Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. Find out how you can create a successful loyalty program that keeps your customers coming back.
Assistant to the Regional Manager Dwight Schrute put it best when he said, “I’m going wherever they value loyalty the most.” The average consumer shares his philosophy. When it comes to purchasing power, loyal customers are king. Not only do they spend an average of 67% more on products and services than new customers, but they also save your business serious sums of money on acquiring costs.
So what does this mean for your business or retail store?
You should be devoting more time and effort to keeping customers than bringing in new ones. One way to do this is to create a customer loyalty program to entice and reward them for coming back. But does this mean having to invest in expensive loyalty software with a complicated points system? Nope. There’s an easier way, and it involves a technology that’s already in your pocket: text messages.
What Is a Text Message Loyalty Program?
According to the recent Loyalty Census Report, there are currently 3.8 billion enrollments in customer loyalty programs—a number that is expected to grow. These programs come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets. But they all share one thing in common: they give consumers rewards such as free merchandise, discounts, exclusive rewards or VIP access.
You may be familiar with Starbucks Rewards, which requires customers to download an app in order to earn and redeem “stars.” But what if you don’t have the same budget as the green siren? Don’t worry—you don’t have to resort to punchcards.
SMS or text message loyalty programs are an inexpensive way for businesses to keep customers coming back. Here’s how it works:
- Customers sign up online or in-store by giving their numbers.
- You begin sending text messages with loyalty rewards.
- Customers come in more frequently to redeem the rewards.
That’s it. There’s nothing complicated about it, and it works. Why? Because you’re not wasting time, money, or effort messaging people who aren’t interested in your rewards. If someone signs up, it’s because they’re eager to get SMS texts incentivizing to come back.
How to Start an SMS Loyalty Program, Step-by-Step
Now that you know the basics of what an SMS loyalty program is, let’s talk a little more in depth about how to set up and operate one. Your customers will have many options to engage with your business’s rewards program, but getting them signed up begins with good branding.
1. Start With a Name
The name of your customer loyalty program should be impactful yet quick and easy to remember. Most importantly, it should stand out among the competing rewards programs. Some keep it simple and use brand recognition to name their program. For example, Petco used their branding to create “Pals Rewards.”
2. Decide How Your Loyal Customers Will Earn Rewards
With a text message loyalty program, there are two main ways your customers can earn rewards: a certain amount of time after they join your list, or when they text in a certain keyword. In the world of SMS marketing, a keyword is a word or phrase customers can text to your number to sign up for messages.
You could create one keyword and send the same offers to everyone who signs up, or you can create multiple keywords which you’ll only offer to customers after a certain amount of purchases. SimpleTexting offers you unlimited keywords, which means the sky’s the limit.
Either method is beneficial. The key is to make it work for your business and your customers. If you have less time to spend actively creating new keywords, we recommend going with the first method as it’s the most straightforward.
3. Determine What Rewards You Will Offer
The rewards can range from a simple discount code to an entry into a large sweepstakes. But the key to a successful customer loyalty program is to offer variation and frequency. You want to reward your consumer often, so that they see the value in being a member. Giving multiple, smaller offers can sometimes be more beneficial than a huge reward to end all rewards.
Again, you should find a system that works for both you and your customer. If your loyal customers value free merchandise over discounts, then account for that when developing your loyalty program. If you sell service-based goods like gym memberships or salon services, then sometimes a discount or exclusive add-on will resonate more with your audience. It’s important to find the right system to guarantee customer satisfaction.
4. Set Up Your Autoresponders
Once you’ve decided how and when you want to reward customers, it’s time to set your autoresponders. Set up text messages that go out days, weeks, or months after someone has signed up for your program. Each of these messages should include a reason to come back to your business.
5. Get People Signed Up for Your Text Messages
You have rewards ready to go, and your texts are written. Now there’s just one thing missing—people to message! The good news is that it’s simple to get customers subscribed. Whichever one of the methods below that you choose, it’s vital that you collect express written consent. Consider doing one or all of the following:
- Promoting your keywords in-store and online.
- Adding a sign-up form to your website.
- Collecting phone numbers at checkout.
6. Create Additional Opportunities for Customer Engagement
Periodically sending promotions is great, but text message loyalty programs let you do a whole lot more. Here’s how you can create a fun customer experience using SMS:
- Send a text message survey to customers asking them to vote on future products.
- Surprise customers on their birthdays with a special gift or discount.
- Send a campaign with trivia questions. Only send a reward to those who answer correctly.
- Ask customers to text in photos of themselves at your store. Reward those who do with prizes.
Benefits of Creating an SMS Loyalty Program
We’ve gone over how an SMS loyalty program can help you retain customers. But what’s the benefit of text message marketing compared to, say, paper coupons or kiosks?
- Most people own cellphones, and every cellphone can receive text messages without having to download any apps
- Text message loyalty programs are 100% digital. Customers never have to worry about losing their loyalty cards.
- SMS texts are inexpensive to send and you don’t have to spend money on a custom app or pricey software.
- Our advanced features allow you to use your loyalty program to collect info from customers such as first name, last name, and birthday.
- MMS allows you to send out multimedia including photos and scannable coupons.
- Automated text messages mean your loyalty program can be set-and-forget. No need to actively manage it!
Start Sending Loyalty Text Messages for Free
The average American sends and receives 94 texts per day. How many are from you? Find out how connecting with your customers by text message can impact your business. Give SimpleTexting a try! We’ll set you up with 50 free messages when you sign up for a free trial today. Start rewarding your top customers.