I was five years old. Running out to get the mail was one of my favorite pastimes, and obviously that had nothing to do with the prospect of getting something especially for me. None of it was ever addressed to me, so I really didn’t care what it was. The entire process fascinated me. Letters, bills, postcards, and catalogs being hand delivered by that shiny white truck with the eagle emblazoned on its flank and the driver hanging out the wrong side? It was borderline magical. So when I ran out to the mailbox and saw there, atop the stack of other meaningless crap, that the magical mail machine had manufactured a message just for me, my brain almost exploded out of my head with excitement.
It wasn’t a letter; it didn’t even come in an envelope. It was a pink and brown image of an ice cream cone, a birthday cake, a familiar logo, and a birthday message just for me on off-white cardstock. Baskin freaking Robbins. 31 Flavors. A free cone was all mine. It was the greatest missive in the history of the universe.
And what happened next? I bugged the ever-loving life out of my parents until they hauled me and my five siblings into the station wagon to go deliver the prize of all prizes, my birthday treat: one heaping scoop of Gold Medal Ribbon on a crispy sugar cone of happiness. Of course, 31 Flavors garnered their own prize: a family full of paying customers.
It was a perfect plan. They capitalized on a young boy’s nearly religious devotion to the mail, fascinated by the novelty of it (at least for me). They extended an offer I’d never let my parents refuse. I had asked for it. I’d filled out the registration form with my mom the first time I set foot in Baskin Robbins. And they had a really strong idea I, turning the ripe old age of five, probably wouldn’t come alone.
Do you remember feeling that way about mail? Maybe you still do, but, unlike my five-year-old free-ice-cream-cone-eating self, you probably are alone. Now the offers that come through the mail often go straight into the garbage can. I don’t line the mailbox with a drawstring plastic lilac scented bag or anything, but a whole lot gets thrown away. There’s far from any guarantee that I’ll read my mail, let alone respond to it.
Fast forward to 1997, when I had my first email account, a Juno.com address. I’d have to bum a friend’s computer, log on with a dial-up modem, and endure the manic progression of screeches and beeps that accompanied the green progress bar indicating if I had received one, two, or if miracles conspired with fate, three messages to my account. At that point, email had become the new must-read medium. I didn’t care what came through at 28.8 kbps, it was gold to me. I would jump on any offer that came via email . . . this was all pre-Viagra bulk order offers and Nigerian royalty scam spam, mind you. I didn’t ever, um, act on any of that.
Anyway. It didn’t take that long for email to lose its luster in my and everyone else’s mind. Email marketing can still be great, but it’s not must-read material anymore. And you still never know when your recipients will open the message or if they’ll do anything about it.
Social media marketing has gone through much the same cycle. It was new, it was great, and it still works okay, but . . . nobody’s social media marketing is guaranteed viewing. Facebook users (and Facebook itself) just have too much control over what shows up on their timelines. The novelty is gone.
But there is still one place where the five-year-old promo addict in all of us still reigns supreme. Our phones. One place on our phones holds special prominence: the text. Facebook, twitter, and Instagram notifications are big, sure. And a lot of us check our email with rabid fervor. But nothing grabs our attention like the almighty text.
SMS (Short Message Service) marketing takes advantage of the fact that more than 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes of receipt. (Some research puts this number as high as 99% overall.) Sure, there are plenty of people who don’t text at all. No matter what the research says, your own personal experience has surely taught you that some people (maybe you) just don’t hang on to their phones like their next text will provide their next breath. But the people who do read EVERYTHING.
SMS marketing may not be the lifeblood of your marketing efforts, but it works more efficiently than any other marketing method. When done properly, you’re capturing people just like the five-year-old sucker for ice cream:
- Text recipients ALWAYS check for new messages
- They read EVERYTHING that comes to them
- They LOVE responding to offers
- They ASKED to receive them
- They BRING OTHER PEOPLE when they act on your offers
When SMS marketing is done right, it works brilliantly. So make sure you find someone who knows how to do it right and serve your needs well. Personally, I recommend Sentext Solutions, a full-service SMS marketing agency that provides custom designs, automated database management, simple guided merchant tutorials, and personal assistance every step of the way. A business of any size doesn’t need an SMS marketing department or a giant budget, just a personal rep and about ten minutes a week.
If you’d like to know more about setting up an affordable SMS messaging campaign capable of generating literally thousands of dollars of additional revenue and instant responsive communication with your customers, comment here or submit this form and I’d be happy to tell you more