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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Taking in Seattle Sun Tan’s SMS Makeover

The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: putting the perfect golden finish on a brand new SMS approach by following Seattle Sun Tan’s lead.

Everyone loves to revamp his or her style from time to time. Whether it’s picking up a new outfit or laying out for a while in the tanning bed to get that perfect bronze complexion, a new look can go a long way toward making a great impression the next time you’re out for a night on the town. In a lot of ways, your marketing campaign works in the same way – if you stay with the same look for too long, it’s impossible not to come off boring. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Seattle Sun Tan used a slick new SMS system to dazzle customers who were tired of the same old boring pitch.

Starting from Scratch

Being in the tanning business means you’ve always got to look your best, whether it’s in the shop while rubbing elbows with the customers or in the digital world with emails and text messages. As far as the execs over at Seattle Sun Tan were concerned, a fresh new style was the key to getting back in the good graces of customers on the go. To do this, a new campaign that focused on SMS messages was the perfect way to dazzle shoppers and get bodies back under the bright tanning bed lights.

How It Worked

By going with an SMS approach, Seattle Sun Tan needed to do something memorable, so the company hit on three big points to boost their marketing campaign. The first was creating a catchy way for customers to opt-in using the keyword “TANS” in conjunction with a vanity short code.

From here, giving shoppers what they want most – coupons – happened next. By offering $20 bucks for their next purchase, the company not only gave people a reason to get in the stores, but also enticed them to “buy up” and get a more expensive tanning package. Finally, getting people in gear with expiration dates ensured that these customers redeemed these SMS coupons and didn’t leave them floating around in cell phone limbo forever.

Going the Extra Mile

Now everything that Seattle Sun Tan had done up to this point was good, but good isn’t enough when you’re trying to really blow the customers away. In an effort to truly put this SMS campaign over the top, the company added in the aforementioned offer to its existing email database – which numbers over 80,000 members – as well as pumping up coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and all its other social media pages. Finally, showing off what shoppers could save by joining the texting list with posters and displays in store added a more traditional angle to the sleek new marketing approach.

A Great New Look

So what did Seattle Sun Tan get in return for changing up its marketing style with a smart SMS campaign? To start, the company created a text-messaging database that included 4,750 customers. Out of this database, 57 percent went through with a purchase using the SMS coupon, leading to an extra $196,101.87 in sales. Adding in that these customers generally spent 500 percent more once they got in the store is pretty impressive, to say the least. Oh and one more thing – these numbers are just for the first month of the new campaign – not too shabby for 31 days worth of text messages.

Planning Your Own Makeover

So what does all of this mean for you and your brand? First, Seattle Sun Tan’s story shows us that changing up your style and retooling how you reach out to customers can generate some serious results. However, jumping in headfirst without a smart strategy is just asking for your plans to crumble before they even get off the ground. By going with the SMS approach, and adding in some help from your email database and social media following, you can avoid flopping with customers and generate some major results in the registers. Whether you’re helping people get that perfect bronze color for a night out at the club or your business offers up something completely different, it doesn’t matter – as long as you nail the perfect marketing look with great SMS messages, you’ll be sure to knock customers off their feet every time.

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