If you are thinking of investing your marketing resources into SMS marketing, you need to be running SMS promotions and contests regularly. It’s as simple as that.

SMS in New Zealand is no different from text messaging anywhere else – it’s still a great way to reach customers on their mobile devices, but it’s losing out to other, trendier forms of mobile marketing like video, rich media banner ads, and social media. This means that, should you choose to implement an SMS campaign, you’d be best served by focusing on SMS strategies with the best ROI. Enter the SMS contest.

Why are contests and promotions so effective? Consumers are bombarded with marketing content on a daily basis, and they have little reason to pay attention to any single piece of marketing unless given a good reason. Contests and promotions provide that reason. They entice consumers to opt into your campaigns, then keep them interested by offering the potential for gaining something out of participating.

If you’re thinking about running a promotion like this, here are a few tips:

1.      Promote engagement – Simply offering “a free iPad” will gain you plenty of text responses, but it is unlikely to build much engagement with your brand. Users will enter the promotion, then wait to see if they win. Use your promotions to bring users into your brand. Successful campaigns often invite voting, feedback, or creative suggestions from readers, such as a new name for a popular product or a vote on which new products should be released. Offering a potential prize for participating is just a way to keep users interested and shouldn’t be the focus of your campaign.

2.      You don’t have to give something away – Sometimes the best campaigns come from non-prize promotions. Special coupons, deals, or information can be helpful, but sometimes inviting creative responses and then recognizing the “best” responses on your web page can be equally effective.

3.      Boots on the ground – You can’t run a text promotion via text messaging alone. You have to get the word out about the promotion, so encourage users to send text messages through posters, social media, or email. Have a look at this online guide and win real money! Just as text messaging should be a complement to your other campaigns, traditional marketing platforms can help complement your text campaigns.

Once you’ve thought of a successful program and have the resources necessary to promote it, go for it. Just make sure you have a clear goal in mind before pulling the trigger. Is your goal to promote more SMS usage? Do you hope to push more people to your social media accounts or web pages? Or do you just want to promote more engagement and interest in your brand? Isolating exactly what you hope to accomplish is critical for getting the most out of your campaigns.