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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Growing Revenues through Text Messaging | THE OVER-CAFFEINATED ENTREPRENEUR

David J. DunworthThe Over-Caffeinated Entrepreneur with David J. Dunworth

Those new to mobile media and mobile marketing may not know that the road to greatness in this medium is text messaging using Short Codes (SMS). Short codes are typically a 5 or 6 digit set of numbers (such as 90210) that represent a particular mobile address, much like the URL on the web. A short code is the "dot com" of mobile communications. The other component of a mobile marketing campaign is what is known as a keyword. Keywords may be text yourname to shortcode. They also may be another word you can think of that might make your target consumer knowledgeable of you or your business. Here are a few reasons text messaging makes sense.

+ More than 6 Billion text messages are sent and received every month.

+ Eighty-five percent are opened within 3 minutes, and a whopping 94% of them are opened and read within the first hour of receiving them.

+ The consumer always has the option to opt-in or opt-out of your message delivery.

+ Marketing in this way is Permission-Based. The Consumer is in Control!

The acquisition of a short code and keyword(s) is through a company known as an application provider or reseller. Some call them aggregates, that is not the case. The app (or service) providers purchase or lease their short codes and keywords from the aggregates, who in turn, secure them from other firms in the chain.

Here are some examples that may better explain the use of a text messaging campaign to grow revenues.

Let's assume we want to grow revenues for a CPA firm, or Dr.'s Office, Lawyer, Hair Salon, Dentist or any other type of service provider that bills time for services.

Professionals that schedule appointments for their clients (or potentials) count on the appointment being filled, with a person in the seat at the right time. Companies and professionals lose a tremendous amount of money when the client misses an appointment, and the "No Show" time is forever lost. That billing time cannot be recouped, unless an emergency fill-in list is maintained. What I mean is, most firms don't have clients waiting for a last minute appointment on any given day, at any given time. Sure, it happens occasionally, but the frequency just isn't there. A Dentist may have an emergency client every now and then, but no company has a list of clients or potentials just sitting by the phone waiting on a last minute spot.

What if, when making an initial appointment or a follow up session, you had the ability to pre-arrange a text message a week, day hour before the appointment. As a recurring reminder to make and keep the appointment, you can set them (in advance) and forget them. Do you think the capture rate of appointments might go up? Of course they will, dramatically!

The previous example isn't even a marketing campaign, text messaging is merely used as as a management tool to increase productivity and capture rate. Let's now take a look at the hospitality business.

Remember (if you are at least 45) when most restaurants had a Maitre ' d? Every day he (they were almost always men) would arrive at the restaurant around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and review the evening's reservations, commonly known as "the book." He would be looking to see who is planning to dine, but he would also be looking to see what regulars are missing on the reservation log. He would then take the time to call each of the regulars to entice them to come in tonight to dine. He might offer 2 for 1 entrees, free wine or dessert, or some other form of inducement to fill the restaurant.

Those days are gone. Minimum wage hosts and hostesses now seat patrons, without bothering to get to know you, or care about you. What you typically hear is "hi, two?" They are there to put butts in seats; nothing more. That is until now.

What if a restaurant had a database (for which the customers would opt-in) that could be sent out as a text blast offering half off entrees if they respond by return text within an hour, and be seated by no more than two hours from first contact? How about a message that says, "we only have 9 tables available (not previously reserved) tonight. First 9 to reply get half off their entrees. Or, if the message says, "don't forget your wife (name inserted) birthday this weekend. Make your reservations today and we'll provide the free celebration cake." Or, if any other type of promotion or message were sent out, do you think revenues go up? Do you think that the restaurant might be full, on nights that are usually slow?

The National Restaurant Association states that U.S. restaurants are below 40% capacity after 6 p.m. This type of Real-Time Marketing can make a huge difference in those numbers.

Here's yet another example; an entire community.

Presume for a moment that a small community, whether it be a church, social group, a school or the entire town's government used text messaging. Not only could emergency messages be texted, announcements could be sent to increase the importance of their attendance at the annual town fair, pot luck dinner, PTA meeting, or church elders meeting. This may be marketing on some occasions, or merely information on others, or part of a town's emergency broadcasting system.

There are more reasons to use text messaging than just to stay in touch; there is money waiting to be harvested. A mobile marketing campaign can be established in short order, and costs are less than you might think. There are typically no contracts, other than number of messages in packages to agree to, and are month to month use of the short code(s) and keyword(s).

Next month I will fully explain how to create a mobile marketing plan, complete with Scar Tissue (real life) examples. Stay tuned!

Attention Entrepreneurs and Emerging Enterprises: You can learn Scar Tissue knowledge by reading:

For more information, please visit David's TNNWC Bio.

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