Emext marketing™ is a mobile-centric (but not mobile-only) approach that we created with struggling local brick-and-mortar businesses in mind. But it works equally as well for e-commerce brands.
So, if you want to:
– Build an emext community more responsive than email alone
– Get your messages read by more prospects and customers
– Grab the attention of your target audience faster
– Improve open, clickthrough, and conversion rates
– Turn more subscribers into customers
– Shorten the customer buying journey
Then, you’ll love this guide.
I will lay out everything you need to know about this approach. That includes drawing from current data and my 23+ years of digital marketing and operational consulting experience.
You’ll also get examples and a case study.
Let’s dive in.
Emext Marketing Fundamentals
In this chapter, I will cover the basics of emext marketing.
That includes what it is, why it’s essential, and who can benefit most from it today.
I’ll also provide statistics and data showing that it’s no longer a question of if you will embrace emext marketing, but when.
What Is Emext Marketing?
Emext Marketing is an innovative, cross-channel approach that draws from the TOP SEVEN consumer-preferred communication channels to help businesses attract more customers and build loyal communities.
The top channels include email, social media and chat apps, website, text messaging, voice, direct mail, and face-to-face.
In addition, the approach comes with an implementation framework that consists of 3 core components:
- Resource Priority Zone Matrix & Funnel
- Emext Value Exchange Network (see Chapter 6)
- The Synergy Engine
Ultimately, businesses should build success on a solid, data-driven foundation and not get distracted by methods their customers don’t care much about.
The approach (or framework) divides the top channels into three resource and marketing priority zones (see Chapter 6).
The zones are part of a priority matrix & funnel that businesses should consult to create marketing campaigns that are coordinated, focused, and cost-effective.
The top zone (Zone 1) that every business should optimize, with the assistance of the other zones, is the one that combines the power of email and text message marketing. Hence, the name Emext Marketing.
Think of it as multiple light sources coming together to form a highly-focused laser beam. Again, in this case, the goal is to attract more customers and keep them loyal.
Rev Up the Synergy Engine
As I mentioned earlier, the emext marketing framework can involve several channels, depending on the campaign objective. But in its most basic form, emexting is the act of sending commercial messages to subscribers and customers using both email + text (emext) messaging technology.
Emext software, which I call the “Synergy Engine,” sends the same (or similar) messages simultaneously or one shortly after the other.
The content can promote a business’s products and services, deliver digital coupons, announce events, incentivize loyalty, remind clients, and more.
Text messaging can include SMS, MMS, RMM, RCS, push notifications, in-app messaging, and more. I’ll go into more detail about each later.
So, email is the long-form communication tool and text is the short form. When used together, they will greatly amplify your brand’s reach and engagement.
Regarding voice communication, local businesses may sometimes initiate contact with customers for important reminders or to reschedule appointments. Or customers may call a company or request it to call them.
However, establishments should keep outbound calls to a minimum to not irritate people.
Commercial content that is communicated using email and one or more text messaging channels simultaneously.
The act of sending an emext.
(* Trademark pending.)
Emext Marketing Vs Mobile Marketing
Emext marketing and mobile marketing utilize some of the same channels. But there are crucial differences. First, emext marketing is not device-specific.
While mobile engagement is growing fast, the desktop computer (including laptop) is still a powerful player in people’s lives (G2).
So, people use desktops and mobile phones for about the same amount of time. (Note: The percentages represent combined work and personal usage.)
Second, it’s true that mobile has raced ahead in Internet search volume. But when it comes to making purchases, the desktop/laptop wins (Statista).
So, while we love what mobile brings to the table, it’s critical not to ignore desktops. People still find comfort in sitting down, relaxing, and executing certain transactions on the big screen.
The above two differences are just the start. As you’ll discover in Chapters 6 & 7, emext marketing also has its own framework and terminology.
Why Emext Marketing Provides Multiple ROI Opportunities
The #1 thing that makes emext marketing effective is its ability to create cross-channel synergies, which increases the chances of converting more prospects into customers.
As this chart shows, running coordinated cross-channel marketing campaigns provides multiple ways to maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Sure, those ROI numbers look very impressive. But you’re probably thinking:
“Isn’t email marketing dead and texting just between family and friends?”
Not even close.
Why Emext Marketing Is the Future
There are two undeniable reasons why local businesses and e-commerce brands should fully embrace emext marketing right now:
- The continued convergence of physical and digital marketing channels.
- The rapid shift of your customers to mobile-first engagement.
The reasons aren’t simply my opinion. I’m just following the data. So let’s dig into each reason separately.
But first, I want to give you these USA retail sales numbers for e-commerce and physical stores (Census). That way, you’ll have a basic frame of reference for the discussion.
Many people think that e-commerce is on the verge of taking over the world. But as you see, brick-and-mortar retail sales in the U.S. are still running significantly ahead.
Now, a local business owner might also look at those numbers and think this “e-commerce domination” thing must be mostly hype.
That, too, would be a BIG mistake!
Physical and Digital Marketing Channels Are Converging
So, while customer buying journeys may end in physical stores, they most often begin in the digital world. You can’t afford to ignore this convergence.
And while we like certain aspects of social media, it should not be your primary marketing focus. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it, either.
I’ll explain why in Chapter 6. I’ll also provide details on the best way to allocate your marketing resources.
Americans Have Gone Mobile-First
The second reason to implement emext marketing is that it is a mobile-centric approach, although NOT 100% mobile.
The mobile phone has become the most indispensable device in your customers’ lives. This infographic provides six statistics that confirm its importance.
The mobile phone is now the primary point of contact. So, of course, you want a 24-hour presence in a place that people pay more attention to than their kids and pets.
But remember the earlier desktop vs. mobile usage and conversion statistics?
Mobile-first does not mean mobile-everything. Case in point, nearly half of all consumers still prefer to make purchases on their desktop computers (Techjury).
How Does Emext Marketing Work?
As shown in the above “Mobile-First” infographic, emext marketing puts your business as close as possible to your prospects and customers — in their mobile phones.
So, the most valuable data point is the mobile phone number. The second is the email address, but you want both.
And if people download your mobile app, that can provide yet another way to deliver text messages. Here’s a diagram of how emext marketing works.
Technology now integrates emailing and texting functions to make emext marketing easy.
Example of Emext Marketing in Action
Borrowing from the diagram above, here’s a simple example of a typical emexting scenario:
A beauty salon or ecom store sends a 50% discount coupon or code to its VIP program subscribers via email and SMS text messaging.
Standard SMS texts are limited to 160 characters or about 33 words. But email has no such restrictions.
So, the SMS coupon will likely have fewer accompanying promotional words than the email.
On the other hand, email allows more flexibility with layout, design, and content. So, it could provide more relationship-building details to get prospects excited.
It could include a video and mention holiday specials, online appointment scheduling steps, and other services.
The goal of emext marketing is to amplify your messages while providing customers with a similar experience across multiple channels and devices.
So, they will get the same coupon through both channels. But email permits the salon to do an extra bit of marketing.
Is Emext Marketing Multichannel, Omnichannel, or Cross-channel?
Out of the box, emext marketing consists of a tight group of complementary channels. That puts it on a cross-channel marketing footing. But you can certainly incorporate it into an omnichannel or multichannel strategy.
Here’s a summary of the three approaches:
This approach focuses on distributing and promoting products across different channels like mobile, website, social, direct mail, in-store, and catalog.
Multichannel is all about allowing customers to shop using the channel of their choice. Linkages between the channels are often weak. Only 14% of businesses say they run coordinated marketing campaigns across multiple channels (AutoPilotHq).
Yet, this is currently the prevailing approach for most businesses.
But it’s not all bad news. For example, despite coordination issues, companies that use multichannel marketing experience three times higher effectiveness rates than those that do not.
And 72% of consumers would rather connect with brands that implement a multichannel marketing strategy (AutoPilotHq).
Omnichannel is the highest level of channel integration. It’s all about providing consumers with easy, personalized, consistent shopping experiences across all channels and devices.
Seamless service and meeting customers’ needs are the highest priority. This approach can deliver higher ROI, but it is more challenging to implement.
Example of omnichannel marketing: A customer walks into their favorite brick-and-mortar boutique. A 20% off digital store coupon appears on their mobile phone within seconds.
While walking around, they also visit the store’s website to see if a cardigan sweater is available in the desired color.
They decide that they want to order the item from the website but pay for it in-store. A sales associate helps them place the order with the discount applied and has it shipped to their daughter.
Many companies with sizable budgets have included elements of emext marketing in their omnichannel strategy.
But now is the time for more local and e-commerce businesses to get in the game.
This approach lies somewhere between multichannel and omnichannel. Under this approach, the channels are more integrated than multichannel but not to the depth and breadth of omnichannel.
Of course, what’s so confounding to business owners is that none of the three broad approaches above provide easy-to-follow roadmaps to success. Much of the “how-to” information you find online is limited or unhelpful.
That’s why I created this guide.
As I mentioned earlier, emext marketing is a unique cross-channel category class designed for specific types of businesses.
Later, I’ll present a comprehensive emext implementation framework and examples for you to follow.
Finally, to wrap up this section, there’s an ongoing debate about which of the above marketing approaches is better. The truth is you can be successful with any of them.
Not all businesses have the resources to implement a complete omnichannel strategy. But emext marketing can help all brands improve cross-channel coordination without breaking the bank.
Which Types of Businesses Can Benefit Most from This Approach?
1. Establishments that sell low to medium-priced products and services:
– Spas and salons
– Repair shops
– Entertainment venues
– Retail shops
2. Purveyors of higher-end products and services:
– Remodeling companies
– Heating & Air Conditioning Specialists
– Mold removal experts
– Windows & doors installers
3. E-commerce (B2C) & Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands
Undoubtedly, emext marketing is driving local businesses to think of physical retail and digital channels merging.
Benefits of Emext Marketing
Here’s why your customers will love emext marketing:
– Greater control – puts them more in control to determine how and where they want to consume messages. Everyone has a preferred communication channel and device. Emext marketing allows them to decide.
– More flexibility – you can send offers and messages through multiple channels and devices simultaneously. This ensures people won’t miss deals and announcements they want to see.
– Faster action – makes it easier for customers to respond to deals and act faster. For example, a local restaurant might send out an offer in the early morning that’s only good for a few hours around lunchtime.
– More convenient – people love getting text messages. In 2021, 67 million Americans said they redeem coupons via mobile phones. And most consumers enjoy getting text offers (Techjury).
– Consistent messaging – consumers expect a unified experience across channels and devices. One survey found that 27% of respondents are “most frustrated” when brands send inconsistent messaging.
And another 27 percent said receiving irrelevant content frustrated them the most (MoEngage).
Does Emext Marketing Require Me to Use All Messaging Channels Simultaneously?
The answer is no. The only requirement to being in “emext marketing mode” is to activate email plus one text messaging channel. But, of course, the more, the better, especially for important promotions.
Currently, you may only have subscriber names and email addresses. In this case, run email marketing campaigns until you collect additional data.
I’ll share more about how to do this in Chapters 6 – 8.
Also, there may be occasions where you choose to go with one channel. Just know that emext marketing offers the best chance to maximize ROI.
Emext marketing is a set of tools and strategies you should master and use to your advantage.
In the following four chapters, I’ll talk about each tool – Email, SMS/MMS, Push Notifications, and In-app Messaging. Then I’ll show you the best way to implement them.
Let’s start with the most popular digital marketing tool in your emext marketing arsenal – Email!
Email: Your Most Flexible Emext Marketing Tool
Gary Thuerk, who worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, sent the first marketing email in 1978.
And today, email is still the most preferred digital marketing communication channel by consumers and businesses.
In this chapter, you’ll learn why that is, and why it’s an essential component of emext marketing.
Email has its flaws. But here are two reasons you want it in your corner to help grow your business:
- Content versatility (layout, structure, length) and
- Cross-device effectiveness (mobile, tablet, desktop, laptop)
Throughout this chapter, I’ll provide key statistics to help you further understand what I mean. But I’ll begin by defining what email marketing is and expand upon its importance in emext marketing.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is communicating with your target audience, subscribers, and customers through email. Messages can be short- or long-form. They can be used to solicit sales, share news, announce events, promote products and services, etc.
Email marketing has proven its value (DMA).
How Important Is Email in Emext Marketing?
Email is a vital part of emext marketing. It can play multiple roles depending on the nature of your marketing campaign. Here are two examples:
Role #1: Inspire Fast Action
Example: Restaurant offers BOGO coupon – you emext software sends a coupon to prospects via SMS text and email.
For recipients, this would likely be viewed as a low-cost transaction. And the decision-making process of whether to redeem the coupon would not be complex.
So, the language in the email should reflect the goal of the marketing campaign. It’s to get prospects excited and motivated to visit the business as quickly as possible.
Role #2: Nurture, Engage, and Convert
Example: Roofer offers 15% off new roof coupon – the coupon is delivered in the same way as above. But getting a new roof is a high-cost, high complexity decision. Therefore, prospects would likely want to perform additional research before committing.
So, the goal of the email might be to get them to request more information or call for a quote.
There are even more ways to use email to amplify your marketing message.
As shown in the graph below, consumers believe that email is the best channel of engagement in various contexts (DMA).
But you should not interpret the data as having to choose between options. Quite the opposite. It confirms that you should be connecting with your audience in multiple ways based on their preference.
Except for face-to-face, all the other presented channels are part of emext marketing.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Email marketing is a mature channel with lots of published information. So, I won’t go into exhaustive detail about its benefits. But here’s a quick summary:
– Builds credibility and trust
– Increases brand awareness
– Provides a cost-effective method to contact prospects and customers
– Boosts sales
– Strengthens customer loyalty and relationships
– Brings more traffic to your website or brick-and-mortar business
– Positions your business as the authority
What Do Consumers Think of Email Marketing?
Email Marketing Best Practices
When creating your emext campaigns, keep the following in mind:
– Use personalization – include the person’s name in the email subject line. Mention tidbits that show you know something about them. Here’s what a survey of marketers revealed about this topic (SalesCycle).
– Make segmentation a priority – people subscribe to your list for varied reasons. So, you should segment them by interests, behaviors, etc.
Then, send them targeted messages. Data shows that segmented email campaigns deliver a 50% higher clickthrough rate than generic campaigns (SalesScout).
Further, marketers who create segmented emails noticed a 760% increase in revenue (Business2Community).
– Create good subject lines – the job of the subject line is simply to get subscribers to open the email. So, make it clear, concise, and attention-grabbing.
– Send at the right time – this involves knowing your audience and using a bit of common sense. Think of the times and days they are most likely to be busy, distracted, or asleep. Avoid those days and times.
50% of marketers say that there’s no perfect day and time for sending emails as every person and business is different (Databox).
– Be conversational and add value – you should craft your email copy to establish an emotional, personal connection. But be clear and concise.
State why you’re contacting the recipient and how you will make their lives better. Then, convey what action you want them to take along with a sprinkle of urgency.
Data suggests that emails under 200 words long are most likely to get higher clickthrough rates (HubSpot).
– Remember mobile users – make sure your emails are mobile-optimized. (Discussed further in next section)
– Use effective format & layout – create a standard template that you’ll use for all your emails. Here are five effective design elements:
1. Simple header with your picture
2. Easy-to-read font size for your audience (14pt-20pt)
3. First hyperlink near the end of main content
4. Headshot in your closing
5. A P.S. that reiterates a key point along with another hyperlink.
Emails with signatures and photos get 32% more replies than emails without them (WiseStamp).
Emails that include an image have a higher open rate (21.44%) and clickthrough rate (2.68%) than that of text-only emails (15.02% and 1.56%, respectively). But be careful with image-only emails as they may get flagged as spam (GetResponse).
– Conduct A/B testing – you should evaluate two versions of a message. Label one of them A and the other B. Take a segment of your list and split it in half.
Then use one subject line for group A, and a different subject line for group B. See which one gets the most opens and clickthroughs. Finally, send the winning email to your whole list. This is a terrific way to maximize conversions.
What’s the Scoop on Mobile Email Marketing?
An email that looks great on a desktop computer could look horrible on a smartphone. But 1 in 5 marketers doesn’t optimize their email campaigns for mobile.
Unsurprisingly, most consumers don’t bother to read poorly designed mobile emails. (HubSpot)
So, make sure that your business is not lagging behind your competitors. The first step to creating great-looking mobile emails is to use a responsive template.
The template will automatically adjust to fit any screen on which the recipient views the email.
The email content will display in a single column on the smartphone rather than everything shrinking to fit or worse.
Font sizes will automatically adjust to a readable size. And images will stack neatly, one above the other, in the desired order. There’s also another good reason for having mobile-optimized emails (OmnicoreAgency).
An earlier infographic showed that 42.4% of Americans prefer reading email on their mobile devices.
However, according to BlueCoreWeb, the reading percentages are even higher when broken out for Millennials (59%) and Generation Z (67%).
Key Email Marketing Metrics and KPIs
Your email marketing software probably provides most of these rates. But where it doesn’t, here’s how to calculate them yourself.
Open rate – the percentage of your subscribers who open a given email. You may find this metric becoming less important with Apple, Facebook, and Google implementing new user privacy protection features in 2021.
Clickthrough rate – the percentage of people who clicked on a link in the sent email. You can calculate the rate by taking total clicks divided by total delivered emails. Then multiply that result by 100.
Click-to-open rate (CTOR) – is similar to the clickthrough rate. Except the calculation is based on total link clicks divided by total “opened” emails rather than the total delivered. Some think this is a better gauge of how your email message, content, and design performed.
Conversion rate – the percentage of people who clicked on a link in the email and took the desired action, such as making a purchase.
Calculate the rate by taking the number of people who completed the desired action and dividing that by the total number of emails delivered. Multiply the result by 100.
List growth rate – you always want to see your list steadily growing over time, even though the average decay rate is 22.5% to 30% every year (FreshAddress).
This means exactly what you think. A good chunk of your list will opt-out, change/abandon email addresses, or just start ignoring your emails.
You can calculate this rate by first taking the number of new subscribers minus the combined total of unsubscribes plus spam complaints. Next, divide that by the total number of email addresses on your list. Then multiply the result by 100.
Overall ROI – when you run an email marketing campaign, you should determine the return on investment. You can calculate this by first taking the revenue generated from the campaign minus the total costs to execute it.
Divide that number by the total costs and then multiply the result by 100 to get the rate of return (%). (For example, total costs can include expenditures for ads, copywriting, creatives, video editing, etc.)
Bounce rate – the percentage of total emails the system failed to deliver to subscriber mailboxes. Calculate this by dividing the number of bounced emails by the number of emails sent.
Then multiply that result by 100. If your email service provider tracks hard and soft bounces, you should delete the hard ones immediately.
A hard bounce means the recipient’s email address is no longer valid. If you don’t delete it, it could hurt your spam score. Soft bounces are caused by temporary system glitches and should be okay to send again.
Email sharing/forwarding rate – encourage your subscribers to share your emails and brand with others. This is a fantastic way to generate new contacts and expand your community with qualified leads.
Typically, sharing happens when an email recipient clicks on a forwarding button or social media share button within the email.
To calculate how well you’re doing, take the number of clicks on a share/forward button and divide it by the total number of emails delivered. Then multiply the result by 100 to get the rate.
Unengaged Subscribers – these are people who stop opening your emails for a lengthy period. They can lose interest for several reasons, including:
1. Too many other emails
2. Only wanted a freebie
3. Boring or outdated content
4. Abandoned email address
Many experts consider subscribers to be unengaged if they have not opened your email in 60-90 days. Or they have not purchased in 6 months. You’ll have to use selection criteria in your email marketing software to filter these subscribers.
You can try running email re-engagement campaigns to win them back. But you should not allow them to linger on your list for long.
Remember that when you run the filter to find and delete these people, be sure that recent subscribers are omitted.
A Few More Email Marketing Statistics
Here are three more relevant email marketing statistics:
– According to (Barilliance), in 2021, the average email conversion rate for e-commerce purchases was 1.33%. That’s about one sale for every 100 emails sent.
But before you think that percentage seems low, keep one thing in mind. Email marketing is not like social media marketing, where you must pay for clicks and impressions. All you’re paying is a monthly fee based on list size and platform features for email.
Not only that, but you also get to market, upsell, and cross-sell to your community repeatedly. That’s also why email has great ROI numbers.
– As of October 2021, the average email deliverability rate was 85.3% across various email marketing platforms (EmailToolTester).
– According to the DMA, the four most important email marketing metrics you should track are Open rate, Clickthrough Rate, Conversion rate, and ROI (DMA).
A Final Word About Email Marketing
Clearly, email should be an integral part of your emext marketing game plan. But remember that mobile phones now play a vital role in the customer buying journey.
That’s why having text messaging on the team is necessary. Look at this simple comparison of email vs. SMS/MMS message open rates.
Note that the SMS/MMS rate represents opens within only the first 5 minutes.
That’s just part of the story. In the next chapter, you’ll get the full scoop on why SMS/MMS text messaging is your golden ticket to more significant revenue.
SMS, MMS, RMM, and RCS: Your Emext Marketing VIP Access Cards
You’ve just learned about the most popular digital marketing communication channel. Now it’s time to discuss the one that gives you the greatest access to your audience — SMS, MMS, and their smartphone cousins.
These messages are delivered, opened, and read at higher rates than email. In this chapter, I will discuss what they are, how they work, and why you must get on board. No time to waste…
What Are SMS, MMS, RMM, and RCS Messages?
SMS, MMS, RMM, and RCS are text-based mobile communication services. When used for marketing, they can help businesses to…
– increase customer engagement
– boost sales
– strengthen relationships
– share news and more
Now, if two or three of the texting acronyms look strange, don’t panic. I’ll define and discuss each one in-depth.
In fact, one of the methods is already poised to change the game. But unfortunately, it will likely send the others to the technology graveyard.
How Does Each Messaging Service Work?
As discussed below, each service has its pros and cons. But the last one is what we would all like to see soon.
SMS – stands for Short Message Service, and the first text was sent in 1992. So when you use your mobile phone to send a plain text message to your mom, that’s an SMS message.
A standard SMS message is limited to 160 characters, although you can extend it.
MMS – came along in 2002 and stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. If your text message includes an image, gif, audio, or video file, it is an MMS text message. MMS allows up to 1600 characters.
Think of it as an enhancement to SMS.
SMS and MMS usage are growing fast. Here are two of the reasons why.
A study of 10,000 SMS marketing campaigns revealed a link clickthrough rate of 30% (SimpleTexting).
RMM – stands for Rich Media Message. “Rich Media” was born in 1996 in the advertising world and is now frequently used in web ads. But its use in messaging is relatively new.
Rich media is a combination of multimedia content and interactive web elements. Multimedia includes video, audio, images, gifs, podcasts, etc.
And interactive web elements can range from clickable buttons to animated digital scratch-off cards. Other examples include input forms, checkboxes, countdown timers, applets, polls, and surveys.
An RMM is an enhancement to an MMS because the recipient is encouraged to interact with the message. As mentioned, the interaction could be to click a button or complete a form.
However, there is another key difference. MMS content will fully display on a user’s mobile screen when sent. But an RMM is an SMS text message with a link. So users must click the link to view the rich content.
RCS – stands for Rich Communication Services, and its development began around 2008. This is the future of messaging technology, and it is poised to replace all the above.
RCS is described as like a third-party app. Except that it is seamlessly built into your mobile phone, just like your current text messaging service.
The service is currently available on many Android phones. But Apple iOS is not yet on board. So, it may be a while before we experience the full capabilities of this exciting technology.
But imagine receiving your full-color airline boarding pass as an RCS text message. The message could also include terminal maps, weather forecasts, and more.
Plus, there could be interactive features and buttons to change your seat or initiate a chat with the airline. And, of course, that’s all without exiting the messaging app.
The rollout is moving along, but it’s still too early for an in-depth RCS discussion here. However, if you’d like to learn more, visit this link.
Collecting Mobile Phone Numbers
The fun side of emext marketing doesn’t begin until you gather mobile phone numbers from your prospects and customers. You can do this in several ways, discussed in a moment.
But your business needs to have a special short code or long code number to initiate the collection process. Here’s what they are:
Short Codes for High Volume
These are special five- or six-digit telephone numbers that wireless telecom carriers explicitly designed for sending and receiving SMS and MMS texts. So, for example, you might create an ad that says, “Text PIZZA to 252525 to get a 50% off coupon for a large pie.”
When a prospect sends the text, they’ll immediately receive the coupon. But your emext marketing software will also capture the mobile phone number. (I’ll discuss ten software solutions in Chapter 8.)
Long Codes for Low Budgets
They work the same as short codes but look like standard 10-digit phone numbers. In fact, long codes can also accommodate voice communications.
Having a short code is great if you can afford it. There are fewer characters for people to type, easy to remember, and designed for high-volume throughput. But a long code can undoubtedly handle your SMS marketing efforts, too.
Collecting phone numbers is an easy task. Simply share your short or long code anywhere and everywhere with a keyword such as PIZZA. Advertise your keyword and code in:
– In-store signage (posters, table tents)
– Social media posts
– Radio commercials
– Television ads
The key to collecting lots of phone numbers is to make people an irresistible offer they can’t refuse.
Remember that you’re building a community that you can market to repeatedly. So don’t be stingy.
Benefits of SMS/MMS Marketing
Here are five reasons why SMS and MMS are good for business.
Fast delivery – there’s only a short delay from the moment you send your message until it arrives on the prospect’s phone. Direct mail certainly can’t match that speed.
Increase customer engagement – send the right kind of messages, and customers will be excited to learn more.
Cost-effective – it only costs pennies to send each SMS or MMS message.
Builds loyalty and brand awareness – it’s a super-easy way to stay connected with your audience and get them to know, like, and trust your business.
Better deliverability – approximately 98% of SMS/MMS get delivered. Email averages around 80% to 85% for any given period.
What Do Consumers Think of SMS/MMS?
Here’s why SMS and MMS will continue to grow in popularity:
SMS and MMS Best Practices
Use these tips to maximize the customer experience:
Get consent – the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires that you get written permission from users before sending them texts.
Be creative – MMS is a more flexible multimedia messaging service with higher clickthrough rates than SMS (SimpleTexting).
Send wisely – the suggested maximum number of text messages per month is 10-12. But the optimal number will depend on your audience.
Start with testing 1-2 messages per week. Then, watch for unsubscribes as you increase the sending frequency (UplandSoftware).
Provide value – if you’re not adding value to your customers’ lives, they will kick you to the curb. So, make your texts count.
Personalize messages – include the subscriber’s name in the text and your company name. And avoid over-hyping your messages. But, don’t shy away from creating a “legitimate” sense of urgency on occasion to heighten emotions to get subscribers to act.
Segment your audience – try to segment your audience based on behavior, interest, life events, etc.
For example, run a promotion that also asks for the prospect’s birthday along with phone number and email address. The more data you can gather about your audience, the better.
Key SMS/MMS Metrics and KPIs
Your messaging platform should provide most of these metrics. And, when possible, test SMS against MMS messages to see which one delivers better results.
– Sent – the total number of messages sent for a specific SMS or MMS marketing campaign. Use the total to calculate other metrics.
– Open/Deliverability rate – this may be difficult to determine. But the current overall rate is 98%. So, if you send 1,000 texts, assume that 980 will reach their destination.
– Clicks/Click rate – the number of times recipients click on a link in a message. You should use a link shortener service since links count toward your message character count. That will also allow you to track the number of clicks.
Calculate the click rate by dividing clicks by the number of people you sent messages to.
– Conversion/Conversion rate – a conversion can be any specific event you want to measure. For example, it could be a purchase, registration, etc.
To get the rate, take the total number of people who completed the desired action/conversion. Then, divide it by the total number who received a text message.
– List growth – this is the number of people who subscribe to your list over a period.
– Unsubscribes – this is the number of people who opt-out of your list. If you see a lot of these, analyze the problem and correct it.
– Revenue generated – the total amount of revenue you’ve made from an SMS or MMS campaign over a given period.
– Return On Investment (ROI) – to calculate it, get the total revenue generated from a campaign. Then, divide it by the total cost to send the text messages and any other expenses.
For example, let’s say that you send 500 texts that cost you $25, or five cents each, and the campaign generates $500 in revenue. So your ROI would be $475 ($500 minus $25).
A Few More Important SMS and MMS Marketing Statistics
Two of the stats below point to the advantages of SMS over email. But you should not view this as a contest. Instead, imagine the benefits of using both in your emext marketing campaigns.
– The spam rate for SMS marketing messages is 5x lower than for emails (MessageIQ ).
– SMS produces 6x to 8x higher engagement rates than retailers typically see from email marketing (MobileMonkey).
– Coupons delivered via SMS have redemption rates 10x higher than printed coupons (MobileMonkey).
– Although more businesses continue to implement SMS and MMS, it’s still under-utilized (MobileMonkey).
A Final Word About SMS/MMS Marketing
As you’ve now discovered, emext marketing could not exist without SMS/MMS text message marketing. The open and clickthrough rates are fantastic. And it fills a gap that email can’t quite reach.
Now I will move to the next invaluable emext marketing tool — Push Notifications.
These little jewels can help you reach prospects who aren’t quite ready to share their email address or mobile phone number.
Let’s get to it.
Push Notifications: Alerts That Work
Unlike email and SMS marketing, push notifications or pushes don’t require a prospect’s personal data to get results. Yet, they can reach subscribers across mobile and desktop devices.
This is important because not every person is immediately ready to hand you their contact details.
In this chapter, you’ll discover the versatility of these unique messages.
I like to think of push notifications as the Swiss Army Knife of emext marketing. They could do a job independently but can work even better when combined with other emext tools.
If you’re not using them, I’ll show and tell you what you’re missing.
What Are Push Notifications?
Apple and Google introduced push notifications in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and they gained momentum quickly.
They are clickable pop-up messages that appear on a user’s mobile phone home screen, even when it’s locked. But, of course, they can also appear on desktop computers.
There are currently four main types:
1. Mobile App push notifications
2. Web push notifications (display on mobile or desktop)
3. Desktop push notifications (only display on desktop)
4. Push notifications for wearables
Since emext marketing is mobile-centric, I won’t cover them all. Therefore, only the first two types – Mobile App and Web (i.e., Mobile Web) – are pertinent to this discussion.
A 2020 study of 300 OneSignal clients found the following:
– 72% of the businesses said web and mobile push notifications delivered an equal or more significant ROI than email.
– 44% said they saw ROIs greater than email.
Typically, users will opt-in or grant permission to receive such messages. It usually involves clicking a button or link in a pop-up banner that says “allow” or “yes”…as you see here.
Once granted, users can rescind permission in their phone’s settings. Businesses use pushes like these below to communicate exclusive offers, news, etc.
How Do Push Notifications Work?
There are two ways to receive push notifications on mobile phones. A user must download your app (if you have one). Or they must have a web browser installed.
As shown in the above image, having a browser on the phone allows your website notifications to reach a user’s mobile screen.
Android devices support mobile web push notifications for phones running Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera browsers. But Apple (iOS) Safari devices are lagging, although there are workarounds.
Sending Push Notifications
Companies that offer push notification services send your messages from their servers. The servers integrate with your mobile app or website.
You upload messages to their platform, set up workflows, and schedule auto-triggered notifications. The message lengths for mobile will vary, depending on the phone’s operating system.
For web notifications, the combination of your browser and Windows or Mac operating system version will determine the character limit.
Choosing a Push Notification Platform
A robust platform should offer all the features you need to acquire, engage, retain, and convert users. Look for these basics:
– Messaging Dashboard – the main area where you can access and view reports, user actions, subscribers, test results, and more.
– Integrated Analytics – where you create campaigns and capture analytics such as click rates, conversion rates, engagement data, etc.
– A/B Testing – the ability to experiment and compare test results between two different messages is critical. This will allow you to optimize your marketing efforts.
Benefits of Push Notifications
Implementing mobile apps or web push notifications can provide positive benefits like these to your business.
– Increase conversion rates – promote exclusive deals and discounts that can lead to more sales. In Chapter 7, I’ll share a case study of a company killing it with push notifications.
– Increase app engagement – it’s an easy, inexpensive way to communicate directly with customers and get them to take desired actions.
– Enhance user experience – if a user downloads your app, they want to experience what your business is all about. You can do that by sending notifications related to app updates, new products, company news, special sales, etc.
– Bring back inactive users – the average person has more than 80 apps on their mobile phone. So, they could easily lose track of yours. Pushes are a terrific way to re-engage customers (Buildfire).
What Do Consumers Think of Push Notifications?
Using push notifications in your marketing comes with a double-edged sword. Overdo it, and you’ll pay a high price.
Check out this table of how often people think it is appropriate for you to send them push notifications (YouGov).
Here are three other statistics from HelpLama that support a “proceed slowly” approach.
– 43% of users said they would “disable” pushes if an app sends them 2-5 notifications per week.
– 64% said that receiving more than 5 weekly pushes would cause them to stop using the app altogether.
– 61% said they would use the app more often or at the same level if you personalize pushes with relevant, targeted messaging. Of course, this sentiment varied by age group. Older people (age 30 and above) dislike push notifications more than younger ones (18-29).
Push Notifications Best Practices
Push notifications are usually simple messages. But here are four things you can do to keep your customers engaged.
– Provide interesting content – use gifs and emojis. Mix in rich media (videos, podcasts, Instagram stories, webinars, etc.) for fun and excitement.
– Segment your audience – segment by behavior and interests. Then, send targeted personalized messages. A survey performed by Business of Apps revealed that marketers segmented 85% of their pushes in 2017. It was a substantial increase from 65% in 2015 (HelpLama).
– Send timely messages – notifications sent at the wrong time can become annoying. So, get to know when your audience is most receptive to opening your messages.
– Avoid sending too often – based on the responses shown in the above table, I recommend that you start by sending one push per week. Then, monitor the unsubscribes and adjust your sending frequency accordingly.
Key Push Notification Metrics and KPIs
The push notification metrics below can help you identify customer trends, patterns, and behaviors. Use them to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and the health of your app.
– Open (to view) rate – gauges the basic level of interaction with your push messages. It’s the number of people who open to read your notifications.
According to MoEngage, you can improve the open rates of your push notifications by…
– 20% using emojis
– 40% using optimal sending times
– 25% using rich media
– 4x using personalization
– 3x using advanced targeting
Using rich media in push notifications generated a 56% open rate. But only 8% of marketers were utilizing it (MoEngage).
– Click/Clickthrough rate – the number of people who clicked on a push notification URL after reading a message (to view offers and web pages). You can then track the actions your subscriber takes after reading the message (MoEngage).
In addition, push notifications with images experienced a 9% higher clickthrough rate (OneSignal).
– Delivery count/rate – lets you know if the push notification service is effective or experiencing deliverability problems.
The average push notification delivery rate is 50% to 60% for smartphones and 20% to 30% for desktop computers. It can be higher or lower, depending on the device and browser (Gravitec).
Four reasons for low delivery include:
1. Users’ computer or phone operating systems may block notifications.
2. Corporate security firewalls may prevent notifications.
3. A device maker may configure its product to disallow notifications.
4. The Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) service which facilitates the messaging process may be experiencing difficulties.
– Retention rate – is a measurement of the number of customers who are retaining your app versus those who abandon it. Monitor for any negative trends.
21% of users abandon an app after one use (UplandSoftware).
– Conversion rate – how many users completed a desired event or action after receiving a push notification. This can include things like making a purchase, taking a survey, or completing a form.
The average overall conversion rate for push notifications is 1.5% (Business ofApps).
– App launches – the number of people who launched your app on their mobile phone within 24 hours of receiving a push. You should see an upward spike.
– App uninstalls and opt-outs – the number of users who uninstalled your app over a period or opted-out. Of course, you want to see a small number.
A Few More Important Push Notification Statistics
Use these push notification statistics to help you create effective emext marketing campaigns.
– Push notification opt-in rates for smartphones are higher on Android devices than iOS (AirShip).
That’s because iPhone users must activate this feature to receive them, while Android automatically enrolls users.
– The average number of push notifications sent through a mobile app to its users is about 9 per month (AirShip).
– Sending push notifications increases app retention rates by 3x to 10x (MoEngage).
– The average direct open rate for push notifications sent specifically through mobile apps is 4.6% on Android and 3.4% on iOS (AirShip).
– Consumers chose promotions as their favorite type of push notification content.
That was followed by news and updates (26%) and relevant local content (26%) (MoEngage).
A Final Word About Push Notifications
Push notifications are great because they allow prospects to experience your business without providing personal information.
Even better is that they appear on users’ mobile phone home screens. But it’s not all peaches and cream.
Push notification delivery rates are much lower than email and SMS/MMS. And iPhone users must proactively turn on permissions. So, smartly use this tool as part of your emext marketing strategy. But understand its strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let’s move on to in-app messaging.
In-App Messaging: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
The final emext marketing component you need to know about is in-app messaging. Naturally, this communication method requires you to have a mobile app.
In this chapter, I’ll discuss the ins and outs of this powerful medium.
Additionally, if you don’t have an app, I’ll address whether you should get one and when.
Unlike push notifications, in-app messages are what people see while using your app.
Having an app allows you to engage with consumers at just the right time. You control everything and get to operate in an environment that you created. That comes with a lot of opportunity and responsibility.
What Are In-App Messages?
In-app messages are pop-up notifications that users see once they download your mobile app, open it, and browse.
This differs from push notifications that don’t require users to open an app.
You can create messages to facilitate the app onboarding process, promote products, announce events, share news, etc. Here’s an example of an in-app message that popped up when I opened my Uber Eats app.
How Does In-App Messaging Work?
Just like push notifications, there are third-party messaging platforms that integrate with mobile apps. The platform is where you set up workflows, create messages, and track their performance.
Messages are set to automatically trigger and display based on user actions within the app.
Brands use the messages for several purposes that we will discuss shortly.
Benefits of In-App Messaging
In-app messaging can be rewarding if used strategically and effectively. Here are five benefits:
– Drive revenue – promote special offers, deals, coupons, contests, etc.
– Increase retention – people abandon apps faster than you can say, “There’s an app for that.” Messages that engage, entertain, and add value can entice users to stick around.
– Easy way to collect feedback – conduct surveys and polls, and get input on new products, services, app features, etc.
– Keep customers interested – announce new app features, updates, and exciting company news. This type of communication can help to nurture loyalty and improve customer retention rates.
– Increase average order value – encourage and incentivize customers to buy more products through upsells & cross-sells.
In-App Messaging Best Practices
Use these tips to get the most from your in-app messaging campaigns.
– Onboard users properly – customers need to hear from you the first time they open your app. That is critical for retention. So, make sure app orientation messages explain key functionality, provide navigation tips, etc.
By adding a welcome message or series, you can reduce that trend by up to 50% (AirShip).
– Send personalized messages – segment your audience based on their in-app behaviors and interests. Then, send them targeted messages based on selected criteria.
– Display messages at the right time – configure the software to automatically trigger messages based on a user’s actions within the app. Make sure messages pop up when they are less likely to be annoying.
– Highlight the call-to-action (CTA) – keep messages short and make the CTA stand out.
– Always be testing – perform A/B testing of copy, creatives, CTAs, color schemes, etc. Then, adjust as appropriate.
– Be Visual – use rich media. Eye-catching images, gifs, and videos will make a more significant impact on users.
– Write great headlines – they grab a customer’s attention and encourage them to read the entire message.
Key In-App Messaging and KPIs
The messaging service that you use should offer a wealth of analytics. Here are four key trackable metrics to keep an eye on.
– Clickthrough rate (CTR) – the percent (%) of customers who click on a link in a message. A high percentage usually means the message is effective.
According to one study, the best performing industry was Travel, with a 12% clickthrough rate. The worst performing sector was Fitness, with a 5% clickthrough rate (Reckless).
– Retention rate – the percentage increase or decrease in the number of customers using your app. You don’t want to see lots of abandonments or uninstalls.
– Feature adoption rate – the percent (%) of people who begin using a new feature once you announce it. Of course, the higher the percentage, the better.
– Conversion rate – a conversion event can be any action you want to track to gauge the effectiveness of a message. For example, viewing a product, leaving a comment, or making a purchase.
Ideally, you should perform A/B testing to see if one message converts better than another.
A Few More Important In-App Messaging Statistics
Keep these pertinent statistics in mind if you decide to get an app.
– If users regularly engage with your app for 30 days after downloading it, that’s a good sign.
That combination also saw an average engagement rate of 26% for medium-performing apps and 44% for high-performing apps (AirShip).
– One study found that in-app messaging had a 75% open rate. That’s over 45 times higher than email and nearly 3 times higher than push notifications (Reckless).
In-App Messaging Vs In-App Chat – What’s the Difference?
Many people get confused by the two, but they are not the same. They serve different purposes.
In-app messaging is an automated process where the software automatically triggers notifications to display within an app based on user behavior. The goal is to nurture and guide users toward desired actions.
On the other hand, in-app chat provides a live, one-to-one service. The chat window remains closed or idle until a customer requests support or needs help with an issue.
In-app messaging is a business growth tool. It helps with customer engagement, sales, promotions, and enhancing their experience.
You don’t need an in-app chat service unless your products and services are complex. In this instance, live, one-on-one assistance may be essential.
Should I Get an App for My Local Business?
The answer is, “It depends.” Getting a mobile app built is a big decision.
I’ve seen instances of app developers convincing local business owners to get one by appealing to their vanity. For some owners, having a signature app that looks cool and innovative can be intoxicating.
Sadly, that dentistry or attorney app usually ends up in the scrap bin, with very few downloads.
1. Doesn’t solve an urgent problem
2. Lousy user interface and experience
3. Privacy and security concerns
4. Loads slowly and eats up memory
5. Too many ads and interruptions
And popular brands are spending big bucks to land a coveted spot in your target audience’s phone. So, you had better bring your A-game.
As you contemplate building an app, ask yourself these questions:
– How much will it cost to create and maintain a quality app?
– What will make it unique and exciting?
– How can it improve the lives of my target audience?
– Has my audience indicated that my business could benefit from having an app?
– Have I surveyed my target audience to gauge their response to an app and what features they’d like to see?
– How many people are likely to download and engage with it regularly?
– How much time and resources will it take to manage and occasionally update the app?
– What job(s) will my app do much better than my competitor’s app?
– How will it fit into my omnichannel or multichannel marketing strategy?
– How will it generate revenue or leads?
– What are some successful apps that I could mimic?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t get an app. In fact, 21% of MoEngage survey respondents indicated that mobile apps were the most frequently adopted new digital channel during COVID-19.
The challenge is to create a helpful tool that your community will fully embrace.
A Final Word About In-App Messaging
If you create an app that your customers value and love, it has the potential to take your brand to a whole new level.
Not only would it give you another emext marketing channel, but you could also expect greater customer loyalty and engagement and increased profits.
But don’t get an app simply because it seems cool.
Now it’s time to put the pieces together. Get ready to implement your emext marketing strategy.
How to Implement Emext Marketing (Part 1): Framework & New Terminology
In Chapters 2-5, I discussed why neither email nor text messaging alone offers the perfect digital marketing solution.
But combine them in the right way, with a little help, and you’ll unleash a powerful multichannel dynamo. We call it emext marketing.
Time to implement.
What’s to Come
I split the “emext marketing implementation” material into two chapters to make it easier to consume.
Here in Chapter 6 (Part 1), you’ll learn about crucial framework elements and new terminology. Then, in Chapter 7 (Part 2), you’ll get in-depth examples and a case study.
Emext marketing areas covered in this chapter include:
1. Digital Marketing Resource Allocation Strategy
2. How to Optimize Your Business for Zone 1
3. Customer Journey Framework
4. Importance of Voice Communication
5. Dealing with Missing Smartphone Numbers or Email Addresses
6. Best Practices
7. Key Metrics & KPIs
8. New Terminology
You’ll be well-positioned to implement highly effective emext marketing campaigns with this foundational information.
Let’s get going.
Digital Marketing Resource Allocation Strategy
In Chapter 1, I introduced you to the top seven customer preferred marketing communication channels. Of course, please take full advantage of them all.
But most small local businesses can only stretch their marketing budgets so far, right?
So, I thought some business owners might first like a few recommendations for how to allocate their marketing resources. Here’s my take.
Use These Priority Zones and Assessment Factors
Priority zones represent where you should allocate your marketing time and dollars to grow your business. To keep things simple, I created these 3 priority zones.
Priority Zone 1 – spend the most amount of time and money
Priority Zone 2 – pay a moderate amount
Priority Zone 3 – allocate the least amount
Next, I created the following assessment factors to determine which marketing channels I would assign to each zone.
Factor 1: Marketing Ecosystem Controller
The person or party who owns the marketing channel(s), regulates processes, and controls access. If it’s not you, that’s a bad sign. (Note: A channel’s ecosystem refers to its technology, processes, and data.)
Factor 2: Level of Engagement
The channel reputation for how often people engage with marketing content, offers, requests, etc. The higher, the better.
Factor 3: Strength of B2C Relationships
How consumers feel about a business and relate to it. You won’t know until they subscribe or buy something.
Using the above factors, I took the seven customer-preferred marketing channels and assigned them to the zones. Finally, I summarized the results in this table.
Emext Priority Zone Matrix Analysis
Here’s an explanation of the completed zones and what they should mean to you.
– Zone 1 (emext marketing channels) received the highest assessments. This is because you control the marketing ecosystem (technology, processes, data).
The marketing channels also allow medium to high engagement with consumers and moderate to strong relationship building. It’s where you have the most control and opportunity to influence outcomes.
– Zone 2 (website & face-to-face) – you and shoppers share control of the marketing ecosystem. Engagement levels are medium to high. But relationships are weak.
– Zone 3 (social media, chat apps, & direct mail) – the social networks and mailing list companies control the marketing ecosystem. You have little to no control. Engagement is low, and relationships are weak to moderately strong. But they are still important.
Obviously, you should allocate more resources to Zone 1. Remember the proverb: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
How to Optimize Your Business for Zone 1
Zone 1 is your source of repeat business and where you can build a loyal community. Therefore, you should treat it like a vault filled with gold.
However, this zone cannot grow and thrive without Zones 2 & 3. They are all interconnected.
The two lower zones still represent key sources for expanding brand awareness, communicating with and acquiring new customers, and more. And, if nothing else, regular posting on social media sends signals that help to boost your other web assets and convey that your brand is alive and relevant.
Imagine the priority zone matrix as a funnel, like the one below.
Your marketing efforts in the lower zones should focus on funneling prospects up to Zone 1 through advertising, retargeting, relevant content, sign-up forms, in-store posters, etc.
The way to funnel them upward is to provide irresistible value. See what your competitors are doing and offer better, more unique experiences.
Answer the value proposition question, “If I am your ideal prospect or customer, why should I buy from you instead of your competitor?” (MECLABS)
And if your Zone 1 is not growing at a healthy, consistent clip, you need to allocate more time and resources to the other zones.
I recommend you devote at least half of your Zone 2 & 3 marketing campaigns to moving prospects up to Zone 1.
IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the priority resource ($) allocation recommendations represent the ultimate standard and mix that every SMB should strive to achieve.
As such, the two lower zones may initially hold much greater importance to establishments that have not implemented effective customer acquisition and digital community-building strategies. And therefore, they may require more attention and resources.
Choose Your Customer Journey Framework
None of the emext marketing tools will matter without a customer journey framework to follow.
Customer journey frameworks or maps are visual representations of the stages customers go through when making buying decisions.
Businesses use them to help formulate marketing plans and strategies. Then, they apply the tools in the best way to help achieve documented goals.
If you perform a search, you will find several types of frameworks, each with its unique benefits. However, I will use the traditional AIDA Model for the examples in Chapter 7.
The AIDA acronym stands for… Attention/Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Brief Explanation of the Customer Journey Stages
Attention/Awareness – the first step in launching any marketing campaign is to grab the attention of your target audience. You can do this, for example, by dangling an irresistible digital coupon offer in front of them using a Facebook ad.
Interest – is confirmed when a prospect claims your coupon. The person will get it after providing their name, mobile phone number, and email address.
The goal is to give value in exchange for data. Plus, you’ll get permission to send them ongoing marketing messages.
Desire – occurs when a prospect’s interest in your offer increases significantly. You can help by sending follow-up messages to ratchet up the emotional intensity. Move the prospect from “liking” to “wanting.”
Action – is achieved when a prospect calls to schedule an appointment. Or the individual may walk into your business and buy something.
Speaking of which, let’s not forget the value that voice communication can add to the AIDA Model and emext marketing.
Importance of Voice Communication in Emext Marketing
Voice communication is an integral part of emext marketing. But it is more of a supportive tool than a driving force.
The level of support will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the product or service.
This is a trickier proposition for e-commerce brands than for local brick-and-mortar businesses. It also matters whether the calls are inbound or outbound.
Let’s take a closer look.
This is the bread and butter for most local service businesses. You want people to call to ask questions, get quotes, schedule appointments, and make reservations.
These calls frequently lead to more face-to-face interactions and sales. Here’s what the numbers say(BiaKelsey)…
In addition, 30% of callers convert faster than web leads. That’s because they often need help immediately (Invoca).
But just because prospects and customers call, that doesn’t mean all of them like it. Again, you saw this reflected in the seven customer-preferred communication methods.
In fact, in another survey, 76% of consumers reported that they don’t like talking to businesses on the phone (MessageDesk).
So, make it as easy as possible for people to contact your business in multiple ways.
Local businesses should not be overly concerned about making certain types of outbound calls.
For example, people are fine if you contact them to confirm appointments and reservations. It could be from the doctor’s office, dentist, or pet groomer.
But it’s a different story if the calls are to solicit sales. Don’t do it unless you have a strong relationship with the prospect.
Use other emext marketing methods to get on their radar. Then, work the situation to get them to call you or permission to call them.
What If I Don’t Have the Mobile Phone Number or Email Address to Perform Emext Marketing?
You may have different offline and online campaigns running in tandem if you own a brick-and-mortar business.
For example, you may have in-store posters asking people to text a keyword to a short code phone number to join your VIP Rewards Club.
Conversely, your online discount coupon offer might require them to provide their mobile phone number and email address.
Don’t worry about it. Work with what you have. Over time, you can implement a two-step opt-in form to get the info or direct customers to your online deals, contests, etc., and collect any missing data.
Emext Marketing Best Practices
Follow the best practices of each emext marketing channel discussed in previous chapters. But here are five overarching themes:
– Have congruent creatives and messages – the flow of your offer could involve several moving parts. There’s the ad, landing page, thank you page, coupon, and follow-up messages.
Make sure that everything looks similar and related. That means including a logo, same color scheme, etc.
– Provide value – you’re building a community that can help grow your business in many ways. But it will only happen if you enhance their lives and treat them like gold.
– Collect useful customer data – your emext marketing software should allow you to create custom fields for forms and assign tags to subscribers. These are features that enable you to gather deeper customer data such as birthdays, specific interests, etc.
You can then segment your audience and send more personalized messages with this information.
– Create mobile-optimized emails – earlier, I provided statistics showing that consumers delete emails not optimized for mobile faster than you can say Usain Bolt. So don’t let them kick you out of the game before it even begins.
– Use voice communication wisely and sparingly – it’s okay to confirm appointments and reservations or if customers request help. Otherwise, stick to email and text messages.
– Respect people’s privacy – make sure you get permission from your prospects and customers before sending them marketing messages. The same goes for sharing their personal data if that is your plan.
Key Emext Marketing Metrics and KPIs
Emext marketing is comprised of multiple marketing methods or channels:
– Push Notifications
– In-App Messaging
I created separate chapters for each channel (except voice) that include key metrics to watch. You should take those analytics into account when evaluating the effectiveness of emext campaigns.
Look for a marketing channel that is delivering better results than another. Then, allocate more time and resources to the winning performer.
New Emext Marketing Terminology
With any innovative approach, new terminology usually comes. Therefore, we thought these three terms were necessary and appropriate to share.
1. Emext Value-Exchange Network (EVEN)
2. Rich Media Incentive (RMI)
What Is an Emext Value-Exchange Network?
We want to do our part to change the perception of “email lists,” even though emext marketing goes beyond email.
So, we coined a new term called Emext Value-Exchange Network.
Emext marketing is an approach that puts you closer than ever to your prospects and customers. However, the risk is too great to treat them like a run-of-the-mill email list.
There also needs to be a mindset shift away from “the list” and toward community and value. We think the solution is for your business to build an Emext Value-Exchange Network. You can also refer to it as an “EVEN” or “Emext VEN.”
Emext Value-Exchange Network Defined
An Emext Value-Exchange Network is a digital community that a business nurtures by giving value. And they grow it by using permission-based emext marketing strategies to collect relevant prospect and customer data (often referred to as first-party data).
The intent of the business is to trade information, better experiences, rewards, goods, or services in return for money, testimonials, feedback, etc.
A deeper goal is to forge an emotional connection, increase engagement, and develop long-lasting relationships. The prevailing mantra is getting customers to know, like, and trust the business.
No longer is the primary question, “How can I convert this subscriber into a buyer?” Instead, it is, “How can I help this member of my community get what they want or need?”
So, the money is not in the list.
“The money is in the relationship and implicit or explicit value-exchange agreement you have with each segment of your community.” (Michael Holland)
What Is a Rich Media Incentive?
I’ve discussed rich media multiple times in this guide. It combines multimedia like video with interactive web elements like input forms and surveys.
The “incentive” is the valuable and insightful content and unique experience you promise to provide.
You should use an RMI if you want to:
1. Grab the attention of new audiences
2. Stand out from the competition
3. Increase engagement rates
4. Accelerate the customer journey
5. Create a better user experience
You can embed an RMI in an emext message, or it can exist as a standalone digital asset. One particular type of RMI that I like is the microsite.
A microsite is a hyper-targeted website consisting of 1 to 3 pages. In the next chapter, I’ll show you an example in the discussion of Inkredible Kitchens.
The goal of a microsite is to focus a prospect’s attention on a specific product, service, event, or campaign. It should provide great content, build trust and credibility, and be engaging.
What Is Piggybacking?
Piggybacking is when you advertise a Rich Media Incentive (RMI), podcast, webinar, report, or other valuable content along with a promotion or coupon offer. It’s an add-on.
This can be an especially valuable tactic for businesses that sell high-priced or complex products or services. Prospects often require more nurturing, persuasion, and trust-building before buying.
Again, you’ll see what I mean in the next chapter.
Let’s dive into two examples and a case study.
How to Implement Emext Marketing (Part 2): Examples & Case Study
In this chapter, you’ll get to see how emext marketing works. There are two examples and a case study.
Refer to Chapter 6 (Part 1), as needed, for clarification of strategies and terms.
First up is David’s Steak House (DSH), followed by Inkredible Kitchens. And I chose Maud’s Coffee & Tea for the case study.
Example 1: David’s Steak House (DSH)
David’s has two dining locations. They also have an active Facebook page, 2,000 email subscribers, 500 push notification subscribers, and a mobile app.
Customers have downloaded the app a respectable number of times, but it’s under-utilized.
Recently, DSH added SMS/MMS text messaging capabilities to its marketing portfolio. But there are currently no subscribers.
The plan is to use emext marketing strategies to grow and nurture a robust Emext Value-Exchange Network.
For this campaign, the restaurant promoted a coupon offer of “$15 off Two Adult Dinner Entrees.”
Let’s overlay the AIDA framework to track the customer journey.
DSH began with promoting its offer through the Priority Zone 1 marketing channels. Remember the resource allocation table from the previous chapter?
The Zone 1 marketing channels (i.e., email, SMS, etc.) are where you have the most control and influence. It’s also where you can achieve the fastest results.
Here’s the offer DSH sent to its list of email subscribers.
They also sent the same message to their push notification subscribers and app users.
But DSH didn’t stop at Zone 1 channels for spreading awareness. They have a solid following on Facebook.
So, it made sense to post a flyer, like the one below, to their page. They could and should run it as an ad, too.
The imagery is sharp and rich in color, and the food looks delicious. It accomplishes the job of grabbing attention.
As you may recall, social media falls into Priority Zone 3, which is the lowest priority. But this is a perfect way to exploit that channel.
Energize your Facebook page and then start fishing. Steer those people toward Priority Zone 1 channels where there are fewer distractions.
A great deal always attracts interest. And that steak looks sooo good. Some people were bound to click the image or mobile messages to grab the offer.
Others might have first visited the DSH website to check out the menu. Or, they may have researched reviews.
But when they clicked, the link took them to the lead capture page shown below (left). To get the digital coupon (right), they had to enter their name, smartphone number, and email address.
This action triggered their emext software to send prospects the coupon automatically (see below).
Now DSH has their basic emext marketing contact details. They can run future offers to collect more information, like birthdays. But this is how you build an effective Emext Value-Exchange Network.
Some people were so excited that they made a hasty beeline to David’s to redeem their coupon. But others required a little prodding and emotional engagement.
DSH has the prospects’ contact information, so they sent them friendly emext reminders like this one.
They also shared a couple of glowing reviews and described the unique experience that awaits. (Note: When doing this, try to keep hype to a minimum.)
When customers arrived at DSH, they showed the server the digital coupon on their smartphone.
David’s used their computerized POS system to track redemptions. But you could do it manually with a sheet of paper.
When the promotion period was over, DSH tallied total revenue. Then, they calculated the return on investment for the campaign. You should do the same for your campaigns. Now let’s move on to another example that offers a different challenge.
Example 2: Inkredible Kitchens
The DSH scenario works great if you sell low to moderately priced products and services. But what about high-dollar or complex transactions where prospects require more time and nurturing?
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
This example is for local businesses that sell products and services with longer sales cycles. Not many prospects are ready to say “yes” immediately.
Your offers need something extra and unique to help speed up the customer journey in such cases.
Inkredible Kitchens found a way by using an emext marketing strategy called Rich Media Incentive Piggybacking or RMI Piggybacking.
In the prior chapter, I defined the two terms separately.
A Rich Media Incentive (RMI) combines multimedia content, like video and audio, with interactive web elements like input forms, surveys, etc.
The “incentive” is the valuable information you convey in the rich media to help prospects make decisions.
And “Piggybacking” is when you promote an RMI, video, report, podcast, or other valuable content along with a coupon or discount offer. It’s an add-on.
Let’s examine how Inkredible Kitchens used RMI Piggybacking. First, check out this digital ad for their remodeling services. (Note: With a bit of tweaking, you could easily create a print ad version.)
Notice the RMI video thumbnail in the bottom left of the ad. It gets prospects’ attention and promises valuable information.
Someone seeking a kitchen remodeling contractor might want to incorporate those insights into their decision process.
The ad also says that “No Salesperson Will Call.” That helps to calm the fear of telemarketer harassment. But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to text and email prospects.
Just like with DSH, when someone clicks on the digital ad or flyer, the link will take them to a sign-up form. Your emext software will automatically send them the 15% off coupon and RMI link when they complete the form.
Say Hello to My Little Microsite
The link could also lead prospects to my favorite type of RMI called a microsite.
A microsite is a hyper-targeted website that is usually separate from the main site. It consists of 1-3 pages that promote a specific offer, event, or campaign.
The site’s goal is to keep prospects focused and engaged on one thing. Below is an example of a microsite created by MECLABS Institute, a marketing science lab and consulting company.
Your site doesn’t have to be as in-depth, but it’s a great template to follow.
Here are six important takeaways:
1. The header area does not contain any menu links to distract attention.
2. An input form entices prospects to request more information. Since either calling or completing the form are the most wanted responses, MECLABS placed the contact details above the fold.
3. The central video directly addresses the promise of the microsite’s main headline.
4. There is a link below the video to download a valuable report.
5. Additional related videos provide more high-value information to inspire prospects to act.
6. Having related articles on a microsite can also be beneficial if they add value.
If you’d like to watch me give a full breakdown of the MECLABS microsite, check out this video:
Inkredible Kitchens could create a similar microsite for its kitchen remodeling campaign. The site could include multiple videos, a design checklist, a downloadable report, and a consultation request form.
Imagine a prospect getting to know your company and services in such an approachable way.
So that’s two emext marketing examples for you. Next, I want to present a case study of a local business with a solid online and offline presence.
Case Study: Intelligent Blends (Maud’s Coffee & Tea)
Intelligent Blends is a B2B company that manufactures a variety of specialty coffee and tea beverages. They create private label products for hotels, retailers, and e-commerce shops.
Additionally, they own a thriving B2C retail and e-tail business called Maud’s Coffee & Tea.
The brick-and-mortar gourmet coffee shop is located in a San Diego, CA mall. And you can find the e-commerce store here.
While Intelligent Blends wouldn’t divulge all their marketing secrets, they did share a few nuggets about their e-commerce store.
Intelligent Blends’ Digital Marketing Strategy
Intelligent Blends implemented an omnichannel strategy for its online Maud’s store to keep customers engaged and loyal.
To help achieve this objective, they employ three primary emext marketing channels: email, SMS/MMS, and push notifications.
They use the channels to announce new products and promote deals. When asked about their strategy, Marketing Manager, Jerrid Raney, explained.
Intelligent Blends’ strategy seems to be paying off. They shared how pushes helped to boost conversions significantly.
In November 2016, they began using a provider called Firepush for push notifications. For the first month of the rollout, pushes helped to generate an extra $12,500 in revenue for the Maud’s e-commerce store.
And here are cumulative numbers for the period December 2016 to March 2021:
My Journey Inside Maud’s Coffee & Tea
Out of curiosity, I decided to taste Maud’s Coffee & Tea marketing efforts first-hand. So, I visited their e-commerce store at shopblends.com. Here’s what I did.
First, I joined their community by providing my email address and mobile phone number. I also subscribed to the brand’s push notification service. I was delighted to see them using both email and text messaging.
They used a contest to get coffee and tea lovers to sign-up, which I thought was great.
You may recall that websites fall into Zone 2 for resource allocation prioritization.
I’m sure Maud’s would love it if everyone purchased something on their first visit to the website. But e-commerce doesn’t work that way.
So, they are smartly funneling as many prospects as possible into their Zone 1 channels. Thus, allowing them to build relationships and remarket to those people another day.
But I was on a specific mission. I wanted to see how often Maud’s engages in emext marketing (i.e., sending the same offer or message through multiple channels simultaneously).
Based on this statement by Alex Shiri, Technical Writer at Intelligent Blends, combining pushes with email has proven successful.
So, over the next 7 weeks, I tracked what they sent me, through which channels, and the frequency. Here’s what I found.
– SMS/MMS – received 7 different offers and occasional follow-up messages.
– Push notifications – received 1 push offer that matched an SMS/MMS promotion and a second offer that was a lone wolf.
– Email – did not receive any emails after signing up – not even a welcome email.
I suspect there are deliverability issues with pushes and email. And in only one case did I receive similar messages through two of the marketing channels on the same day.
Now, to be transparent, both my desktop computer and smartphone are ancient. They still get the job done well, but perhaps older technology on my end played a role.
Nevertheless, it demonstrated why emext marketing is necessary to amplify your message and make sure your prospects and customers see them.
Here are two offer messages from my experience.
What Did I Learn From This Exercise?
Intelligent Blends (Maud’s Coffee & Tea) is far ahead of most local SMBs when using email and multiple text messaging channels in their marketing.
Even though I’m not a coffee drinker, their promotions were unique, generous, and enticing. I could understand why they said their discounted offers often lead to additional non-discounted orders.
But based on my experience with their online shop, I suspect they are not consistently exploiting the power of emext marketing.
Their lack of consistency and message deliverability issues translates into lost opportunity and revenue.
Nevertheless, I recommend that you join Maud’s community. Integrate their successes into your brand. And use this emext marketing guide to help take your business to the next level.
In the next chapter, I’ll discuss 10 emext marketing software solutions to get you started.
Emext Marketing Software & Conclusion
Over the last few years, several companies have come online that can support the full suite of emext marketing channels.
I’ll have more to say about these services later when I can perform proper reviews.
But in this chapter, I want to keep things simple to get you going with emext marketing quickly.
Cross-channel providers such as Braze.com and MoEngage.com are relatively new players that offer enterprise-level email, push, SMS/MMS, and in-app messaging services all under one platform.
But I suspect that most readers already have an email marketing provider in place. I’m talking about long-standing brands such as Aweber, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc.
So, I just want to discuss how to integrate SMS/MMS with those providers.
This is most important because you need to begin collecting mobile phone numbers and email addresses, starting today. And if your comfort level is high, feel free to also add a push notification service.
Once you master all other messaging channels, only then should you consider getting a mobile app.
Email Service Providers and SMS/MMS Integration Partners
Most email service providers have integration partners for all kinds of services, including SMS/MMS.
So, if the following table does not show your favorite email provider or SMS/MMS brand, just contact their support desk. This is not an exhaustive list. I put the company names in alphabetical order.
|Email Provider||Built-in Messaging?||SMS/MMS Integrations**|
** Sample of direct integration partners. There may be others. You can also indirectly
integrate similar providers using a third-party tool like Zapier.
A Final Word About This Guide
I hope you enjoyed my definitive guide to emext marketing.
Local businesses are the backbone of our communities and the economy. That’s why I want to see as many of them as possible succeed.
So, share this guide with your associates. Make emext marketing the most powerful tool for your business growth (or theirs) this year and beyond.