If you haven’t used online text messages in your business yet, it can be easy not to know what you’re missing. SMS marketing sounds like a trendy thing, but does it deliver results? The truth is, SMS marketing isn’t just a trend: it’s a new wave in marketing, giving retailers the ability to reach out to customers as though they were having one-on-one conversations.
But what are the specific advantages of SMS marketing in retail? Does it work better than email marketing, for example, and why?
Let’s dive deeper into how retail can benefit from a marketing strategy that includes a healthy dose of text marketing.
Using SMS Marketing to Build a Loyalty Program
One of the most powerful ways to start with SMS marketing in retail is to build a loyalty program. If you’ve used email marketing effectively, you know how important it is to keep the contact information of your best customers. You can email blast those same customers and expect a reasonably reliable response whenever you have a new sale or a new offering.
When you use SMS instead, it works the same way. SMS has a more immediate effect—many of us are always on our phones, always ready for a new text message from family or friends. But when we willingly sign up for a loyalty program, we’re also open to the idea that we will get exclusive sneak-peek offers and promotional discounts just for opening a text message. It’s a rare form of marketing in which the customer invites you into their phone.
Building a loyalty program is one of the fastest ways to utilize SMS en masse, boosting open rates and giving your brand a shot in the arm every time you have a new product. Think about it this way: if you incentivize people to sign up for an exclusive VIP loyalty program via SMS, you now have a whole host of phone numbers you can reach out to every time you want to sell a new product. Until they invent holographics, there is no better way to reach out to retail customers.
Why SMS Marketing is So Suited for Retail
With the benefits of the loyalty program out of the way, let’s get to the specifics of why this works so well for retail:
•Speed. When someone signs up to your retail SMS marketing list, they receive notifications every time you reach out to them. Those notifications occur through their text message inbox, too—not some obscure application they barely remember installing. This means you can create instant responses to gauge the open rates you’re getting.
•Customer Engagement. Text message marketing is so powerful because it has such high engagement rates—people live in their text message inboxes these days. There are no more efficient marketing channels than mobile phones, after all. This helps create a better customer experience, making your product offerings just a tap away for people who have signed up for your SMS messages.
•Real-time data. Speed also creates its own advantage: you can access real-time data and feedback as people get back to you on your SMS marketing campaign. You can monitor conversion rates and other metrics, but you can also see what people are saying about the customer experience. The more conversational your approach, the better.
Your marketing efforts are typically geared toward getting more enthusiasm every time you launch a new product or series of developments in retail. By accessing a marketing tool like SMS text messages, retail stores can drum up this kind of enthusiasm with a sense of immediacy. People know they only have one day when they receive a text message for a one-day promotion. They know that because, in the retail business, one text message notification can be enough to say: “stop in today!”
By keeping people tuned in to the latest promotions with their smartphones, retail business owners will stand a much better chance of drumming up enthusiasm with returning customers. For every product launch, you’ll have a way to reach out immediately—communicating the urgency of the offering as soon as it lands in a cell phone inbox.
How to Get More Engagement from Your SMS Marketing Strategy
How do you make sure you put these benefits to work? Let’s explore a few of the ways:
•Minimize friction before the checkout. Your checkout page—and how easy it is for a customer to use a credit card—is at the core of your success in digital retail. Why? Exclusive offers, repeat purchases, customer retention: none of it works unless it’s easy to go from a text message to purchase. Give your SMS subscribers one single, easy-to-tap link so they can buy what you’re offering. The fewer times they have to click, the better.
•Treat SMS as a full marketing platform. Your email newsletter, for example, is a platform. Why shouldn’t SMS work the same way? You can incorporate all sorts of tools, like marketing automation, to make SMS an entirely new way to earn revenue on your latest sales and promotions.
•Create SMS-only special offers. Special offers can do if you want to encourage people to sign up—especially to take action on a retail promotion. Think of these exclusive offers as ways to spruce up your messaging campaign, helping to make it even more engaging once a user signs up.
If you want to expand your customer base, you shouldn’t just grow your existing platforms. You should grow how many platforms you access. Try to keep the SMS messages more conversational than transactional, and you’ll be amazed at how much customers love exchanging texts with you. You’ll drive higher click-through rates, encourage more customers and adopters to sign up, and ultimately make your brand more customer-friendly.