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Five SMS customer engagement strategies

A recent study of more than 34,000 consumers worldwide showed that customer loyalty and retention are declining. Here’s how you can use SMS to buck this trend.

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You can blame it on short attention spans, the many distractions that plague the average consumer, or the fact that technology makes it easier to shop around.

Whatever the reason, customer engagement is declining.

78% of millennials say today’s brands must work harder to earn loyalty than they did in their parents’ day.

Fail to put in the work and risk new and existing competition swooping in.

So, what can you do? We’re not going to be glib and tell you SMS is the answer to all your engagement problems.

But there’s no denying that the combination of a highly personal channel and 98% open rates can have a major impact.

With that in mind, here are five strategies you can use to boost customer loyalty.

What is customer engagement?

Customer engagement is the overall relationship a customer has with a brand. It can be strengthened or damaged with every interaction.

This definition is important because it views the customer as an active participant rather than a passive recipient of a customer experience. 

It’s part of the reason SMS and engagement have become synonymous with each other. Interactivity is baked into most SMS marketing use cases.

We’ll show you how to use this to your advantage next.

Five SMS customer engagement strategies

We’ve already explained why text message marketing is so effective. The SparkNotes version is that:

  • Texts are immediate: 90% are opened and read within three minutes
  • People want to receive text messages because multiple studies have shown it’s their preferred method of communication
  • When your business gains access to someone’s inbox, it’s regarded as equally as the messages from close friends and family.

Here are a handful of SMS marketing strategies and tips to inspire your efforts.

1. Engage customers with a text-to-vote survey

One of the best ways to encourage customers to engage with you is to give them a say.

You can let your audience vote to decide on your next special, product variety, or theme with an SMS poll. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you operate a microbrewery and you’re deciding on your next flavor. You set up a keyword, “BREWDAY”, and ask your customers to text it to your number.

They automatically receive the following text message.

We’re working hard on our next limited-edition batch of beers. Let us know what you’d like us to introduce:
A. A coffee stout
B. Grapefruit IPA
C. Toffee porter

You can write a follow-up message that people will receive after submitting their answers. 

You could also send voting results to each participant if you’d like and let them know when you launch the new beer.

2. Set up a text-an-expert hotline

Text-based customer service is a great way to strengthen customer engagement. 

You can also create a top-of-funnel marketing campaign around your area of expertise aka a Text-an-Expert hotline

For example, direct-to-consumer cookware brand Great Jones uses their ‘Potline’ text messaging service to provide stuck home cooks with recipe ideas, cleaning tips, and general advice.

3. Create a customer loyalty program

A lot of rewards programs require you to download a mobile app. If that sounds like a lot of effort and budget, you can create an SMS loyalty program instead.

It’s a simple three-step process:

1. Customers sign up online or in-store by giving their numbers

2. You begin sending SMS messages with loyalty rewards

3. Customers come in more frequently to redeem the rewards

It’s an approach that Harmony Tea Bar takes and it’s led to increased online orders, foot traffic, and drove a click-through rate (CTR) that is 1,094% higher than the average for restaurant emails.

4. Send text message promotions that are personalized 

Text message promotions are one of the most common SMS marketing use cases. It makes sense: our text message marketing research found that 50% of consumers want texts from businesses about flash sales and promotions.

If you aren’t collecting the names of your subscribers, you can still give your mobile messaging a personal feel.

For example, Artist Couture often sends text message campaigns that include words like “sis,” “bffs,” and “you”

Using words that their target audience would use when texting is a clever way to drive engagement.

Hey sis! Welcome to the #GlowGang! I’ll keep you updated on everything Artist Couture! Now that we’re text bff’s, you’ll be the first to know all the tea! XOXO

5. Run an SMS competition

As humans, we’re competitive and motivated by the idea of receiving something for free. That even applies when the monetary value of the prize is relatively small.

That’s why an SMS competition is an excellent way to engage customers. Here’s how easy we make it to run one.

The wrap on SMS customer engagement

SMS marketing is one of the few digital marketing channels that can do more than just help you acquire new customers. It can help you engage existing ones.

That matters because loyal customers spend an average of 67% more on products and services than new customers. (Plus you also save your business serious sums of money on acquiring costs.)

If you’re interested in getting started with any of the above strategies, our team of texting experts is always here to help. 

We’re available 7 days a week. Text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen. Or, sign up for a 14-day free trial––no credit card details required.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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