A Conversation with HVRewards about Text Message Mobile Marketing

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Recently Hudson Valley Public Relations sat down with Steve Calderon, President of HVRewards.com to learn more about how HVRewards is helping local businesses here in the Hudson Valley bring in more business.
The rewards program sends text messages to your mobile phone about special incentives and deals at local businesses customers frequent. This is a permission based loyalty program is for customers who value the special incentives businesses they frequent offer.

Tell me about text marketing?

Short Message Service (SMS) is a text messaging service component of phone, Web, or mobile communication systems. Text marketing is fun — it’s a great way for businesses to connect with their loyal patrons who are repeat customers. “Consumers are extremely connected to their phones and text messages are reserved for their inner circle. If they let you in, make it worthwhile for them. Make it fun and offer real value.” Steve Calderon, President HV Rewards. 

What are best practices for text message mobile marketing?

Text Marketing Myths

Text messaging (SMS/MMS) marketing is highly regulated just like the telephone industry is in order to protect consumers and marketers alike. Regulations are to deter spamming via text messaging (CAN-SPAM act of 2005). All SMS Marketing MUST be permission based, meaning you have to opt in to get the texts. Best practices dictate that you include the following disclaimer, “Up  to 4 msgs/mo, Std msg&data rates may apply. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help”.  The object of that statement is to let people know they are opting in to a subscription campaign.

What are the rules of the road for text marketing?

First thing you have to understand is that text message mobile marketing is not interruption based marketing — customers opt in because they value the deals and discounts that HVReward’s loyalty program offers. “Customers look forward to our text,” Steve Calderon. 

Know your customers.

  • Tell them who it’s from,  make it personal and connected. 
  • Ensure it is relevant to the entire database, and has minimum limitations.
  • Include a strong call to action.  Make sure the consumer sees and feels a sense of reward from your text.  
  • Offers should last only a short time, offers that last for 3 or 4 days create a sense of urgency.
  • Keywords for text in campaigns should be simple, easy to spell. The messages can be 160 characters.
  • In your reply, capitalize the offer that your company is promoting. For example BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE !
  • Offer a percentage off or a dollar amount after spending a certain amount, it improves your bottom line. 
  • Text messages early in the day, give them a chance to make plans to stop in.
  • Drive business during your slow days, times and seasons with surprise offers.
  • When informing your customers that they have opted-in to receive text messages make them feel special,  say “VIP Members Get Special Rewards” or “Welcome to Wally’s Wings World!”

Respect your base.

  • Do not use two-word keywords. To avoid confusion, it is best to keep your keywords to one word.
  • No spaces, no slang.  CRE8TIVE will be autocorrected to CREATIVE and that won’t get included in the campaign.
  • Don’t send your customers something that requires printing or opening an email to retrieve.
  • Special is just that — 4 or 5 texts per month is ideal.  Maximum of 6. Never be annoying or overbearing.
  • Resist using short hand, makes your message sound amateur and unprofessional.
  • Don’t send out the same incentive every time, mix it up, keep it fresh!

What strategies work best for with texting to increase sales?

Every business needs new business — acquiring new customs is expensive. Existing customers are much easier to sell to. The probability of converting an existing customer is 60 percent to 70 percent likely (Marketing Metrics) compared to only 5 percent to 20 percent of converting a new prospect.

So often businesses are consumed with trying to find that next best customer, don’t forget that their best customers are already doing business with you. At the end of the day, your existing customers still have money to spend.  Why not get them to come back for an extra visit. Have them bring a friend so they can them first hand how great your place is.

HVRewards.com utilizes many proven strategies to increase sales:

  • Watches is a good example. Men typically fall in and out of favor with their  watches, offer to buy back their watch and apply the cost to a new watch.
  • Consider offering flexible terms, if you contracts are annual consider offering month to month or seasonal packages to bring in more business such as the summer and winter months for storage of boats or snow mobiles.
  • Offer complementary products or services. Identify what your customers are buying and what other needs that would be valuable such as offering car service from the train station for a bed and breakfast.
  • Listen to your customers. Ask them what they want and then offering up new fun new incentives to keep them coming back.
  • Stay in touch. Send out a friendly note about new services or locations nearby to better serve your base.
  • Be opportunistic, when a snow storm hits take advantage with offers for home delivery or remind them to stop in before the roads become unsafe.
  • Think hyper-local. Take advantage of the loyal sports fan base of the local ball team, every time they win at home offer a special incentive such as buy one, get one, free.
  • Get personal. Offer special surprises for responses that provide their day and month of their birthday. That way you can present them with a free desert that day.
  • Sweepstakes, reward your loyal customers who “like” your Facebook page or “follow” your company on Twitter.
  • Polls. What should the Pizzeria name their new salad pizza? The Garden TG or Veggie Pie VP? Text back with TG or VP to get a free slice of our new pie!” Get to know your customers’ needs. Involve them via text and encourage feedback through print and social media.
  • Have them bring a friend so they can show them first hand how great your place is
  • Collaborate. Reach out to the local musicians and artists to create a special night at the pub. Text to your loyal customers and invite them to a special night out. Ask the artists to send out their own texts as well.
  • Email Sign-Ups. Email addresses are short and texting is easy. Text us your email and receive 10% off your next meal!
  • Create a web-text campaign with a special limited inventory promotion (eg. www.yourwebsite.com/limitedwhilesupplieslast). It’s important to understand the message being sent and the medium. 

98 % of Texts are read compared to 12 % of Facebook Posts that get read. 

98% of Texts are Read

Explain why HVRewards is such a great tool for local businesses?

HVRewards delivers an inexpensive solution that will increase your sales. We work with merchants to clearly communicate the benefits of the program to their business and their consumers.  We create fun and engaging sweepstakes, polls, trivia questions, and many more great features to help build your company’s SMS subscriber list.

It’s the best way to drive sales in the Hudson Valley!  Typically most of our clients will make four times their investment in our programs. HVRewards.com listens and then develops innovative campaigns based that will generate the highest sales. HVRewards encourages your customers to engage with your company via social media. Social media is a great place to get word out about your new SMS marketing campaign.

All clients of HVRewards are provided with an unlimited amount of unique keywords (provided none can be duplicated by you or another merchant).  Keyword availability is on a first come, first served basis.  This allows us to add traceability to all existing marketing strategies. Analytics provide detailed insights into each business, we are constantly improving their messages to deliver incremental sales.

HVRewards breaks it down for you. HV Rewards considers several factors upon calculating how profitable our program is to our clients:

  • The average ticket price / profit per ticket
  • Size of database / number of subscribers
  • frequency of messages sent
  • and redemption rates.

Pulling data from one of our best accounts, as of this writing, they have sent 1,648 offers over the last 30 days.  Of those 1,648 messages sent, 142 or 8.5% came back in within the expiration date to redeem that offer. With an average ticket price of $12, that equals $1,700 in additional revenue generated.  Total cost for that month? $99 monthly service fee plus $114 in additional messages for a monthly total of $213.  Would you spend $200 to make $1700?  That’s a 700% ROI on their advertising dollars.

Thanks to mobile marketing expert Steve Calderon of HVRewards.com for sharing his insights into text message mobile marketing!

To learn more about HVRewards visit their website at www.hvrewards.com/advertise  or contact HVPR to learn how text marketing can be integrated into your existing marketing plan.

Retrieved on January 21, 2016 from http://restaurantengine .com/restaurant-text-marketing. Restaurant Engine.

Fenn, D. (august 31, 2010). 10 Ways to Get More Sales From Existing Customers. Inc.

Photo Credit 1

Photo Credit 2

Photo ofSteve Calderon
Steve Calderon
Job Title
President of HVRewards.com
Hudson Valley Rewards

Andrew Ciccone is director of Hudson Valley Public Relations. His firm specializes in content marketing. He holds a BS in Marketing from Syracuse University and a MA in Corporate Communications from Baruch College.

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