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Get started selling text-marketing

Train sales reps to love - and sell to - advertisers who use text-marketing, even if your company does not sell this service

Alisa Cromer
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Train the sales team to  sell around  text-marketing campaigns by looking for great co-promotions that add traditional internet and media. SMS campaigns for small businesses rely on massive amounts of data collection - they need  help from media Here are seven ways to turn the rapidly growing trend in SMS marketing into profitable relationships with advertisers.

1.Embrace, rather than compete, when in the field with text-marketing.  Once sales people  learn how opt-in lists thrive on traditional media buys, they will be confident in responding  - even if the customer originally started out trying to avoid a mainstream media spend. Here's one case study that explains how traditional media works to build Text-marketing. Getting a media buy for a single "text-back for a discount" offer is fairly sel-explanatory - without an opt-in list there is no way to get the reponses without advertising. But building a list is also a slow process, that requires multi-media marketing for best results. Any business building an opt-in list is ripe for spending on eblasts, traditional media, internet and mobile.

2. Know how to respond to text-marketing as an objection.  Some businesses view their text-marketing as an alternative to buying media. So make sure sales reps know how to repond to,  "We don't buy media because..." conversations, with a positive comment, such as  "I'm glad you brought that up..."   It's difficult to handle a strong negative without coming "right back atcha" so practice by role playing responses like, "Thank you for being frank..." "Tell me more..." and "We love working with Text-marketing, how are you acquiring names?"

3. Exploit the known metrics that text marketing provides. Since advertisers using text-marketing campaigns are already tracking the metrics, part of the job as a marketing consultant is already done.  For example, in the case of Shoe Station, after building a list of 14,000 names, they received average sales of $3500 per texted discount. That means that every additional opt-in name is worth $13 in annual business. Not a big number for this advertiser, but many advertisers have huge ROI's that reps should look out for and utilize. Businesses heavily involved in text-marketing love tracking and talking about these metrics.

4. Take advantage of higher "liftetime of the customer" values that advertisers engaged in opt-in marketing usually understand.  Expecially for smaller items with a lot of repeat business, the annual and lifetime value of a customer is important to establish upfront.  Marketers engaged in text-messaging and even e-mail marketing have the advantage that they have usually  already calculated this metrics - Most have at least scribbled the annual sale of the percentage responding on a notepad a couple of times. Please note: This can be much higher value than immediate sales from who came in the door that week. So help them calculate and work with annual and lifetime values. These will make your campaigns driving their opt-ins much more worthwhile.

For example, if you sell 10,000 impressions for $100 and the great offer/targeting gets .1% conversion, that's ten customers.  The annual value of a customer for even a coffee shop may be 3x a week x $5 = $780. A much easier sell than say, getting enough $5 coffees to pay for a weekly campaign. Even one conversion a week will pay off in spades! So use these numbers with this type of advertiser; they understand.

5. Sell your exclusive "they don't know they don't know" market.  Not only does local media reach out to people who are "not on their list" of emails  or in their store, it also reaches people who are not even searching. That is the "they don't know they don't know" that they want it, market. Sometimes simply floating the offer creates the demand, or the click. Text-marketers already understand the value of a great offer, and a great offer works everywhere, including traditional media and internet. Traditional media can broadcast that offer!

5. Target advertisers just building text-lists.  Find out the text-marketing platform providers in your market, and who their clients are. You may even want to offer a special package for their customers. Providers of text-marketing are typically paid by the text, so they will want their customers to invest in building strong  lists. The one thing we know about building a successful text-list is that it can be painfully slow without adequate marketing. Shoe Sation built 736 names per store, with 19 stores, 100,000 emails, in-store posters, web site widgets full page print buys and internet advertising-  in about a year. So come to the table with a variety of marketing opportunities to build the list - companies just launching need all the help they can get.

6. Combine with contests. Looking for a quick way to build an opt-in list quickly? Get together with the promotions manager and come up with a contest. It could be as simple as winning tickets (as Cirque De Soleil deploys for its opt-in campaigns) or combine with one of the larger contests your company already has, such as "Cutest Babies" as long as the demographics match.

7. Provide a text-marketing platform to advertisers. We didn't start with this option because we want to make a point  that it is not necessary to provide text-marketing to advertisers to benefit from this new marketing trend. However, providing the platform - either through a partnership with a third party technology provider or through an acquisition of same - to advertisers has significant benefits: First, you control the relationship, and therefore the first and best opportunity to pitch a multi-media spend that builds the campaign or opt-in list.

Second, there is an incremental revenue stream from platform sales, with revenues from a small but active marketing in the range of $300 or more a month, typically split with the partner. Since these are annual sales, this can be a solid, if small revenue stream.

Third, this is a great way to create long term customers, since changing providers means shutting down the list and getting everyone to "opt-in" to the new provider - neither the media company nor the advertisers owns the "opt-in." 

Finally, and this is most important, large advertisers you work with now are considering shifting dollars away from traditional media as we speak. Adding text-marketing will preserve and expand many of these media spends, buy converting them to supporting trackable revenues. Offering this service may preserve more dollars than are  generated in new ones. 

Note: Some customers will want to control sending the emails hour by hour (an offer before the lunch crowd) while others will want the media to handle the entire service. So make sure your platform is flexible enough to provide both options.

Conclusion: More than anything else, being able to discuss, advise and sell text-marketing means that your organization and sales representatives are no longer representing a particular "media product" but are understanding and catering to what local businesses want: In this case the opportunity to create an immediate sales result. As such this is an important touchstone for transforming the company culture. 

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

promotions, texting, text, text marketing, sms, mobile sales

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