This is a guest post from Ari Simchi, Vice President of Revenue at Group 8A—an Attentive Agency Partner and a premier performance digital marketing agency that provides its clients with holistic multi-channel strategies.

The holiday shopping rush brings a surge of excitement every year—along with a boost in website traffic. If you were using website sign-up forms to grow your text message marketing subscriber list over the holidays, you’ll likely greet the new year with a larger SMS audience.

The huge surge in e-commerce during 2020 has positioned brands for an especially strong sales year in 2021—and businesses that are quick to move and adapt will reap the biggest rewards.

Here are three ways you can leverage your SMS list growth to get a head start in 2021.

1. Segment your SMS subscriber list to improve personalization

Personalization is key to capturing consumer interest and building brand loyalty. And with a larger SMS subscriber list to work with, you have more opportunities to segment your audience.

By customizing segments based on defined criteria—such as when a subscriber joined your text message marketing program or how much they’ve spent with your brand—you can ensure your messaging is more tailored to individual subscribers.

For example, past customers can be segmented into one group while non-customers can be segmented into another, enabling you to personalize content for each audience. Or perhaps you want to focus on geographic location. An apparel company can promote swimwear to subscribers in warmer climates and outerwear to those in colder regions at the same time.

And when you use a tool like Attentive’s Segment Builder, you can dive deeper by layering segmentation components on top of one another. By taking a data-driven approach to segmenting subscribers—whether it’s by browsing behavior, clicks, source, or a combination of different criteria—you can ensure your subscribers only receive the most relevant content.

60% of consumers believe brands are missing the mark when it comes to personalization, and 80% say they’d be more loyal to brands that deliver tailored experiences.

The ability to segment your audience empowers you to deliver a more personalized experience to subscribers and stand out from the competition.

2. Test and optimize frequently

Testing is always critically important, but with more subscribers comes the opportunity to uncover greater insights—as well as the confidence to make decisions based on your learnings.

As with any marketing channel, it’s important to find out which tactics resonate most with your target audience. Do certain types of imagery correlate with increased clicks? Do variations in copy and CTAs impact conversion rates? Do messages sent on certain days or at specific times see higher engagement?

The testing you do in Q1 will lay the groundwork for your strongest campaigns in Q4. And by having a larger pool of subscribers to test different elements of your strategy on, you can ensure you’re informing business decisions with statistically significant results.

But remember that a single A/B test isn’t enough. Run multiple tests to ensure results are consistent and not caused by a random behavior or unforeseen variable. A/B testing comes built into Attentive’s platform, making it easy to test different components for any given message.

3. Turn subscribers into brand advocates

Text messaging isn’t a broadcast-only channel—it’s an opportunity to create connections with customers and inspire them to become ambassadors for your brand.

For example, 87% of consumers read online reviews for businesses in 2020. You can encourage your subscribers to leave reviews of your products and services or submit user-generated content to post on social media to boost brand credibility among shoppers.

You can also leverage your brand community for word-of-mouth marketing by sending post-purchase text messages offering special offers in exchange for referrals. Data shows consumers are twice as likely to trust recommendations from family and friends than other sources.

With 99% open rates and 30%+ click-through rates, text messaging provides you with the chance to quickly mobilize a community of engaged fans and put your plans into motion early on in the year.

You worked hard to grow your SMS subscriber list over the holiday season—use that growth to build stronger connections with consumers in the year ahead.

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