By Alessia Scott,
The lifeblood of any business is customer engagement and retention. So, how can you keep customers interested and coming back for more?
If you’ve ever seen your abandoned cart rates and bounce rates as shoppers jump from one website to another for better offers, customer retention has become top of mind. As a result, e-commerce companies are now focused on providing a better customer experience using customer retention tactics – one being SMS marketing, a sure-fire method to drive traffic to your website and keep customers engaged.
SMS marketing is a proven and cost-effective marketing method to get new customers. Everyone is familiar with text messaging. However, it’s prudent to have a customer retention strategy in place. Here are 5 things to keep in mind if you plan to test and utilize SMS marketing in the near future.
1. Listen to your customers
Do you know what customers think about your products and services? Without a basic idea about their tastes and wants, you will never know where to start and in which direction to move.
Bill Gates is widely known for his approach when it comes to listening to unhappy customers. He once asserted that “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Dissatisfied customers will force you to review how you conduct business and possibly improve your methods. They are a good source of learning.
Use SMS marketing to launch short and incentive-based surveys. Be sure to add value up-front. Listen to your customers on social media platforms, answer their questions, be active wherever they hang out and show that you care.
2. Don’t be generic and spammy
“Open rates on text messages are extremely high — about 98%, which is among the highest open rate for marketing/promotional materials, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. This rate is three times more than email (with an average open rate of less than 25%).”
However, that doesn’t give you a free pass to send spammy and generic SMS messages to customers who haven’t opted-in to receive notifications from your company.
Instead, develop creative ways to send SMS messages that include personalized promotions, essential updates regarding upcoming services, appointment reminders, etc. The key is to be useful and valuable. People don’t like being bombarded with irrelevant text messages.
Generic text messages without a clear CTA, personalization, and a clear way to opt-out won’t improve customer retention. Make sure, “subscribers can text STOP to unsubscribe from your lists at any time. The SMS STOP command will save money and perhaps your company’s reputation.”
3. Build trust by adding value
The days of the mass-market hard sell are gone! Today, customers want to be marketed to and treated as individuals. Building trust with customers is time-consuming, but it’s worth it.
Perhaps you can send SMS-based rewards to your top 20 percent of customers with discounts, coupons, and other perks to show appreciation? Another cost-effective way to add value is by offering educational materials.
When you create value, you also create a feeling of goodwill towards your company. When companies give more than they take, loyalty follows.
4. Reward loyal customers
“Acquiring new customers costs 5 to 10 times more than selling to a current customer — and current customers spend 67% more on average than those who are new to your business (Inc).” This is why creating a loyalty program is smart business.
SMS loyalty programs are inexpensive and simple to launch. Customers can sign-up by sharing their mobile phone numbers and opt-in to receive SMS messages with loyalty rewards and special offers. This is a smart way to promote flash sales and encourage reward redemptions.
Be sure to use a phone verification tool to validate phone numbers that are gathered from different channels. Some tools will even identify whether a number is a landline or mobile to ensure compliance with regulators.
5. Use personalized SMS outreach
Personalization is big business. In fact, 69% of consumers desire a personalized approach. Everyone wants to be treated individually. While SMS marketing may seem like a mass-marketing approach, this is a misleading assumption.
Many SMS marketing services allow users to segment customer groups and send a personalized message to each group. For example, customers who have recently abandoned their carts would benefit from a little nudge wrapped in a time-based incentive, while others who are in the post-sale stage of their customer journey might benefit from a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started with your products or services.
Avoid sending the same SMS messages to all customers as it will negatively impact your reputation. Whereas, personalized outreach humanizes your marketing efforts and often improves conversions.