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OPLIN 4Cast #201: SMS Engagement

Posted in 4cast

A couple of weeks ago, OPLIN made a change to our SMS messaging service that enabled us to not only send messages from libraries to patron cellphones, but also receive return messages. Originally this was done to catch “bounce” notifications that we could send back to the library to let them know they had entered an incorrect cellphone number, but the same technology can handle any return message to the library—so long as the library is using an e-mail address that can receive as well as send messages. We were surprised to see how often patrons reply to simple notification text messages, even though the library is not “listening” for a reply. So in this OPLIN 4cast we’re sharing some best practices from the SMS marketing folks that you might want to keep in mind as you start to use SMS for library notices.

  • From alerts to engagement (Technorati/Gib Bassett) “SMS as an interaction channel is what separates text from more ‘destination’ centric tactics such as email and the static web. Like real time recommendations on an e-commerce website or a call with a live contact center operator, SMS presents both the opportunity to communicate as well as engage with customers in two way conversations.”
  • Make customer care rewarding with SMS (Mobile Marketer/Dave Lewis) “In using SMS for customer care notices, bear in mind two factors as you construct your program. First, it is inherently a two-way medium, so customers are likely to respond. Second, it is also real time, so customers are expecting real time responsiveness in any follow-on communications.”
  • How to achieve mobile customer loyalty (Text Ripple/Hans) “Try to make the initial text message contact with your customer fun and engaging. It’s necessary that the customer feel as though they are participating in an on-going conversation they chose to be a part of. In this way, they will be more likely to feel attachment to your brand.”
  • Mobile marketing best practices (iZigg blog/Joan Dailey) “Don’t forget that giving up a phone number can be a very personal and nerve-wracking experience for a potential client. Therefore, don’t push a client for their phone number, and be understanding if they appear hesitant at first.”

Future-patron Fact:
According to the Nielsen Company, the average American teen sends or receives 2,779 SMS messages a month.