Thursday, July 2, 2009

Creatively using SMS/Text Messages with Marketing Automation

Multi-channel marketing can be an excellent way to gain a stronger connecting with an audience. By moving outside of the normal realm of email communication, or emphasizing a message with a combined campaign, the effectiveness of a message can be significantly increased. SMS messaging can be an effective part of this strategy in certain circumstances.
For online events such as webinars, an SMS channel can provide a near-real-time reminder of the event’s start, upping participation rates among existing registrants. For face to face events, such as tradeshows, an SMS campaign can be used in order to drive booth traffic, especially when tied in with a contest for a booth prize of significant interest (perhaps through providing a code each hour that can be used to re-enter a booth draw).

Tying in SMS campaigns within Eloqua is easy. The general structure is very similar to the use of voice messages for marketing reminders that we discussed a while ago. In the Communicate->SMS area, create a new SMS call. Within the call, you can specify the text of the outbound SMS message and the sender number. Note that you can use similar field merge techniques to what you would use in email to insert first names, last names, company names, or any other key data point.

With the SMS call created, you can then either use the call in a batch, by defining a distribution list, and sending to that distribution list, or you can insert the call within a marketing automation program. If used in a marketing automation program, as contacts flow to the step, they will be automatically sent an SMS message. Used this way, SMS messages can be delivered automatically, in the hour or two leading up to an event.

Many B2B marketing organizations are unlikely to find that SMS is a core part of their go to market plan, but used selectively and creatively, it can add tremendously to an existing campaign.