How to Leverage SMS marketing to Improve Customer Retention

Digital marketing refers to marketing campaigns that leverage the reach of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. This type of marketing is the modern equivalent of traditional marketing, such as those seen in magazines, newspapers, billboards, direct mail, and commercials on television.

Digital marketing content can take several forms, like display ads on websites, search engine marketing, paid social media ads, and social media posts.

Another digital marketing strategy that’s seeing a rise is SMS marketing. While text messaging has existed since the 1990s, marketers did not realize its full potential until the turn of the century. Shortcodes presented new and exciting opportunities in 2003, with marketers eager to capitalize on a novel communication platform.

Fast-forward to almost 20 years later, SMS marketing has become a viable digital marketing tool. With SMS’s potential to be an effective complement to social media marketing, establishing real-time reach to prospects and customers, marketers are looking to capitalize on this strategy.

Let us discuss how you can boost your digital marketing efforts by leveraging SMS marketing while exploring opportunities to improve your customer retention.

What is Customer Retention?

Customer retention refers to companies’ or organizations’ efforts and actions to decrease customer defections—meaning, doing everything to make a customer stick with them and continue purchasing their products and services. They do this by offering brand loyalty initiatives.

Traditionally, companies tend to focus on customer acquisition rather than retention as they view it as a faster method of increasing their revenue. However, customer retention is often easier and significantly costs less. Let’s explore ways your business can maximize SMS marketing by using it for customer retention.

Maximize SMS to Improve Customer Retention with These 5 Tips

Establish customer service and support

Customer service is integral to a business’s success. The modern world has gradually shifted to the digital medium, and people expect immediate results and convenience through devices like smartphones. Texting covers both aspects with its mobility and instantaneous nature.

In communities where internet connection is still sparse, texting is still people’s preferred medium. Establishing round-the-clock customer service and support with text messaging allows companies to communicate easier with their customers, keeping them engaged and satisfied by answering inquiries instantly, thus, helping build a long-term business relationship.

Customer loyalty rewards

SMS marketing can be utilized to convert subscribers into loyalty program members. Right off the bat, a consumer who willingly signed up for your business’s SMS campaign has exhibited a personal interest in your brand and products. You need to capitalize on and nurture that by employing initiatives.

To accurately identify highly qualified leads, utilize list segmentation to divide consumers who have repeatedly patronized your products from inactive leads. By categorically organizing your leads, you can send a more targeted SMS blast to consumers who continue to support you to reward them for their loyalty.

Customer loyalty programs make it easy to reward your most dedicated patrons with exclusive perks for making repeat purchases and referrals.

Following up with post-purchase messages

SMS allows you to follow up with consumers in a casual format, checking in days after a purchase is made or reconnecting with past customers. Following up will enable you to continue a conversation with loyal patrons and reopen dialogue with past consumers who have not bought from you in a long time.

Meanwhile, post-purchase messages open a window of opportunity to communicate and foster loyalty by incentivizing subsequent purchases from the initial investment. You can use post-purchase messages by cross-selling or upselling recent shoppers with relevant recommendations and new arrivals.

These types of automated messages help establish a connection between a business and a consumer, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases, positive reviews, and referrals.

However, this method poses a risk. It’s typically best to give consumers time to use and enjoy their items. Some consumers may find immediate and constant texting intrusive, so it’s critical to balance regularly communicating with your customers and not excessively spamming them with continuous alerts.

Reactivation campaigns

Companies should not disregard disengaged customers as there is still an opportunity to recapture their attention and potentially convert them into regular patrons, and that is through reactivation campaigns. A reactivation campaign is a method targeted explicitly towards “sleeping subscribers” or those who haven’t engaged with your products in a long time.

When a disengaged consumer is still subscribed to your SMS program, this entails an opportunity to reignite interest. Employ different offers and messages like discount bundles, new product announcements, or brand value-related stories that provide insights into your vision to see what resonates with these types of customers.

Non-promotional text messages

Instinctively, companies tailor their SMS marketing efforts towards offering products a customer can purchase. However, it’s also essential for them to feel a sense of connection with your brand on a personal level.

Sending non-promotional campaigns like limited-edition collections, collaborations with other brands, store news, updates, or in-person and digital events can drive customer engagement while building brand alignment and loyalty.

SMS Marketing Brand Stories

  • Television network juggernaut HBO wanted to give fans of the highly-successful fantasy drama Game of Thrones an immersive experience.

With the power of SMS marketing, they sent personalized text messages through a campaign titled “The Three-Eyed Raven.” The campaign garnered 70,00 subscribers within the first two months of launch by sending reminders, clues, and links to subscribed watchers teasing upcoming episodes.

  • The industry leader in a multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery services, Starbucks launched an SMS campaign that encouraged consumers to join their loyalty program, alongside an email marketing campaign and in-store signage.

Starbucks used its Starbucks Rewards Program to market incentives through SMS marketing of discounts, offers, and some instances, free drinks. This campaign engaged their customers in inspiring ways to show the brand loyalty that garnered them the 2012 Mobile Marketer of the Year award.

  • World-famous fast-food pizza chain Pizza Hut aimed to find a better way to allow individual stores to engage with customers. They turned to SMS marketing by creating an offer that allowed consumers to get a free large pizza by texting FREEPIZZA to their shortcodes and following a series of simple prompts.

They advertised the SMS marketing campaign on social media with an intended six-day ad buy while limiting the offer to 100,000 free pizza codes. This campaign went viral and resulted in all the free pizza codes getting claimed within 12 hours. Pizza Hut management extended the opt-ins to 160,000 due to the campaign’s popularity.

Since the codes were redeemable online, the pizza chain acquired customers’ email addresses, thus growing both their SMS and email marketing lists.

SMS Success

Customer retention is vital to a company’s success and to get ahead of competitors, and leveraging SMS marketing may just be your business’s exemplary approach to boost your efforts on this front. SMS, in general, has come a long way from being a niche invention into a primary tool in digital marketing that has proven to help in business growth.

Its continued success will only encourage marketers to look more towards this medium. However, keeping these strategies for SMS conversion and customer retention in mind can help your company stay ahead of the competition and be beneficial in making your patrons remain loyal.

About the Author

Alex built Semaphore‘s tech backbone and keeps it running smoothly. In his spare time, he grows hydroponic tomatoes and plays video games.

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