Savvy marketers picked up on mobile trends and incorporated SMS into their messaging mix to better communicate with customers and prospects. This is a smart move given the incredibly high open rates of SMS. Read about seven ways to use SMS to enhance your marketing efforts.
Step up your email marketing with SMS
Today's on-the-go customers are weaving in and out of channels and hopping from one device to another throughout the day. To increase your chances of engaging these customers, get creative and build campaigns that reach across channels.
You are setting up a four-touch automated campaign encouraging customers to sign up for a loyalty program during a 10-day sale period. You start by sending an email at 10 days out, and then another seven days out. Instead of just sending non-responders email again at three days out and one day out and hoping for the best, you might add an SMS message on these days. After setup, these campaigns run on their own - in this case, follow-up reminder messages are only sent to non-responders.
Give more control to customers
With endless information at our fingertips and a bevy of social networks, today's buyers have more control than ever over the customer-business relationship. In response to these shifting dynamics, many savvy companies are giving customers and prospects more control over how they communicate with them.
To improve the customer experience, consider enhancing your preference center and allowing contacts to choose what types of messages they want to receive through various channels.
Set up a grid within your preference center listing the different types of communications you send. Enable the contact to select email, SMS, or print for how they receive these messages. Added flexibility, along with offering contacts extra control over the type of content and the frequency, helps decrease churn and boost engagement.
Gather data for other channels with SMS
Has your SMS data been relegated to its own lonely silo? Bust through those walls and use SMS to gather key data that you can use in other digital and offline channels.
Promote email opt-in by way of SMS across key touch points, including POS signs, ads throughout stores or in mall locations, or on transaction receipts. Test incentives, such as "Text your email address to 46745 to sign up for an email program and get 10% off your next purchase".
Don't stop there. Encourage customers to provide other pieces of information by way of SMS, such as postal code (for location-based promotions), which you can use to drive cross-channel communications and create a more integrated experience for customers.
To grow conversions, inform directly about the benefits of sharing particular information. Instead of just asking for a person's birth date, say "Text your birth date to 57892 to receive a special gift on your big day".
Build highly personalized cross-channel campaigns
Delivering emails based on a contact's actions, preferences or demographics delivers more ROI than just sending general broadcast messages – the same principal applies to SMS. Increase relevance by setting up rules so contacts receive certain messages when they meet specific criteria.
Start by setting up triggered text messages based exclusively on actions within the channel. If a contact opts in for your SMS programs and sends "SpringContest" and "SummerPromotions" texts, for example, that might trigger a text message that offers a sneak peek at your new product lineup.
To drive even more ROI, consider increasingly sophisticated rules that take cross-channel criteria into account. You might run a query of all your SMS subscribers who visited your website in the last week, and send them an exclusive presale offer for their local store by text.
Inactivity can also be the trigger. Maybe someone signed up for your SMS program but your email is still unopened after two weeks. Maybe they visited your website in the past month or made a purchase in the last 60 days might receive a text message that is aimed at driving them back to your website.
Boost your loyalty program with SMS
Setting up an individualized SMS rewards program is an effective way to build your database, gather information, and extend message reach. As a bonus, it's also much fun for your customers.
Set up a 'Loyalty' scoring model in your marketing automation platform and reward participants with points for actions both within the SMS channel (e.g. texting you their birthdate) and in other channels (e.g. making a purchase or retweeting content).
You might then build an SMS campaign in which participants receive different texts based on their loyalty points. The messages contain URLs that direct recipients to personalized landing pages with dynamic content and calls to action. Texts might include:
- Message #1: Welcome to the club! Stay tuned for details on exclusive badges and offers. Max 8 msg/month. Rply STOP to quit. Msg&Data rates may apply.
- Message #2: Here's your 1st chance to get an exclusive offer and earn your 1st badge: Rewards Insider. Go ur.ly/promo to for details. Rply STOP to quit.
- Message #3: Congrats! U earned the email Insider badge. View your badge and share the news with friends on ur.ly/badge . Rply STOP to quit.
If you already have a loyalty program in place that incorporates mobile in some way, a loyalty app or a check-in rewards program, it's a natural progression to use SMS along with these programs to better connect with customers.
SMS Success Story: Bridgevine
Bridgevine, a reseller for cable and telecommunications companies, was challenged with prospective customers not following through with conversions - in this instance, scheduling an installation appointment through the call center. To make a step towards customers, the team decided to implement an automated email and SMS campaign.
How they did it
Bridgevine placed a short form that includes both email address and mobile number on its TimeWarner microsite. If a prospect completes the form and opts in to receive future communications, but doesn't immediately schedule an appointment, the individual is automatically placed into an automated retouch program.
In this program, the lead receives an automated SMS and email upon form submission. The first SMS arrives within 1-2 minutes of the form submission. The lead continues to receive automated SMS and email messages for up to three days, unless it becomes a conversion before then. If the prospect in the program calls to schedule an installation appointment, the action in Acoustic Campaign is tied to Bridgevine's call center by an API, which automatically removes the prospect from the program.
The program resulted in a 300% increase in conversions with a call-back rate of 33%. More than 30% of the prospects who provided their email addresses also opted in to the SMS program.