35%) and less repetition of the same messages (34%), while those checking email on their smartphone are turned off by having to scroll too much to read an entire email (28%), the layout not being optimised for mobile (21%), and having to wait for images to load (21%).

One thing which hasn’t changed, however, is our appetite for offers and vouchers. Two thirds (67%) of people said they would be more likely to open a marketing email if the subject line made it clear there was an offer or voucher, with women aged 18-34 the savviest shoppers.

Email Marketing: Old dog, new tricks

Email has been a mainstay of office culture for more than 30 years now so, of all the marketing disciplines, this is often the one in desperate need of reinvention. Brands must learn to do new things with the old technology – like geo-targeting, video and buy buttons – and adapt to constantly evolving email habits. Only in the past couple of years, for example, we’ve seen an explosion in the use of emoji with nearly a third (30%) of UK office workers using the pictures or facial expressions not just with their friends but in emails to their boss. As informality has crept into the workplace, four in ten (39%) people will use also emoji when emailing a direct manager and 59% when emailing peers.

We have also seen a growing trend for email detoxes, with 35% of people now saying they have some self-imposed time out. The average detox lasted 5.5 days and respondents reported feeling “Liberated” (33%) or “Relaxed” (44%).

Detoxes aside, email marketers have an undeniably devoted audience. The priority must be to keep consumers engaged through more dynamic content that reaches the right person, with the right content, at the right place and at just the right moment. Email has stood the test of time, and brands need to make sure their messages keep the same relevance.