SMS Marketing & Business Owner Adoption
I’ve been digging deeply into the world of mobile marketing lately. Well documented now, this is one of the fastest emerging marketing channels in the realm of digital advertising today. Text, or Short Message Service marketing (SMS Marketing as it is commonly known) represents an extremely low cost and intimate means of reaching customers with highly targeted offers and ads.
A mobile marketing audience is all opt-in, meaning you don’t send messages to people who have not first indicated that they actually want to receive your marketing texts. Think of telling people who walk into your restaurant that by texting “burgers” to 555555 they could join your exclusive “text only” burger club list and receive weekly text coupons featuring your gourmet burger creations. When your patrons send in the text to that number, they are added to your burger club list. They are giving you permission to send them texts about something they are interested in. These people are self-pre-qualified and eager to hear from you.
When executed strategically, text marketing can turn upwards of a 20% conversion rate to your desired action (sale, reservation, appointment, etc…). Clearly when technology can put you directly in the pocket of your most valued customer base, the results stand to be excellent. But I’m less worried about the technology than I am about something else.
Having lived through the rise of local search engine marketing, heading sales for one of the pioneering companies in that space, I can’t help thinking about the adoption rate of the audience that needs to embrace the technology – businesses themselves.
Back in 2003-’04, it made all the sense in the world for small and medium sized businesses to utilize targeted local search marketing, yet getting that point across to the business owners who should do the marketing was as big a challenge as any related to the technology actually taking off. Are we in for the same uphill battle with SMS marketing?
We’ve talked about business adoption issues before. Optimistically, we can hope that times have changed. Small and medium sized business owners are more technically savvy now, right? They won’t be scared off of a marketing medium that seems to be more part of the world in which their kids live than themselves, will they? Could it take more than simply stating a few compelling facts about the technology – facts that are instantly making professional Internet markers’ mouths water now – to give business owners all they need to dive right in?
Optimism didn’t take us very far with small and medium sized business owners trying to understand local search marketing. In fact, even to this day these “proven” marketing channels often catch business owners off guard.
So, SMS marketing technology is here. Is the mass adoption of the audience still two to three years off? Will we have an easier time creating and successfully delivering the buy-in message this time around? I look forward to finding out.