No matter how sophisticated the world of digital media has become, direct marketing still reigns king.
Direct marketing as in: Consumer voluntarily shares contact information with brand. Brand sends personalized and relevant message to consumer. Consumer opens message.
This works because it is an expression of an established relationship. It is founded on trust, loyalty, curiosity, desire — all those deeply human qualities that every piece of marketing is desperate to evince.
Of course, technology still plays a big role. When we talk about direct marketing in 2023, we’re primarily talking about two modes of virtual communication: email and text message. The point of this guide is not to convince you to choose one over the other; it’s to cast a light on the latter, since for most companies, the lion’s share of time, effort and resources are currently going to the former.
Here’s the long and short of it: if you’re not currently using SMS to target and interact with your fans, it’s time to start. The numbers speak for themselves:
- 71% of consumers are signed up to receive texts from businesses in 2023
- 80.5% of consumer check text notifications within five minutes
- The average American has 1,602 unread emails in their inbox, vs. just 47 unread text messages
- 40% of consumers have more than 50 unread emails in their inbox, vs. just 4% who have more than 50 unread text messages
- Consumers are up to 35x more likely to see a text message from a brand vs. an email
- 86% of businesses have engaged in SMS marketing in the past year
- 67% have increased their text marketing budgets in 2023
The eight-step guide below will teach you how to leverage these trends — specifically in the live events industry — to enhance audience engagement, drive sales, and create more memorable and lasting experiences for your fans.
Let’s get into it.
1. Know Thy Use Cases
Marketing your brand via SMS should not take only one form. To keep fans engaged, be sure to mix up the different types of offers and content you send them. FEVO clients have used SMS marketing to support a number of different initiatives, including:
- Sharing special or exclusive content
- Last-minute ticket offers
- In-venue upsells
- Relaying vital event details or schedule changes
- Creating a sense of urgency or exclusivity
2. Build a Solid Foundation with Opt-Ins
Without a robust opt-in list, all your SMS marketing efforts will be in vain. Opt-ins verify which fans are the most interested and engaged within your database and thus offer the greatest probability of conversions. They are also the literal foundation of everything you do from this point forward. Innovative strategies are essential for promoting opt-ins. A few ideas:
- Funneling the fans you have on social media into a more intimate and effective channel (aka your SMS opt-in list)
- Supporting your efforts in the place where fans are most excited about your brand: on site at your games or events
- Incentivizing opt-ins through exclusive promotions or early access to experiences
3. Update and Segment Your List
Once you’ve got a decent list size, it’s vital to regularly update and segment your opt-in list to ensure messages remain relevant and impactful, thus preventing message fatigue and respecting user preferences.
4. Observe the K.I.S.S. Rule When Drafting Copy
When it comes to the actual text part of your text-marketing campaigns, refer to the US Navy’s first rule of design: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Here are a few copywriting tips to help you achieve that:
- Limit your word count and avoid overcomplication. Every compelling text message should communicate its main point as clearly and concisely as possible. If you need a good rule of thumb, remember that the original character count for SMS was 160, while tweets are limited to 280 characters. Try to stay somewhere within those numbers.
- Generate a Clear Call to Action: Tell the audience exactly what you want them to do. Make sure instructions are clear and all your links are working. Most good CTAs start with an imperative verb: e.g., “Claim this offer,” “Upgrade your seat” or “Get your jersey.”
- Showcase Urgency and Exclusivity: Tailor your content to reflect the unique nature of live events, highlighting urgency ("Last chance to buy!") or exclusivity ("Exclusive offer for subscribers!") whenever applicable.
5. Post on Schedule
Timing your messages around your organization’s event schedule and balancing frequency is crucial to avoid overwhelming recipients.
Here are three principles to keep in mind:
- Strategic Timing: The timing of messages should go hand in hand with the purpose and duration of a campaign. For example, with last-minute offers, a 24-48 hour lead time before the event is ideal. This gives recipients enough time to see the message and act on it.
- Event-Relative Timing: The timing of non-urgent messages should be aligned with event milestones. Make sure you schedule pre-event, at-event and post-event messages in relation to the event timeline — and don’t miss your marks!
- Frequency Balance: While there's no one-size-fits-all rule, balancing frequency is essential to keeping your audience engaged. A great way to understand your fans’ desired frequency (and also to further segment them) is by providing an intro text with a quick survey asking basic qualifying questions such as what interests them the most, how often they would like to receive a text, and so on.
6. Whenever Possible, Make It Personal
Another huge benefit of list segmentation? You can create dynamic, highly targeted content for your audience, expressing that you understand their particular interest and desires with themes, names, special dates and event details. Personalizing both your SMS strategy and the Offers that go hand-in-hand with them can significantly boost engagement and response rates.
7. Create a Frictionless Experience
Ensure the transition from CTA in your message to the next step (e.g., a landing or Offer page) is smooth and mobile-friendly. This seamless process increases the likelihood of action.
8. Streamline the Path to Purchase with FEVO
Once your list is built and segmented, your copy is crafted, your CTAs are firing and your posting schedule is in place, it’s time to make those SMS campaigns count.
That’s where we come in.
FEVO's technology and expertise are critical in making the transition from SMS to purchase flow seamless, effective and engineered to net you high conversions.
First and foremost: our Social Checkout™ is mobile-optimized, just like, well … your text messages. Our platform allows you to create customizable offer pages featuring content that aligns with your brand's unique style, visuals and messaging, providing a coherent and continuous brand experience from the initial text message to the final checkout screen.
And second: we’ve already brokered strategic partnerships with innovative text-marketing companies Vozzi and Laylo that ensure our users have access to best-in-class tools for engaging their audience and driving sales via SMS. If you’re already working with either of these companies, wedding your text efforts with FEVO Offers is a cinch. And if you’re already using FEVO and would like to start working with either of them? Ditto.
For businesses seeking personalized guidance and strategic insights on building your own text-to-conversion pathways, reach out to FEVO's business or success teams to learn more. Our team can help you navigate the nuances of text marketing to ensure your campaigns are ROI-positive and align with your brand's ethos and audience's expectations.
Looking for some further reading? Be sure to check out our detailed guide to text-marketing partnerships with Vozzi and Laylo.