Nine Ways to Use SMS Marketing to Strengthen Customer Relationships
In 2015, the average mobile phone user spent three hours a day on their phone doing things other than making calls. The mobile phone has become a vital part of our everyday lives and an increasingly essential shopping tool. Whether shopping online or in an actual store, our phones are often integral parts of our shopping experience. Business Insider recently published findings showing that the smartphone has become the retail sector’s most important interface with customers. In fact, 60% of the time that consumers devote to online sellers is on their mobile phones.
The opportunities to take advantage of mobile phones in marketing and loyalty programs have expanded in recent years. This is partially due to mobile advertising, mobile-friendly websites, and apps. Yet the core of mobile marketing is still SMS. In 2015, companies sent 1.6 billion text messages to customers with marketing, delivery notifications, and other relationship building messages.
SMS marketing makes communication fast, simple and cost-efficient – and it has an amazing reach. SMS marketing also has the highest opening rates of all messaging services – 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of delivery. The opportunities to take advantage of SMS in marketing and loyalty programs are nearly endless.
Here are nine ways you can take advantage of SMS text messaging for marketing and customer communication.
1 Engage new customers through SMS
Does your business use print, radio or television ads to attract new customers? Lower the threshold for getting in touch with you by letting customers send text messages to a simple short code number. Or link an offer to the short code number to further increase the impact of your other channels. Saving the mobile numbers (with the consumer’s opt-in) creates a foundation for following up with outgoing SMS marketing.
2 Drive traffic and increase conversion rates with SMS marketing
Once costumers have opted in, it’s easy to continue the dialogue directly in their mobile phones. Link an SMS service to your company’s contact directory or CRM system and you can reach hundreds of customers at the same time. SMS marketing offers can drive traffic to physical stores or websites, speed up buying decisions, and increase conversion rates.
3 Simplify purchases and quick confirmations with SMS
SMS can also allow customers to make purchases directly from their phones. This is easier for the consumer, and cost-effective for you as provider. And this can be useful whether you are selling a physical product or a service. Taxi companies can let riders book trips using SMS and then send a confirmation when their taxi is on the way. Bus and train companies can manage both the sale and the distribution of tickets via SMS. Parking companies can make it easy to pay directly via phone, and then provide purchase confirmations. As the parking expires, helpful SMS reminders can be sent.
4 Send order confirmations and delivery information directly to customers’ mobile phones
Any company that has products for oder can use SMS to easily update customers on the status of their orders. By integrating an SMS service into the order system, automatic messages are sent to confirm orders and to notify a buyer when their product leaves the warehouse. Another SMS let’s them know when it is ready for delivery or pickup.
5 Use SMS to confirm and manage appointments
Do you count on people showing up to pre-booked appointments? Any sector that relies on customers showing up on time, from the financial sector to auto repair shops, can use SMS to confirm and remind customers of upcoming appointments. By linking the appointment system to an SMS service, you can offer a valued service to your customers while improving appointment attendance.
6 Use SMS marketing to build loyalty and to generate more sales
Customer clubs and loyalty programs are great tools for nurturing and developing relationships with customers. Targeted SMS marketing gives you a fast and cost-effective complement to traditional channels and helps you reinforce current offers and promotions – directly in recipients’ hands. An SMS service integrated with your company’s CRM system makes it easy to both customize promotions to different segments and, with pinpoint accuracy, target loyalty discounts to specific customers.
7 Distribute relevant and up-to-date service information via SMS
As a service company, you can forge closer ties with your customers by offering service information via SMS. Companies in the travel industry can send customers information about hotel reservations, send e-tickets and alert them of new departure times. Mobile operators, Internet providers and energy companies can send up-to-date usage information via SMS. If something goes wrong, an SMS update can make all the difference between an angry customer and one who feels their needs are being met.
8 Send important reminders by SMS
SMS can also be used to send information and updates throughout the customer journey. Remind customers when it’s time to bring their car in for service or to make their annual dentist appointment. Remind someone that their insurance or a subscription is about to expire, or when an e-invoice is due. Recipients welcome short notifications when they are a part of a helpful service.
9 Deepen customer insight with mobile market research
To make it in the market, you have to have your ear to the ground. Use SMS to find out what your customers think. Short questionnaires after a purchase or customer service call help you better understand your customers, their needs, and their wants.