text marketing

How to Build Out a Text Marketing Campaign in 8 Easy Steps

In the world of mobile marketing, text marketing and SMS are notorious for delivering exceptional results and increased engagement. However, without the proper tools and guidelines, it can be difficult to set up a text marketing campaign that gets the job done. In fact, when customers receive poor messaging from companies, it can have the opposite effect that the campaign aims for.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that happening any longer. In this article, we are going to walk you through how to build out a text marketing campaign with 8 easy steps. Once you have a better understanding of how best to lay out your campaign, you will be ready to take on your customers and take your mobile marketing game to a whole new level. Let’s get started.

text marketing

1. Lay out your goals

The first step in the process of putting together a text marketing campaign is to lay out your goals. Even though SMS has many applications that can be used across all forms of businesses, your goals for the campaign will ultimately dictate which aspects of the platform you will take advantage of. Since your goals will have such a huge impact on the rest of the campaign, it’s important to have them laid out ahead of time.

For instance, if you are hoping to increase customer engagement for your business, make sure that you have a way of tracking user engagement metrics. This will not only allow you to monitor the success of your campaign from the get-go, but will offer insights into how best to approach your audience.

2. Perform market research

Once you have a good grasp on the goals of your campaign, the next step is to perform market research in order to find the best path to meet your goals. This step is just as important as laying out your goals, as the market will tell you whether or not your goals are achievable. It will also give you a glimpse of who you will be marketing towards.

Although there are several ways to research your potential customers, you may already have some of the work done. For example, companies with customer loyalty programs have already begun the process of learning about their customers. If you have already started a program, review what you have learned as you begin to craft your campaign.

3. Create a clear call to action

Now that you know who you will be marketing to and what you hope to accomplish by doing so, the time has come to begin creating your first text marketing messages. As a rule of thumb, each message of your SMS campaign should contain a call-to-action or next step your customers should take. This will lead to higher engagement rates and a better customer relationship.

The first call-to-action you will likely send will be an SMS opt-in message. This will confirm with your customers that you will be sending them text marketing messages. Not only is this important to do for establishing your campaign, but it is actually required by law. Once you have this done, you will be ready to start honing your campaign.

Additional reading: SMS Opt-in Best Practices

text marketing campaign

4. Nurture audience through segmentation and personalization

At the beginning, you may be discouraged by low click-through rates and limited interaction, but this is perfectly normal. The next step is to make sure that these first-time blues won’t last for long. As more customers opt-in to your SMS marketing campaign, you should segment them into different customer personas by which you can personalize their campaign.

As we mentioned earlier, no two businesses use text marketing the same way. The same logic applies to your customers. By segmenting your audience and personalizing your messages, you are showing them that you care. Not only that, but more tailored messages have a much higher percent chance of making a difference with your customer base.

5. Time your messages well

Now that you are starting to build a rapport with your audience, it becomes your job to ensure that you don’t do anything to put them off. Customers except text marketing campaigns to be helpful and consistent. If you start to do anything that indicates to them this isn’t the case, they will leave.

One of the most common pitfalls first-time SMS marketers find themselves in is not timing their messages correctly. This might simply be due to ignorance, as many don’t realize that 98% of their messages are read within 2 minutes. This kind of speed means you need to be wary of not only what you are sending, but when you are sending your messages.

6. Limit frequency of messages

Along with timing your messages well, customers can easily be turned off by being bombarded with messages. This is why it is important to limit the frequency of your messages, ideally to at most 8 per month. By being consistent and providing value with your messages, customers will look forward to receiving them instead of dreading them.

We should mention that this frequency doesn’t apply when customers reach out to your proactively. Often, SMS calls-to-action will include a short code that customers can text back to receive more information. Since this sort of interaction is the reason for your campaign, it should be encouraged, not limited.

text message marketing

7. Remember the rules

The final way to ensure that you don’t have any unwanted hiccups in your text marketing campaign is to remember and follow the rules of SMS marketing. If you aren’t already familiar with them, you can find a complete list here. However, the basics of these rules are fairly easy to stay within.

For instance, you should always include a way for customers to opt-out of your campaign. While this may seem like by offering the option, more people will opt-out, but the opposite is often the case. Customers like to feel in control and by giving them an out, you are able to do exactly that.

8. Measure, analyze, repeat

Finally, as your text marketing campaign comes to a close, it’s worth taking time to measure the success of your marketing and analyze what could be done better. Mobile user engagement metrics and analytics can tell you just about everything you need to know, especially if you have already segmented your audience.

Then, once you understand how your campaign went, the next step is to repeat the entire process. Truly phenomenal SMS campaigns don’t happen on your first try, but instead come from perfecting your messages and tactics until you find the best possible balance. Although it may seem like you are pushing a boulder up a hill just to have it slide back down, your customers will appreciate you as you continue to grow and provide value.


customer satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction And You: Making A Difference With Your Audience

Over the last few decades, a shift has taken place in the world of business. With the invention of the internet and the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones, customers now have more power than ever before. Due to this growing trend of customer-centric marketing, strategies for keeping customers around like customer satisfaction and relationship marketing have become even more important.

Whether you are the owner of your own business or just starting out with a company, the way you treat your customers matters. In this article, we are going to walk you through how to increase the satisfaction of your customers, thereby making a difference for your overall audience. Without taking up any more time on the “why” of customer satisfaction, let’s get into the “how.”

customer satisfaction

Hire the right people

The first step you can take in maximizing customer satisfaction for your business is to hire the right people. By this we mean people who are not only dedicated to the success of the business, but the success of your customers as well. Since your employees will likely spend countless hours communicating and dealing with your customer base, it’s important to find people with the right mindset going in.

The second part of this step is to treat your employees well once you hire them. Far too many companies are relying on marketing automation to get the job done, but you can never put a price on the personal touch offered by a capable employee. Seek out talent in the area you are looking for and then hold onto them for dear life once you have them.

Surveys, surveys, surveys

The next thing you should do upon striking out on your customer satisfaction journey is to create a survey for your current customer base. This is the best time to set a benchmark with which you can measure your customer satisfaction metrics as time progresses. This can offer you insight into user engagement that will be hard to come by later, so make it a focus early on.

However, it’s no longer enough just to do this at the beginning. Throughout your campaigns you should be sending regular customer satisfaction surveys in order to collect data on your customer’s attitudes. From this along with your original benchmark you will be able both explore new ideas as well as see your campaign working in real time.

Read also: 7 Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback

Manage customer expectations

Part of providing your customers with the best possible experience means managing customer expectations. Far too often, companies will set expectations well out of their reach, setting themselves up for inevitable failure. However, if you can take an age-old approach to under promise and over deliver, your customers will be much more satisfied.

By no means should you set very low expectations simply to overcome them, as this is not an environment for growth. Instead, set expectations within your grasp but still far enough out to give you something to shoot for. When you manage customer expectations well, you can retain more customers simply by getting the job done.

client satisfaction

Perfect the onboarding process

So far, we have only been talking about current customers and retention techniques. While these are definitely important, one of the biggest customer drop-offs happens right at the beginning. This is why perfecting the onboarding process is vital to the overall customer satisfaction of your audience.

The onboarding process can be a stumbling block for many customers as the monotonous process of filling out information can give them enough time to get cold feet. However, if you are able to guide them through this process and offer them reassurances at every point, they will feel more secure in working with you. Although this is the most common area of churn for many companies, it can actually be a huge opportunity when done correctly.

Collect data whenever possible

Along with providing customer satisfaction surveys through the process, you should also be collecting data on customer interactions whenever possible. Whether it is your email click-through rates, your SMS open-rates, or simply the number of people in your customer loyalty program, this data is priceless when trying to better understand your audience.

That being said, it’s not enough simply to collect the data, you need to use it as well. For instance, you can learn a lot about your audience by which blog posts are gaining traction from your newsletter. You should use this information to segment your audience, which allows you to provide more tailored content for each portion of your audience.

Personalization

Now, once you have collected all of that data, what should you do with it? Although there are many answers to this question, one common use of customer data is personalization. You can personalized emails, SMS marketing messages, and even chatbots on your website to give your customers a tailored experience at every turn.

It turns out that this isn’t just a marketing gimmick, but consumers really do want personalization. This is indicative of a larger request from consumers to be treated with above and beyond service, otherwise they can take their business elsewhere. As customer satisfaction marketers in 2018, it is our job to meet their needs and provide the best experience whenever possible.

customer satisfaction

Clearly define your standards for success

The last aspect of improving the customer satisfaction of your business is to set the proper expectations for yourself as well as your customers. Once you have collected data from your customers, you need to set rational, achievable goals for your business so that you know whether or not you are being successful.

In the same way that none of your customers are alike, your measures of success will be different from others. Instead of focusing on your competition, learn from your previous success which KPIs to measure and how to set the proper standards. This is very important to do early on as to not get lost in a focus on customer satisfaction with no way of knowing whether you are meeting your goals or not.

Customer Satisfaction and You

As you begin to put together your customer satisfaction campaign, it is important to remember that you are a customer yourself. Outside of your business, you are a customer just like the rest of us and you deserve to be treated well. This should be the first consideration in your efforts: as a customer, how would I want to be treated?

From there, along with the different mobile marketing tools at your disposal, you should have no problem satisfying your customers and retaining them for years to come. All we have lef to say is ‘Good luck!’


mobile analytics

6 Essential Mobile Analytics You Should Be Tracking

When you first get started with mobile marketing, it can be difficult to know if you are having the desired effect on your audience. While you may be receiving new customers and engaging with current clients, without the proper mobile analytics you will find yourself grasping in the dark. Unless you have the proper tracking tools in place, your campaign will never be fully optimized.

Thankfully, this shouldn’t be a problem for you very much longer. In this article, we are going to walk you through 6 different mobile analytics that you need to be tracking. These can not only help you have a better understanding of your mobile marketing campaign, but the way your customers think. By using these mobile analytics correctly, you can put your best foot on the road to increased customer retention and engagement. Let’s get started.

mobile analytics

Big Data and you

Ever since the term “Big Data” came into the cultural zeitgeist years ago, companies have been trying to harness the potential that this term promises. However, many small business owners have ignored this trend due to believe that big data only works for big companies. The truth is that with recent advancements in mobile technology, big data isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies anymore.

Part of harnessing the power of big data is understanding which user engagement metrics matter to your specific business functions. It can be easy to be distracted by different analytics and data points when you aren’t sure what you are looking for, which is yet another reason why we put together this guide.

Long story short: you no longer need a significant budget or years of expertise at your disposal to take advantage of big data. All you need in today’s market is a nudge in the right direction, which is what we hope to provide.

Mobile analytics you need to be tracking

What we are about to take a look at are 6 mobile analytics that you should be tracking to better understand your business, your product, and most importantly, your customers. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these mobile analytics that can take your customer retention marketing campaign to the next level.

1. Click-through rate (CTR)

Whether you are using SMS marketing, email, or a push notification service to reach your customers, one of the most important mobile analytics you need to be tracking is click-through rate or CTR. Not only will this metric show you how many customers actually engaged with your messaging, but it can be used in conjunction with other analytics to get a better idea of the customer journey.

Before you begin sending marketing messages, you will want to make sure that you have a way of tracking the CTR of your campaign. Then, once you have a better understanding of who is clicking, you can measure other metrics like bounce rate and conversion rate. Speaking of, let’s talk about those two mobile analytics.

mobile metrics

2. Bounce rate

While CTR is important for understanding the potency of your marketing messaging, bounce rate can help you ensure that your clicks turn into sales. For those who don’t already know, the bounce rate is when a customer clicks on your call-to-action, but then immediately goes back to the previous page. Obviously, a high bounce rate is not ideal.

Now, imagine that you are running an SMS marketing campaign with a link to your website as the desired action to be taken by your audience. You may be excited by the fact that this message has a high CTR, but upon further investigation you find that your bounce rate is equally high. This means that while your messaging is good, the landing page needs some work. Simply understand the mobile analytics of your campaign like these can show tell you everything you need to know.

3. Conversion rate

On the other side of bounce rate, we have conversion rate, which is a mobile analytic that shows how many people complete a transaction out of the people that visit your site. While we won’t go into the much larger subject of conversion rate optimization, this metric tells you the rest of the story that bounce rate doesn’t.

For instance, should you discover that customers are coming to your page and not bouncing, you might assume that they are more engaged customers. However, should you discover that your conversion rate is low, that story no longer rings true. It is by combining these different mobile analytics that you will be able to comprehend the whole story, giving you better insight into what does and doesn’t work for your customers.

4. Customer acquisition cost

Taking things in a slightly different direction, our next mobile analytic we will tackle is customer acquisition cost. This metric will be used in more of a broad sense than others, but should always be taken into consideration when planning out a campaign. As the name states, CAC is the cost that goes into acquiring a customer, which as most customer retention marketers know is typically at least 5 times as expensive as keeping an existing customer.

Once you know the cost of each customer, it can help put your marketing in context. For instance, if you know that each customer costs $10 to attain (purely hypothetical), you should expect to earn that money back over the course of your relationship. This leads us to the next mobile analytic that works in conjunction with CAC, which is lifetime customer value.

5. Lifetime customer value (LCV)

Each customer that you bring on board has a value to your company, which as they engage with your company will hopefully continue to rise. Taking the average of each of these numbers is what will get you your LCV or lifetime customer value. The goal of most customer retention strategies is to make sure that this number never falls below the cost of acquiring those customers.

In the same way our first few mobile analytics work together, LCV and CAC are two sides of the same coin. By monitoring these dynamic metrics, you will be able to better understand your customer base and the need to reduce churn rate for your company.

mobile app analytics

6. Mobile app analytics

The final group of mobile analytics we will look at is mobile app analytics, which are specialized due to the fact that they require a mobile app. However, having a consumer mobile app is part of many companies mobile marketing strategies, so it is worth taking a look at.

Mobile app analytics can tell you everything about your customer’s interaction with your app, from time spent within the app to how much time passes between unique user sessions. If you have a mobile app for your business, these metrics are invaluable in showing not only how your customers think, but engage with your company. The other great thing about mobile app analytics is they have a broader application outside of the app.

We hope that this guide has been helpful for those looking to get the most out of their mobile campaigns. Remember that without the right tools for tracking in place and knowledge for understanding them, you will be shooting in the dark. Turn a light on by taking advantage of big data and your customers will thank you for it.


sms marketing services

How to Get the Most out of SMS Marketing Services

With each year that the mobile phone market continues to grow, SMS marketing services become more relevant than ever. Not only can mass text marketing deliver pertinent messages to your customer base in seconds, but it’s been proven to increase conversions and response rates across the board.

In order to help you get the most out of using an SMS marketing service, we have put together a quick guide with a few best practices we have learned from running various SMS campaigns. With this knowledge under your belt, you will have the expertise you need to maximize your use of SMS marketing services and make a difference in the lives of your customers.

sms marketing services

Timing is everything

The first thing you need to understand about SMS marketing services is that timing is everything. Due to the almost instantaneous nature of SMS messages, the timing of said messages can either be a benefit or detriment. With close to 95% of text messages being read within 2 minutes, marketers need to be conscious of when they are reaching their audience.

A good rule of thumb here is to 1. only engage with customers during normal business hours, and 2. limit messages to when customers can take immediate action. For instance, sending an SMS just before lunchtime with a coupon for your restaurant would be an example of good timing. Whereas sending the same message just before bed is significantly less likely to have a positive impact.  

Use triggers and short codes

However, when it comes to creating value and increasing conversions, timing is just a basic best practice. In order to have the best possible text message marketing experience, both for you and your customers, you need to use all of the tools at your disposal, such as trigger and short codes.

First, let’s talk about triggers. As we just reviewed, with SMS marketing services, timing is everything. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to manually send messages to your customers at just the right moment. This is where triggers come in. By setting up automations beforehand, you can automate your messages to be sent when customers partake in the specified activity.

Then, you can include a short code within the message in order to increase your chances of converting the customer. Short codes such as HELP and INFO allow customers to interact with your company via SMS to find what they need. Using marketing automation throughout this process makes it easy for you to get your customers what they need, leaving them more satisfied than ever.

Learn more about how SMS can help grow your business.

Be relevant and specific

In the same way that mathematicians are constantly building on their previous work, SMS marketing services improve the more you tailor your messages to your audience. With each message, you need to be relevant to the customer’s needs and provide a specific solution. Like we mentioned earlier, unless the next steps can be taken immediately, you probably don’t need to send that SMS.

However, when you can use business text messaging in a way that is relevant to your customers, you are far more likely to be successful. Thankfully, most SMS marketing services allow for segmentation of your audience. By creating different customer personas and matching them with the proper message, your marketing efforts will be much more effective.

sms marketing service

Always include a call-to-action

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time SMS marketers make is forgetting to include a call-to-action with every message. After all, if you take the time to craft a relevant message, send it at the right time to the right audience, and then give them nowhere to go, what was the point? SMS marketing is the most actionable mobile marketing tool at your disposal, don’t forget that.

Instead, craft each message with the call-to-action in mind. This can be something as simple as “Check out our website for more information” or as complex as “Tell us about your most recent customer service experience.” Regardless of the call-to-action, including one with each message is vital to the success of your campaign.

Use normal, straightforward language

Another common mistake that SMS marketers make is using “text message language” for their business text message campaign. Even though the format of SMS feels informal, one of the quickest ways to lose subscribers is by forgetting the professional relationship you have established with your customers.

Although it might be more difficult to fit normal, straightforward language into your 166-character message, leaving out extra words is a much better alternative to sending a messaging with abbreviations like “LOL” or “FTW.” Keep it professional, keep it consistent, and your customers will thank you for treating them with respect.

Don’t get lost in the details

When you are trying to get your message across to your audience with such limited space, it can be difficult to include all of the details you want. Here is our advice: don’t. Part of the lure of SMS marketing services is that you can’t include everything, leaving your customers wanting more and thus following your call-to-action.

Once you begin to understand the ins and outs of SMS advertising, you will learn how best to craft messages so that they entice without telling the whole story. Include only details that are relevant to your customers and let them follow through to find the rest of the information, showing that they are truly interested.

marketing services

Measure results and learn from them

Our final piece of advice for maximizing your usage of SMS marketing services is to measure the results of your campaigns and then learn from them. While it has become commonplace to track user engagement metrics, far too few companies actually do something with the information they gather. Our advice is to review these metrics regularly and apply them to future campaigns.

Ultimately, this is what will set your SMS marketing campaign apart from the competition: the dedication to continuous improvement. By learning from bother your success and mistakes, soon your messages will be able to convert even the most stubborn of customers. Soon you will see just how important these metrics are to creating a successful campaign.

Conclusion

As you begin to work with SMS marketing services and find your groove when crafting messages, don’t forget what you learned. Each of these tips or best practices we reviewed are based on years of experience doing exactly what you hope to do, so stand on our shoulders and make the best campaign you can.

In the end, it will be by learning from others as well as yourself that you will be able to accomplish your goals. So get after it, you never know what might be just around the corner.


mobile advertising

8 Mobile Advertising Tools Designed to Increase Customer Engagement

Ever since the invention of the smartphone, the world of marketing has slowly shifted toward a mobile-centric point. Along the way, different mobile marketing tools have aided the growth of this mobile revolution. So much so, in fact, that according to MarketingLand, by 2019, mobile advertising is expected to represent 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending.

In order to help you keep up with the new ways of doing things, we have put together a list of 8 mobile advertising tools to help you succeed. These tools are specifically designed to increase customer engagement and reform your mobile advertising campaign into something truly exceptional. Without further ado, let’s take a look.

mobile advertising

Text message marketing

Right off the bat we have one of the most powerful mobile advertising tools available: text message marketing. Sometimes referred to as SMS marketing or business text messaging, text message marketing has been around long before smartphones, but has only grown in both effectiveness and efficiency over the course of the mobile revolution.

The aspect of text message marketing that makes it perfect for customer engagement is that over 95% of all SMS messages are read within 2 minutes. It doesn’t take much imagination to think about what you could do with the ability to reach your entire target audience in the blink of an eye. However, there other tools out there that can help you get the most bang for your buck with SMS marketing.

SMS short codes

One such mobile advertising tool is SMS short codes, which can be used as a way to automate interactions between you and your customers. For instance, some businesses have started to use SMS as a way to run support for their customer base. Not only are the messages almost instantaneous, but many answers to frequently asked questions can be automated beforehand.

Short codes are not just for support though; they can also be great for running discounts or improving conversion rates on calls-to-action. By their very definition, short codes are designed to increase engagement and should be a part of your mobile advertising toolkit.

Read also: How to use an SMS short code to improve mobile engagement.

MMS marketing

Another underutilized mobile marketing tool is MMS or multimedia messaging service marketing. MMS marketing is similar to SMS with a few more capabilities that are not found with normal SMS messages. For example, while SMS is limited to 166 character messages, MMS can go as far as 500 characters, including media such as images or videos and a subject line.

If you are having trouble sparking interest in your SMS marketing campaign, MMS might be the way to go. The additional features provided by MMS can be the extra push your mobile advertising strategy needs to meet your goals.

Mobile search and display ads

As more customers rely on their mobile devices for completing tasks and surfing the web, mobile search has continued to grow with it. A few years ago, Google unveiled that over 50% of all searches are now done on mobile devices and that number is only expected to increase as time goes on.

The mobile advertising tool we are talking about here is mobile search and display ads on search engines. User engagement metrics show that not only are more people searching on mobile, but they are often more serious about making a purchase decision. Display ads on targeted keywords help your customers find you when they are most likely to make a buying decision, so you need to be showing up when they search.

mobile advertising tools

Branded mobile app

Another emerging mobile advertising strategy that many brands are taking advantage of is creating a branded mobile app. Although mobile app development might seem like a big step to take for your business, according to Smart Insight, that’s where your customers spend their time.

In fact, apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites. Unless you have an app of your own, you will be forced to rely on your mobile site. Having a seamless mobile site is important to your mobile advertising efforts, but creating an app should be part of that strategy as well. Not only is it where you customers spend time, but it opens up the opportunity to use other mobile tools you wouldn’t have without it.

Location-based marketing

One of those mobile apps tools being location-based marketing. If you’ve ever installed a new app in your phone, it has likely prompted you to share your location. When you do this, the people who create the app are able to send targeted messages to you based on where you are. For instance, the Starbucks app can alert you to nearby locations and offer a discount should you take the time to stop in.

This kind of customer engagement strategy has been very successful for companies looking to reach new customers. Although right now the customers would need to already have the app downloaded, the technology is changing to include SMS as well. For the time being, however, push notifications can be another powerful tool.  

Push-notification service

Similar to SMS, push notifications can be an effective way to reach your customers with highly targeted mobile advertising. Since the customers will already have agreed to receive these messages, in the same way that you have to opt-in to SMS, they are much more likely to engage with your brand.

As push notification services become more popular, new features will hopefully continue to emerge that take advantage of the strengths of this channel. As mobile advertising evolves, it will be important to understand when to use the proper channels at your disposal to make the biggest impact for your customers.

mobile customer

Social media

Our final mobile advertising tool is not exclusive to mobile, but it’s pretty close. According to comScore, 80% of social media time is spent on a mobile devices, meaning that social media should absolutely be a part of your mobile campaign. Different social media platforms should be used like different mobile advertising channels for maximized effect.

In the same way that customers are always on their phones, they are constantly checking social media as well. If you aren’t able to reach them with SMS, social is usually the next best place.

We hope that these 8 tools will help you continue to engage your customers in new and exciting ways. As you continue to plan out your customer retention marketing campaign, remember when and how to use each of these mobile advertising tools. Trust us, they will serve you well.


marketing automation

Why Marketing Automation Should Be Part of Your 2018 Strategy

Over the last few years, the term ‘Marketing automation’ has been thrown around a lot, especially when it comes to inbound marketing strategy. While this once meant using simple tools to perform tasks like scheduling emails, automation has evolved and now encompasses areas like Chatbots and AI customer support.

In this article, we are going to make our case for why marketing automation should be part of your 2018 strategy. First, we will take a look at why we automate, followed by the where and how of automation. It is our hope that with these different retention tips and techniques you will be able to better serve your customers in the new year and beyond. Let’s get started.

marketing automation

Why do we automate?

When marketing automation first came into the zeitgeist, many marketing professionals didn’t see the need for it. Or worse, they thought that automation would take their job from them. Both of these lines of through are misleading, since true marketing automation seeks to make the lives of both the marketers and the customers better.

So, why do we automate? First, speed. In 2018, technology has made everything more efficient, and automation is simply a way to keep up with the world around us. Second of all, according to Emailmonday, 49 percent of companies regularly use marketing automation. This number is only going to continue to grow, so unless you are automating, you may be soon left in the dust.

Marketing automation helps small businesses stay up with the times and stay competitive in their markets. For larger businesses, automation provides a way to keep up with the marketing demands of the industry. Now that you understand why we automate, let’s talk about where we automate.

Where do we automate?

As we mentioned, over the last few years automation has gone from a marketing gimmick to a necessity. More tools have come into the market that make this process easier, more efficient, and more effective. The question has become less “Where do we automate?” and “Where should we automate?” as new platforms pop up everywhere, not all of them being worth the time.

Next, we will take a look at three of the areas you can automate that have shown to increase engagement and company success. Let’s take a look.

Social

Having a good online presence today requires a firm placement in social media. One of the most effective ways to ensure a good mobile marketing strategy here is to automate, automate, automate. As a marketing professional or business owner, you don’t have time to spend hours each day combing social media for articles to post or tips to share. Instead, you can automate almost everything and then respond as interactions come in.

It’s important to remember when you are automating your social media that there will be times when you need to take the wheel and change things up to avoid a PR blunder. For example, companies that forgot to turn off their automations in the wake of a tragedy are seen as crass or uncaring, not a good look. Make sure to keep a close eye out to avoid this sort of problem.

marketing automation strategy

SMS

Another area that has recently grown in the area of marketing automation is SMS marketing. One of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal, SMS becomes even more effective when automated. Businesses can schedule messages weeks in advance, set up SMS keywords to run support without lifting a finger, and much more.

Part of the reason why SMS is such a popular choice for marketing automation is how efficient the service is for communicating with customers. If you can automate most of the SMS process, customers can go from upset to finding a solution in just a few minutes. Like social media, a human touch is required to make these sort of campaigns successful, but marketing automation gives you all the tools you need for success.

Read also: How to Boost Customer Engagement with SMS

Email

One of the oldest marketing automation tools, email automation has evolved into a beast of its own, with companies like MailChimp growing from just focusing on automation. Some of the hallmarks of a successful email automation campaign include segmentation, allowing customers to choose their own campaigns, and using text marketing to ensure your audience receives your message.

Although email is not as powerful of a marketing automation tool as something like SMS, it can be incredibly effective when used in combination with other tools. Email is also a more comfortable solution for many customers that are still making their way into the digital age. If you hope to be successful in marketing automation, each of these tools will need to be in your arsenal.

How do we automate?

Now that we have covered the different areas where marketing automation can flourish, you might be wondering “How do we actually do it?” This is a good question, as simply having a phone or email address doesn’t mean you can set up a marketing automation platform. Thankfully, there are plenty of platforms already out there with a wide selection of features.

For instance,  a platform like Hubspot has all of your marketing automations in one place, whereas a platform like Hatchbuck focuses on just one solution. We mentioned marketing automation giant Emailchimp earlier, but there are plenty of other similar solutions in the space. No matter what you choose, you want to make sure that they have the features you need to meet your goals.

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Marketing automation and you

Finally, let’s talk about marketing automation and you. Obviously, if you have your own business or are looking to get involved with marketing automation, all of the information in this article might seem like a lot to take in. However, the most important part of marketing automation is simply starting.

Far too often, companies spend too much time putting their automations in place before actually pulling the trigger and starting their campaign. Part of the automation process is tweaking things as you go, trying different things to see what works. Unless you allow yourself to fail a little, nothing will get done.

So this is what we leave you with: a call to action. Go out there and no matter what skill set you have, start your marketing automations today. There’s no time like the present, so get after it!


customer attrition

How to Reduce Customer Attrition without Breaking the Bank

One of the most common struggles for small business owners, or any company for that matter, is trying to avoid losing customers. Like death and taxes, customer attrition is just one of those things you can’t avoid. While it’s possible to reduce churn rate, no matter what you do, some customers will always leave. This is a simply the truth of customer retention.

However, while you might not be able to stop every customer from leaving, you can do your part keep customers around. There are plenty of different strategies for doing this, but they can often drive up your customer acquisition costs and leave you worse off than you started.

In this article, we are going to walk you through how to reduce customer attrition. Not only that, but we will show you how to do so without breaking the bank. Let’s get started.

customer attrition

The slow drain of customer attrition

When you first start to notice customer attrition and churn with your audience, it can feel like you are doing something wrong. However, the faults or decisions that lead you to this point are often hard to understand and some customers will never tell you why they left.

In this scenario, it’s important to remember that close to 70% of the reasons customers leave has nothing to do with the product, but instead poor quality of service. You can have the best product in the world, but without customer service, you will never be able to beat customer attrition.

So, what can be done to fight the slow drain of customer attrition? The first step is to never give up. If you have the wrong mindset, none of the rest of this will matter. Once you are ready to start taking customer retention seriously, the next step is to start monitoring customer activity.

Monitor customers closely

In the world of big data, there are more ways than ever before to monitor your customer’s activity. What they buy, how they buy, and what they do with your products are no reduce to engagement metrics that tell the story of your customer relationship. Not only will this data offer better insights into the minds of your customers, but how to keep them satisfied.

Customer attrition most commonly breeds from lack of activity. Whether this is because customers are distracted by new offerings or simply due to boredom, we may never know. However, it is your job to study their behavior, find weak points, and do your best to fight against them.

Read also: 7 Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback

Pinpoint reasons why customers leave

Once you begin monitoring your customer’s behavior you will soon start to see trends that lead up to their eventual churning. This sort of insight is invaluable to your business as you can use it to know when your customers are most vulnerable. Instead of simply allowing customer attrition to take place, this is the perfect time to engage with them and bring them back into the fold.

There are many different customer retention strategies that can be used here to help fight off churn. For instance, sending targeted messages through SMS to customers that are on the verge of leaving might be just the sign they are looking for to stay with your company. It doesn’t always have to be a huge deal, sometimes simply letting them know you still care is enough.

customer relationships

Engage customers through preferred channels

Although we just mentioned SMS marketing, there are many different channels with which you should communicate with your customers. One advantage of SMS that should be applied to other channels is segmentation. By delivering more tailored messaging to your customers based on their habits, you are more likely to have a successful program.

Going back to the customer data we mentioned earlier, that information can often tell you the best way to reach your customers. Some will prefer email, some will appreciate the speed of SMS, but no matter what it is, by engaging with them in the proper ways, you can do wonders to reduce customer attrition.

Make customer service a hallmark of your business

As we mentioned earlier, customer service is vital to the success of any business, especially when it comes to reducing customer attrition. In 2018, this has never been more true. Look at e-commerce giant Amazon, one of the world’s largest companies built on the idea of exceptional customer service.

Thankfully, there are plenty of mobile marketing tools that can aid any business in improving their overall customer service. For instance, companies have begun running support for their customers through text message marketing. This allows for the company to automate almost the entire process and then simply let it run, improving their lives and those of their customers.

Help them remember why they signed up in the first place

Along with customer service, another key to reducing customer attrition is reminder them why the signed up in the first place. Every one of your customers made the choice at one point to use your business for one reason or another. When they are about to churn, it can be powerful to remind them why they should stay instead.

Customer loyalty programs can be a great way to keep customers interested while highlighting different benefits of your company. For instance, you can reward your customers for staying with you by offering discounts on commonly used services or products. Like we said, boredom is often the hardest hurdle to get over, so keep things interesting for your customers whenever possible.

reduce customer attrition

Talk to your customers

Finally, our last and simplest advice for reducing customer attrition is to talk to your customers and actually treat them like humans. Most companies out there that fail do so because they view their customers as cogs in a machine. Instead, think of your customer relationships as just that, relationships.

If you are able to treat your customers with dignity and respect while adding value to their lives, you will have customers for life.


customer feedback

7 Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback

In today’s marketplace, collecting customer feedback has never been more important. With the rise of custom-centric marketing and designing programs to optimize the customer experience, listening to what your customers have to say about your business is vital to the success of your company.

In this article, we are try and help you along this journey by providing 7 best practices for collecting customer feedback. It is our hope that with this information, you will not only learn how to better provide value to your customers, but fully understand who they are and how to improve the customer experience. Let’s get started.

customer feedback

Why are you collecting customer feedback?

Before we take a look at how best to collect feedback from your customers, let’s first think about why you are collecting feedback. Feedback on its own might be informative, but without the proper context surrounding it, you will never know how to use it for further customer success.

Before you jump in, consider:

  • What part of the customer experience you want to improve?
  • What will you do with the feedback when you receive it?
  • How can you reach your customers in ways they will respond to?

While some customer retention techniques might shy away from asking these questions ahead of time to avoid biased surveying, it is important to the success of your program that you review them. Without it, you will be shooting in the dark with no way of knowing if you are being successful. Once you have asked these questions, now you can get started on actually collecting customer feedback.

1. Keep it simple

Our first best practice for collecting customer feedback is easy: keep it simple. Far too often, companies will roll out elaborate campaigns that do more to confused their customer base than learn from it. By keeping it simple, you are able to get right to the point and avoid wasting both their time and yours.

We recommend using something such as an SMS marketing service here to help not get overwhelmed. SMS has the benefit of limiting you to 160 characters, keeping things simple and easy to process. Not only that, but most customers have their phone by them almost all the time, allowing you to reach them with ease.

Start your SMS campaign today!

2. Reach out directly

In doing your part to keep it simple, our next recommendation is to reach out directly to your customers. Sometimes businesses will go for an indirect approach, be it having a survey on their website or surveying a random selection of people. While this can be effective for general comments and feedback, it will not help collecting customer feedback.

Instead, reach out directly to your customers and ask them what they do or don’t like about your services. You’ll be surprised by how little this happens to customers and how refreshing you will come across.

customer feedback survey

3. Surveys

When you reach out directly to your audience, make sure that you are ready to provide them with the tools they need to provide the proper customer feedback. One way to do this that has been successful for other businesses is customer feedback surveys. Not only can these give you an in-depth look at the minds of your customers, but they are easy to put together and distribute.

This idea of paying close attention to your customers has only recently been seen in a positive light. However, with the knowledge we now have on the effectiveness of these programs, we know that it can both reduce churn rate at your business and increase customer engagement.

4. Always open

Even though it can be effective to reach out to customers directly, it’s not always convenient for them to complete a survey or fill out a form when they receive it. This is why it is also important to include a feedback channel, preferably on your website, that is always open.

This way, when customers want to engage with you on their own terms, they have the opportunity to do so. Our recommendation here is that, when your receive customer feedback through this channel, respond quickly. In fact, many answers to FAQs can be answered with automations, so set this up ahead of time and watch it work itself out.

5. Create an online community

Another way in which you can harness the power of different customer retention strategies in one place is by creating an online community. In these spaces, most often seen on Facebook or LinkedIn, your customers can share common experiences and talk through best practices.

This a great way to not only connect customers to one another, but provide support and an outlet for feedback that doesn’t feel as formal as completing a survey. Additionally, loyal customers may be able to answer questions from your customers without you intervening, leading to a more trusting and growth-center environment, one that many are looking for.

Read also: Relationship marketing and SMS: A Match Made in Heaven

6. Monitor social channels

So far, we have mainly talked about direct ways of receiving customer feedback. However, there are a few ways to indirectly receive and understand customer feedback. One of these methods is to monitor social channels for mention of your brand, both directly and indirectly.

According to a recent report, 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you, but will tell 15 friends, and the often do so on social media. These kind of conversations can be vital to better understanding your customers, since they often are more truthful in these spaces than through traditional channels.

customer survey

7. User activity

The next indirect way of receiving customer feedback and our last best practice is again simple, but highly effective. Monitoring user activity and user engagement metrics is one of the best ways to see cold, hard data that tells you everything from how your customers behave to their favorite ways to interact with your company.

This kind of informative customer feedback simply can’t be found through sending out a survey, and yet both kinds of feedback are essential to creating a good customer experience. Start tracking user activity today to uncover new ways to treat your customers well.

And that about does it. We hope that each of these best practices will better aide you in your quest to optimize your customer’s experience and overall satisfaction with your business. As we like to say, the best time to start is now, so get after it!


relationship marketing

Relationship Marketing and SMS: A Match Made in Heaven

As we begin the new year, business owners and customers alike are re-evaluating their business relationships and partnerships. Often, if they are unhappy, they will assess what they need from their partners if they are to continue the relationship and if those needs are not met, they will look elsewhere. However, if they have a good relationship with the company, they will be excited about the prospect of working together more in the future.

This is a paraphrased definition of what we like to call relationship marketing, also sometimes referred to as customer retention marketing. The basic concept of this marketing strategy is that if you and your customers have a mutually beneficially relationship built on providing value, your customers will have no problem staying around. Sometimes, they are even more likely to spend money with you if trust has been established in the relationship.

In this article, we are going to walk you through the basics of relationship marketing. Along with this, we will make our case for why SMS and relationship marketing are a match made in heaven, one that we believe you should be taking advantage of in the new year. Without further ado, let’s get started.

relationship marketing

What is relationship marketing?

First, let’s start with a definition. What is relationship marketing? According to Steve Olenski of Forbes, it can be described as follows:

“Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”

While we will explore each of the components of this definition in more depth in just a minute, we also want you to know that relationship marketing has never been more important than right now. In today’s market, where customers are flooded with choices, brand loyalty is becoming an increasingly rare customer concern.

However, customer retention strategies all seek to build up the relationship between you and your customers. By proving to them again and again that you have their best interests in mind, you are showing them why they should stay with you in the long haul.

Where does SMS come in?

Now, so far we have mainly been talking about relationship marketing, which might have you wondering, “Where does SMS come in?” After all, having a good relationship with your customers doesn’t require a mass text marketing campaign. While it is true that you can don’t necessarily need SMS to practice relationship marketing, it can drastically improve the performance of your strategy.

In order to further prove our point, we are going to review each of the different attributes of relationship marketing and how they can be improved with SMS. As you read through this list, think to yourself how these different strategies can be implemented for your own customers. You never know, this could be the difference between being good and being great.

Start your SMS campaign today!

customer relationship marketing

Customer loyalty

The first goal of relationship marketing is to facilitate and increase customer loyalty. Not only can customer loyalty increase referral business, but it can lead to a multitude of repeat purchases and increased engagement. Additionally, customer loyalty programs are growing in popularity and have proven to be a powerful retention tool for many companies.

When you running a customer loyalty program, one of the best ways to make sure you are optimizing your chances of keeping customers around with SMS marketing. You can send reminders straight to your customer’s phone about promotions, coupons, and recent news on your company. By reaching more customers with SMS, you can increase engagement in your loyalty program and keep around more customers. Win-win.

Interaction and long-term engagement

Along with customer loyalty, the other goal of relationship marketing is to improve interaction (or engagement) with customers for the long-term. As we mentioned earlier, there are many different ways that you can do this such as email marketing or even hiring a push notification service. However, the best way to increase long-term interaction and engagement is by combining multiple channels of communication, including SMS.

By meeting your customers where they are, whether that is on their phones, computers, or both, you are able to maintain a constant relationship. Not only will customers never have to look far when they want to work with you, but they will be far more likely to interact with your business. SMS can highlight each of these channels (as well as providing a channel in and of itself), allowing you to continue engaging customers with ease.

customer retention sms

Meeting customer needs

Like any good mobile marketing strategy, relationship marketing is designed around meeting customer needs and providing them with information that further pushes this agenda. In 2018, it is no longer acceptable to simply hope you are helping your customers. You need to learn from them and use that knowledge to improve their interactions with your company.

SMS marketing is one of the best ways to do exactly this. First of all, SMS makes segmenting your audience easy, allowing you to be more specific with which members of your audience receive what messaging. For example, you would not want to send the same message to customers you are trying to win-back as those you just added to your registry.

The other benefit of working with SMS here is that most of your customers are always by their phones, allowing you to deliver these targeted messages directly to them. Just think about how much value you can add to your customer’s lives by delivering them tailored information that suits their needs directly to their phones. It’s no wonder SMS is so effective.

Creating an open dialogue

The last component of relationship marketing is creating a dialogue for open communication between you and your customers. This is important for a couple of reasons, but most importantly is that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you, but will tell 15 friends. Unless you have established an open dialogue with your customers, not only will you have no idea why you are losing them, but you might be losing their friends too.

One of the most popular and relevant uses of SMS when it comes to open communication is running support through texting. SMS is fast, almost instantaneous in fact, which shows your customers that you really care about their concerns. Not only that, but most support messages can be written beforehand, allowing you to automate the first steps of the process.

By harnessing the different strengths of business text messaging to meet the goals of relationship marketing, your company will be well on its way to retaining more customers, increasing the lifetime value of those customers, and building a relationship with them all along the way. With benefits like this, our only question is, what are you waiting for?