Aisle Text You
IIGHT*, ICYMI**, the language has changed. But I’m gonna FTFY***. Unless you have a SOHF****. Then it’s no DR***** for anybody.
Sometimes it seems like war is being waged against vowels. Everyone is so busy; it’s simply too time consuming to hit that “E” key. We are officially a society that communicates using abbreviations, acronyms and teeny, little pictures.
So retail marketers who want to be snatched****** would be wise to get on board.
Text messaging has become the great communication equalizer. Anyone with a mobile phone has access to texting, and people use it to talk with everyone from friends and family to co-workers and bosses.
Recently, one more group has been added to the Average Joe’s extended texting networks: brands. Back in the day, consumers were hesitant to open up their text message inbox to marketing. But attitudes have shifted in the past few years, and consumers are becoming more open to brand reach-outs, as long as what they receive is personally relevant.
According to a 2014 Hipcricket survey, 41 percent of U.S. consumers said they’d share more information with brands via mobile if it meant they’d receive relevant offers. This new era of openness is undoubtedly a result of the exponential growth in numbers of mobile users, most of whom never have their devices out of reach.
If you want to market in real time – and you do – texting is a solid option. While many people turn off notifications for email and social networks, hardly anyone disables text notifications. When the shopper is in the store and notifications are served directly on the home screen of her phone or tablet, the impression can be quite significant.
Targeting shoppers in-store with location-based messages is far more relevant – and more effective – than a general marketing campaign that doesn’t consider location. When a shopper receives an unobtrusive-but-timely text, the retailer has gifted her with a personalized and meaningful Moment.
The trick is to walk the fine lines between “helpful and relevant” and “intrusive and spammy.” The Hipcricket survey found that 52 percent of consumers felt the marketing texts they received fell into the latter category, so it’s very easy to tip that scale and turn people off with your messages. Here are three guidelines that will drive the successful incorporation of texting into the in-store marketing mix:
Get permission. As with email marketing, it’s wise to get explicit permission from the shopper before sending her a text message. Unsolicited texts will ruin credibility and undermine any relationship a brand is trying so hard to build. A text is more personal than an email, so if the shopper feels like a brand is getting too cozy too quickly, that message is spam.
A good rule of thumb for in-store text message marketing is to follow best practices that are associated with email marketing. Avoid wordy and overwhelming language and use a “social media” tone of voice. Never, ever inundate her with updates.
Add value. No matter what you choose to communicate through marketing text messages, make sure they add value to the shopper’s interaction with the brand. Reward her for opening the message; delight her with the unexpected. Be relevant – to her place in the store, and her place in the world.
Link the Moments. When done right, an in-store text message can be a significant Shopper Moment. Doing it right means connecting the digital with the tangible. Use signage and display strategically to provide an environment through which the shopper can fully appreciate the interaction. (Give her context for the text.)
Create a visual setting to frame the Moment, and activate the cross-pollination that comes from mixing online and in-store. This is omnichannel – or All Channel – in action.
* Alright, OK; a virtual fist bump
** In case you missed it
*** Fix that for you
**** Sense of humor failure
***** Double rainbow; so beautiful
****** Meaning “on fleek;” on point