For every business owner, finding the right avenue for communicating with your customers is an essential step on the road to success. Some businesses work best by communicating through email, while those with mobile apps will often opt for using a push notification service. However, the most powerful way to reach customers and boost engagement is SMS advertising.
Despite the fact that SMS has been around for decades, mobile marketers are just now fully realizing the power of the platform. In this article, we are going to show exactly why SMS advertising is the best choice for increasing customer engagement. Along with this, we are also going to review a few strategies for using SMS for success. Let’s get started.
Relationship between engagement and SMS
If you are just entering the world of SMS advertising, you may not be aware of exactly how powerful this marketing tool can be, especially when it comes to engagement. While email marketing open rates usually hover around 20-30% (on a good day), 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.
Not only does this show how powerful SMS can be, but it also shows how often your audience is near their phones. Along with these statistics, text messages are now such a common form of communication, customers are more willing to engage with brands through SMS advertising than almost any other method.
In customer retention marketing, we like to say “Go where your customers are.” In 2018, customers are on their phones, and you should be too.
SMS best practices
So, now that you have more background on engagement and SMS advertising, let’s talk about best practices for making sure that your campaign lives up to these expectations. After all, it’s not enough to simply send out messages, you need to have purpose and direction for them to make an impact.
Here are a few best practices for crafting a text blast that’s sure to boost customer engagement:
- Secure the opt-in: Not only is making sure your customers opt-in a best practice for SMS, it’s the law. Make sure you have the SMS opt-in before sending any marketing messages.
- Include a call-to-action every time: SMS advertising is immediate, personal, and customers expect your messages to have a purpose. Include a call-to-action in every message, but only send messages when you have a call-to-action.
- Keep timing in mind: Since your messages should have an immediate call to action, be aware of when you are sending messages. A good rule of thumb is to stay within business hours unless your company works outside of normal business hours.
By using each of these best practices, not only can your improve engagement, but your overall relationship with the customer.
Strategies for increased engagement
With a few general best practices under your belt, let’s take a look at some specific SMS marketing strategies designed to increase engagement. While not all of these will apply to every company, the ideas behind them will work across every industry.
Surveys and polls
One of the best ways to engage customers with SMS advertising is through surveys and polls. These can be done a few ways, by either sending individual questions in a message or sending a link to fill out the survey online. Either way, this will show that you care about your customer’s feedback and will offer valuable user engagement metrics for your own uses.
When you are running this sort of campaign, it’s important to remember the best practices above and avoid being pushy. A very quick way to lose subscribers from your SMS messaging list is through pushy tactics and annoying messages. Instead of hounding your audience for answers, simply send the messages and collect results. Otherwise this strategy can do more harm than good.
Another way to engage customers in a unique way that offers benefits to both you and them is through exclusive deals. With the SMS opt-in, your audience for mass text messages will already be more limited than with something like email or social media. Reward these loyal customers that have taken the time to sign up by offering deals exclusive to your SMS list.
However, it doesn’t always have to be so segmented. Some marketers have seen success from using SMS advertising to highlight an offer in the store or an email. Not only does this kind of multichannel marketing ensure that your customers won’t miss an offer, but it leads to a more holistic marketing plan.
Over the last few years, many different companies across multiple industries have employed the customer retention technique of using a loyalty program. Customer loyalty programs reward consumers for sticking with one brand instead of shopping around. A great way to both increase engagement and highlight your customer loyalty program is through SMS marketing.
By sending updates on rewards points and redeemable items, marketers can keep their customers interested in the program. You can also increase engagement in the program by telling customers that may not be aware that you even have a loyalty program.
More companies than ever are using SMS as a way to run support for their customers. Since customers can become easily frustrated when they need support, being able to immediately respond to their requests is vital to improving the customer experience. SMS advertising allows for quick back and forth messaging, which is perfect for running support.
Another benefit of using SMS for support is that most of the messages can be automated ahead of time, leading to almost instant help for your customers. The more than you can automate in this regard, the better.
Whether you are using SMS advertising to increase engagement, add more members to your loyalty program, or run support through marketing automation, each of the best practices and strategies we just reviewed can help you gain an advantage and provide the best service for your customers.
We hope that now that you have this knowledge under your belt, you are ready to take on the world, so get out there and get after it!
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