SMS marketing checklist: 15 best practices you need to follow


Nine out of every ten text messages are opened and read within three minutes of being delivered. But if your business is in the habit of sending ineffective, irrelevant, or untimely text messages, you’ll see those numbers drop and you may even see open rates decline and opt-outs increase. The following 15 best practices can ensure that your customers will be excited to receive and read your texts.

Include your company name

Even if you register a shortcode, the average person won’t memorize the five or six digit number and remember who is texting them. You don’t want to count on them saving your shortcode as a contact and assigning a name and you don’t want customers to have to search through old texts to find out who’s texting them so make sure your company name is in every text you send.

Personalize the message

Try to segment your phone numbers database according to demographic or interests so that the messages you’re sending feel more personal. A one size-fits all message doesn’t work when one recipient is a 14-year-old girl and the other is a 60-something-year-old man.

Start with a hook

You were taught in school to begin every essay with a hook. That’s good advice for a two-sentence text as well as a five-page paper. The first sentence, phrase, or word should get the recipient’s attention.

Make sure each and every text offers value

There’s never a situation where it’s okay to send a text that does absolutely nothing for the recipient. You’re sure to get opt-outs if you do that. Whether you’re offering a great deal on a product or sharing insightful information or sending a shipping notification, every single text must be doing something to improve the life of the recipient in some small way.

Use clear and concise language

Texts are limited to 160 characters. You can’t afford to be wordy. Carefully proofread each text before sending and make sure there’s not a single word that you could remove without negatively impacting the clarity of the message.

Use dynamic and compelling prose

Study up on creative writing and make sure your writing is interesting and compelling. Use power words like surprising verbs. Play around with syntax to create interesting sentence constructions. Vary your sentence length. Use intentional sentence fragments. Have fun in constructing your text messages.

Use, but don’t abuse, all caps

ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME MAKES IT SEEM LIKE YOU’RE YELLING. You don’t want your recipients to feel as if they’re being yelled at. You can use all caps for a single word here or there to create emphasis.

Include a call to action

Don’t leave it up to your recipients to guess what you’re getting at. Tell them to redeem that coupon, or to click over onto your Facebook page, or whatever it is you want them to do.

Use a URL shortener

A URL shortener is a great way to make a link to a webpage or video look more appealing and it also makes it easier to stay within the character limit for SMS so your text is delivered in a single message and not broken up.

Include opt-out instructions

It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. Keep it short and sweet though: “Reply ‘STOP’ to opt-out.”

Make sure offers are relevant

Going back to segmentation of your phone number database, you can ensure that you’re only sending offers that are relevant to the people that you’re sending them to.

Make it sound urgent

If recipients don’t act right away, they’re likely to forget about it and more recent texts will move yours to the bottom of the inbox so make every message seem urgent.

Be mindful of timing

No matter how good the offer, people won’t take kindly to receiving it early in the morning or late at night. People are also less receptive to texts received during stressful situations like sitting in traffic or business meetings. Aim for lunch hours, early evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Avoid text speak

Just because all the kids are typing huge strings of letters that are actually acronyms doesn’t mean you should. Though they help keep your character count under control they’re also likely to be misunderstood by a sizable percentage of your recipients.

Don’t use emoticons

Seriously, just don’t. They’re a waste of valuable characters. Including a 😉 uses three characters and adds nothing of value to the text.

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Source: business2community. com/mobile-apps/12-text-message-marketing-best-practices-business-using-01893467#cRHesEtMBtzioeD8.97


Five aspects to every good digital marketing strategy


Digital marketing is all about predicting the next big thing. But while different trends come and go and as different channels and platforms grow in popularity then disappear, certain foundational principles of good digital marketing remain. Here are five of them.

A good data strategy

A key advantage to digital marketing is that customer behavior always leaves a trail. You can track how long a website visitor lingers on a landing page before clicking elsewhere. You can see how many mobile coupons sent via text are redeemed. You can track the impact of a particular digital ad on web traffic. All of this is data and all of it is useless if you’re not paying attention to it, making it available to the right people in your company, or making adjustments in response to it. A good digital marketing strategy requires a good data strategy. You need to have a plan for tracking, sharing, and reacting to all the data your digital marketing efforts create.

The right marketing channels

Digital marketing isn’t a channel, it’s a network of many different ones and what works for one won’t work for others. Even within a subcategory like social media, there are dozens of platforms each with their own demographics. A good data strategy will require a good understanding of the channels available to you and knowing which ones to spend your time and money on to reach your target audience and achieve your marketing goals.

Segmentation of your audience

You can get better results if you’re not treating your entire audience as one homogenous whole. Instead gather demographic information and segment your audience according to gender, age, and interests. This allows you to offer more relevant and personalized advertising to your customers and you don’t waste money on ads and offers that certain segments of your customer base won’t be interested in.

Propensity modelling

Propensity modelling is all about looking at behavioral data (what do customers end up buying after looking at this particular product) to try and guess what a customer is thinking and what they’re going to do. A targeted ad sent at just the right time can be the difference between success and failure.

A consistent message

Whether it’s banner advertisements, an emailed newsletter, or a text message, there needs to be an underlying message that is consistent across all channels and consistent with your brand’s image that you’ve worked so hard to establish.

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Source: martechadvisor   .com/articles/content-marketing/six-essential-aspects-of-successful-digital-marketing/

5 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

marketing  with business graph and chart hand drawing on blackboard

When marketing to your customers, you already know you should utilize text marketing, social media, and other forms of communication and engagement. You may even have an awesome marketing strategy outlined for 2017 already. But do you know what you are doing wrong? Here are 5 marketing mistakes you should avoid this year.

1. Too short of content

One marketing strategy that is all too common is when companies post content on their site just to get rankings instead of actually trying to engage with the consumers. This often leads to short articles without substantial information. Another reason you might be posting short content is because you know consumers have a short attention span and aren’t interested in spending too long on any one page.

However, customer engagement affects your search engine rankings more than the number of blog posts you are putting out. On top of that, recent studies have shown that customers much prefer to read a long, well-written, informative article than short ones. They will spend over 10 minutes on one page reading the article and engaging with it. So focus on longer articles over 1,000 words.

2. Not optimizing web content

Surprisingly, a good majority of businesses trying to rank their websites higher don’t actually have it optimized for search very well. Every single page and piece of content that is written for your business needs to be optimized for search if you want to have effective results. Use keyword research to determine the best keywords for your site, and use those words in the titles, image tags, URL and a couple of times throughout the content to get the best ranking possible.

3. Avoiding social media

A lot of companies figure they don’t need social media. Sure, they have social media accounts, but they don’t try to engage with customers or post on it regularly. You may think it is unnecessary for the type of business you run. Maybe you are marketing to other businesses and don’t see the value in social media. However, even if you are selling to other businesses, you have to remember that ultimately you are still selling to individuals, and individuals spend a lot of time on social media platforms. Don’t neglect your social media accounts, and put time into making sure you engage with your customers through them.

4. Avoiding text marketing

It is amazing how many companies don’t use text marketing when it is literally your opportunity to market directly to customers. You are putting an ad in the pocket of every customer you have, and it will pay off big. Most people look at their text messages within the first three minutes, so you can be sure to get coverage and have your text viewed by the consumers. Don’t neglect this powerful tool.

5. Not personalizing content

We live in a world where getting information about your customers is ridiculously easy, and it makes it possible to personalize all the content they receive. By personalizing, you monopolize on what works best for each person and is more likely to convince them you have the right product or service for them. Personalize based on age, gender, or location to get the best results in your marketing.

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Source: entrepreneur.    com/article/289098

No Facebook’s chatbots weren’t planning to overthrow humanity


Facebook’s AI team made headlines across the world this week when they announced that they were shutting down a chatbot project after their chatbots developed a new language to more effectively communicate with each other–a language humans couldn’t understand. The announcement sparked a long-held fear of humans: that our machines could rise up and overthrow. Dozens of news networks published pieces with scary sounding headlines about artificial intelligence takeovers. They couldn’t have been farther from the truth. For hundreds of years humanity has feared new technologies because we fear what we do not understand. Hollywood has capitalized on this fear making movie after movie where robots overthrow us and enslave or destroy us. But that’s not what was happening with Facebook’s chatbot project.

The project

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced a project they were working on with the goal of creating chatbots that could be trained to negotiate and strike deals with each other. The thinking behind this is that deal-making is an integral part of interpersonal communication and the world of business and if chatbots are going to play a role in that future, then they need to have negotiating skills. Facebook’s team used machine learning by inputting real-world examples of negotiations–actual transcripts that the program could use to look for patterns and “understand” how negotiations work. Next, they would instruct two chatbots to negotiate by instructing them to divide up a collection of various different items between themselves. The hope was that they would make deals: “If I can have this item and this item, you can have that item and that item, etc…” It didn’t work out that way.

What went wrong?

The chatbots evidently diverged from human speech instead speaking a gibberish version of it. Make no mistake, this wasn’t some advanced language designed to hide their motives from human observers. It went something like this:

Bob: “i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”

Alice: “balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to…”

What does it all mean?

The end result didn’t surprise the researchers (though it certainly disappointed them) nor should it have surprised us. Artificial intelligence can do some incredible things. In fact the same principles of machine learning that Facebook used to teach negotiating to machines was already successfully used to develop computer programs that can beat the most intelligent humans at their own game be it chess or some other strategic game. But language is infinitely more complex, even more than chess and harder to teach machines.

Not a complete failure

The researchers didn’t shut down their negotiating bots because they feared a robot apocalypse. They shut it down because chatbots that communicate in a way humans can’t understand offer no benefit to humanity. They will go back to the drawing board and create parameters that prevent them from reverting to gibberish and try again. This is how artificially intelligent chatbots are programmed: through trial and error.

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Source: wired   .com/story/facebooks-chatbots-will-not-take-over-the-world/


How to get a better return on investment with mobile marketing


Mobile marketing is no longer just an option you have when it comes to selecting marketing channels. In fact, mobile marketing hasn’t really been just one option among many for several years now. It’s absolutely essential that you have a sold mobile marketing strategy going forward. But as is always the case when you branch out into new marketing channels, there’s a learning curve. If you want to get the best return on your investment into mobile marketing, consider the following advice.

There’s no such thing as too much keyword research

Keyword research is important for all digital marketing channels. Google’s search algorithms rely heavily on keywords so it’s important that you’re using the right ones if you want to show up on the first page of search results. But keyword research is even more important with mobile. Studies have shown that the search strings people type into Google are much more specific on mobile devices than they are on desktops or laptops. That means you have to put more thought into user intent–what things are your potential customers likely to type in to Google’s search bar if they’re searching for a product or service that you offer? Then you have to think about how to incorporate that research into your website copy.

Mobile friendly web design is a must

In 2016, mobile web traffic surpassed non-mobile web traffic for the first time and that gap is growing. Mobile now accounts for just over 50% of all web traffic but in the coming years we may see that number rise to 60%, 70%, or perhaps even higher. Even assuming a constant at 50%, that means if your website isn’t optimized for display on mobile devices, half of the visitors on your site will have a negative experience–slower load times, too-small text, difficulty navigating the site to find what they’re looking for, etc… Mobile web design needs to be simpler and the text needs to be larger. Many website building platforms use responsive design to automatically adjust how the website displays according to the device being used to access it but you may want to invest more in a completely separate mobile version of your site since that’s even better.

Text message marketing is a no-brainer

There are so many different mobile marketing channels that you don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) try to use all of them. One that you absolutely must use if ROI is important to you (and ROI should always be important to you) is text message marketing. Text messages cost pennies to send and they boast of an open rate around 98%. Not only are texts five times more likely to be opened than emails, offers you send via text are about four times as likely to be redeemed as offers you send via email, and that’s after you account for the 80% of people who delete the email unread in the first place.

Your mobile marketing strategy is never complete

As with all marketing channels, your mobile strategy is never complete. Even if you’re at a point where you are getting great ROI and seeing great results from your efforts, you need to keep tracking metrics and keep fine-tuning. There’s always room for improvement. Remember that once you stop moving forwards, you begin moving backwards.

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Source: forbes.   com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/07/19/four-ways-to-increase-your-roi-from-mobile-marketing/#4135e2dce075

Why your business needs to incorporate video into its mobile marketing strategy


Though producing video content isn’t exclusively a mobile marketing channel, it is inseparably connected with mobile. In 2015, the total watch time of YouTube videos on mobile surpassed the total watch time of YouTube videos on desktop computers for the first time. With each year, the gap increases. Add to that the number of mobile exclusive video content apps and you begin to see why producing high quality video content is so important to a mobile campaign. Here are a few more video content statistics that might convince you.

  • Every day on Facebook, more than 8 billion videos are watched, adding up to more than 100 million hours.
  • Even more videos are viewed on Snapchat daily–more than 10 billion.
  • Nearly half of all social media users will spend more than an hour in any given week watching video content on social media platforms.
  • Every single day, more than half a billion people watch at least one video on Facebook.
  • More than half a billion hours are spent watching YouTube videos every single day.
  • Consumers are four times as likely to wach video content about a product as they are to read about that same product.
  • Videos are shared on social media 12 times as often as links and text-based posts combined.
  • Blogs that contain at least one video will get more than 40% more web traffic than blog articles that contain no video content.
  • Nearly two-thirds (66%) of customers report being more likely to purchase something if they watch a video about it first.
  • Because search engine algorithms prioritize video content, landing pages that contain a video are 53% more likely to show up on the first page of search results.
  • Nearly 50% of people report actively searching for video content about a product before making a purchase.
  • By the year 2020, 80% of all internet usage will be spent watching video content.
  • Links to video content in emails are 2-3 times as likely to be clicked on as links to non-video content in emails.
  • Three-fourths of people who watch a product video from beginning to end will visit the company’s website afterward.
  • People spend 260% more time on web pages with video content as opposed to pages without video content.
  • Approximately 85% of the videos viewed on Facebook are watched without any sound so it’s vital that video content have captions.
  • Approximately 92% of people who view video content online regularly share video content with their friends and family on social media.

Though the SMS marketing channel is limited just 160 characters per message, a text can serve as a portal to video content thanks to embedded links. Since the SMS channel enjoys a click-through rate of about 36%, more than a third of your SMS opt-ins will watch video that you create and send to them. It’s a great way to generate excitement about new products or services and to convert that excitement into sales.

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Source: business2community    .com/video-marketing/39-video-marketing-statistics-need-know-01884473#QY6Z5ewZo3u41xDr.97


Pros and cons of deploying a chatbot










As with any mobile marketing channel, chatbots have their strengths and weaknesses. Before investing in chatbots, it’s a good idea to understand where they’re current at, technology-wise and what they can and can’t do.

Pro: They provide a personalized experience

Since chatbots can be programmed to have access to a vast amount of data, it can provide people with a highly personalized experience. Imagine a shopping assistant chatbot that remembers the personal tastes of each person it assists. I would be able to suggest products that the shopper is much more likely to purchase.

Con: They’re not quite human

Though the artificial intelligence programming that goes into chatbots has come along way, they still can’t fool humans. Currently, most of the chatbots being developed are only capable of choosing from a selection of set sentences or questions. They can’t create sentences in an infinite number of ways like humans can and within a minute or two users will catch on that they’re chatting with a computer program. This is off-putting to some who will still prefer doing things the old-fashioned way–speaking, or at least chatting with a real person.

Pro: They can shorten customer support wait times

If you’re planning on using a chatbot for customer service purposes, you can free up live agents by letting the chatbots ask the routine questions and pull customer data. They can also route customers to the appropriate department similar to the way that automated phone answering systems do for phone calls. If customers are able to get assistance via text promptly, they will have a more positive customer service experience and will be more likely to remain customers–and customer support users–in the future.

Con: They can get caught in a loop of unhelpfulness

Most people have had the experience of listening through a series of options and trying to navigate a complicated automated phone answering system to get to the help they need. The same thing could happen with chatbots if they aren’t programmed well and if there aren’t enough humans monitoring things to jump in and take the reins. Chatbots won’t always be able to understand what a human is saying or asking and consequently, they’ll provide unhelpful responses. If a customer can’t get the help they need promptly, the chatbot may do more harm than good when it comes to the reputation of the brand it’s representing. This drawback of chatbots can be overcome through better programming and live agent support. A “go back” command option, for instance, could allow a customer to return to a previous question or back out of a line of thought that they don’t want to pursue. If the chatbot is quicker to admit that it can’t assist a customer and quicker in transferring that person to a live agent that can, it will be viewed in a better light than if it were to keep guessing incorrectly until the customer gives up.


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Source: martechtoday   .com/pros-cons-future-facebook-chatbots-200783