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    A guide to running your next competition with SMS

    At EMSA 2012 we closed out the day with a very engaging and entertaining session called The Pitch.

    The audience watched (and laughed) as two leading agencies went head to head to pitch their respective campaigns for the XXXX Ale House.

    At the end of the session the audience was asked to vote for their favourite pitch by sending an SMS message to the mobile phone number up on the screen.

    Votes were captured directly to a Vision6 database and the winner was announced within minutes.

    Whilst this is by no means cutting edge technology, I was surprised to learn after the event that not many people realised they could do this exact same thing using the SMS marketing features within Vision6.

    The great thing with using Vision6 to run SMS competitions is that it’s fully automated and really easy to administer. Given the love we all have for our mobile phones, it’s also a great way for customers to engage with you. You can customise the information you collect to your database and it all happens in a matter of seconds.

    Interested to see how it’s done? If so, read on for a step-by-step set of instructions.

    Before we get ahead of ourselves though, there are two things you need to do first.

    1. Make sure the SMS marketing features are enabled in your Vision6 account.

    If you’re not sure if SMS is already enabled just go to Messages and look for New SMS on the left menu. If it’s there, then you already have SMS enabled.

    If not, it’s really simple and doesn’t cost anything to turn on. In fact we actually give you two free SMS credits so you can test it out. Just login to your Dashboard and look for Activate SMS Features on the right.

    Activate SMS marketing features

    2. You’ll also need to have a Virtual Number. This is the mobile phone number that you’ll give to people so they can enter your competition. Instead of being associated with a SIM card though, this phone number will be associated with your List in Vision6.

    To setup a Virtual Number you’ll need to contact our Customer Service team. They’ll be able to assist you with the different types of numbers available and their respective costs.

    Once you have your Virtual Number you’re ready to jump into Vision6 and create your SMS competition campaign.

    Setting up your SMS competition in Vision6.

    1. Start by creating a new List to capture your competition votes.

    The easiest way to do this is to select New List and then choose Blank List. This will create a new List with an Email field and a Mobile Field.

    You can delete the Email field as you won’t need it for the SMS competition.

    What you will need though is a new field for your competition votes. Click the Add New Fields button and choose Text Field. This will add your new field and you can now rename it to something like Votes.

    Be sure to save your List when you’re done.

    Add new fields for your SMS competition

    2. The final step to setting up your List is to update the SMS settings.

    Click on Edit directly next to your List’s name. A popup window will appear called List Settings.

    Go to the SMS Settings tab and select Add new contact. Then move the Vote field into the section called Add responses to.

    Basically what you’ve just done is tell the system that whenever a SMS message is sent to your Virtual Number, add the sender as a new contact in your List and store their message in your Vote field.

    Capture SMS competition entries to your List Field

    Click Save and you’re done!

    3. It’s a good idea to test so send an SMS to your Virtual Number and go to Contacts to make sure the information has been captured correctly. It only takes seconds for the contacts to show up in the database.

    When it comes to running your competition, simply give people your Virtual Number and ask them to send a SMS message with their vote. To find the winner, just go to Contacts and do a search to find the winning vote count.

    Running competitions is just one way that you can use SMS marketing with Vision6. In addition to outbound promotions, you can also use SMS for email acquisition and bounce management which you can learn more about here.

    Matthew JohnsonPosted by:
    Matthew Johnson
    Email Marketing Specialist

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