Learn how this charming Nebraska boutique texts with locals and tourists alike to grow their retail and e-commerce sales.
The town of Valentine, Nebraska, population ~3,000 is the picture of quaint, small-town tourism. In a town where it’s rare for a business to even have a website, Whitney Mayhew has turned Broken Spoke Boutique into a text-enabled midwestern mainstay.
Learn how she made her retail hotspot the shopping destination for locals in Cherry County as well as visitors all the way from Omaha to Honolulu!
Rural Retail 101
With the closest shopping opportunities in Valentine, around two hours away, you could say there was a need for some retail a little closer to home.
When the founder of Broken Spoke handed over the reins to Whitney three years ago, she and her husband poured everything into the store in order to make it their own.
The physical store wasn’t all that got a makeover. Whitney knew that a lively digital presence was essential for the business to grow. Today, you’ll find a perfectly manicured website as well as active and aesthetic social media profiles. But something was still missing when it came to the way Broken Spoke communicated with customers.
In texting, Whitney found her missing piece.
Texting—A Self-Employed Entrepreneurs Best Friend
Simultaneously growing a brick and mortar shop that sees about 50,000 tourists annually is tough enough. But to grow in the e-commerce space on top of that?
It’s safe to say Whitney needed a way to reach her audience and stay organized as a self-employed entrepreneur.
When texting became a part of the Broken Spoke strategy, she was able to connect directly with her audience and share her most important announcements.
“Social media is great,” notes Whitney. “But for small businesses, you’re very limited in what you can do with paid advertisements. The algorithm is always changing who you reach which also makes it unpredictable. So, we started texting because we thought it would be a good way to guarantee people always see our messages. You’re always going to have your phone with you, you’re always going to look at a text as soon as it comes up.”
What Kind of Texts Do You Send to Retail Customers?
For starters, as a member of the Broken Spoke Text Club, you automatically receive a discount texted to you on your birthday.
Luckily for Whitney, this doesn’t require impeccable memory. Instead, she set up our Birthday Text app to automatically collect subscribers’ birth dates, and automatically send a text out when that day comes!
Outside of the birthday text, Broken Spoke subscribers commonly receive messages on sales, discounts, events, even reminders to tune into social media channels for things like product releases. Some deals are exclusive to the text club making it a must-subscribe for any fan of the brand.
“When our customers receive a text it’s such a good reminder that oh—that sale is going on. Let me stop in or shop online.”
The best part is that Whitney can track and analyze the actions her subscribers take based on the messages she sends out. “I know it definitely has an impact. Anytime we send a message we see the views on our website go up, so we know people are looking”
Whitney also utilizes our in-app URL shortener, which allows her to track each campaign’s click-through rate. To-date, Broken Spoke’s average campaign CTR is nearly 24% higher than the average CTR of emails sent by retailers!
For Whitney, text-enabling her business was also important for her customers.
“As a family-run business things are unpredictable. If all of a sudden there’s a sick kid and I can’t open up the store I can post a sign on the door. But now I can also send a text. With that, we can encourage them to shop online that day, even throw out a sale as a bonus!”
“I like that it’s easy and convenient to relay information through texting. It gets information out quickly and you know customers are going to see it right away.”
Collecting Subscribers Online And In-Store
As Broken Spoke continues to grow, so does its list of subscribers. Thanks to Whitney’s savvy advertising, the store’s keyword is hard to miss.
Whitney has the keyword posted on the website’s home page, social media pages, and on posters in the store. She even has QR codes ready to scan so patrons of the location can easily sign up then and there!
Whitney and boutique staff are also sure to mention it at checkout, on Instagram stories, and on live videos whenever it’s possible.
The key for retail text marketing is visibility, and Broken Spoke knocks that out of the park.
Whether they’re shipping products across the country, or catering to customers at home, Broken Spoke treats everyone like family. If you’re ever passing through Valentine be sure to give their charming shop a visit, you’re sure to find something you can’t live without.