sms marketing - business text messaging

How To Do SMS Marketing Easily | Is It Still Effective In 2019?

The average knowledge worker ‘checks in’ with communication tools every 6 minutes say research done by RescueTime. As a small business owner, this means that people are tuning into communication channels – email, IM or messages every 6 minutes.

We also know that email open rates peak at about 24%. What about IMs and SMS messages? A whopping 85% of text messages are opened within 5 minutes of receipt. And unlike email marketing, it is much easier for your customers to opt out of SMS marketing than it is for them to opt out of email marketing

What this means for you is that SMS marketing is not spammy as it used to be a couple of years back.

What kind of SMS Marketing is effective?

Unlike paid advertising channels such as Facebook and Google, with SMS marketing, you know the person whom you are targeting with your message. It’s likely that the person is an existing customer or filled out a lead form and you have more information on them. This means you can personalize your messaging to appeal to them and where they are in the customer journey.

Upselling to current customers using SMS marketing

Planet Fitness uses automated SMS marketing to promote its premium plans to existing users. They make the user experience for this very easy. Text with a shortcode (such as PF UPGRADE) to a specific number and the user starts the process to upgrade to a premium plan.

Franchise owners, we talked with say that members prefer text communication much more over other channels. Our pet theory is that with the increased nuisance of robocalls and emails being overloaded with newsletters and promos, text messaging offers a noise-free channel that the user can opt in and opt out of easily.

Driving referrals with SMS marketing
Driving referrals with SMS marketing

Get Permission before promoting to cold leads

An example of an opt-in message: Eg: Please reply YES to receive updates from Example Company. Std. msg&data rates apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

One of the main tenets of SMS marketing, also one that you should follow to put yourself on the right side of the law, is getting the permission of your customer before you start sending more promos to them. Make it clear in the first SMS what your ask is and what the user can get by giving you permission to text them.

Since the response to this email usually boils down to a ‘Y’ or ‘N’, your response rates would be much higher than that for an email. Also, you are able to qualify your leads much more quickly.

Make it stand out by including rich media

Driving referrals with SMS marketing

Check out the SMS messages in your inbox that you have ignored. There’s a good chance that you ignored those messages because they failed to stand out from the crowd or were too repetitive. Apart from writing good content, another good way to make your messages stand out is to add rich media in them – a picture, a link to an article or a video.

Make sure that the rich media you are adding, adds value to the customer. Think of this as a way to hook the user into your content so that you can make bigger asks later on.

A couple of fitness studios who work with Gleantap use the rich media feature of SMS marketing to send fitness and diet tips to their customers – sometimes these are links to videos they have produced or articles that they have written on their blog.

Use the 80/20 rule

SMS is a very personal marketing channel – This is a double-edged sword. if your customers start feeling that you are misusing their attention, they may start to unsubscribe. Misusing attention can take forms of

  1. Sending a high number of explicit marketing content or upselling them without adding any value
  2. Having a very high frequency of messages sent.
  3. Selling user data to third parties without the permission/consent of the user.

Instead of sending a constant barrage of marketing messages, send them content that adds value to their relationship with you. As earlier mentioned, these can be tips, articles you have written or content that you think they may like. As always make it very easy for them to unsubscribe from these SMS’es as well.

fitness-studio-retention-use-case2
Sent messages that add value to the customer


Top 10 Podcasts that Fitness Business Owners Should Listen To In 2019

Podcasts have exploded in the last couple of years and there’s a lot of good content out there to help you run a thriving business, and manage both the business and mental aspect of being an entrepreneur. Here’s our non-exhaustive list of best podcasts for fitness business owners.

1. The Fitness Business Podcast

Host Chantal talks to professionals from around the world who’ve grown amazing brands and fitness businesses. Listen to FBP to get new ideas on how to communicate with members, how to improve your member retention and the newest strategies and techniques used by the smartest professionals and businessmen and women

Fitness Business Podcast

Start here: Dr. Paul Bedford Steps to Creating a Retention Plan for Your Fitness Business

Dr. Paul Bedford has over 20 years of experience working in the fitness industry, including roles as a gym instructor, personal trainer, Paul Bedfordfitness manager, and club manager.

He has a master’s degree in exercise and health behaviors, and a Ph.D. from the London Sports Institute. The aim of his Ph.D. research was to identify interventions in a gym environment to increase adherence.

TLDR: Smart lessons from someone who has been thinking about customer retention for a long time

2. The Jocko Podcast

“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”

Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL and author of Extreme Ownership, so who better to teach you about discipline, leadership, and self-respect?

Fitness Business Podcast -The Jocko Podcast

Start here: How to Win in Battle, Business, and Life with The 36 “Strategems.” The Spirit of Wu.

A good way to start your morning and an episode to revisit from time to time. These “Strategems” are ideas that you can implement in your life and business

3. 20 Minute Fitness

20 Minute Fitness presents you with the latest news in health and fitness. In just 20 minutes, learn all you need to know about nutrition, developing an exercise routine, and keeping your body in tip-top shape.

Start here: How to be Mentally Tough Like an Olympian

A major part of meeting your health and fitness goals is being able to keep a level head and focus on what it is you wish to accomplish. How do professional athletes — folks with a lot riding on their athletic success — develop this mental toughness?

20 Minute Fitness is a podcast that will help you stay updated on what’s happening by spending a short amount of time. It’s always good to be in the know – whether having a conversation with your peers or when exploring new ideas for your business

4. Techmeme Ride Home

Techmeme Ride Home is the podcast companion of Techmeme, which curates news from the tech industry. Software is eating the world and Techmeme Ride Home gives you the low down on what’s happening in tech – 20 mins every day.

Techmeme Ride Home Fitness Podcast

Start with any of the daily episodes that come out at 4 pm Eastern Time.

This podcast is a good way to plug into the tech world and to keep your ears on the ground for new trends and software that will help you grow your business.

You may also like:

5. Found My Fitness

Dr. Rhonda Patrick is my trusted source for all things health. She is always up on the latest research on aging, physical performance, brain health, cancer, nutrition, and way more! In her podcast, Dr. Patrick breaks down the sometimes highly technical (and long!) studies and gives you the juicy details so that you don’t have to dive into the full research paper yourself.

Found My Fitness Podcast

Start here: Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D. on Modified Atkins Diet, Ketosis, Supplemental Ketones and More

With the ketogenic diet still trending strong, this is a great episode to dive into the science behind why it works!

6. Yoga Peeps

Started way back in 2006, Yoga Peeps is a podcast about yoga, Yogis, and the yoga lifestyle. A good podcast to listen to if you are running a yoga studio or if you want to explore what is happening in Yoga. This podcast will give you new ideas on what to

Yoga Peeps Fitness Podcast

Start here: Rodney Yee & Colleen Saidman Yee

In this episode, Rodney and Colleen Yee dive into their work, their influential teachers, books they love, nonviolence, truth, contentment, and more.

7. Ben Greenfield Fitness

To describe Ben Greenfield as an expert would be an understatement. With two master degrees in biomechanics and exercise physiology, Greenfield is also an Ironman, a triathlete and, oh, a nutritionist, too.

Tackling the latest research every week, Greenfield offers an athlete’s view of nutrition, breaking down hard-to-grasp concepts for us in layman’s terms. The recent show’s focused on how to build endurance fast, running hangovers and carb dependency.

Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast

Start here: The Rain Barrel Effect: How a 6,000-Year-Old Secret Holds the Answer to Getting Well, Losing Weight, and Feeling Alive Again

What is the Rain Barrel Effect, and how did it help Stephen Cabral take his life back?

Also, read:

 

8. Dishing Up Nutrition

Understand the connection between what you eat and how you feel. Hosted by licensed nutritionists and dietitians from Nutritional Weight & Wellness, they share practical, real-life solutions to healthy living.

A good podcast to listen to dive deeper into nutrition so that you can make smart recommendations to your members and improve their overall customer experience

Start here: Slow Metabolism: The Bread Connection

What’s the deal with bread? Is it really as bad as your gluten-free friends seem to think? Find out in this episode.

9. School of Greatness

Because you’re all business owners, we’ve got one more podcast with some entrepreneurial inspiration! When former pro athlete Lewis Howes was permanently sidelined from football with an injury, he managed to build a multimillion-dollar company (from his sister’s couch, no less) with zero business experience.

School of Greatness is meant to inspire and teach entrepreneurs how to build profitable businesses, with topics like leveraging your strengths, never settling and even how to sleep better.

The School of Greatness Podcast

Start here: Turn Your Creative Passion into a Thriving Business with Christina Tosi

10. Fit Professional

A deeper dive into behind the scenes of running a business – professional recommendations to improve your member retention to the mental/emotional side of running a business

Start here: From Being a Gym Trainer To Owning Your Own Facility

Go down memory lane if you’re already a business owner or get wise lessons from who’s been there done that if you are planning to start your own fitness business


fitness club members

Personalization and Automation is The Future of Marketing for Gyms

Fitness businesses have been addicted to social media marketing and online advertising. It’s time to get over that addiction and deliver a more focussed and better customer experience in gyms.

There is an infinite number of options available to someone who wants to get a good workout in. It now depends upon what they want to optimize for and what experience they enjoy. For example, if the user wants to optimize for convenience – They could invest in a Peloton or set-up a small home gym. To optimize for time, the user could use any of numerous fitness apps available, such as 7-minute workout.

In short, your fitness business/gym is not only up against other competing gyms and fitness centers, it is also up against technology that is more convenient To compete against this, it is also becoming important to focus on designing a powerful customer experience for the members of your gym.

Seth Godin recently wrote in a fantastic blog post about brands and brand design:

“Design is the new marketing. It is the product itself, not the ads or the slogan. Design is the supply chain of Patagonia, the ethics of Purple Carrot and the customer service at Union Square Cafe. It’s design, not advertising, that turned Apple into the most valuable luxury brand (and the most valuable company) in the world.

But design requires a point of view. The confidence to make an assertion. And the skill to turn that assertion into something that resonates with the person you seek to serve.

It’s probably easier to create heavily adorned mash-up than it is to produce a Field Notes notebook. Stripping away the artifice doesn’t always leave something pure. It often creates banality, the simple commodity that’s easy to buy cheaper one click away.

The elegant nothing brands aren’t about nothing. Not all. They merely have a different, more difficult sort of artifice. The artifice of no artifice. The elegance of leading with utility as its own form of style.

And what is a brand? It’s not the logo, certainly. I have no idea what Everlane’s logo is. The brand is our shorthand for the feelings that an experience creates, the promises that a product or service brings with it.”

Understanding why your current users are fans of your business and focussing on those factors while stripping away everything else will be the key to improving your customer experience.

One oft-cited example of this is the consistency of the growth of Planet Fitness. By being hyper-focussed on their brand positioning as a “Gym for the rest of us”. They have been able to reduce costs and be pinpointed in their targeting.

Sometime back, it was enough for an offline business to just focus on the in-store experience, do some social media marketing and just let things be. This is no longer true when you’re competing against companies and technologies that are in the business of providing a better customer experience.

Your marketing and communication with your members should also reflect the commitment to better customer experience for your members. For this, it’s important to burst out of the social media bubble and expand your marketing toolkit

How to expand your marketing toolkit and make it personalized

Marketing automation has come a long way in the past couple of years. More than automation for automation’s sake, what marketing automation enables you to do is to :

  • Be ultra-specific in targeting – moving away from mass advertising to more personalized advertising
  • Measure ROI on every campaign that you run
  • Run multiple campaigns and tests for different segments of your members, at the same time
  • Use multiple software tools at the same time with integrations between them

These four things should be kept in mind when you decide on what software to use at your business.

Stepping away from mass online and offline advertising can seem intimidating. You can run marketing experiments in automated, personalized channels and make the decisions that suit the kind of the business that you are.

marketing automation
The marketing automation ecosystem is big and you need to select the tools that fit you

When you are looking for software tools to automate and personalize your marketing for your members, these are a few channels that you should look out for:

Text message marketing automation: Text message marketing is the bread and butter of making your marketing more personalized. Although texting your members using shortcodes have been well and alive since the beginning of SMS, it is only in the last couple of years that automation has caught on this channel. Now, you can segment your members depending upon what stage of the customer journey they are on and schedule automated messages for them. For example: If you want to offer a member who has completed two weeks, a free personal training session, you can use text message automation to sent him a message when that milestone is reached – just set it up for all members and forget it.

The major advantages of text message marketing are:

  • It is a channel that has a high Click Through Rate. 95% of text messages sent are opened
  • It gives you the opportunity to hyper-personalized in targeting

When choosing a tool to do text message marketing with, it is important to choose one that integrates with your POS and current systems. This will make, setting up automation much easier

  

Email marketing automation:

Email marketing is a channel in which marketing automation has been active and developing for the past 15 years or so. You could use any of the industry standard tools such as MailChimp, Klaviyo, Hatchback, etc to run your email campaigns, but to add more personalization and improve your customer experience – you need more than that. Just like in the case of text message marketing, to make complete hands-free automation possible, it is important to have good integrations with the tools that you currently use – especially your POS system.

MailChimp, Klaviyo, etc are software tools that have built deep expertise in running email campaigns and hence don’t have the depth in integrations to service a gym or fitness club.

This where Gleantap can help you. Gleantap is specifically built for fitness businesses and It integrates with your POS systems and other software with ease so that you can get started easily.

Measuring your ROI on automation

When choosing a marketing automation system. How do you measure your ROI on the investment? What metrics should you be looking at?

Have a good system to measure the returns on your investment in automation

A few metrics to keep an eye on when implementing a marketing automation system:

  1. The conversion rate of leads into customers (whatever leads and customers means to you)
  2. The amount of time saved with automation – How much time would it take for your marketing team to reach out to every member with targeted messaging depending on what part of the customer funnel that they are on?
  3. Percentage of new opportunities that you have been able to pursue – Once a marketing automation system has been implemented, are you able to run more campaigns than you previously could? Has it freed time to focus on other parts of the customer experience

It’s no secret that hyper-personalized content is the way ahead for better customer experience and for better ROI on your market. Where are you going to start automating?

If you are thinking about testing marketing automation at your fitness business, book a demo with us and we’ll take you through the options available to you.


How to be great at targeted messaging for your members

Most fitness businesses are feeling the pinch of higher cost and lower conversions with Facebook ads and YouTube videos. Its been 7 years since Facebook launched custom audiences – The targeting tool that helps you target people based on interests. But organic reach has dropped drastically in the last few years and fewer people are logging into Facebook these days. There has also been a growing distrust with online advertising among users. Brands and businesses have been addicted to social media growth and now its time to break this addiction.

The way to break this addiction is to offer better CX – customer experience, and shift your thinking from advertising to marketing to customer experience.

Customer experience for small business has an online component and offline component. I’m assuming that you have been running a small business for some time and hence you can speak to the offline component of customer experience better than me.

The online component of customer experience requires a commitment to more personalized interactions and messaging. More than selling to a user, you will need to engage with the user in a two-way conversation and provide them value through your marketing content.

How do you do this?

More than a single marketing tool, you need a system where you’re using your customer data to target your members at right moments in their customer journey. You are already collecting all the data you need on the customer on your POS system. What is missing right now is a system to use that data, engage users and reduce your churn.

So how can you drive consistent personalization in an age where you have all the customer data that you need?

Timing is everything

Whether you’re retargeting a member who has not visited the gym in a while or sending someone an upsell message, it’s widely understood that customer data that’s been sitting for too long unattended goes stale. (In fact, a distinguished direct marketer once told me the highest-yielding ROI tactic he’d ever implemented was removing dead people from his company’s mailing list!)

Conversely, while not universally true, it’s very often the case that, the sooner you’re able to act on customer data, the better. Your current problem is that all the customer data sits in your POS or ERP without being touched until you decide to start a marketing campaign manually.

The Gleantap solution

Gleantap integrates with your POS and ERP system and the data on Gleantap gets updated every day. So you can set up an automated campaign on Gleantap and it would get executed when a customer meets the specific conditions that you have set.

For example, if you want to send an up sell message to a member who has checked in for two weeks consistently, you can create an automated campaign that sends your custom message to every member who has checked in for 14 days in a month or 14 days straight.

This way you don’t have to wait for man hours to be freed up to run critical marketing campaigns. You can set it up, automate it and then analyze how your campaign is doing on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

How do I measure the value of automation and integrations?

You can measure the value of these automated campaigns and the integration with your existing systems in two ways:

  1. The response rates and conversion rate of the campaigns that you are running
  2. The value of running campaigns that would not have been possible with such an automated system

The second part is really important because an automated customer engagement platform gives you the power to run interesting campaigns that would not be possible without it. We’ve seen our customers engage with people using fitness tips and suggestions that keep them highly engaged and keeps the brand on top of mind


Top 5 Easy Ways To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing

A lot has been written about the importance of general marketing automation in 2019 but not enough has been written about a marketing channel that is enjoying a revival – Automated text message marketing. When customer attention is short and more personalized messaging is the order of the day, text message marketing has proved to be a reliable channel for many small businesses.

How To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing

These are a few principles to get the best out of text message marketing in 2019.

1. Be compliant to increase conversion rates

It is quite rare that regulations around marketing favour businesses, but this is what has happened in the case of text message marketing.

Text message marketing is a form of permission marketing. The people you are texting are already interested in your business in some way – They may be loyal customers, they may be interested in your content, etc. Permission marketing is more persuasive than most outbound marketing because of the principle of consistency that Robert Cialdini writes in his seminal work that has become the bible for many marketers:

“People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.

Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made. In one famous set of studies, researchers found rather unsurprisingly that very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front lawn to support a Drive Safely campaign in their neighborhood.

However in a similar neighborhood close by, four times as many homeowners indicated that they would be willing to erect this unsightly billboard. Why? Because ten days previously, they had agreed to place a small postcard in the front window of their homes that signaled their support for a Drive Safely campaign. That small card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase in a much bigger but still consistent change.”

By getting permission from users to text them, you are getting a small commitment from them and you can build on this commitment by providing them useful information and tips at the right moment in their customer journey

You must have the permission of users to run a successful text message marketing campaign, apart from being in compliance with local laws and CTIA recommendations. Twilio has an excellent short SMS compliance blog that will help you be on the right side of the law.

2. Understand customer journey and automate text marketing

Understanding the journey of your customer can make your text message marketing more efficient and hands-off. The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.

If you’re in the fitness business, your customer journey would look something like this – A potential member visits your facility, and they leave without making up their mind on joining (ping. At this moment you could use the big TVs at the reception to give them a number to text to if they want to join, along with a clear shortcode to use). Once the member joins you can use text message marketing to prompt them to leave reviews for your business if they have visited for 30 consecutive days. You could automate a text message to send to them if they have not visited for a long time.

If you are a business looking to scale or become sustainable, you want to do text message marketing efficiently – without using a lot of man hours that are better used elsewhere. It is also the kind of job that automation can do better than people. A person would have to sort through different scenarios and shortlist customers while you could just automate that process when you set up text message marketing.

Here’s an excellent blog from SurveyMonkey about how to build a customer journey

Gleeantap makes it easy for you to automate text message marketing and you also get the added advantage of our experience working with 1000s of similar companies. We know what works and what doesn’t, so you can spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time focussing on running your business

automate text message marketing  automate text messages

3. Promote at the right places, in the right moments

“How much should I promote my text message marketing service and the options that my customers have?” is a question that we get a lot, and the answer is that it depends on your customer journey and the type of outbound marketing that you do.

If you have a TV inside a store, it would be a good idea to promote the number to text you on and shortcodes to use for various purposes. For example, if you are a gym you can use it to promote premium plans or limited offers that you are running for which people can sign up for by just texting a shortcode. If you are a restaurant, you can use it to promote remote reservations.

Text Messaging - Referrals Text Messaging - Referrals

In the above use cases, it would also be advantageous for you to have two-way texting. It helps you interact with your customers and provide a better user experience than a bot. It also allows you great flexibility in your responses. Gartner says that about 89% of companies believe that customer experience is as important as other factors in choosing a business

Learn more about how you can take advantage of two-way texting and get more users to visit your store

 

 Two-way texting - Text Automation

4. Use segmentation to your advantage

Text message marketing has been revived in the last couple of years due to a number of little automation that have made things easier for a business to get started and use it effectively. Segmentation is one of the most important automation in text message marketing.

Imagine being a small business and spending precious man hours segmenting users and figuring out what text messages to send to them. That would be quite a nightmare.

Instead of this, you can segment users based on what part of the customer journey that they are on. If you’re a shoe store, you can segment all users who purchased a pair of shoes from you 12 months ago and target them with a specific message on an offer you’re running. If a customer checked out a specific shoe and left without purchasing, you can send a list of customers an offer on the high demand shoe that they checked out.

In an era where competition from big online retailers are stiff, you can use your smallness to your advantage to be more personal and more targeted with your marketing. It’s not just fancy mobile apps or offers that will bring in customers, text message marketing is also an effective channel in your omnichannel strategy

5. A/B test your campaigns (but be judicious)

A/B testing has been a buzzword in marketing for some time but are you using it properly?

With the availability of better technology and automation, it has become way easier to A/B test your text marketing strategy. This means that you could test a number of different campaigns side to side, but question is, should you be doing that?

A good model to go by when deciding the frequency of text messages is – Will I personally like it if these messages sent to me? Remember all the times you were solicited with offers you had already refused or the time that brand sent you 2 emails per day.

The best way to not bombard your users with text message marketing is to use segment them into as many small units as possible, and run A/B tests on these segments. This way you will be able to run A/B tests concurrently without sending too many messages to the same person.

Automated text message marketing


Text Message Marketing For Small Business - Why Is It Important Today?

For years, businesses have searched for ways to inculcate their brand, products or services into the personal lives of their customers, and to create touch points wherever those customers are.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on print advertising, billboards, radio, television, and the Internet. Marketers practically shout at the corner of every street in the hope a potential customer walks or drives by, but never know for certain if their message is heard—or more importantly—acted upon.

Believe it or not, the first text message was sent out more than 20 years ago, its originator unaware how this simple text message system would forever change the way we personalize and target customers. As businesses attempt to make more money while spending less, text message marketing for small business or large may be better suited than other forms of advertising to achieve this goal.

The Personalized Channel

The figure below presents the average cost per thousand (CPM) numbers for a few different media types.

Text Message Marketing For Small Business- CPM

At first glance it would appear that billboards, radio spots and magazines present better value than text message marketing; however, the calculations of CPM can be misleading. CPM is based on how much advertising costs to reach 1,000 people. Let’s look at billboards.

The value of billboards is calculated by multiplying the daily traffic volume by the number of days the billboard will be posted, divided by 1,000, divided by the cost of the monthly rent. Magazines and newspapers, on the other hand, are calculated by the cost of the ad, divided by the circulation, times 1,000.

But neither of these calculations—billboard or magazines and newspapers— take into account how many drivers or newspaper subscribers actually viewed the ad. Since the dawn of smartphones, most people today are looking at their phones while driving. Forget the billboard; we just hope the drivers see us ahead of them. Forget actually watching the commercials.  

Unless it’s the Super Bowl, most people are looking at their mobile devices, not your three-million-dollar-plus spot. Here’s where personalized engagement comes into play. Traditional media, as calculated above, can’t provide the opportunity for direct, individual, two-way communication with the consumer.

But text messaging, also known as SMS, can. The direct, individual nature of business sms platform makes it innately personal, even intimate. Our phones are so personal, in fact, that studies show the number one item husbands and wives refuse to share is their mobile phone.

SMS Marketing For Small Business – Easy and Quick Way to Communicate

According to a November 2017 Pew Report, 81% use SMS (97% of 18-29 year-olds and 92% of 30-49-year-olds). These numbers blow away every other form of marketing or advertising available today. Americans prefer coupons via text. In a study conducted by the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA), one-third of Americans would rather receive offers via text.

Text Message Marketing For Small Business

Receiving offers by way of email came in at 21%. Approximately 11% preferred mobile apps. In addition, 63% of marketers cite “immediacy” as the number one benefit of using SMS campaigns, followed by high open rates and low cost.  You can see why I believe consumer attitudes are not only changing but evolving with technology

Outbound or Inbound

Some marketers may put social media and text message marketing in the outbound marketing category. And, sometimes, they would be correct.  For example, there are companies that use text message marketing exclusively to push deals and offers. The problem is they don’t allow for communication.

This is homogenous to getting an email from “do-not-reply@xyz.com.” Everyone receives the same offer, the same deal, and no one is made to feel special. Text message marketing, at its core, is about more than shot-gunned deals and offers. Why?  Your offers are personalized and your deals are based on targeted demographics.

Texting customer surveys and polls convert the marketing channel from outbound to inbound. The opportunity for two-way communication with your customers can make the outbound-to-inbound switch happen in your business.

Immune to stricter regulation

When Facebook changed its algorithm in 2015 to favor more video content, a lot of new media creators such as Buzzfeeed and BusinessInsider switched to creating more video content to share on Facebook. What they did not realize was that Facebook never reported the actual engagements on video.

Facebook faked certain metrics so as to attract more advertisers to the platform. Eventually, by the time this news leaked, it was too late and most of these companies had invested a lot in the video.

Over the next year or so, the Facebook algorithm would change again and leave thousands of employees in these new media organizations jobless, simply because they were overly dependent on one platform – Facebook

Text message marketing is not controlled by a single platform, just like email, it has retained its independence for a long time. This makes it a reliable, long term investment you can bank on without worrying whether a sudden change in regulation will affect you

In an age where even social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter are struggling to retain users, Text message marketing for small business may be one of the most reliable channels available


Top 4 Simple Ways To Automate Marketing at Your Gym | Start Today

Marketing automation has been around for a while but its only in the last 5 years that the benefits of automated marketing have trickled down to small business entrepreneurs. Now, by spending a few hundred dollars a month, you are able to target your users accurately with the same tools used by tech big wigs such as Google and Facebook.

Techniques To Automate Marketing at Your Gym

These are the techniques and segments of marketing where you can effectively use automation to reach your members, bring them back and increase customer retention:

1. Email marketing campaigns

Email is the perfect starting point to reach your members. You can make it almost entirely automated, which makes email a good starting point for any fitness business that wants to test out automation.

Choose an online automation tool with the ability to build email campaigns (like MailChimp or Klaviyo) and segment your audience into different lists depending on whether they are prospects or customers, time since their last visit, whether they are near the end of their contract, etc . This lets you precisely target your email marketing to the customers you want to see it.

Automate Marketing - Email marketing campaigns

Getting Started with Mailchimp

2. Text marketing campaigns

Over 95% of SMS messages received are opened and read. Since text messaging is the one function that’s baked into every device – pre-installed by default, it is hard to overstate how important it is. Another facet of text marketing is that since most people have moved to use other messaging tools such as Whatsapp, Messenger, and Telegram, the messages received on the default messages app get even more attention and don’t get buried under

Couple of things to keep in mind when doing text message marketing campaigns –  get the users permission before sending them messages and be compliant with the opt-in and opt-out processes for setting up these types of campaigns.

Also, keep the messages short and simple and make the call to action clear and loud. Think of it as a really good Tweet. You only have a few characters to make an impression and put a call to action to follow the rules of copywriting. Start with the 4 U’s:

  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Unique
  • Ultra-Specific

We cover text marketing campaigns in more detail in our demos and you will get a solid understanding of how to do a text marketing campaign. Another aspect of this to be careful about is to choose a tool that integrates well with your existing POS systems such as MindBody and CenterEdge. This is also something that Gleantap  takes care of for you

 

Automate Marketing - Text marketing campaigns    Automate Marketing - Text message marketing campaigns   Marketing Automation - SMS marketing campaigns

3. Posting on Social Media

While the reach of organic posts on Social Media has gone down drastically over the last couple of years, it still remains a vital channel to engage with your members, especially current members who follow your page for updates.

One social media feature that still seems to work well is events. People still follow events primarily on Facebook and it still remains a good way to organize events and let people know about updates at your business.

But it also makes sense to use a tool such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial to schedule things to post on social media. This way you can plan your content calendar ahead on Monday or Friday and queue all the posts inside your social media automation tool. This way your social media posting will be on auto-pilot and you can focus on more important things that are part of your business.

 

Automate Marketing With Social Media Tools

4. Landing pages

Gone are the days when you have to master Wordpress or learn to code to create a simple landing page for your business or for a specific event. You can now use tools such as Squarespace or Instapage to create landing pages within an hour or two.

I’m assuming that your business will already have a website, so what can you use a landing page for? You can use it to promote specific events that are happening at your business location, you can use it to advertise plan upgrades to select members. You can even write small articles on fitness or post videos on a single landing page.  All of this without any tech expertise of any kind

Landing Pages for Marketing Automation


Customer Engagement Vs Text Message Marketing | Is There A Link?

People are too inundated with their social media feeds to care about the advertising within them. Add the growing number of privacy concerns and restrictions and we can see the reason why marketers are focussing on channels where users have more control – such as Text message marketing and email marketing 

Existing in Different Silos

Text and email marketing have existed in different silos until now. You have specific tools and formatting that you use for text messages such as EZtexting and Simpletexting. They do the job of helping you getting text message marketing done.
sms advertising
You also have software that you use for email marketing such as MailChimp or Klaviyo. They give you well-designed templates and the ability to do email marketing much more easily. 

The reason they have not co-existed

The primary reason that they have not co-existed is that they have not shared the same timeline and the same paradigm as marketing channels that people should focus on.
Pre smartphone(before2007 and the iPhone) was the era of era sms marketing. Everyone read and cleared their inbox and companies inundated and over exploited the channel with marketing messaging
This was also the time when people were doing their email marketing primarily for the desktop.
The advent of iMessage and other messaging apps such as Facebook messenger meant that fewer people checked their phone inbox
The radical shift in email came with the coming of Web 2.0 in 2010-2013. People started using their phones much more during this period and email marketing started to focus on being optimized for mobile. Tools such as MailChimp managed this transition quite well and have done well with web 2.0
The next shift in email and sms marketing has been happening since 2017. 

A new kind of permission marketing

As I wrote in an earlier article, customers are more responsive to marketing that fits either or both of the following conditions
  1. Marketing that is done with their permission – they have expressed an interest in your product and given you information to contact them 
  2. Marketing that adds value: Your users or potential users would be interested in content that either entertains or gives them information – which is why every small business has an active presence on YouTube and produces interesting content on Instagram, Pinterest etc 
 Email marketing and SMS marketing can do that for you now. 
With Email marketing, you can engage users with long-form newsletters, occasional seasonal offers etc 
Customer Engagement Platform Vs Text Message Marketing
With SMS marketing you can engage users with shorter content that can be interactive, informative or both
           Text Message Marketing  Text Message MarketingSMS Marketing Platform
And there has been no better time to utilize the power of these platforms 

Customer Engagement Platform Brings You Email Text marketing 

It’s 2019 and you should not have to go through the trouble of managing different tools to manage your email and sms marketing. By having both of those in the same platform, you can seamlessly switch between marketing channels. After all, it is the ease of consumption of information that generates new ideas and messaging that you had not thought of before. 
customer engagement strategy
You also want a tool that integrates well with your current suite of software and marketing tools that you use. A customer engagement platform can integrate with your current POS systems such as Mindbody and Centeredge. It can also integrate with tools that you use for marketing such as MailChimp or a rewards management system such as Perkville.
So a customer engagement platform is an all in one tool that takes care of customer retention for you. 2019 seems like the moment for customer engagement platforms – Small businesses have access to software that is high tech but affordable and are also increasingly facing the tune from big players such as Amazon, Netflix where people spend a lot of their time and attention
At Gleantap we have been quite happy to work with smart business owners at PlanetFitness, F45, Anytime Fitness who have been capitalizing on the advantages of having a customer engagement platform


Dear Small Business Owner, Business Automation Is Not What You Think It Is

The last couple of years have seen a lot of brouhaha over automation taking over jobs and disrupting industries. While a lot of it is true, the tales of automation taking over the world have been greatly exaggerated. Today I want to give you an overview of where automation is at and what it can do for your small business. What I don’t want to do is sell you a Ted talk or a vision of robot overlords doing all our work for us.

As small business owners, there are two things that we focus on in our work on a day to day basis:

  1. Value creation
  2. Value maintenance

We’ll talk about small business automation in these terms so that it can be applied today to day decision making on what to automate and how to do it.

Automating value creation at your small business

“This week, Hewlett-Packard (where I am on the board) announced that it is exploring jettisoning its struggling PC business in favor of investing more heavily in software, where it sees a better potential for growth. Meanwhile, Google plans to buy up the cellphone handset maker Motorola Mobility. Both moves surprised the tech world. But both moves are also in line with a trend I’ve observed, one that makes me optimistic about the future growth of the American and world economies, despite the recent turmoil in the stock market.

In short, software is eating the world.”

– Marc Andreessen, Spring 2011

 

In the earlier days, the software world was separated from the brick and mortar world. All the earlier, big software products existed in a world of their own – Facebook, Twitter, even e-commerce behemoth Amazon was not eating into brick and mortar sales until the last couple of years.

Things have changed massively in the 6 years since Marc Andreessen wrote about software eating the world. Amazon has been growing so fast that it now it owns twice as much square footage than it did in 2012. Restaurants that don’t have a physical store and deliver food through Uber eats and Postmates are becoming increasingly popular, a gym in 2019 is not just competing against other gyms, it’s competing against Netflix, Strava and Nike run. In short, software is everywhere.

But what has also changed is that it is now quite easy to create your own software.

Once upon a time, creating good software was limited to a species that small business owners did not understand that they called “coders”. The last couple of years have seen a lot of tools pop up that help you create your own software without writing any code at all. This is a type of business automation that did not exist even 3-4 years back.  You no longer have to hire a full-fledged agency to build you a website or hire 3 developers just to make and maintain a small internal tool.

Here is a list of no-code tools and what you can use them for.

Creating a CMS driven website

A good CMS driven website has been essential for a small business for a while now, but it is surprising how few small businesses have this. These are a few tools you could use to make a CMS driven website.

  • Webflow – Simple SMS, good design
  • Wordpress – Always reliable with extra customization
  • Wix –  Build a website like building a Lego

CMS Driven Website

While not necessary, it would help you to know the basics of HTML, CSS, and Javascript when making a CMS. Think of it like owning a $20 toolkit from Homedepot so that you don’t have to call maintenance every time something breaks in your house. The basics of web development, which would take you 10-15 hours to learn will go a long way in helping you run things smoothly, with poise. Here are a few free classes I can recommend.

Creating a simple landing page

If you want to create a simple landing page for marketing your business, running Facebook ads or to promote seasonal offers, these are some of the tools that you can use.

Creating Landing Page

  • Carrd – Simple single page websites if you want to make something quick
  • Instapage – More number of features, more customization

Creating apps

Now we are getting to the true magic of what automation can do for you. Imagine making a web app or mobile app by yourself 2-3 years back? You would probably have to quit working on your business for sometimes and spent all your time pulling your hair out as you make your way through the nuance of software and code. No more. Use these tools instead:

Resources for helping you with creating apps without code

Automating value maintenance at your small business

So you have a business that is running smoothly. Now all you want to do is either run it sustainably with as little overhead as possible or focus on growing your business without being bogged down by the mundane day to day repetitive tasks.  These are a few tools that will help you do just that

Automating repetitive small tasks

Things such as organizing all your Facebook leads/comments in a Google sheet so that you can reach out or respond to them, capturing more data in Dropbox or your favorite note-taking apps. These are the most popular tools you can use for that

  • Zapier – Connecting apps that you use for businesses so that you can avoid mundane and repetitive tasks
  • IFTT  – The same use case as Zapier but more for personal and home tasks
  • Airtable – Not a big fan of Excel or Google Sheets? This is an app that gives you all that functionality without any of the headaches.

Automating your marketing and sales

Marketing and sales productivity can take a hit if you spend a lot of time doing things that can be automated with ease. A lot of salespeople say that finding and qualifying prospects take up a lot of their time. In fact data entry has been the chief complaint of salespeople for a long time.

A few tools you can use to automate marketing  

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator/Mattermark+ Hunter.io – Find emails and details of the people you want to prospect
  • MailChimp/Klaviyo – Create aesthetic emails to send out to prospects or customers
  • Hubspot – All in one tool to automate marketing and sales
  • Wordstream – Struggling with Google Adwords? Let the marketing experts at Wordstream help you

Automating Customer Engagement

So you’ve got customers and you are running a good sustainable business. But, have you tapped into your existing list of customers to make them loyal users who use your business again and again? You have all the data you need and instead of painstakingly going through your database to reach out to random users with the hope of winning them back, you can use automation to make a process for it.

customer engagement strategy

This is what we help you do at Gleantap.  Automate your reach outs to existing customers via text, email, and mobile push notifications.

Customer engagement is becoming even more important in 2019 because unlike 10 or even 5 years ago, a lot of products are competing for the attention of your customers. Attention, as you know, is the new currency and you don’t want to be left behind, especially when you can do it with less effort than ever before.

I know, I know. Of course, there are other tools that help you do this, I’ll do a review and a list of the other tools in another blog 🙂

Automation has a lot of promise, especially for small businesses that want to keep overheads light and reduce the number of mundane tasks that you have to do every day. You can use these tools to automate parts of your value creation and value maintenance and this will help you focus on the things that are more important – be it spending time with your kids or on focussing on growing your business.


Text Message Marketing - Still A Reliable Marketing Channel In 2019?

5 years ago, most marketers decided that text message marketing and email marketing are dead. Social media was the new twinkle in every marketer’s eye and we put all the effort into growing our Facebook audience and building followers on Pinterest and Instagram.  In the years that passed by a couple of things have happened that has changed the online marketing landscape.

  1. Organic reach on Facebook has consistently gone down. Gone are the days when you could build a million followers and reach them through quirky FB posts
  2. People are slowly getting tired of online ads. Scams, potential election interference and the sheer creepiness of targeted ads have made people wary of them. 
  3. And most importantly, your customers and potential users don’t have the option to opt out of this barrage of online targeting. Its inescapable and does not provide a good experience for the customer.

Text Message Marketing  – Opt-in and Opt-out anytime

Text message marketing software gives people the power to opt in and opt out of the messages that they get from advertising. The same goes for email marketing. The unsubscribe button is the most powerful tool for the customer right now.

Text message marketing - sms opt-in

The last couple of years have seen the fast growth of email newsletters like Skimm for this reason. People can choose what they want to see and it is easy to opt out of the messages they don’t want to see.

The same thing is happening in Text message marketing. By the law of the land, you are required to ask permission from users before sending them opt-in marketing messages, and you also give users an easy option to opt out of text message marketing. 

With the power of text message marketing comes….

Responsibility of-course.

If you spam users with too many messages, they would unsubscribe. If your messages are not interesting, they would probably unsubscribe. So it’s on you to make sure that you define the right moments to reach out to the user and it is critical that you reach out with the right kind of text messaging. 

These are a couple of things to keep in mind when you invest in text message marketing:

  • Become mindful of the customer journey

All businesses have a different customer journey, For a gym, this would basically entail

The customer joining → the number of times he visits the gym in a week → the customer cancelling / the customer renewing membership.

Text Message Marketing

These are some of the touch points around which you could do text message marketing for small business. Most gyms would do 1 and 3 quite well but miss out on two. Asking the customer for feedback or nudging him to visit the gym if he has missed it for a couple of days are things that may help you avoid cancellation and increase customer retention.

What are the different stages of the customer journey in your business? What are some stages for which most people in your industry don’t do any marketing? Find it and use it to increase growth and retention of your customers

  • Push limited offers for a limited time

Most businesses make the mistake of pushing too many offers or pushing too few offers. If you push too many text message marketing offers, chances are that the customer will get fatigued and stop paying attention to the messages.

The right strategy would be to run limited-time offers 2-3 times in a year or depending on the customer journey in your industry.

For a gym, this would be – Beginning and end of the year where people are motivated to stick to their goals, summertime when customers who have kids have some time for themselves etc. Again, identifying different points in your customer journey becomes the core.Text message marketing has been around for a long time and it feels like it is a getting a new resurgence with better technology that helps you do it faster, cheaper and more efficiently.