Using SMS Marketing to Generate Word of Mouth

Every marketing campaign has an uncomfortable period of lull, a stagnation where growth seems nonexistent and your regulars—as much as you love them—seem to be the only faces you see. No matter how many creative promotions you hold or different strategies you try, you just can’t turn over the activity you’re used to. When this happens, it might be worthwhile to take a vacation from your traditional marketing and use SMS marketing to empower your customers do the work for you.

Word of mouth advertising is a priceless resource for any business. It’s free, it’s effective, and it requires less effort on your part than other advertising methods. The problem is word of mouth advertising isn’t reliable, meaning you can’t really count on customers to talk about your business . If they do–great. If not, well, they don’t have to. Still, there are a few creative SMS marketing strategies that can dramatically boost your chances of word of mouth working in your favor.

“Bring Your Own Friend” Promotions

Encourage the regulars you already have to usher in the next wave of fans by holding a sale or promotion that rewards people for bringing in first-time customers.

In late 2011, IKEA made headlines for running a particularly elaborate “Bring Your Own Friend” promotion. Using Facebook, their own website, and E-mail lists, they were able to organize a creative promotion that generated a lot of talk and brought many new customers through their doors. You don’t need that much equipment for your own promotion. A simple promo code to give your SMS subscribers and the encouragement to share it with their friends will be enough to get the job done. Leverage SMS Marketing with some of the principles of socially active flash sales to get the most in the least amount of time.

Create a Testimonial-Based Commercial

People are more likely to listen to shopping advice from other shoppers than from the businesses that want their money. To that end, it may be worthwhile to organize an advertising campaign based on the testimonials of your customers. Insert as little of your business’ voice as possible (keep it out completely if you can). Run a contest or lottery among your opt-in SMS group members to have their thoughts broadcast to a television, radio, or YouTube audience. This minimalist approach to advertising could be the change of pace needed to generate new business.

The beauty of this strategy is that people love bragging to their friends about appearing on TV or radio. So before your advertisement even airs it’s possible you will have generated word of mouth from your participants.

A New Call to Action via SMS

The simplest solution is usually the best. Sometimes the key to successful word of mouth marketing via SMS is remembering to ask your customers to spread the word. It’s easy to forward text messages these days. So long as your message has broader appeal beyond your SMS group there’s no harm in asking them to forward your messages to friends from time to time. It never hurts to ask and sometimes it helps.

You worked hard getting your SMS marketing campaign to where it is now. It’s time to let your customers take you over the top. Never underestimate the power of chatter.

Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan writes about Marketing for TextMarks--The industry leading SMS Marking & Communications platform.

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