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Objections to SMS: How to Sell Mobile Messaging to Your Boss

Upset Boss
Text message marketing is immediate, easy to setup, and available to everyone with a phone. It does not suffer from “inbox overload” like email, it’s not as complicated as the real-time madness of social media, and it has none of the development & maintenance costs associated with creating an App. Like a moody teenager, text message marketing is simply misunderstood.

You’ve probably read that SMS averages a 98% open rate, +20% conversion rate, an unsubscribe rate below 2%, and you think to yourself, “This is a no-brainer, I’m going to pitch this idea to my boss.” Wide-eyed and eager, you get hit with some objections that question your dreams of a text message marketing campaign. Have no fear, you intrepid scout! We’ve compiled the five most common objections marketing managers receive from their higher-ups.

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Your boss might say text message marketing is:

  1. A distraction from our core outreach programs
  2. Too expensive compared to email or social media campaigns
  3. Complicated and risky because of strict compliance and regulatory laws
  4. Going to require too much work and there is not enough bandwidth
  5. Outdated and not very sexy or cool

Distraction from Existing Marketing Plan

Mobile messaging, like email and social media, is all about building an engaged list of customers. It takes time for these lists to grow, the earlier you start the sooner you will be able to reap the fruits of your labor.

One of the great uses of mobile messaging is driving traffic to your other channels. Many of Waterfall’s clients use text message marketing programs to grow their email subscriber list with simple email capture campaigns. Other clients have used shortened links to drive users to social media pages to share offers they have received from joining mobile rewards list with their friends. Finally, brands looking to promote a new App have used text message campaigns to drive users to an App download page. If your boss is concerned that its SMS marketing is a distraction from other programs, explain how mobile messaging strengthens not distracts from other channels.

Too Expensive

While sending an email or tweeting a tweet are essentially free, sending text messages often costs money. Some companies, like Waterfall, offer database pricing models where you are not charged for individual text messages, but for the number of contacts added to your program.

The per message pricing model for text messaging campaigns can make some top-brass hesitant as mobile messaging would appear to cost more than email or social media. However, considering the high open, conversion, and customer retention rates on mobile messaging, it’s clear that an SMS subscriber is very valuable to brands. If you’re faced with the objection that mobile messaging is too expensive, don’t get hung up on the per message cost; instead, focus on the total cost of your campaign. Calculate the ROI you are likely to experience with SMS engagement rates that are 2 to 3 times greater than those of email.

Regulatory Risk

A few frivolous text messaging lawsuits may have spooked some marketers. Explaining our regulatory environment is a headache,  but I’ll try my best to distill the mumbo jumbo. Basically, two issues created the mobile messaging regulatory environment.

The first was auto-dialing services popular with cold-calling companies that tried  to sell timeshares and junky blenders, or something like that. The second was the immense amount of email spamming. In order to combat these marketing abuses, regulatory authorities set up some fundamental rules for SMS marketing:

  1. Only message people who have opted in to receive the information
  2. Tell them what type of messaging they are going to receive, and only  send that

Obviously, it can get a bit more complicated than that, but those are the basic tenants. So, unless your company is planning on sending messages to people that didn’t sign up and soliciting them, or you will be using mobile messaging as a bait and switch tactic, then you have nothing to worry about. Most sophisticated mobile messaging companies have account managers and compliance teams that can guide you to make sure your messaging campaigns are compliant.

Not enough time

No one has enough time for anything anymore. This is a common objection when someone already feels overwhelmed. Let’s review the time commitment of setting up an ongoing text message campaign:

  • Create offers & Promotions?Nope. Your company already creates promotions for email, social, in-store, app, etc.
  • Create unique copy? Maybe. If you are using social media, you already create 160-characters of copy geared at a predominantly mobile audience. You might have to tweak a bit for SMS, but any message you send will likely have a similar tweet.
  • Create Calls-to-Action? Yes. In order to get people to text into your mobile programs,c c c cc you will need to create collateral that says “Text [Keyword] to 55155.” If you already create marketing collateral for events, deals, or promotions, all you need to do is add in that phrase + a bit of legalese.

Everyone will claim they don’t have enough time for anything new, however, when you see how little extra work goes into setting up an SMS campaign, you might just find a little extra time for a very big payoff.

It’s outdated & not very sexy

Yes, SnapChat is hilarious and live streaming is pretty amazing, but  relying on the craze of the newest channels and services is a gamble. SMS, on the other hand, is tried and true. Like email, there are established industry benchmarks, best practices, and professionals with years and years of experience to help you accomplish your goals. Also, no matter how many users are on a new social network or chat service, there will never be as many people that use SMS.  Every single person with a phone texts, not every person uses SnapChat.

If you’ve heard or have other objections that are not listed in this post, let’s find a time to chat and to discuss any roadblocks you might be facing to for getting  your mobile messaging program started.

So, there you have it. You should be ready to anticipate the issues that your CMO might have with adopting mobile messaging. The next step is to learn more about SMS vendor’s capabilities, strategic services and account services. Click below to see a demo of the Waterfall Platform to plant the seeds for your new mobile program.

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