Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Winning SMS Lessons with Viking Cooking School

by Victor Green
3 mins read

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: How the Viking Cooking School started with a grass roots approach and built a powerful SMS contact list in no time. Have you ever wanted to chase a culinary dream and learn to cook with some of the best chefs around? If so, chances are you fall right in line with the Viking Cooking School’s target audience. Unfortunately, reaching out to these aspiring food savants wasn’t always as easy as pie. With this realization guiding the way, let’s take a few minutes to see how Viking Cooking School whipped up the perfect SMS recipe, as well as what you brand can do to mix in a few tips and tricks as well the next time you try to connect with potential customers on the go.

The Basic Ingredients

At the heart of this campaign was a desire to reach out to kids, moms, dads, business professionals, and anyone else who enjoys the art of cooking and making a great meal for friends and family. Naturally, there’s was no better place to start than with past and current cooking students. From this point, honing in on potential new students helped lay the foundation for a successful and interactive SMS campaign.

Mixing Things Up

Of course, targeting the right audience is one thing, but spreading the word and generating sign-ups is an entirely different matter. To successfully accumulate the latter, the Viking Cooking School fired off an email blast to existing customers with a slew of exclusive offers and discounts. This practice helped stabilize the burgeoning contact list with individuals known to be interested in the services offered by this culinary learning center.Once the wheels started rolling on the awareness phase of this campaign, the team behind this initiative posted in-school signage, enabled word-of-mouth promotion by instructors, and looked to traditional print advertising to help spread the word. On the digital front, revamping the school’s website with an informative opt-in widget helped capture curious visitors who might not have been aware of the physical campaign materials.

Raking in the Results

After a strong four months of testing at the Ridgeland, Mississippi branch, the Viking Cooking School proudly claimed control of an SMS contact list of close to 300 members. While this might not seem like much to some, the fact that this list contained a highly interactive audience should not go unnoticed.For instance, a single text message to this group – costing just $15 to generate and ship – filled eight $79 spots in a class that would have otherwise been under capacity. If you’re keeping up with the math on that exchange, it’s a net gain of $632. Today, the Viking Cooking School now has two more of its 16 locations enacting SMS operations, with plans to implement the same strategy at the remaining branches as well.

Finding Your Own Path to SMS Success

Now that we’ve recounted the successes of the Viking Cooking School, it’s time to lay the foundation for your own inspiring SMS success story. To do this, let’s talk a little about what made this campaign so effective. First up is the fact that the Viking Cooking School utilized as many resources as possible to build a strong contact list. While some brands might assume that current and former customers aren’t the target demographic, this initiative proved that there’s nothing wrong with starting with these consumers before branching out to new potential customers.Once you’re on track for a strong foundation, it’s time to leave no stone unturned when searching for new members for your SMS contact list. From traditional print advertising to online promotional materials, going the distance on all fronts is the best way to ensure you maximize the reach and impact of this texting operation.Finally, don’t worry so much about raw numbers. We’ve covered SMS campaigns before that easily dwarf the Viking Cooking School’s 300 member list. However, few examples come close to the return on investment (ROI) generated by the texts offered by this institution. As long as you understand this and enact the strategies covered in this case study, you’ll be enjoying a massive boost on behalf of your brand via SMS marketing like the Viking Cooking School in no time.

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