SMS Texting during the holidays - Woman holding a cell phoneWith Christmas spending expected to be down this year, companies need to look at innovative ways to lure in customers for the holiday season.



One option is to directly reach out to customers via SMS. Using SMS is especially great for small businesses because you don’t need to invest much of your marketing budget to do so. Plus, it is simple to do and is a great tool to promote a product. What better way to reach busy customers during the holidays than by sending a message straight to their phone? They will be sure to see it. According to Nokia, the average person looks at her phone 150 times per day.



The steps to set up an SMS marketing campaign are uncomplicated. First, collect mobile numbers and make sure you have set up a system so you can unsubscribe customers if they want to be omitted from your database.  If they request, you have to remove them immediately as it is illegal not to do so. You may want to employ a third-party service provider to not only help you set up a number and promotional codes but also to track the success of the campaign, embed an unsubscribed message and manage your SMS marketing database.



“Once you have a number and the database is built, then you start creating relationships, selling, etc.,” explains LeAnne Edwards, Business Development, Punch Media Group, a digital strategy and development agency that has worked with clients from Universal Music Group to Microsoft. “Customers own the mobile database they create. Every business should have one.”



There are many pluses for companies to take advantage of SMS technology during the holidays.  “You can reach the consumer instantly at any time,” says Edwards. “You can also use it to drive traffic to your company’s website and you are able to cost-effectively re-market.  Web ads are being clicked through and TV is being DVR’d so, this is not only a guarantee but also controlled by the business itself.”



Though it may seem easy to do, businesses often make common mistakes when conducting an SMS marketing campaign. One mistake is failing to capture customer information so that you can reach out to these customers again and again. By allowing the customer to opt-in to receive future SMS promotions, you will create a solid database.



“Oftentimes companies make a mistake in not having a call-to-action for customers. By having your customers do something, such as opt in for future promotions, you will have more information about your customers. And the more you learn about your clients, the better you can serve them,” notes Edwards. Also, make sure you are consistent in your marketing strategy. 


If you are using a promotional code for customers to take advantage of special offers or discounts, make sure you put the code on all of your marketing materials. “You should integrate the SMS code into all other marketing and promotion efforts,” explains Edwards.



Enhance your SMS texts. Edwards suggests including video links and creative language to entice potential customers. Also, don’t just make the SMS an aggressive sell—add other items such as tips that can inform and assist your customers.



And, if you are trying to reach the African-American market, SMS is perfect.  “It’s a great tool because it’s inexpensive and because African Americans out-index on mobile (i.e. spend more, more apt to use features on the phone, more likely to own smart phones, text more, watch mobile video more, etc.,” Edwards points out. “So it is more than likely they will respond to an SMS marketing campaign.”



Bottom line: In today’s fast-paced, tech-favored world, SMS marketing can be used to be the best way to drive your holiday sales.