Posts Tagged SMS
I am a frequent business traveler and a faithful Alaska Airlines customer. They have the best mileage program, friendliest flight staff and best customer service in the industry. I am also an avid mobile media consumer, so it makes sense that I have been keeping my eye out for advancements in their mobile strategy. Lately, I have been especially interested in their SMS campaigns. Overall their approach seems well thought out. I only receive a few texts from them a month, so I don’t feel bombarded with contact from them. Typically, the text messages are promoting a fare sale. This is an interesting use-case for an SMS alert, especially if it is a flash sale. The alert creates a sense of urgency that drives consumers to buy the tickets fast before the price goes up.
Today I received a text alert from them that wasn’t executed quite as well. The SMS was promoting the re-launch of their website. There were two things that I noticed that didn’t work well. First, the brief message included two URLs, one for Alaskaair.com and one bit.ly URL. There was no clear call to action directing me to visit one site over the other, but I assumed the bit.ly URL would take me to a remodeled mobile site. It did in fact take me to a mobile optimized site, but there aren’t any noticeable changes to the mobile site. The other URL took me to the full site, but I don’t believe that the intention is to have people view the full site from their mobile phones, because the improvements (which are great and were much needed, by the way) aren’t apparent from a small screen.
The other error on the text message was that it finished with what appears to be a random , 15character alpha-numeric code. Unfortunately, the error takes up a full line of real estate that could have been used to make the URL call to action more clear. My alternative copy suggestion using the same amount of characters would be AlaskaAir: Alaskaair.com was remodeled! Be sure to visit us to see the improvements. Visit http://bit.ly/kCHrv7 to view our mobile site.
Last week our guest speaker, Philippe Poutonnet from HipCricket, highlighted several key considerations for executing a successful SMS campaign. The best practices included:
- Send a courtesy reply text to consumer following their campaign registration.
- Limit the number of SMS offers to 2-3 month to avoid inundating the participant.
- Leverage location-specific messaging by requesting zip codes.
- Consider both the time of the day and day of the week that would be most relevant for sending the SMS blast, especially if it’s food related.
- Maximize exposure by leveraging all marketing materials (direct mail, email blast, website and POS) to promote the SMS campaign.
In specific, Poutonnet discussed a campaign that HipCricket is executing for Ford Direct (Ford’s marketing division) that is still in it’s infancy. The campaign objective is to garner 50 qualified leads on a monthly basis. The campaign leverages their TV buys, by prompting viewers to text a key word to a shortcode. The end goal is to get you to answer enough questions that they can qualify where you are at in the buying process and get you in touch with a sales associate.
After hearing about the campaign, I decided to test it out to see if it followed the best practices that Poutonnet had laid out for us in the beginning of his presentation. Here was my transaction:
FORD: Thx 4 texting Ford. Reply with your favorite Ford Model to get more information Details www.fdevent.com. Msg+Data rates may apply. Stop=Outout.
Ford: Reply w/your ZIP CODE 2 get ur local offer. Details: www.fdevent.com. U will receive future offers from Ford. Msg+Data Rates may apply. STOP=Optout HELP=help
Ford: $1K Rtl Cstmr Cash + $1K Promo Rtl Bonus Cstmr Cash www.fdevent.com Want offer from ur local dealer? Reply w/ur full name 2b contacted
Meg: Meg Brown
Ford: Your local dealer will contact you shortly, in the meantime you can continue your research at www.compareford.com
I was called by ford the next morning.
I actually think this campaign was executed really well. Not only did it meet the MMA guidelines, but it also followed HipCricket’s best practices. They maximized their other medium to drive participation, acknowledged receipt of my text, asked me a few questions to qualify my buying interest, found out my location, provided timely discount offer and then had a sales associate follow up at an appropriate time of day.
The one suggestion I would make would be to that they could probably eliminate one step in the texting process by having customer segmentation start at the time of the initial interaction. For example, instead of using FORD as a shortcode, why not use FOCUS or ESCAPE (etc)? I also like that they include URL’s to drive traffic back to their site. This is a nice example of integrating SMS into the larger campaign.