In the digital world that we now find ourselves in, mobile marketing channels are sprouting up all around us. With close to 5 billion mobile users globally, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but to the savvy marketer it should be seen as an opportunity. Some have tried to establish themselves in these new channels, but many are finding success with the tried and true approach of using short message service (or SMS) marketing.
When you consider the fact that, on average, mobile users spend around 87 hours per month on their mobile devices, you can begin to understand this shift. Along with that, reports claim that over 95% of text messages are read within 2 minutes, leading to sky-high mobile engagement levels.
With this article, we hope to state our case for using short message service marketing to increase customer retention. Additionally, we will review some best practices for meeting your customers where they are and how to better serve them in the long run. Let’s take a look.
SMS and customer retention
As we have mentioned previously, customers have far more competition both in terms of price and offerings in today’s market than ever before. For this reason, customer retention and engagement is becoming a valuable strategy for many businesses to not only drive new customers coming in, but keep them around for the long haul. Short message service marketing is a key aspect of this.
When you consider that 64% of consumers are more likely to perceive a company positively when they are contacted through text message marketing, you begin to see the power of SMS. On top of that, if you are able to provide helpful information and tailored content, SMS marketing can help you establish relationships with your customers that are strong enough to survive even when a new competitor enters the market.
The power of SMS
This is the power of SMS on display and unless you are using texting as part of your mobile strategy, you could very well be missing out. According to Mobilexco, response rates from SMS are 209% higher than from phone calls, text, or Facebook. Imagine the kind of engagement you can have with your customers when you utilize these marketing tools to the best of your abilities.
However, it is one thing to highlight these statistics, it is another to put a plan into place. Next, we are going to review some best practices when conducting short message service marketing. Through this, we hope to aid you in establishing yourself with your SMS campaign and better serve your customers, leading to reduced churn rate and increased engagement.
Short message service marketing best practices
In today’s day and age, consumers are more concerned with having a great customer experience than products or services. Short message service marketing is one of the most powerful ways to deliver this experience, but in order for it to truly be memorable, there are a few best practices you need to put in place. What follows are some staples of a great SMS campaign:
Offer a value proposition
Right off the bat, when you get the SMS opt-in from your customers, you need to establish that your texting campaign will offer value to them. There are a few ways in which you can do this, but the important part is that from the first message they receive they know exactly what to expect from your program.
Some do this by presenting an offer or discount just for signing up with their program. Others include exactly how many messages they should expect to receive as well as a way to manage how often you are reached. Again, this will often depend on the type of customers you are targeting, but being straightforward, upfront, and honest will always go a long way to showing how valuable your short message service marketing campaign will be to your audience.
Automate your messaging
As AI and machine learning technologies become more advanced, marketing automation will become a powerful force in customer engagement. In fact, marketers using short message service campaigns can already automate their messaging to a certain extent in order to provide better interactions with their customers.
Similar to how chatbots go off a set flow and script, you can automate certain messages and have your audience use SMS keywords like HELP, INFO, or MORE to engage in a conversation that can be automated well in advance. This sort of automation not only provides a better experience for your customers, but it saves you time as well. Just make sure to continue updating these messages in order to stay relevant with your messaging.
Run support through SMS
Another area where marketers have seen success with automation is when running support through SMS. Due to the almost instantaneous nature of SMS, support queries can be answered and resolved in a matter of minutes. Even Facebook understands the relevance of a quick turnaround with messaging, now offering a direct conversation with brands about customer service issues.
This kind of mobile user engagement shows your audience that you are there to help them at every turn. Although you don’t want to be oppressive with your marketing efforts, finding the balance of always being within arm’s reach of your customers allows you to serve them better. Then, when they need something, they know you are always there to help, positioning you exactly where you want to be.
Test content and timing
With any mobile marketing campaign, you need to have adequate facilities in place for both measurement and the ability to test out new procedures. For instance, finding the right timing for your messages might take some time, but it will be well worth it. Make sure that your short message service marketing has these practices in place in order to continuously improve your campaign.
Even if you think that you have found the best way to do things, we urge you to not become complacent. When this happens, customers will slowly drift away unless you are careful. Make it a focus to analyze user engagement metrics and run regular tests to make sure your campaign is fully optimized at every step in the process.
Customer retention and you
As you begin your short message service marketing, we urge you to take these best practices to heart and understand how powerful customer retention truly can be. In today’s market, businesses and customers no longer have time to set on their thumbs. You have to take action and make an effort to stay relevant.
Our final word to you is to start now. Whether you have tried SMS before or not doesn’t matter, but now is a unique time when it comes to mobile marketing. We recommend taking advantage of this position and using the tools you have available to create an exceptional experience for your customers.
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera