With more and more people using their cell phone as an all-in-one catch-all web and communication device text-based campaigns have become more prevalent. But pulling off a texting campaign isn’t as easy as blasting out a few texts to your exhibitor and attendee base. We checked in with Kim Dushinski author of “The Mobile Marketing Handbook ” to find out what works and what doesn’t when you want to create an effective text-based communications campaign.
Partner Up. Determining content and strategy is the job of your communications and marketing team but it’s best to leave the logistics to the experts. Find a text messaging vendor who specializes in text campaigns and who is apprised of the rules and regulations surrounding texting before you jump in. The vendor will manage everything from handling permissions to disseminating the texts. (Go to this site for a few of Dushinski’s suggested vendors: http://mobilemarketingprofits.com/335/recom mended-text-message-companies.)
Market the Campaign. If you want to make text messaging an integrated part of your overall communications plan make sure that you inform all attendees and exhibitors of the option to receive texts every step of the way from pre-reg blasts up until they’re on site.
Let ’em Opt In. The key to being above board with text-based campaigns is requiring recipients of text messages to opt in before receiving communications. This is typically handled by the text messaging vendor and can be done via text (some will ask recipients to send a message to a certain number to opt in) or via an online widget when registering on the web.
Let ’em Opt Out. Almost as important as opting-in is giving recipients the opportunity to opt out. The requirements aren’t as stringent here but once every two or three communications there should be an option in the text itself for recipients to click to stop receiving texts. If this is something that the text messaging vendor does not regularly provide in the texts work with them to make sure that it’s implemented before any communications are sent out.
Be Clear. The best way to make sure that the text messages are useful to attendees and exhibitors (and don’t cross over into spam territory) is to be very clear up front pre-opt-in about how often you plan to communicate with them via text and what the content of those messages will be. If recipients believe that they’re only going to receive texts about changes at the show when they’re on site sending them multiple texts in the weeks leading up to the show with exhibitor advertisements will just make them regret having signed up in the first place.
Follow the Rule of Thumb. When you’re creating guidelines for how often—and what content—you plan to text a good rule of thumb is not to send more than one or two texts a week pre-event and no more than three or four a day when on site. Recipients will be more receptive to multiple on-site texts because they’re likely immersed in the event for the duration of the show. Sending too many texts pre- and post-event will likely seem more annoying and intrusive.
Be Succinct. A text can only be comprised of 160 characters so it’s important to plan messages that are clear and concise. If you have more information to share at the end of the text drive recipients to a mobile-friendly website or to a phone number they can call for more information.
Track and Measure. Think in advance about how you plan to measure the value of the text communications. If you put in a call-to-action such as a link to a site or a number texts should be easily trackable by measuring how many follow-throughs occurred based on that action. If the texts are more information based—such as updates or session changes—ask attendees and exhibitors about the texts including how useful the communications were in your regular post-show surveys and follow-ups.
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