Almost every article, blog, opinion, what have you, on the virtues of social media marketing stop at what great tools Facebook, Twitter and e-mail blasts are. No doubt each of those has proven that they have staked their claim in the minds of many marketers as effective ways to develop a brand and introduce a new product.
Q: But where does the need for branding and creating conversation or ‘buzz’ stop and ‘get to the point’ sales start? When is enough ‘viral’ enough?
A: This depends on the product and the size of the individual business’s market both in area and number of potential customers.
Papa John’s Pizza needs to use as many ‘broadcast’ tools as they can to get the word out about a new flavor of pizza. They are trying to appeal to a large and diverse market. No doubt Papa John’s has a well established brand across a broad demographical and geographical area.
But let’s take Marco’s Neighborhood Corner Pizzeria for example. Marco (not his real name) has worked just as hard, but with fewer resources than Papa John uses, to establish his brand and reputation on a much smaller and personal scale. Everyone in the neighborhood knows Marco. Do the math. If his usual customer visits once a month – think of the long term effect on revenue if they visited twice per month, or once a week…etc. What Marco needs is a good way to “narrowcast.” He needs to focus his sights on a specific target market, specifically customers in his neighborhood.
Marco tried Facebook and Twitter but his messages got buried in and amongst cat videos and oodles of other gibberish…maybe even a hot deal from another pizzeria. He has found e-mail doesn’t work as well as it used to. He’s learned that most of it ends up in the spam file; that is if his customer’s address is still valid. Besides, who has the time to write a Pulitzer Prize winning e-blast that’s going to get read? Not Marco, he’s busy making pizza sauce.
Marco has had some success with newspaper coupons, but what if his newspaper ad had an immediate call to action… “Scan the QR code/text pizza 555-5555 to get FREE salad and soft drink with your next order.” Readers receive an immediate response with the special offer right on their phone in a short, stand alone, easy to read text message. They simply show it to Marco when they stop in for their pizza!
He should not give up on Facebook, Twitter or emails but entice recipients of his e-blasts, posts and tweets with the same invitation to ‘opt-in’. He highlights that they can get his special offers without digging through the social media maze. He’s bound to get converts. At the same time, Marco is also building a highly responsive text marketing database of customers who really like his pizza…people he can send a new text to next week for another great deal. They will read it and heed it. 97% of texts are read, 90% in the first 3 minutes.
Marco’s text messages have an immediacy that the other mediums don’t have. They appear right now on the customer’s phone with an enticing impulse-driven message… “You worked all day – You deserve dinner cooked for you. 15% off tonight only.” Marco has now turned his usually slow Wednesday evenings into one of his highest sales nights of the week!
Obviously, text message marketing is the most direct, easy and effective way to reach customers where they are… on their phones!
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