By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Let me start by making it clear that I am NOT a fan of texting while driving but YES I do believe texting is a lot easier than asking your audience to visit a website, participate in a photo contest or even a video contest. Campaigns that ask your audience to do less actually do more in terms of engagement and participation. So if you have a charitable giving component to your PR efforts this holiday season, think about TEXT campaigns to make it easier to GIVE.
The latest Pew Research center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that “Some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. Pew Research asked those texters in a survey how they prefer to be contacted on their cell phone and 31% said they preferred texts to talking on the phone. So there you have it. While we might be becoming a generation of texters versus talkers, I think it’s important to keep in mind that “ease of engagement” is key to your campaigns and texting definitely makes it easier to follow that Call-to-Action at the end of your message (radio/TV/print/email/social media).
So now that you are nodding your head in agreement, let’s think about some simple ways you can incorporate texting to your ongoing efforts:
Text to Donate This Holiday: If you have charitable giving/fundraising plans for your non-profits of choice, make it easier for your employees/customers to simply reach out to their phones to donate. The Verizon Foundation, Verizon’s philanthropic arm recently launched a text to donate campaign to assist the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army with Hurricane Irene relief efforts. Verizon Wireless customers can support relief efforts by making a $10 donation to one of nine organizations by sending a text message. Donating is easy; customers simply text a specific word to the organization’s designated short code:
- American Red Cross Relief: Text “REDCROSS” to 90999
- Salvation Army: Text “STORM” to 80888
- Vermont Food Bank: Text “FOODNOW” to 52000
- World Vision: Text “IRENE” or “STORMUSA” to 777444
- United Way Greater Capital Region (Albany, NY): Text “IRENE” to 80888
- United Way of Hudson County (NJ): Text “UWHC” to 85944
- United Way of Bergen County (NJ): Text “CFUND” to 85944
- North Carolina Baptists Mission: Text “IRENE” to 85944
- Operation Compassion: Text “HURRICANE” to 85944
We all know how successful the Text to Help Haiti campaign was with the American Red Cross raising a whopping $5M for Haiti relief. http://mashable.com/2010/01/13/haiti-red-cross-donations/. By combining social media promotions especially Twitter to your text to donate campaigns, you can aim for a wider reach and increased fundraising for your CSR efforts.
Add Mobile Call-to-Action to Your Email Campaigns: This is for companies that are sitting on large email databases, a gold mine of contacts that you have access to. If you are investing heavily on email marketing for holiday sales, think about adding a simple Mobile Call-to-Action to your targeted emails. You might just increase your conversion rate with a texting component to your email marketing. I want to share a Mobile Marketer feature on what Simon Malls (owned by Simon property Group, largest real estate company in the U.S.) did as part of their 2010 Holiday campaign that showed a 34% conversion rate to their Mobile Shopper Club. Simon Malls smartly combined their holiday email campaigns with a mobile call-to-action. The email offered consumers a chance to win a $10,000 American Express Simon Giftcard and the chance to meet singer Selena Gomez by either going to the company’s site, its Facebook page or by texting the keyword WIN to the short code 71610.
After consumers texted, in they received a message back from Simon Malls that said “Great! Please reply with the name of your favorite Simon mall to start getting msgs. Max 5 msgs/month. Msg + data rates may apply. STOP = optout, HELP = help.”
Twenty-five percent of consumers who received the email messages texted in. “The one that definitely blew me away was the email to text,” Patrick Flanagan, vice president of digital strategy and marketing at Simon Property Group’s Simon Brand Ventures said. “As a marketer, email is about driving a click. “Over a fourth of our holiday sweepstakes entries came from our holiday call- to-action,” he said. “It was unintuitive – for us it was a breakthrough.”
Read more about the Simon Malls holiday text campaign at http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/resources/webinars/9186.html
Other links to holiday text campaigns:
You must subscribe to www.mobilemarketer.com if you are planning to do more with mobile going forward. They have a wealth of information on what brands are doing with mobile.
Text campaigns are NOT expensive but yes you do need to invest in some planning/promotions for your campaign just like any other. Also remember that text campaigns may not be for all brands especially if your audience construes it to be spammy but for the millions of us who do opt in to get a text on weekly discounts, holiday savings delivered right into the palm of our hands, adding texting elements to your promotional efforts might show increased results. Think different, think smart this holiday season!