Netflix changed the game. They’re among the first to use behavior, data, and technology to tailor user content based on interests. As a result, they set the standard for personalized customer engagement. And more and more consumers expect brands to offer personal experiences. If you don’t adapt to their expectations, you might as well kiss your customers goodbye.

Businesses keep customers engaged in many ways, but the most direct tactic is text messaging. Compared to other digital mediums, text is conversational and personal. Not only that, but texts rarely go ignored. So if you want to reach your audience, text is the way to go.

Various platforms are dedicated to SMS marketing, but many don’t offer what you need for customer engagement. And today, we help you choose the right SMS marketing platform that enables you to build a connection with your audience.

But first…

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is the relationship you form with your customers through repeated and consistent interactions. Engagement happens far beyond the transaction. It’s the effort a brand makes that adds value to the customer experience. But engagement goes beyond the customer. It entails optimizing your team, operations, and technology (we’ll get into that a little later). 

Yes, customer engagement takes a ton of work and diligence, but the hard work pays off.

The research shows that brands that emphasize customer engagement are more profitable. For example, a Gallop study found that when brands successfully engaged their audience, they experienced a 64% reduced attrition rate, 55% higher wallet share, and 23% better performance than their competitors.

Engaging your audience beyond purchases will fortify their emotional connection with your brand—this bond is invaluable.

Customer engagement:

  • Enhances brand experience
  • Increases loyalty and trust
  • Provides valuable customer insight
  • Amplifies sales funnel velocity

How Can You Boost Customer Engagement Through SMS?

It’s clear that customers have a lot of power now. And if brands can harness this power, the rewards are bountiful. But how can you tap into customer engagement using SMS marketing? 

Here are some common ways businesses use SMS to increase customer engagement:

Text-to-Vote Survey

One of the best ways to get customers to engage is by asking for their opinion. You can let your audience vote to decide your next promotion or product. For example, let’s say you own an ice cream shop, and you’re deciding on your next flavor. You can have subscribers submit which flavor they want to see you create. After the voting closes, send the results to each participant.

Customers want to feel like they’re an instrumental part of our business. Letting them get involved by adding their input makes them feel valuable.

Set up a Support/Expert Hotline

There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than having to wait a long time for a response. A text-based customer-service hotline is a great way to reduce response times and strengthen engagement. In addition, your audience will appreciate being able to text your number and get a quick reply solving their problem.

You can also set up an expert hotline. Similar to customer service, this helps customers get the most out of your products or services. For example, if you own a fitness equipment brand, customers can text an expert and ask for tips on how to use the equipment. The expert would send video tutorials and other media to answer customer inquiries.

This type of 2-way communication creates a human connection with your brand.

Create a Customer Loyalty Program

Have your audience join your rewards program by opting into your texts. You can then send SMS messages with exclusive offers and loyalty rewards. Of course, the more rewards you send, the more customers will engage with your messages. In fact, an SMS loyalty program could boost click-through rate and website traffic.

Make Messages Personal/Conversational

Text is a personal communication medium. So, your messages should reflect that. Sending robotic texts is a surefire way to push your subscribers away. Below are some ways you can make your texts friendly and personal:

  • Include the subscriber’s first name
  • Incorporate slang and jargon appropriate for your audience
  • Personalize each text according to your customer’s preferences and buying behavior
  • If applicable, interact with customers using emojis

Messages Personal/Conversational

5 Best SMS Marketing Platforms to Engage Customers

We’ve gone over the importance of customer engagement and the tactics you can employ. Now it’s time to get into the SMS marketing platforms that help you foster more customer satisfaction. The following tools provide everything you need to enhance the brand experience for your customers.

1. EngageBay

This all-in-one tool—combines marketing automation, sales, CRM, customer service, and live chat. EngageBay’s total integration allows data to flow easier, and everything you need to know about your customers is visible on one dashboard. As the name implies, this platform helps you to market your brand while fostering a relationship with your customers. It boasts personalization features that let you create tailored messages. EngageBay stores customer characteristics like first name, last name, age, location, and more. You can then use this information to send personalized messages. The platform also syncs with various CRMs so that you can send SMS based on customer behavior—i.e., Cart abandonment. EngageBay also collects information about your audience, so you can further tailor your campaigns.

What you’ll notice about EngageBay is that it covers the entire sales funnel. It allows you to get visitors to your site, collect leads, convert them into customers, and keep them engaged through text marketing.

Other features include:

  • 2-way messaging
  • Individuals triggered messages
  • Delivery status reports
  • Quick messaging
  • Unicode support

2. SendinBlue

SendinBlue is another well-rounded marketing tool that delivers SMS functions. What sets this platform apart from the others is its comprehensive and customizable. For example, you can segment your lists based on location, purchase behavior, and more. The platform also allows you to schedule messages and send them at the optimal time. With SendinBlue you have access to critical metrics that let you improve your campaign and drive results.

In addition to SMS, SendinBlue offers other marketing capabilities, such as email marketing, email automation, and social media marketing. So, you have multiple channels to keep your audience engaged. Of course, the platform also lets you stay on top of your contact list. You can group contacts into lists, segment those lists, and see which platform performs the best.

Other key features include:

  • Click tracking
  • Customizable CTAs
  • Message personalization
  • Campaign planning
  • A/B testing
  • Template management

3. Klaviyo

If you’re an eCommerce business looking for an SMS tool, Klaviyo might be what you need. This platform allows you to combine your email marketing and CRM with SMS. For instance, if someone visits your site, you can automatically send follow-up texts to get more sales. You can also send both emails and texts in the same campaigns. Hence, customers get to choose their preferred communication option. 

The platforms let you send browse and cart abandonment texts, price drop alerts, and other texts. With Klaviyo, you can even share a virtual contact card—which creates instant recognition on your subscribers’ phones.

What keeps customers loyal is one-on-one attention. And Klaviyo lets you send specific texts to the right people, and they can respond. This type of conversational texting builds a strong relationship between you and your customers.

Other key features include:

  • Auto-responders
  • 2-way texting
  • Website visitor tracking
  • ROI tracking
  • MMS capabilities
  • Extensive image library
  • Shortcodes
  • Mobile coupons
  • Mobile keywords
  • List growth tools

4. Omnisend

Omisend is another tool that lets you integrate email marketing with SMS. With Omisend, you can provide your subscribers with a personalized and consistent experience.

A highlight feature is its premium automation capabilities. You can choose a pre-build workflow or build your own series. The platform also lets you adjust the sequence as you see fit. For instance, you can add or remove additional channels, duplicate messages, and fully customize your workflow. 

What’s more, you can find everything in one centralized platform. So, it makes keeping up with your contacts simple. Omisend streamlines multiple channels, including social media, SMS messages, email, and online presence. With this, you can see which channels your audience prefers the most.

Other key features: 

  • Auto-responders
  • 2-way messaging
  • SMS channel reports
  • Subscriber management
  • Template management
  • Message personalization

5. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign delivers an array of marketing functions. This platform combines email marketing, automation, sales software, and CRM. And it even gives you the option to create targeted and engaging SMS campaigns. 

You can send customers SMS messages manually or through automated sequences. And analytics lets you see which time of day is the perfect time to follow up. ActiveCampaign also makes it easy to track results and automate contact management. This way, you can keep customers engaged and ensure no lead falls between the cracks.

This platform also lets you see the whole sales process at a glance. So, you can stay on top of every interaction and keep track of your sales team. With features like lead scoring, win probability, and automated segmentation, you can streamline your marketing and gain consistent results.

Other key features include:

  • Pipeline management
  • ROI tracking
  • Task management
  • Social media marketing
  •  Channel management
  • A/B testing
  • Template management

Honorable Mention: Gleantap

 Gleantap is an all-in-one marketing system. Along with email automation and sales CRM, Gleantap provides SMS and chat features.

Gleantap’s centralized inbox lets you meet customers where they are. You can message customers through SMS, email, and chatbot. So, you can reach each customer on their preferred channel. This also lets you transition between conversations seamlessly—enhancing the customer experience. In addition, Gleantap’s interface enables you to review previous conversations. This ensures no message goes unanswered and no lead goes cold.

Because Gleantap integrates CRM, you can use customer data to personalize messages. For example, suppose a customer makes a certain amount of purchases. In that case, you can send them a text containing a special reward or discount code.

The possibilities are endless with Gleantap, but there’s more…

Other features include:

  • Gamification
  • Activity tracking
  • Gift card management
  • Loyalty program
  • Mobile coupons
  • Churn management
  • MMS capabilities
  • Membership management

What are the Fundamentals of SMS Customer Engagement?

We’ve talked a lot about how you can use text message marketing apps to increase engagement, but we’re not done yet. Here are a few essential ways to make your SMS campaigns create a lasting impact:

Make it Purposeful

When you send a message, you can expect it to get read within seconds. But simply having your text seen isn’t enough. The text must prompt action and evoke trust. To do this, pay attention to when and how often you send SMS to your subscribers.

A well-timed text will boost responsive actions. For instance, your text could include an incentive to check out a product page or revisit an abandoned cart.

Here are more tips to optimize your texts:

  • If applicable, add urgency to promotional messages. Some key phrases include “until supplies last” or “act now.”
  • Use analytics to check which times are the best to send text messages.
  • Don’t go overboard by sending too many texts too often. As the old saying goes, quality over quantity.

Add Images, GIFs, and Emojis

Plain texts are boring. Including special characters and images in your texts enhances communication. And customers feel an emotional connection when shown visuals of a product because they can envision themselves within. Research has also shown that texts with photos had a 15% higher click-through rate than texts without imagery. So adding emojis and other media could make a huge difference.

Ask for Feedback

Getting honest opinions from your customers is vital for your business’s growth. You’ll be able to optimize your marketing, and you’ll learn what matters to your target audience. In addition, you’ll find out how you can appeal to unsatisfied customers.

 Feedback

Engage Customers with SMS Marketing

Consumers want new ways to interact with their favorite brands. Texting is a medium that allows you to reach your audience in a personal and direct manner. It also lets you build bonds and enhance loyalty. However, you can’t do this without the right SMS marketing platform. The tools we’ve mentioned today deliver the tools and functions you need to carry out engaging campaigns. They also enable you to gather data and use it to create tailored experiences. 

If you’re ready to take your customer engagement to the next level, request a FREE Gleantap demo today.