Competitions and Your SMS Marketing Campaign

SMS marketing is an effective way to reach out to your customers, but building a large opt-in SMS marketing list, and encouraging the people on that list to respond to your messages – rather than those of a rival, can be quite difficult; especially if your rival has a bigger budget, and is able to run campaigns across several media, such as magazines, billboards, or the radio, as well as bulk SMS.

One way to build an opt-in list quickly is to run text competitions. Competitions build excitement and engagement, and can generate goodwill too.  You will need to spend money on prizes, but if the prizes are topical and interesting enough (perhaps a new iPhone, or a small holiday package), then you should easily get enough people joining your list to recoup the cost of the prizes.

Free vs Premium SMS Numbers

Some companies use SMS competitions as a way to make a small amount of money.  They run SMS quizzes where the contestants text their entry to a premium rate number.  This can be an effective way to generate some extra income, perhaps to reinvest in marketing, however it can be a bad idea from a goodwill point of view.  If you do not clearly advertise the cost of the SMS message entries, then consumers could find themselves unexpectedly running out of phone credit, or being stuck with a large bill at the end of the month.

If you can afford to run a free to enter SMS campaign (where the entrant simply pays their usual network cost for the text message), then this is a much better option. The band Owl City did this to great effect when they ran a contest to give away a Gibson guitar signed by the lead singer.  The contest was free to enter, and interested fans could also call the lead singer and leave him a message.

Instant Rewards

If you want to keep consumers engaged and interested, it’s a good idea to give them occasional, small rewards.  That could be discount coupons, useful tips, or low value prizes.  ArmenTel gave away 8,000 prizes during their “Treasure Hunt” SMS campaign, which attracted more than 10% of their customer base, and saw long-term engagement over the 90 day campaign.

While 8,000 prizes might sound like a lot, it doesn’t have to be a big investment.  Think about the companies that run contests to “Win a Car”, but also give away thousands of bags of crisps, chocolate bars, or money off vouchers as consolation prizes.  Those prizes have a strong psychological impact on the consumers that win them, and do generate goodwill for the company.

Monetizing Your List

Once you have people signed up to your marketing list via their competition entries, you can start using their number in your bulk SMS marketing campaign. Make sure that the messages you send are interesting and valuable – don’t throw away the goodwill you’ve earned by sending useless messages. If you’re on a tight budget, make the most of every message you send by using a strong call to action, and sending the consumer something that will be of value to them.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Collstream who can help your business with their bulk SMS marketing expertise.


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