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Text Message Marketing Best Practices

 When I am talking to clients about Mobile Marketing I am always asked these three questions:

  • Is it ok to send a text message to people’s personal phone?
  • What if they do not want to receive my messages?
  • Is this legal?

Since all of these questions relate to the same topic of “Best Practices For Mobile Marketing”, I have decided to answer them here.

It is important to know that there are real compliance rules for Mobile Marketing companies.  The U.S. Consumer Best Practice s (CBP) committee develops a recommended set of guidelines to ensure a better experience for the wireless subscribers in the United States. The committee is comprised of wireless operators and aggregators – as well as members of the MMA and CTIA.

The CTIA (International Association for the Telecommunications Industry) preforms weekly audits to ensure companies meet the standards and evaluate compliance with the rules.

Audits are performed weekly

Any new violations are issued on Monday

Once you receive a violation you will be rated as follows:

2 – 5 days to correct the issue

1 – 2 days to correct the issue

0 – Correct the issue immediately

So what text messages could be a violation for Mobile Marketing? Well we need to know what is acceptable in sms marketing and what is not. Here is what is MUST be done:

•Must contain Sponsor Information

•Must contain frequency of text message

•No Unapproved or Inappropriate content as defined by individual carriers

•e.g., illegal drug use, explicit sexual content, violence, profanity, hate speech, etc

•No Superimposed Text Message

•No AT&T logos

•Only use approved Carrier Logos

In addition you…..

1) You must have an “opt-out” option on your message. A common opt out method would say text STOP to or END ALL to stop receiving messages. This makes it OK to send messages to mobile numbers. We do not hold hostages, and it is required to have it. You will receive a violation without it.

2) You must let the receiver of your message know who you are. Your business name should appear in the first few words to avoid any confusion that you are spamming people. People will remember they texted in to your offer when they see your business name. You will receive a violation.

3) Must not use the word FREE in a way that would make the mobile user think the text message is FREE. Although 85% of mobile users have unlimited texting and do not pay for it, there will be the very few that pay for a certain number or do not have texting and then they would be charged the text message rate by their carrier.

So yes it is legal and yes it is ok to message your customers on their phone as long as you are working with a Mobile Marketing Company that follows the above mentioned standards

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SMS Marketing for Bars and Nightclubs

When was the last time you found yourself having a great time at your local bar or nightclub?  We all enjoy a night out with the girls, a game to watch with the guys, great food and drinks, of course great live music and discounts, coupons and specials!

 

Think back to your last experience.  What was the one device you and all the other people there had?  Correct.  A mobile phone.  About how many of those people do you think were texting? If I had to make a wager, I would say 90% of them were and probably some were texting to people at their own table.

Check out these texting stats by The Retrevo Research Group in 2011

SMS Texting Stats

 

So imagine if you will, a great night out listening to a great band at your favorite local spot.  The band decides to take a break. Before they leave, they announce to the entire bar that the bar and the band will be giving away free drinks and free t-shirts.  All you have to do is text “name of bar” to 72727 and we will choose 6 winners.  Within 5 minutes, 6 happy guests receive a text announcing them the winner of a  free shirt and free drink! Very cool for the guests who will no doubt share that expierence.

The greater power lies in the hands of the owner of that bar. In one night, in five minutes, he added 315 people to his database that he can now send text messages about his business to.

Lets think about that.  Next Wednesday night, this same owner wants to offer 15 cent wings.  At 11am he sends those 315 people a text telling them about the special.  Over 20% came in and cashed in on that special. In two weeks  he sends another message with a link to their Facebook Page. If you like on to their page that day you will be put in a drawing for a chance to win backstage passes for next concert they host.  You just drove 315 people to your Facebook page and increased you likes by 200.  Can you say win win!

This is Mobile Marketing at it’s best and this is just the beginning.  The exponential power of growth is unlimited!

We have some very creative ideas to literally steal business from your competitors. If you own a restaurant, bar or nightclub email us today at aimeemobilemarketing@gmail.com

 

 


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Are College Kids Scanning QR Codes?

We wanted to know what others are saying about using QR codes.  We talk to people everyday about them and continue to get a variety of responses on the engagement factor.  We came across this study and wanted to share it. According to Archival Youth Marketing, a very small percentage of college students, when presented with QR Codes are scanning them.  Why?  Please visit the Archival Website for more information.  This is just a small example of what they found.  According to the research, college kids want to scan QR codes as 58% of them said they would be likely to scan a QR code, but the actual percentage of those who did scan was only 21.5%.  In my opinion, if the desire is there, then what was the method used to entice participation? Since QR codes are still struggling to be mainstream here in the US and on main street, it is important to give clear instruction on how to scan the QR Code and a creative form of engagement and interaction.Infographic showing what college students know about QR Codes
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5 Worst QR Code Mistakes

As a designer of mobile websites in Myrtle Beach, I often see QR codes that do not take the scanner to a mobile friendly landing page. This is rule number one and should not be broken.
QR codes can be a great tool to get smartphone users to a mobile website or short code.  It should create a call to action all on it’s own and then in some cases take you to another call to action.  If done correctly, they can also play a role in branding  your business to a new generation of mobile consumers. All too often companies are making some of the same mistakes and then wondering why their QR code or QR Code Campaign was not a success.  Recently I had a local marketing agency tell me her clients are just not excited about QR codes.  Well, she did not have the knowledge to get them excited. Excitement about an affordable tool to increase traffic on all channels and name recognition is exciting and should be shared because quite frankly, isn’t that part of their job? Here are the five mistakes you should avoid when using QR Codes.
custom code
1) Don’t Mess With The “Quiet Zone”.  The quiet zone is a term that refers to the white border around the QR code.  This helps keep it separate from any other data or image that would confuse a scanner when reading it.  Time and again you will see the code itself take up the image size and then have  a dark colored background.  The rule of thumb is to make the boarder 2-3 times the size of one black data block.
2) Test, Test and Oh Did I Mention Test?  Test your code on as many platforms as you can.  You will want to pick two or three top rated scanners per platform to make sure they will work.  This is mainly for anyone adding colors, images, and logos into the code.
3) NEVER use a QR Code generator that does not give you access to editing those codes.  If you use a free generator but you have no control panel, account or management system in place, then you have no editing power.  You must have the ability to re-direct and edit your code or you need to generate codes somewhere else.  Why?  Let’s say you just put your new custom QR code on all your business cards, postcards, flyers and magnets on all your company vehicles. You are promoting your Facebook page by directing the QR code to take them to your FB page. However next month you are having a big project using Twitter and you want to create a buzz.  Instead of buying new QR code products, you can redirect the original code. Reduce the use and save!
4) Size Really Does Matter!  I received a post card in the mail yesterday and it had a tiny QR code in the top right corner.  In order to scan it I had two use 3 scanners to get it to work.  My friend who has an iPhone could not scan it at all.  The size of your QR codes should be at least 1in x 1in.  On the other side to that you do not want them to be too big.  If you are a vendor at a trade show and most people that are walking by are within 3 feet and your QR code is 10×10, they will all have to back way up to scan it…not cool!
5) Have a purpose.  Ask yourself why you are creating this code. If your answer is simply because it is cool, then you are missing the mark.  Now it is not rocket science either, but it will take some intentional planning and strategy as to the goal of implementing the code in the first place.  Linking a branded (custom) code to a non-mobile friendly url is a waste of time.
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THE SKINNY ON CUSTOM QR CODES

Custom QR codes are a great way to draw some attention to your business.  Instead of using a basic black and white code you can hire a QR Code Company to design one to match your logo.  Notice how I said company.  Why you ask?  Well just because you may have some knowledge of how to use a paint program, Photoshop or Illustrator it is not as easy as just filling in colors and putting logos on the code.  There are certain pieces of information, that when altered on that code will cause it to not be read by the smart phones scanner. Also it is important to note that you may add some color to a code and be able to scan it with your Droid, but your friend with an iPhone can not.  A QR code company will know what portion of the code can be changed and they will test it on all platforms before releasing it.
A big mistake some people make is not allowing a white buffer around the code, or using the wrong levels of color both causing scanning problems.  A custom code can range from $35 up to $300 depending on the detail, amount of color, how many colors and the graphics involved.  I find it well worth the investment. Since the code can be redirected at any time, you can keep your custom design for as long as you want.  I have often said that as the QR code becomes increasingly popular I think some will become desensitized to seeing them.  It will be the custom QR codes that will draw the attention and curiosity of mobile users.
The creative possibilities then become endless.  I love the new TV commercial Macy’s just put out.  They put a QR code in the middle of their logo.  At first glance you may not notice it as it is a bit camouflaged.  But when you look again, you will see it.  I not only love the application here, but I like the use of a QR code on TV.  Right now, it is popular on offline materials like print ads. but the application on TV can be just as powerful.
I think it is important to keep the design as simple as possible while giving it enough of the wow factor to draw some attention.
Let’s talk about the custom QR code and branding.  Branding is so important to businesses.  A custom QR code has the ability to help brand your name and logo.  If you think about it,  you will definitely remember a logo that has a really cool QR code associated with it.  When you scan it, then the “branding” takes on an interactive role and  you have made a connection in the mind of people you are advertising to.
So take caution when altering  QR codes and talk with a professional before doing anything. Be on the look out for some really creative designs to come!  Here is a great example of a custom QR code in Myrtle Beachdone for the local college at CCU.

 

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