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"Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives."

    1.1 What is SMS?
    1.2 Where does SMS fit in?
    3.1 Sender ID Branding
    3.2 Flash SMS
    4.1 Permission Based Marketing Only
    4.2 Customise, Personalise and Give People What They Want
    4.3 Measure

What is SMS?

SMS refers to “Short Message Service” and involves the delivery of text messages to mobile handsets. SMS is a general name for the technology that enables users to send and receive text messages via mobile phones.

Currently, SMS has an extremely high consumer usage, but a low business adoption. In other words, while billions of SMS messages are delivered between individual consumers each month, the use of SMS as a part of business and marketing strategies is (relatively) low.

But this relatively low business usage is changing rapidly, with more and more organisations realising the benefits of SMS, and using it as a new media within their traditional marketing communications strategies. The reason for this increase in business usage is clear – SMS is an extremely cost-effective, high-response-rate vehicle, which can help to acquire and retain consumers, sell and promote products, drive loyalty, and reinforce branding efforts

Standard communications mediums available to marketers and advertisers are usually rated on three factors: Reach, Cost and Effectiveness / Retention


Medium

Reach

Cost

Retention

Television

One of the Highest

Very High

Good

Radio

Medium

Medium

Poor

Internet [Banners]

High

Medium

Dropping

Email

High

Extremely Low

Extremely Low

Print Media

Low

High

High

Billboard / POS / POP

Medium

Medium

Medium

Moving Media

Medium

High

Medium

Telephone

Medium

High

Medium

Fax

Low

Medium

Low

Standard Mailers

High

High

Medium

Personal Interaction

Low

High

High


As a new medium available, SMS has the following characteristics:

SMS

High Reach

Low Cost

High Retention

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Where does SMS fit in?

WAP, 3G, GPRS and other wireless protocols have been touted as the next big thing for quite some time, and none have truly materialized. SMS on the other hand, has grown of itself into a worldwide phenomenon. As marketing professionals, CRM specialists and business people there is a great opportunity to harness this medium and be able to serve our customers better as a result. Improved client services, communications and value delivery will in turn result in greater returns and business success.

Given that SMS has an extremely personal nature (not unlike email), we firstly have to ensure that we treat the medium with the appropriate level of respect. And, since it seems that SMS is being hailed as the best thing since sliced bread – well, that’s if the usage and adoption rates are to be believed anyway – how do we go about using this new channel, without making the mistakes that we did with email and using the lessons learned with other traditional media? Later on in this article we will review some basic rules and steps for efficient SMS usage.

Making Marketing Work:

As a starting point, there are three key goals that all marketing should strive to achieve, in order for it to be considered successful:

  • It should generate more new clients in new markets,
  • More business should be generated from existing clients, or
  • Gross profit margins must be improved

The marketing message that you deliver will be determined by the goal in mind. For example, the way in which one communicates as well as the message communicated, when trying to find and create new clients, will be very different from a message sent to existing clients to stimulate additional business.

Although succeeding to achieve all three simultaneously is advantageous, trying to do this will most probably blur the message that you send out. For this reason it is vital for the goal of the ‘campaign’ to be clearly understood before the message or medium are established.

With SMS, the situation is no different. Before designing an advertising or marketing campaign using SMS we need to consider:

  • Who is the message addressed to?
    [New clients and markets, or existing customers?]
  • What response is required?
    [Is there an action that we want customers to perform?]
  • What is the message?
    [What is the gist of the message that you want to carry across?]

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Content is Critical

Regardless of your chosen media, the content that you deliver is vital to your success. It doesn’t matter whether you are delivering a full multimedia boardroom presentation, a newspaper commercial or an SMS – if your message is not clear, your goal will not be achieved.

Bigger is also not necessarily better. Yes, the larger the medium the more likely your audience may be to see it. But your aim is not merely for a message to be seen. The message must also be understood, remembered and acted upon. SMS places an interesting challenge on us in this respect. With a limitation of only 160 characters, we are forced to think very clearly about how we are going to phrase our message.

Client Databases

One of the benefits of SMS as a marketing tool is that it does not always require you to posses a customer database or client list in order to benefit. Without a database of your own, using Cheap Bulk SMS India solutions you can enable any web site so that site visitors can send SMS messages and spread your brand. This is a great starting point for using SMS as a marketing tool, which requires no prior database.

Of course, with your own database there is virtually nothing that cannot be done.

Also, for those without their own recipient databases,Cheap Bulk SMS India has created Cheap Bulk SMS India Community Builder to assist with database creation, maintenance and messaging. More details on the workings of Community Builder can be found at the bottom of this document.

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Sender ID Branding

Few global providers currently offer the ability to brand the sender ID field of each outgoing message. This means that the space on each message, usually reserved for the mobile number of the originating mobile phone, can be replaced with the name or brand of the company sending the message. This is not possible on all networks.

Using the Sender ID Branding feature means that there is inevitably more space for text in the body of the message. Since you do not have to include the message sender in the body text, this leaves more room for the important content.

Although this service is available to all Cheap Bulk SMS India clients at no extra charge, it must be noted that not all networks, and not all mobile phones support this. If a message is delivered with the Sender ID branded, to a phone or network that does not support this feature, then the message will arrive with a number in place of the name or brand.

Flash SMS

Flash SMS is a specialised SMS feature which enables a standard text SMS to be delivered directly to the screen of the mobile device. In other words, instead of the SMS message being delivered to the inbox of the mobile phone, it appears directly on the screen automatically. This way, it can make the SMS less intrusive or disruptive than normal.

Since it can take a few seconds for a recipient of a message to browse to that message in a mobile phone’s inbox, this is a powerful SMS protocol for important messages that do not need to be stored – but should be read quickly. The recipient is, with most handsets, able to save any flash SMS by selecting that option once the message has been read.

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The Golden Rules

The Golden Rules: Permission Based Marketing Only Customise, Personalise and Give People What they want

Permission based marketing only

Email is personal.
SMS is more personal.
Although an email reaches the individual directly, is cheap, convenient and fast – this is where the similarities between email and SMS come to an end.

Mobile phones do not have “Spam filters”, and as a result, it is virtually impossible for recipients to stop receiving messages – even if they do know who the sender is. The deletion process for an SMS is also longer and more tedious than for an email.

People are therefore far more conscious of unwanted SMS messages than they are of traditional email Spam. It is Cheap Bulk SMS India strongest recommendation that anyone engaging in any type of SMS marketing ensures that tacit permission has been given by the recipient to receive information.

Sending unwanted messages to the mobile phones of your users will be extremely damaging to your brand. SMS is only less intrusive than other media when it’s permission based, relevant and meaningful.

Take the high road with permission and privacy – it’ll pay off!

To ensure that you use SMS to its full potential, you should practice permission-based marketing by following these simple guidelines:

1. Offer your existing and prospective customers an incentive for volunteering to     become part of your database.
2. Ensure that the information passed to the customer increases in value over time (for     the customer).
3. Constantly reinforce the incentive using new info from the customer (create a     dialogue, not monologue)
4. Increase the level of permission ­- more reward to the customer for more     information!
5. Turn the permission you have into a profitable situation for yourselves and your     clients!

If you apply these five rules (which are really applicable to any permission based marketing campaign), then you are bound to find success with your SMS campaigns!

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Customise, personalise and give people what they want:

Any meaningful and enduring marketing relationship is built on relevance for the end user. Value needs to be carried from the communicator to the recipient for the message to result in return value for the sender. It is therefore imperative that the message be personalised and customised as much as possible.

If you travel from one city to another regularly, a note advertising reduced fares between those cities will definitely rouse your attention. And yet there are many companies and web services, which do not pay attention to purchase histories, and will simply send generic messages to their client bases. So, instead of receiving some pertinent information that relates directly to them, the client receives a message that may be of no use at all.

Customising the message does not only lie within the content of the message itself, but consideration should also be made for the geography, time zone, culture, understanding of technologies etc. etc.

Since you’re dealing with people, on a one to one basis, a mass communications style will not be enough. Digital Pan-Gea’s tools have been designed with this in mind. The ability to customise each message delivered within a mass communication has been built into Digital Pan-Gea’s bulk SMS facility (Digital Pan-Gea Communicator).

Using a simple interface, each message delivered through Digital Pan-Gea Communicator can be merged to include up to five variables. Starting with an excel spreadsheet containing the recipients mobile numbers, and up to 5 additional variables (such as name, surname, title etc.), the user is able to upload their database directly into their Communicator Account.

Once uploaded, the client can write a single message, and deliver it to all (or some) of the recipients in the database, and populate it with the variables. For example, if the user uploads a spreadsheet with mobile numbers, names, and account balances, they would be able to send, in one action, a message to every person in the database with their names and account balances included.


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Measure
Being able to gauge the success of any marketing campaign is critical. In order to measure any campaign, there are four basic steps that should be followed:

  • Set your objectives
    [What are you trying to achieve with the campaign?]
  • Determine the measurement criteria
    [Will this be sales, responses, calls received etc.]
  • Decide on a benchmark
    [How are you going to compare your success? – against prior campaigns, competition?]
  • Select the right measurement tools to achieve what you have decided you need to achieve!

An effective method of tracking the response to a particular message or campaign is to include a text token within the message or some form of call to action. Recipients can then exchange or redeem the token or voucher in some way.  Alternative forms of calls to action are providing a number and a prompt to call (IVR lines can add to revenue streams), prompts email, visit a store etc. etc.

For example, a night club might send a message via SMS to each of its patrons, informing them that showing this at the door with earn them free entry.

The one drawback of this mechanism is that SMS messages can be forwarded – which means that you would never know whether or not the messages shown at the door are the original ones which were sent out.

A solution to this particular problem is to send each recipient a unique number that may then be tied back to track which particular recipients respond to your messaging.

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