Mobile is most successful when it’s integrated into a brand’s overall marketing plan, according to a new Retail Benchmark Report conducted by Cellit. When brands launch a new SMS (Short Message Service) program, they typically implement an extensive 90-day promotional period to maximize exposure. After that period, promotions rely on a regular schedule that produces occasional spikes in awareness.
Here are six ways to maximize your new SMS program:
In-store: Signage at the point of sale and within the retail environment tends to drive the highest awareness and engagement. Having a well-defined program to create awareness and train staff is critical in extending reach. Often, store staff serves as the first point of contact when questions about the program arise.
Web: Brands occasionally want to collect additional information to tie mobile subscribers in with an established CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database. In doing so, sometimes it is easier to collect this information through a mobile opt-in form on a website or through a seasonal marketing tactic such as a chance to win promotion. Given that most consumers work traditional hours on weekdays, these forms allow engagement from the office desk computer. These forms are typically located in a mobile section, highlighting the mobile website, application and SMS efforts for a particular brand.
Email: Dedicated emails focused on the SMS program drive significant engagement, often within a few hours. Typically launched on the kickoff day or within the first week, the first 10,000 subscribers are often from these efforts. It jump-starts the program and creates the critical mass to spark viral buzz.
Print: The Sunday circular and seasonal print efforts still comprise a large portion of a retailer’s marketing efforts. Cellit found one retailer devote the entire third page of its catalog to an SMS program and saw another put banners across the bottom of the Sunday circular. In both cases, it drove significant awareness – especially among the non-tech-savvy, brand loyalists.
Facebook/Social: Posting information about SMS initiatives on Facebook and Twitter is inexpensive and typically targets early adopters. Significant overlap exists between early adopters of mobile and their other social communities.
Other: Cellit finds that mobile opt-ins come from unique places, and occasionally a brand will launch some acquisition tactic that doesn’t fit nicely into a box. Examples include on-site tours, sporting events, concerts and other promotions.
Many retailers have expanded their efforts to focus on SMS, and mobile is gaining similar clout to email and social media, according to the report. SMS is now viewed as a vehicle for driving in-store traffic and timely offers that reach a brand’s most loyal customers.
Cellit analyzed 1,180 retail campaigns with a national footprint during 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The average database size was nearly 41,000 subscribers.