THE OVER-CAFFEINATED ENTREPRENEUR
Growing Revenues Through Text Messaging
By David J Dunworth
“This article was originally published in The National Networker Newsletter (http://www.TheNationalNetworker.com), and is reprinted with permission. This article may not be reproduced in whole or part without including the name of this author and an acknowledgement of the fact the article was originally published in The National Networker Newsletter (http://www.TheNationalNetworker.com). Any other use of this material is unauthorized and is a violation of law.”
Those new to mobile media and mobile marketing may not know that the road to greatness in this medium is text messaging using Short Codes (SMS). Short codes are typically a 5 or 6 digit set of numbers that represent a particular mobile address, much like the URL on the web. A short code is the “dot com” of mobile communications. The other component of a mobile marketing campaign is what is known as a keyword. Keywords may be yourname @ shortcode. They also may be any other word you can think of that might make your target consumer knowledgeable of you or your business. Here are a few reasons text messaging makes sense.
• More than 6 Billion text messages are sent and received every month.
• Eighty-five percent are opened within 3 minutes, and a whopping 94% of them are opened and read within the first hour of receiving them.
• The consumer always has the option to opt-in or opt-out of your message delivery.
• Marketing in this way is Permission-Based. The Consumer is in Control.
The acquisition of a short code and keyword(s) is through a company known as an application provider. Some call them aggregators, but that isn’t correct. The app (or service) providers purchase their short codes and keywords from the aggregators, who in turn, secure them from other firms in the chain.
Here are a couple of examples that may better explain the use of a text messaging campaign to grow revenues for a CPA, Dr. office, Lawyer, Hair Salon, Dentist or any other type of service provider that bills his time and/or services.
Professionals that schedule appointments for their clients (or potentials) count on the appointment being filled with a person in the seat at the right time. Companies and professionals lose a tremendous amount of money when the client misses an appointment, and the “No Show” time is forever lost. That billing time cannot be recouped, unless an emergency fill-in list is maintained. What I mean is, most firms don’t have clients waiting for a last minute appointment on any given day, at any given time. Sure it happens occasionally, but the frequency just isn’t there.
What if, when making an initial appointment or a follow up session, you had the ability to pre-arrange a text message a week, day, hour before the appointment? As a recurring reminder to make and keep the appointment, you can set them (in advance) and forget them. Do you think the capture rate of appointments might go up? Of course they will, dramatically!
The previous example isn’t even a marketing campaign, it is merely used as a management tool to increase productivity and capture rate. Let’s now take a look at the hospitality business.
Remember (if you are at least 45) when most restaurants had a Maitre d? Every day he (they were almost always men) would arrive at the restaurant around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and review the evening’s reservations, commonly known as “the book.” He would be looking to see who is planning on dining, but he would also be looking who of the regulars is missing on the reservation log. He would then take the time to call each of the regulars to entice them to come in tonight to dine. He might offer 2 for 1 entrees, free wine or dessert, or some other form of inducement to fill the restaurant.
Those days are gone. Minimum wage hosts and hostesses now seat patrons, without bothering to get to know you, or care about you. They are there to put butts in seats; nothing more. That is until now.
What if a restaurant had a database (which his customers could opt-in for) that he could sent out a text blast to offering half off entrees if they respond within an hour, and be seated by two? How about a message that said, “we only have 9 tables available tonight. First to reply get half off.” Or, if the message said, “don’t forget your wife’s )name inserted) birthday this weekend, make your reservations today and we’ll provide the free dessert! Or, if any other type or promotion or message were sent out, do you think revenues would go up? Do you think that the restaurant might be full, on nights that are usually slow? The National Restaurant Association states that U.S. restaurants are below 40% capacity after 6 pm. This type of Real-Time Marketing can make a huge difference in those numbers.
Here is yet another example; an entire community. Presume that a small community, whether it be a church, social group, a school or the entire town’s government used text messaging. Not only could emergency messages be texted, announcements to boost attendance at the annual fair, pot luck dinner, PTA meeting, or any other form of announcement to make known important information. This may be marketing on some occasions, or merely information on others, or part of the emergency broadcast system.
There are more reasons to use text messaging than just to stay in touch; there is money waiting to be harvested. A mobile marketing campaign can be established in short order, and costs are less than you think. There are typically no contracts, other than number of messages in packages to agree to, and month to month use of the short code and keywords.
Next issue I will fully explain how to set up a mobile marketing campaign. Stay tuned.
David J Dunworth is an internationally acclaimed author and presenter, focusing on the entrepreneur and emerging enterprise arenas. He is also the CEO of TeXT-Icon Mobile Marketing Communications, an international communications firm offering Video Email, Live Broadcasting, Video Conferencing and QR Codes (2D Barcodes) among other marketing and communications services, at: http://www.text-icon.com