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Seattle Sun Tan builds SMS database by 4,750 consumers in one month

Tanning salon chain Seattle Sun Tan is seeing some initial success with its SMS program as a result of promoting its mobile initiatives through in-store and digital calls-to-action.

Seattle Sun Tan launched its SMS program in February and is part of an ongoing digital marketing campaign that also includes email and social media. The company is working with Tatango on its SMS initiatives.

?For a tanning salon such as Seattle Sun Tan, it's essential for us to build loyalty with our customers, and reward that loyalty,? said Stewart Kelpe, vice president of marketing at Seattle Sun Tan.

?In launching our text message marketing campaign, we're now able to build loyalty with our customers on the one device that never leaves their side, with a marketing channel that is able to work across any mobile device that our customers may be using,? he said.

Seattle Sun Tan operates 35 locations in Washington.

Opt-in for deals
To kick off its SMS efforts, Seattle Sun Tan encouraged consumers to text in the keyword SUN to the short code 33733 in exchange for a $20 offer.

Calls-to-action that encouraged consumers to sign-up were placed prominently in all of the chain?s locations.

Additionally, the company leveraged its email database of more than 80,000 consumers to drive opt-ins.

Once consumers texted in the keyword, they were sent back an SMS message confirming that they were opted in to the program and would receive a maximum of eight text messages per month.

The bounce-back message also encouraged users to show their mobile devices to a store employee to redeem their offer, which let each store track how many redemptions were made.

According to the company, 57 percent of the consumers who were sent the offer redeemed it in-store. This generated $196,101.87 in new revenue for the company.

Additionally, the consumers who redeemed the offer spent an average of 500 percent more than consumers who did not receive the initial SMS message.

?We've had great success with email and social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and now we're able to leverage these networks to drive awareness of our new SMS program,? Mr. Kelpe said.

?When we acquire a customer's mobile phone number, it's just another way for Seattle Sun Tan to engage with both new and existing customers,? he said.

Driving foot traffic
According to Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango, Seattle, there are a couple of factors that make SMS work for a tanning salon such as Seattle Sun Tan.

First, the company?s tech-savvy demographic is primed to receive offers via mobile. Purchases made at tanning salons also tend to be spontaneous, and SMS can trigger quick sales.

Additionally, tanning salons most likely have a large group of repeat consumers and mobile can help small merchants build long-term, one-on-one relationships.

?While a basic mass text messaging campaign can have tremendous results for a company like Seattle Sun Tan that relies heavily on foot traffic, we're exploring new technologies at Tatango, which include geotargeting, mobile payments and point-of-sale integrations,? Mr. Johnson said.

?All of these new technologies combined with SMS will only increase the effectiveness of SMS marketing campaigns, especially for brands like Seattle Sun Tan that rely heavily on foot traffic business,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York