The average person checks their phone 47 times a day. For some of us, this stat may seem comically low, considering those of us who possibly check our phone 47 times before coffee. Given how tethered most of us are to these devices, they are one of the primary ways we communicate to others when we are not face-to-face.
So many communication methods are available via smartphone. Calling (after all, smartphones are phones), sending email, and chatting through various social media platforms are all excellent ways to extend reach. One often overlooked channel is communicating via text message or SMS.
Research has shown that 78% of people wish to have a text conversation with a business, so SMS communication should probably be a part of your marketing and guest communication strategy. This article breaks down the basics of SMS as a marketing tool, the benefits and challenges, the best applications and use cases, and how to integrate it with your existing infrastructure.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS standards for short message service. Simply put, SMS marketing is texting your guests as a form of communication. Like email marketing, SMS allows you to send messages to your guests using their mobile devices. In the attractions space, it can be used to deliver promotions and deals, stress necessary information to help a guest plan their visit, or be used as a guest relations method to meet guests’ needs and resolve service failures.
What are the benefits and challenges?
The benefits of SMS marketing are significant, mainly related to other forms of communication. It can be one of your greatest tools, but you cannot overlook the challenges and considerations when putting it into use.
- SMS can be highly personal, as if you are talking one on one when you have the capability of speaking one to many.
- Reach people where they are, and people are usually near their phones.
- SMS is known for higher average open rates compared to other communication methods.
- By combining your call to action with a direct link, you make it easy for your audience to transact.
- Improve your customer communication through a two-way dialogue that they are already used to using.
- Texting is more economical than phone support. Phone support costs several dollars compared to mere pennies spent when texting.
- You MUST enable your recipients to opt-out of your messaging; otherwise, you risk violating commercial electronic messaging laws, such as Australian’s Spam Act of 2003.
- Your message must be concise and to the point. Don’t forget that the first S in SMS stands for “short,” so you must creatively embrace brevity.
- Adults 25-34 send and receive 2,240 texts a month, and 27 trillion texts are sent each year (that’s 27 with 12 zeros after it). Because of its popularity, your message must be impactful enough that it does not get buried amongst all other text your recipient receives.
What are the applications? When do you use it?
There are multiple purposes for SMS marketing, and the best way that you can use it is by identifying your business needs, combined with your consumer’s preferences on how they want to interact with your business. Here are a few examples where texting your guests might come in handy:
- Confirming a guest’s visit. If your admissions are session-based or require reservations, sending a confirmation text 1-2 days prior to their visit provides the guest a reminder of their booking. If needed, the guest may need to reschedule, cancel, or otherwise need to recall the day and time that they are expected to arrive.
- Preparing guests for their visit. If you have certain restrictions in place, such as COVID policies that the guest needs to be aware of, this is a great way to remind them to ensure that the guest comes prepared and that there are no surprises upon arrival.
- Communicating with guests onsite. When a guest needs assistance or needs to express an issue they’re having, being able to receive texts from guests removes the hurdle of finding a staff member to locate a manager and explain a situation and wait for a solution. Instead, if the guest has a number to text, they can do so from wherever they are and gives you the opportunity to respond quickly and meet the guest where they are.
For an excellent example of this, check out Clint Novak’s interview on the Guest Experience Show, as he shares his successful “text-to-ride” program at Fun Land in Fredericksburg.
- Collecting feedback after a visit. Because open rates for text messages are substantially high, your ability to collect survey responses can be amplified through text. By integrating ROLLER’s Guest Experience Score with your SMS provider, you can quickly gain actionable insights that will help you improve your operations and foster relationships with your guests.
- Incentivize repeat visitation. With your guests’ phone numbers in your database, knowing how long it’s been since they’ve visited, you can send targeted promotions that encourage the guest to return, through a discount, promotion, or sharing a new attraction that they have yet to experience.
How easy is it to implement?
ROLLER makes it easy to implement SMS marketing for you to begin taking advantage of the benefits and the applications mentioned above. Through our API integration, you can connect your preferred SMS provider to your point of sale, and start texting your guests in no time.
To learn more about ROLLER’s API integrations, click here.