Why are so many companies afraid to text market? I hear the same response every time: I’m afraid I’ll tick clients off because they have to pay for texts. If you are in retail, restaurants, neighborhood services –any business that has foot traffic, you are missing one of the best advertising opportunities in our lifetime.
I was recently in Houston, Texas, at the Willowbrook Mall and experienced a great example of how to use text marketing. When I sauntered up to one of the restaurants in the food court, there was a cell phone, secured to the counter with a sign that said enter your number and we’ll text you a coupon for 20% off before you order with a paragraph of legalese about what I was agreeing to by entering the number. I had four kids and three adults with me. Guess who entered her number? So did my sister — who lives in Houston. She’s received several text coupons, good for that day only, and timed to arrive at 11 am. Genius. She says she’s been persuaded to stop in several times for lunch and made department store purchases while she was there. To my mind, Willlowbrook Mall should be paying that restaurant’s rent!
Here’s what really works with this example.
- They asked my permission. I clearly made the choice to participate in the program.
- The incentive was big enough. I’m not giving anyone my cell for 10%. But 20%? You’ve at least got me thinking.
- I can unsubscribe anytime I want because each outgoing message contains an unsubscribe number.
- I now feel just a little resentful that my local services don’t use this service. If my local dry cleaner texted me a coupon every Friday, I’d be a lot more diligent about getting my cleaning in weekly.
Where text marketing REALLY pays off.
Most people will not give out an email address because they don’t want their box full. However, if you have a lot of local regulars and would rather not keep sending out mailings with very low response rates (under 2%), it’s time to try it. A little investment will carry you a long way. Soon you’ll have a list of folks looking forward to a text from you!
Maestro’s Guide to Choosing the Right Online Publication Format
Today’s audiences are used to accessing information in a variety of ways. It’s not uncommon for one person to own all of the following:
• a smart phone (such as iphone, android or blackberry)
• eReader (Kindle, Nook)
Gains made in reducing print costs and increasing sustainability, are quickly offset by creating multiple types of online publications. Few have the time or money to build all of the above, plus send the publication out for print, as well.
AND, to make matters worse, the old standby, a pdf, is becoming a lot less appealing as they do not easily resize to be viewed on mobile devices. (More on that later.)
Q. What is the best format for online publications?
A. Find the lowest common denominator for your online – and mobile –audience and invest your resources (both time and money) in making that publication a great experience.
Here’s a general overview of what can be used to publish documents online:
Slider (Look books)
• Most versatile of viewers
• Safe across most browsers and devices
• Easy to move between pages
• Can show pages bar to ease jumping
• Requires customized layout
• Good format for up to about twenty pages
• Can be cumbersome if larger than twenty pages or even less pages if it contains a lot of text
• Professional Appearance
• Can be interactive and top-shelf, if custom built
• Can add the options to print, download a pdf, add a bookmark, embed a video
• Prefab versions are supported on selected browsers and only as far back as a year or two. This means many viewers will have a less than optimal (or non-existent) experience.
• Custom-built versions can support older browsers, but at an added cost
Excellent solution for very large documents and files
Professional appearance with TOC, Footnotes, Indices, etc
The files for an ebook made from EPUB are reflowable and easy to read on small devices.
Requires specialized layout and a developer to manage publications
Viewable only on ereaders
Easy to download on any device and platform
Most viewers will be able to access
Simple solution for small documents
PDF files don’t adapt well to various sized displays and devices. It is difficult to view some PDF files on small screens that come with some readers and smartphones.
One Final Suggestion
If you’re still lost and just want someone to tell you what to do, here’s the break down–
If appearances are more important than close budgeting, contract with an experience design firm to build a proper flipbook with interactive sections to highlight your most important features. Here, the old adage, “you get what you pay for” clearly applies. Ask to see previous builds and view them across differing platforms and devices.
If you have a modest budget and want the most bang for your buck (meaning the most viewers on the most devices), publish your communication in a professionally built slider. You’ll need to ensure copy and art are laid out properly for this format, but it ‘s worth a little extra effort for increased viewers. You can add options to print and download a pdf. This will cover the preferences of the majority of viewers.
Finally, don’t expect your viewers to download and read a huge pdf. It simply doesn’t happen. They’ll get through page two or three, but that’s about it. We recommend you make a downloadable pdf available so they can choose to print pages that are meaningful to them.