One of the disadvantages of SMS or text message marketing is the 160 character limit.  It can be hard to get the details across let alone the story or feeling behind a message within this limitation.  Video is a great way to provide more information, an interview, or an entertaining clip within a text message.

Mobile Video

With smartphone adoption creeping closer to 50%, more and more people are able to view mobile videos on their phone.  YouTube (as well as other services like Vimeo and Brightcove) make it very easy to upload a video that’s compatible with most smartphones.

For example, videos uploaded to YouTube are by default mobile-ready.  You can even use the same URL from your desktop browser.  YouTube will detect for a mobile browser and redirect the viewer to the appropriate format.

Use SMS to engage your target audience

Here are three ways mobile video can help to connect with your target audience at a trade show or conference, to market to them in an interesting way, or a give them a reason to frequent your physical location.

In all three the mobile video link would be contained in the auto-response text message. You are also actively building a list for future conversation.

  1. At your event have people text-in to see a quick video of what it took to put the event together behind-the-scenes.
  2. In your traditional media (especially radio, print, and outdoor) have your audience text-in to see a video of your product in-action or an interview with a recent customer.
  3. Create an ongoing video contest for people at your location.  Have your visitors shoot video of what they did there, a story they can tell, or something creative.  Pick one video to be the current favorite and have all other visitors text-in to watch (this is especially effective if they’re standing in line).

Then use SMS to keep the conversation going

Don’t just text them once. In the first three examples you are also actively building a text message marketing list (opt-in of course). Here are three ways mobile video can help you further communicate your new SMS marketing subscriber database:

  1. The next time you’re promoting an event last-minute, link your subscribers to a video that shows them all the fun everyone had at the last event, and why they should change their plans and attend.
  2. If you’re a nonprofit looking for support or donations there’s no doubt video will tell your story and stir emotions better than text alone.
  3. Text messaging is a great way to announce breaking news, but mobile video can help provide more information at a time when the audience is most interested.

3 things to keep in mind with Mobile Video via SMS

When sending mobile video via text message, make sure to…

  1. Use a URL shortener (like bit.ly) to save characters and track the click-throughs.
  2. Keep the video length to less than 30 seconds.  You never know how much time your audience has to watch what you send, and if you lose them there’s a good chance they won’t come back to the message later.
  3. Avoid complex soundtracks that use music and voiceover.  If they don’t have headphones on you’ll be relying on the phone’s built-in speaker, which is never great.  If you’re going to use music with a voiceover keep the music as soft as possible.

Did we miss anything?  Have you tried sending mobile video over text message before?  What were the results like?

I’m doing a Webinar in 2 weeks with Jon-Mikel Bailey on this and more tips on Mobile. Sign up here.

Justin Mastrangelo is president of JA Interactive, a company that helps organizations manage text message marketing campaigns through their proprietary JA.TXT software. Justin is a board member and past president of the American Marketing Association in Pittsburgh, and has been involved with digital marketing since “the turn of the century”.

5 Responses to “6 Ways to Use Mobile Video with SMS Marketing
  • Very nice article.A cellular phone has gained so much popularity because of its mobility. Thus, SMS Marketing is gaining its popularity every day.Thanks for sharing those tips.

  • I have just been looking into this very thing (sending video via SMS) – so really appreciate this timely post. Do you have any tips for building your clients’ SMS subscribers?

    • Justin Mastrangelo

    Here is what I think are the three biggest opportunities for building an SMS list:

    1. Any type of event (trade shows, rallies, fundraisers, etc.) Have the audience text in to win something, vote, or signup for more information.
    2. In-store. Businesses that have a physical presence (retail, restaurant, entertainment) often times have more people passing through their door than their website. Have visitors text-in for something; maybe a discount on their next visit?
    3. Traditional media (TV, radio, outdoor, print, direct mail, etc.) Any traditional media channel can be a great way to use an SMS call-to-action and grow a database. Contests and mobile coupons usually work well here.

    My experience has shown web-based signups (promoted via email or social) will sometimes work, but the incentive has to be very attractive for someone to hand over their mobile phone number after they’re already connected via email or social.

  • Mobile video sharing is the future of advertising. The feature of mobile video content viewing is appealing to the consumers. The advertisers should create good mobile video content to make their costumers aware of their brand in an interesting way.

  • Really informative post. Justin you really shared a great idea of SMS Marketing. The combination of video with sms campaign can be a powerful tool for promoting a product or a service and is really good tool for marketing and sales lead.

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